Tariq Ramadan : Brother or not a Brother?

Tariq Ramadan : Brother or not a Brother?

08.06.2008 Caroline Fourest

“I have no functional connection with the Muslim Brotherhood“, Tariq Ramadan made a point of declaring for the benefit of the press. As if the Brotherhood was a party that issued membership cards. As if the lack of a formal tie vindicated the rehabilitation of his grandfather and the teaching of the latter’s thought to European Muslims – without any attempt to adopt a critical perspective. “It’s time to put a stop to these fantasies,” he declared to the Nouvel Observateur. I am independent; there are differences of opinion between me and the Brotherhood in regard to matters of doctrine, even if one of my uncles, Al-Islam al-Banna, is a member of the movement’s governing body.   But you know, the Brotherhood is not a homogeneous organization.   There are differing groups and subgroups….”[1] There are in effect different tendencies within the Brotherhood. But it is important to understand that these differences concern questions of method – never the objectives to be attained. It is quite likely that certain Muslim Brothers do find the heir’s methods a bit too modern for their taste. But that does not make of Tariq Ramadan a modern Muslim! You can be communist without having the party card and disagree with other communists; but that doesn’t turn you into an anarchist. Wherever he goes Ramadan spreads the form Islamism that he inherited. An ambassador for Islamism all the more dangerous and difficult to pin down since he claims to be autonomous. Antoine Sfeir, founder of the Cahiers de l’Orient [The Orient Review] who has written several books on Islamism, and who was one of the first to have exposed Tariq Ramadan’s double-speak is certainly not mistaken in saying: “As far as I’m concerned, he is no doubt one of the key figures of the Brotherhood.” [2] Richard Labévière, an RFI [Radio France International] reporter and author of several books on Islamist terrorism, bears him out. In April 1998, in the course of a trip to Cairo, he had occasion to interview the head of the Brotherhood, Guide Machour. The latter confirmed the fact that belonging to the Brotherhood was not a question of “being a member” or “not being a member”, but a question of adhering to a certain way of thinking; and he added : “The work carried out by Hani and Tariq is totally in keeping with the purest traditions of the Muslim Brotherhood.”[3]

[1] Serge Raffy, “Le vrai visage de Tariq Ramadan [The True Face of Tariq Ramadan], Le Nouvel Observateur, 29 January-4 February 2004.

[2] Interview with Antoine Sfeir, 29 December 2003.

[3] Interview with Richard Labévière, 15 May 2004.

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Investigation

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