Deep Thoughts from Tariq Ramadan
by Robert Spencer
Reza Aslan, the immature young apologist for the Islamic Republic of Iran and Sharia oppression, recently bragged in a tweet about being among the “people that press actually takes seriously.” But how does the “press” select those whom it “actually takes seriously”? Does it undertake a rigorous selection process, weighing the intellectual heft of a public figure’s writings and statements, determining whether they stand up to logical and factual scrutiny, and have something of benefit to convey to the public? Of course not: increasingly the figures whom the mainstream media lauds as voices of wisdom are simply those who parrot today’s dominant Leftist talking points, no matter how bereft of substance they may be.
Besides Aslan himself, who has repeatedly shown himself to be abjectly incapable of defending his views without resorting to baseless ad hominem attacks, the most notorious media-created pundit is Tariq Ramadan, the much-lauded “Muslim Martin Luther.” Ramadan has been filling his Twitter feed with maxims and epigrams that he apparently thinks will bolster his reputation as a deep thinker, but which in fact only reveal him as more worthy to be a writer of Hallmark cards than an internationally respected pundit. A sampling (spelling and grammar as in the originals):
We must learn that our encounters like our separations are acts of initiation:we can love wht is and,in the end,know only hurt and suffering
Near to you or without you. Why do we love? Why do we break apart? Why, indeed?
To judge is to love. Suspending one’s judgement is a better way of loving …and to love, in spite of judgement,is truly to love.
Listen without passing judgement,or rather judge there is nothing on which to pass judgement.To judge is human,& to judge is to love
A character trait,a smile,an expression,a feeling,a wound, a silence or an absence:everything speaks to those who know how to listen.
It is up to every one of us to discover the extraordinary that lies hidden in the heart of the all too ordinary presences in our daily lives
Absence. Meaning. Life is flying, people are leaving. The heart is crying, the heart is smiling. Oh God, to learn to thank.Simply to thank !
Life is beautiful, life is sad. This life is not Life. To live is to love
To tell the people we love we love them, and to truly love them. With courage in the heart, tears in the eyes.
As embarrassing as these half-baked platitudes and nonsense are, Ramadan’s followers reverently retweet them as if they were oracles from on high, and no one says a word about the nakedness of the emperor. And so it is with the reception Ramadan is accorded in the mainstream media: it stems from his saying what the media establishment wants to hear, not from any actual substance on Ramadan’s part.
For what substance there is to Tariq Ramadan is, in fact, quite sinister. Many of his statements seem studiedly ambiguous. He admits the possibility that “a Muslim is allowed to live in a non-Islamic country” only so long as “he is able to protect his identity and practice his religion” — a caveat that has already become a source of unrest in France and elsewhere. Referring to Islamic law’s death sentence for apostates, Ramadan argues that it doesn’t apply to “one who would leave the faith for personal conviction without trying to betray Islam and Muslims thereafter, in any way.” He adds: “The necessary attitude is therefore a minimal respect for the faith that one leaves and a sensitivity by those that continue to practice it.”
Ramadan doesn’t explain what form this “minimal respect” must take, and since he leaves the death penalty in place for those who do dare to “betray Islam and Muslims” thereafter, one may legitimately wonder just how compatible his self-proclaimed moderate vision of Islam really is with European and American secularism.
It must be remembered that Ramadan is the grandson of Hasan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ramadan says that “there are some things of my grandfather’s with which I agree and others with which I don’t agree.” However, he never has specified anything al-Banna said with which he disagrees.
In fact, several years ago Ramadan contributed a Foreword to a new edition of al-Banna’s Risalat al-Ma’thurat, a collection of key texts from the Qur’an and Hadith. Ramadan describes the book as “the core of spiritual education for all members of the Muslim Brotherhood.” He writes glowingly of his grandfather, lauding al-Banna for the “quality of his faith and the intensity of his relationship with God. Anyone who had ever been in contact with him perceived and experienced this.” He describes al-Banna’s teachings as “simple and luminous.”
He gives no hint in this Foreword or anywhere else that he actually rejects any of al-Banna’s thought – and yet al-Banna was a belligerent Islamic supremacist who wrote: “In [Muslim] Tradition,” al-Banna writes, “there is a clear indication of the obligation to fight the People of the Book [that is, Jews and Christians], and of the fact that Allah doubles the reward of those who fight them. Jihad is not against polytheists alone, but against all who do not embrace Islam.”
Does Ramadan renounce these aspects of al-Banna’s teachings? He has never done so, although most assume that he does. Tariq Ramadan, despite his reputation as a Muslim reformer, sidesteps the extremists only by taking refuge in ambiguity and tweeted cliches.
And his sycophants swoon over his wisdom, as the mainstream media persistently assures us that here is a man with something to say.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Did Muhammad Exist?, is now available.