And Tariq Ramadan, With His Boughten Professorship?

And Tariq Ramadan, With His Boughten Professorship?

This paper of Hugh Fitzgerald was published In the New English Review on the 22 november 2011


The torturer's apprentice, or at least his son, Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, is the subject of an Oxford Student article that I have just posted. Many months ago the news that the London School of Economics had awarded a Ph.D. (or a D.Phil.) to that deep student of the human condition, Seif al-Islam, son of the late Muammar Qaddafy, and that the doctoral dissertation in question was written by others (and the scandal of papers being written, over the last four decades, in universities all over the Western world, for rich Arabs and Persians and Pakistanis, entitles us all to believe that none of those degrees can be taken seriously, that none of those supposedly educated people did their own work, and that they are to be under suspicion until they can prove otherwise, and give evidence of their being educated and --  a lesser thing -- vocationally trained).

But the greatest scandal of all is the appointment, to fill a chair created, and paid for by some Arab potentate (The waddling emir of Qatar? The mediagenic, hawk-on-hand folkloristic Sultan of Oman? I forget.) for the precise purpose of giving a particular propagandist a better perch from which to conduct his sweetly sinister campaign on behalf of Islam throughout the Western world.

That man, with his bought-and-paid-for professorship, is Tariq Ramadan. He's the grandson of Hasan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. He offers example after example,  in his every public appearance, of Taqiyya and Kitman, of lies and semi-lies, that are piled up so fast, one cannot keep up and rebut each, so even the best prepared debater finds it hard to deal with him. He had, for a time, been teaching in Geneva. But what with Caroline Fourest's book  ("Frere Tariq") and his being taken apart in two widely-viewed appearances (one with Nicolas Sarkozy at his best, and the other with Alain Finkielkraut), it was time for Tariq Ramadan to leave the French-speaking world, where too many people had his number, and to light out for the English-speaking territories in Dar al-Harb, that is England, and beyond England the big prize, America. But first he tried the Netherlands. He arranged to have a chair created for him, with Arab money, at a university in the Netherlands. But soon he realized that would never do -- he would need to be in England, and necessarily, at Oxford or at Cambridge (though the University of London, that is the SOAS, might do in a pinch).
Tariq Ramadan would not settle for being a  lowly lecturer at St. Antony's College, where for decades the Middle Eastern wing (not the East European and Russian wing, which has always been legitimate) was under the iron rule of Albert Hourani, who ran a diploma mill for Arabs (among them: Rashid Khalidi) and strolled benignly among his charges, a kind of fat abbot dispensing his favors. So he had a chair created at Oxford, one that was meant for him -- after a comical "international search" -- to be filled by him, Tariq Ramadan. And did the dons at Oxford, those who were in Arabic or Middle Eastern or Islammic studies, who depend so much on contributions from rich Arabs that are constantly dangled before them, raise a ruckus about this bought-and-paid-for professorship? They did not. They were either silent or, still worse, publicly ecstatic about such a fine and worthy appointment. The whole thing nauseates.

And for a while Tariq Ramadan continued his campaign, the one where he says "We [the Muslims] are here" and "we are here to stay" and "there is nothing you can do about it"  and then he goes into another mode, that of sweetness-and-light, until those such as Ibn Warraq, or Ayaan Hirsi Ali, lay him flat in a debate. He's much happier dealing with those who, being Westerners, are afraid to believe what they learn about Islam, can't quite believe it, and are eager not to believe it, to convince themselves that there really is no problem, or if there is one it can quite easily be solved.

But now Tariq Ramadan has been, for the past ten months, unusually - for him -- quiet. Why? Well, what can he say about the events in Egypt, the country to which he belongs, even if he thinks he is entitled to consider himself a European because he happens to have been born and raised in Europe, but as a fanatical son of a fanatical father who was the son of  a still more fanatical grandfathe? Well, what can Tariq Ramadan say about Egypt? Can he come out on the side of the tiny secular and liberal opposition, that fears the Muslim Brotherhood? Of course not. Can he speak up about the persecution of, and murderous attacks on, the Copts? No, he can't. He won't. So for now he is lying low.

The OxfordStudent should look into the funding for Tariq Ramadan, look into how he received his appointment to a professorship at Oxford, look into his soi-disant "scholarship." That would require investigative reporting of a high level. But it would be fun, for someone. It would be useful, for the entire academic world, to see the rot and corruption, of Arab money deployed, not only to build Centers of Islamic Studies at such places as Durham and Exeter, where only those willing to defend the faith of Islam, and deflect criticism from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Emirates -- that is, from the donors who vigilantly monitor all of the appointments of these centers, and make sure that no independent, much less critical voices, are kept on.

Yes, a series on "How Tariq Ramadan Got His Professorship" -- starting with his decision to leave the French-speaking world, and his false start in the Netherlands, and the St. Antony's College lectureship, and finally the scheme to buy him a chair, that has worked out so well for him, and so badly for the image of Oxford, and no doubt for the morale of those professors who deserved their appointments, and for the morale of those who never got professorships but who know perfectly well about the scandal behind Tariq Ramadan's appointment.

The scandal of those who have been admitted as students (interesting the way all of the rich and powerful Muslims want to study, or have their children study, in the West, for as many years as they can -- yet they still do not ask themselves why, why it is that Christian-run or Western-run schools in their own rich but wretched countries, are what the Muslim elite wants for its own children, or why it is that they must send them to the West for an education)has received its due. The son of Rafsanjani here, the son of Qaddafy over there, dozens of Saudi princelings and princelettes way over there -- that's easy.

But the scandal of Tariq Ramadan's professorship is more important. And so are all the ways that Muslims, and non-Muslim apologists for Islam, have been helping and hiring one another, and promoting one another, all over the academic departments of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies in the United Kingdom, and throughout the Western world.

It has been laid bare -- by, among others, Martin Kramer.

But there has to be a continuing effort at exposure.

Why not a series, in a major London paper, rather than in an Oxford student paper, on Tariq Ramadan, and his Resistible Rise?

Hugh Fitzgerald

La rédaction

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