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Low Expectations: Tariq Ramadan and Tahir ul-Qadri

If correctly reported, this response to allegations of rape levelled against Tariq Ramadan is both perverse and dangerous.

[Professor Eugene] Rogan reminded students: “It’s not just about sexual violence. For some students it’s just another way for Europeans to gang up against a prominent Muslim intellectual. We must protect Muslim students who believe and trust in him, and protect that trust.” (my emphasis)

Muslims should most certainly be protected from discrimination or harassment; more subtle problems (like the Times’ apparent misreporting of a recent fostering case) should also be countered. However it’s outrageous to suggest that the reality of anti-Muslim bigotry should mean that Tariq Ramadan is treated differently from anyone else in his situation.  That’s like saying antisemitism might reasonably be invoked to insulate Harvey Weinstein from scrutiny.

This tendency to be overprotective of Muslims, or set Muslims a lower bar with regard to their behaviour or beliefs, only makes things worse, fuelling the anger of the far right.   Yet again and again we can find examples of people with prominent and responsible positions in public life being prepared to work alongside unsavoury groups and individuals.  Recently Wes Streeting, Stephen Kinnock and, of course, Jeremy Corbyn have all shared a platform with MEND.

Another culprit is Naz Shah.  Earlier this year she appeared at an event at Keele University, ‘Al-Hidayah 2017 – Violent Extremism – the Counter Narrative’.  Those involved were all opposed to terrorist violence – but the threshold should surely be set higher than this before an MP offers an implicit endorsement of an event – and thus approval for its controversial honoured guest and keynote speaker Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri.

As a project of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International (UK) the al-Hidayah team were proud and honoured to host his eminence Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, patron-in-chief of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International as the Keynote speaker and also presiding guest throughout the three days of the event.

Here’s a sample of Qadri’s views. He has expressed his support for huddud punishments:

The grading of punishments in Islam, as the chapter illustrates, makes full acknowledgement of the emotional and psychic preferences of human beings. Men are instinctively inclined towards the establishment of a clean and pure society. Therefore, these punishments are primarily focussed on the achievement of this primary goal…Islam believes in the creation of an absolutely clean society. It believes in both physical and moral cleanliness. Therefore its penal laws are geared to the formation of such a society. (Page 429)

And here he is on blasphemy:

My point of view was, and I managed to get this made into law, that whoever commits blasphemy against the Prophet, Muslim or non-Muslim, man or woman, Jew, Christian, Hindu or whomsoever, no matter who of them commits blasphemy, their punishment will be death. My other point of view was that whoever apostatises from Islam may well repent, but blasphemy against the Prophet will not imply any possibility for repentance or forgiveness, rather, he must be executed immediately! I am fighting a one-man fight to shut out all possibilities to commit blasphemy. And those who open their mouths, Muslim, Jew, Christian, believer, kafir, man or woman, will be executed like a dog.

Do watch Mehdi Hasan channelling Maajid Nawaz here – from about 17.00.

You can read more about ul-Qadri’s views here.

Whereas Shah would seem happy to share a platform with ul-Qadri, she is quick to find fault with Sara Khan and Inspire.  It is possible to see those who cut soft spoken Islamists some slack as well intentioned if mistaken – it’s harder to forgive those who, while personally liberal, are happy to throw progressive Muslims under the bus.

Update:-

Statement: Professor Tariq Ramadan
7 November 2017

By mutual agreement, and with immediate effect, Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies, has taken a leave of absence from the University of Oxford.

Professor Ramadan’s teaching, supervising and examining duties will be reassigned, and he will not be present at the University or College. The University has consistently acknowledged the gravity of the allegations against Professor Ramadan, while emphasising the importance of fairness and the principles of justice and due process. An agreed leave of absence implies no presumption or acceptance of guilt and allows Professor Ramadan to address the extremely serious allegations made against him, all of which he categorically denies, while meeting our principal concern – addressing heightened and understandable distress, and putting first the wellbeing of our students and staff.

http://www.ox.ac.uk/news-and-events/statement-professor-tariq-ramadan

Someone pointed out this happened after the Telegraph splashed the story.

All a Zionist plot of course:-

For an ardent Zionist like me, it is utterly disappointing to learn from the United Arab Emirates’ news site The National that “Supporters of Mr Ramadan are describing the accusations against him [as] part of a Zionist plot to destroy his name.” Obviously, there can be no doubt whatsoever that the eminent Oxford professor has the most awesome supporters who know what they’re talking about. So now the depressing question is: what took the infamous Elders of Zion so long??? Are they getting real old??? I mean, why didn’t they act well before 2009, when Ramadan was appointed “H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies and Senior Research Fellow” at Oxford’s St Antony’s College???

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-zionist-conspiracy-against-tariq.html

(H/T Fritz Wunderlich)