The proud polemicist
by Rebecca Weisser
some of Ramadan's fiercest critics come from the Left. French author and journalist Caroline Fourest analysed hundreds of Ramadan's recordings, more than a dozen books, and 1500 pages of interviews that had appeared in the press. Fourest says that in his cassettes "one here discovers Ramadan the warlord, giving orders and spelling out his political objectives: to modify the secular state and help matters evolve towards 'more Islam'. Unfortunately, the Islam in question is not an enlightened and modern Islam but a reactionary and fundamentalist one."
Fourest believes there is no one as effective as Ramadan in furthering fundamentalism in France. "He radicalises the Muslims under his influence by introducing them to the thought of Hassan al-Banna (this constitutes the introduction to his recorded seminars), then he brings them into contact with the present-day ideologues of the Muslim Brotherhood: Youssef al-Qaradhawi, one of the few Muslim theologians openly to approve suicide attacks, or Faycal Mawlawi, who is not only a Muslim Brother but also the principal chief of a Lebanese terrorist organisation. "
"And that is not all. He weakens secular resistance to fundamentalism by forming alliances with secular anti-racist associations. He has accomplished a sort of tour de force: to make Islamism seductive in the eyes of certain militants of the anti-globalisation Left. His tactic is simple: to send young partisans of his cause to register in anti-racist associations and left-wing parties."
Fourest says she was struck by the extent to which the discourse of Ramadan is often a repetition of the discourse that al-Banna had at the beginning of the 20th century in Egypt. "He never criticises his grandfather. On the contrary, he presents him as a model to be followed, a person beyond reproach, non-violent and unjustly criticised because of the 'Zionist lobby'. "
"This sends chills down one's spine when one knows the extent to which al-Banna was a fanatic, that he gave birth to a movement out of which the worst jihadis have emerged and that he wanted to establish a theocracy in every country having a single Muslim."
"Tariq Ramadan claims that he is not a Muslim Brother ... a Muslim Brother is above all someone who adopts the methods and the thought of al-Banna. Ramadan is the man who has done the most to disseminate this method and this thought."
To quote Ramadan's local publicity again, he is "a charismatic and interesting man".
1) The proud polemicist