Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Caroline Fourest on Tariq Ramadan

Here are two excerpts from the interview published by L'Express with Caroline Fourest. The interview bears the provacative title "Ramadan is a Warlord" ("Ramadan est un chef de guerre"). For this is what Caroline Fourest claims one discovers upon listening to the cassettes of Tariq Ramadan's lectures, in which he addresses "his public - often young graduates susceptible to Islamist theses." "One here discovers Ramadan, the warlord," Caroline Fourest says, "giving orders and spelling out his political objectives: to modify the secular state and help matters evolve toward 'more Islam'. Unfortunately, the Islam in question is not an enlightened and modern Islam, but a reactionary and fundamentalist one...." The full interview is available in French here.

L'Express: "Ramadan wants 'more Islam', you say. But that doesn't mean that he wants to islamicize society as such, including non-Muslims."

C.F.: "I don't see anyone today who is as effective as Tariq Ramadan in furthering fundamentalism in France. He radicalizes 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 Fayçal Mawlawi, who is not only a Muslim Brother, but also the principal chief of a Lebanese terrorist organization. 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-globalization Left. His tactic is simple: to send young partisans of his cause to register in anti-racist associations and left-wing parties."


L'Express: "Tariq Ramadan is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna. One can hardly hold him responsible for this. On the other hand, you say that he is indeed the political heir of his grandfather. Why are you so sure?"

C.F.: "Because I've studied his statements and his writing. I was struck by the extent to which the discourse of Tariq Ramadan is often just a repetition of the discourse that Banna had at the beginning of the 20th century in Egypt. He never criticizes his grandfather. On the contrary, he presents him as a model to be followed, a person beyond reproach, non-violent and unjustly criticized because of the "Zionist lobby"! This sends chills down one's spine when one knows the extent to which Banna was a fanatic, that he gave birth to a movement out of which the worst Jihadis (like Ayman al-Zawahiri, the n° 2 man of Al-Qaeda) 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. Like all the Muslims Brothers... since it's a fraternity which is 3/4 secret.... A Muslim Brother is above all someone who adopts the methods and the thought of Banna. Ramadan is the man who has done the most to disseminate this method and this thought."