Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Ibn Warraq on Tariq Ramadan
The great ex-Muslim freethinker reviews Caroline Fourest's book (see David's Bookshelf 66 below) for the Manhattan Institute's City Journal.
Fourest provides many examples of Ramadan’s brazen lies, but one stands out. It involves the al-Taqwa bank—founded by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, and shut down by the Swiss government in December 2001 for sponsoring terrorism, with links to Hamas, al-Qaida, and the GIA in Algeria. Ramadan claims that his family had no involvement with al-Taqwa: “We never had any sort of contact with the bank. The fact that our name appears in its address file doesn’t mean a thing.” This is untrue; Said Ramadan, Tariq’s father, was one of the founders of al-Taqwa. (Other al-Taqwa founders were active supporters of Hitler during World War II.)
Does Ramadan condemn terrorism? Again with much ambiguity, he claims that terrorist acts are justified “contextually.” At the height of the riots by young Arabs in France in 2005, Ramadan told the television channel France 5, “The violence is legitimate.” Though Ramadan has always denied having any contact with terrorists in Europe, Jean-Charles Brisard, an international expert on terrorism financing, has gathered evidence suggesting otherwise. Brisard cites a 1999 Spanish Police General Directorate memo, for example, that states that Ahmed Brahim (now serving a ten-year sentence on charges of inciting terrorism) maintained “regular contacts with important figures of radical Islam such as Tariq Ramadan.” Brisard also points to Djamel Begal, who in his first court appearance after his indictment by a French judge for participating in a foiled terrorist attack against the U.S. Embassy in Paris, stated that before 1994, he “attended the courses given by Tarek Ramadan”—an indication of the influence that Ramadan’s teaching has had on budding Islamist radicals. Beghal was sentenced to ten years in prison in March 2005. Brisard cites prosecution documents chronicling Beghal’s interrogation by UAE authorities in which Beghal states that “his religious engagement started in 1994,” when “he was in charge of writing the statements of Tariq Ramadan”—by which he meant, according to a translation from the Swiss daily Le Temps, that he helped prepare Ramadan’s speeches. Finally, Brisard cites a Swiss intelligence memo of 2001 that states that “brothers Hani and Tariq Ramadan coordinated a meeting held in 1991 in Geneva attended by Ayman Al Zawahiri and Omar Abdel Rahman.” Al Zawahiri is a major al-Qaida leader and one of Osama bin Laden’s lieutenants; Rahman was the planner of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, now serving a life sentence in the United States.
03/04 11:06 AM