Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Ultimate Uber-Muslim: Bringing Euro-Islam to Life

SpiegelOnline reports that a U.S. classified terrorist-sympathizer, whose visa has been revoked in America, is teaching British social workers how to accept Islam.

Tariq Ramadan is speaking at the "Cultural Diversity and Social Cohesion" conference with an audience of social workers who see the seamy side of life working with gangs and "failed integration policies." According to SpiegelOnline, the social workers are there to:
...learn that multiculturalism also has positive aspects and, most importantly, that no one needs to be afraid of Muslims.
When Ramadan takes the stage at this conference:
...[his] appearance alone is enough to add a touch of brilliance to this gloomy conference room. Smiling here and nodding there, the “esteemed guest” strides up to the podium with the confidence of an entertainer who has grown accustomed to success. Tariq Ramadan knows how to win people over.
Many of the veteran social workers have an almost enraptured expression on their faces as they look up at the tall, thin man. With his striking features and dark well-trimmed beard, his sand-colored suit with its elegant casualness, the unbuttoned collar of his bright yellow shirt and his slightly dark complexion, Ramadan resembles a Latino singer....
Tariq Ramadan is reported to be a professor of Islamic studies in Geneva, currently teaching at St. Anthony's College as a visiting fellow:
In effect, Ramadan is something of a modern-day itinerant preacher. His mission is to boost the self-confidence of Europe’s Muslims and to explain his vision of a “European Islam” to Europe’s Christian elite. The new brand of faith which, according to Ramadan, “is currently taking shape among European Muslims with Islamic-European culture” aims to reconcile Western values with the teachings of Islam. This “Euro-Islam” has allowed Ramadan to win friends among immigrant children and proponents of interreligious dialogue -- and make enemies among right-wing nationalists and hardline Islamists.
Ramadan is explaining a "brand new faith," a faith that changes with time, that fits today - the Islam of today. He is controversial. Some wonder what he said, and how he said it, as he speaks with young Muslim men - in private, as he often does.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was impressed, as well as Time Magazine:
“We need trust and dialogue and a more flexible faith,” says Ramadan. This kind of language prompted former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to appoint him to what was essentially a Muslim task force to combat extremism. On the other side of the Atlantic, Time magazine placed him on its list of the 100 people who comprise "tomorrow's most influential individuals."

Others see him as an Islamist in disguise, a “wolf in sheep's clothing,” a master of deception. And, as a matter of fact, Ramadan has made a number of statements that don’t sound remotely liberal or tolerant.
Ramadan is described as an "Islamic Superstar," and indeed he has quite a pedigree, according to Spiegel. His grandfather is the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood and his father, a "religious zealot."

This is a 4-part article by Dieter Bednarz and Daniel Steinvorth. Part 3 asks, "Are Islam and Europe -- sharia and human rights -- like fire and water? I've provided the links to each, and each is well-worth the read. I get the feeling, that the devil is in the details.

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