Tariq Ramadan: A Footnote
One of my readers from Germany, who goes by the online name "Erdal" -- a Turkish name -- occasionally provides me with interesting links to articles on Islam and Muslims in Europe. About my recent post concerning Ian Buruma's article on Tariq Ramadan, he had this to relate:
Odd article (Buruma's, not yours). While he does mention Caroline Fourest's "Frère Tariq" which made such a splash that it discredited Ramadan in France for good, I'd be willing to bet the house Buruma didn't even read the book. Instead he reiterates all the 10-year-old questions, as if time and scholarship hadn't anwered most of them in the meantime. Fourest wasn't alone, of course: There was also Ralph Ghadban's "Tariq Ramadan und die Islamisierung Europas", a big book by Bassam Tibi (forgot the title), and many similar ones. As far as I can judge that, Continental-European discourse about Ramadan is over and the jury has spoken, but this doesn't appear to register in the Anglo-American world at all. Maybe nobody there reads any French or German any more.Erdal's point is that Ramadan is an Islamist intent on converting Europe to Islam and that this has been known in French and German circles for an entire decade but has been ignored in the Anglo-American world. Erdal followed this point up with a postscript:
Maybe this 16 page pdf of Ghadban will be of interest, since it's mostly about Ramadan's intellectual heritage, and touches a lot on issues such as the history of reason in Islam, how it all came to what it is (Ghazali et al. vs Averroes etc.) and how the philosophical and theological strands rose and fell over time, and which of them Ramadan subscribes to.I've just read the linked article by this Lebanese expert on Islam, Ralph Ghadban, but I don't have time to report on it intensively. Basically, the article situates Ramadan in the post-Ghazali stream of Islamic intellectual thought as given shape by Ibn Taymiyyah, a tradition that excludes an independent role for rational doubt and insists on the rigorously strict normative status of the Qur'an and the Sunnah (traditions about Muhammad). Ramadan thus belongs to what is now called Salafi Islam, and what he sees for Islam in Europe is not a European Islam incorporating the rational doubt stemming from the Medieval Christian synthesis of faith and reason and given a more radical edge via the Enlightenment; rather, Ramadan aims to prepare the way for an Islamic Europe rejecting the role of doubt. For Salafists, "Islam is the Solution," and Ghadban says of this:
Bei Ramadan ist es ähnlich. Es geht um die Missionierung. Die klassische islamische Teilung der Welt zwischen dem Gebiet des Islam, wo die Muslime herrschen, dem Gebiet des Krieges, wo die Ungläubigen herrschen, und dem Gebiet des Friedens oder des Vertrages, wo Muslime verkehren, ohne dort zu herrschen, hat er neu definiert angesichts der auf Dauer angelegten Anwesenheit von Muslimen in Europa. Anstatt als Gebiet des Friedens hat er Europa als Gebiet der Mission (da'wa) bezeichnet. Später, da die Aggressivität der Bezeichnung auffiel, nannte er das Gebiet das Gebiet der Bezeugung (al-shahâda), was in der Tat dasselbe ist. Ramadan will Europa islamisieren, die Herrschaft des Islam errichten. Seine Waffe ist die Kultur, losgelöst von ihrer Geschichte.Freely translated, this says:
With Ramadan, it is similar. It implies missionizing. With respect to the continued presence of Muslims in Europe, he has taken the classical Islamic division of the world -- the realm of Islam, where Muslims rule; the realm of war, where the infidels rule; and the realm of peace or of truce, where Muslims conduct business without ruling -- and has redefined it. Instead of being a realm of peace (or truce), Europe has been designated by Ramadan as a realm of mission (da'wa). More recently, since the aggressiveness of such a designation is too striking, he has begun to call it the realm of witness (al-shahâda), which in fact is the same thing. Ramadan wants to Islamize Europe, to erect the rule of Islam. His weapon is culture cut loose from its history.Such, according to Ghadban, is Ramadan's aim. I had suspected as much, but I'm still left wondering about Ramadan's views on Islamic law, especially the laws of hudud (e.g., beheading, stoning, amputation, and so on), as well as his views on the legitimacy of violence as a means toward the aim of Islamizing Europe. If Ramadan is willing to engage in peaceful missionizing, then he will have to engage with rational doubt of the sort that Pope Benedict XVI was referring to in his controversial Regensburg talk.
But if Ramadan is willing to countenance violence...
Labels: Tariq Ramadan