It is quite rare to read an article in which almost every sentence is untrue and every claim deeply flawed, let alone one written by a supposed academic and expert in the field. Unfortunately, this is exactly what I was treated to when I read this piece by Professor Tariq Ramadhan. In fact, the piece lends credence to the notion that some political and religious activists lodge themselves in academia merely to provide a veneer of credibility to their polemics, unsubstantiated as they are.
Tariq’s piece can actually be summarised into one sentence – ‘the government says that it is all about religion, but really it is all about Western foreign policy. Thus work with and support the groups I am a part of since only we have the solution’. However, he attempts to dress this simple statement up in language that could do with closer examination.
In an article of Marianne, Martine Gozlan draws up a portrait without concession of the preacher Tariq Ramadan. Several web surfers in favour of the preacher made fun of the “Salafist” title asserting that a Brothercould not be Salafist. Actually, the Muslim brothers assert Salafist reformists in opposition to the non political Salafists, the Wahhabi and the Jihadists. Tariq Ramadan himself asserted himself Salafist, as recalled by Caroline Fourest in his book Frère Tariq. Interviewed by Beur FM in November 2003, he clearly admits belonging to Salafist reformism:
“There are the rationalist trend reformist and the trend salafi with the direction where the salafi tries to remain faithful to the bases. I am of this tendency there, it be-have-to say that there are a certain number of principles which are for mefundamental, that I do not want to betray as a Muslim” .
A few months after this maintenance,as to accustomed, it will reconsider its remarks at the time of a conference of UNESCO.  Quoted by Martine Nouaille, “Tariq Ramadan,influential and discussed personality”, AFP November 15th, 2003.
This article has been published by Anila Athar in The Nation (Pakistan)
An English colleague at work asked me one morning what I thought about pigs. I was a bit surprised as it wasn’t one of the usual questions we generally ask each other in the office. Hmm, err… It’s an animal like other animals…Why? I asked her. Her response had us both in stitches. Thank goodness we both have a sense of humour. However, after we had a good laugh, we both spent a few minutes having a serious discussion on the importance of rationality and critical thinking and mourning the lack thereof.
It so happened, she was flicking through the TV channels when she came across Peace TV and lo behold Dr Zakir Naik was having a go at poor pigs. According to him pig is the most shameless animal on the face of the earth. It is the only animal that invites its friends to have sex with its mate. According to Dr Naik, in America most people consume pork hence wife swapping is very common in that country. “If you eat pigs you behave like pigs.”RIP logic!
There is a proliferation of faith channels on the satellite television in the UK and almost all have their own Zakir Naiks. The narrative emanating from these channels is regressive, diametrically opposed to modern humanist values that the British society holds dear. There is a constant barrage of messages promoting segregation, gender inequality, and hatred/intolerance of other faiths as well as blatantly stigmatising music and dance.
For a multi-faith, multicultural society like Britain such regressive narrative is extremely counterproductive as it hampers community cohesion and prevents integration. It encourages superstition and discourages people to think outside the box. Furthermore, it promotes hatred of other faiths, discrimination and oppression of women and reinforces moral superiority over other faiths.
Not being able to run a country is one thing, but turning against it is something completely different. The Muslim Brotherhood could have conceivably survived the ineptness of its year in office, but what brought the group to its knees was its decision to hang on to power at any cost.
Rewind to 26 June 2013, the day Mohamed Morsi delivered a catastrophic speech at the Nasr City Conference Hall ï£§ just one week before he was removed from office. In his speech, an agitated Morsi told his supporters to rally for battle, to squash political enemies, to defend his rule against all opponents.
This was the Muslim Brotherhood’s first sin. When push came to shove, its leaders denied that they could not rule alone. Regimes fall when those in power refuse to see the writing on the wall.
Morsi had just turned down a request for early presidential elections that could have kept the Muslim Brotherhood in the game, if not in power. A national campaign had managed to collect millions of signatures calling for early presidential elections, but the Muslim Brotherhood acted as if none of this was its concern.
Its ironclad organisational discipline and immense resources would save it from the crisis, the Muslim Brotherhood thought, with disastrous consequences.
Well-informed sources say that the Muslim Brotherhood made plans to throw members of the civil opposition in prison the day after the 30 June demonstrations were held. Lists of the people to be detained were prepared even before Morsi took to the stage in Nasr City and threatened his opponents with fire and brimstone.
The opposition had made three demands: replacement of Public Prosecutor Talaat Abdallah with someone approved by the Supreme Judiciary Council; dismissal of Hesham Qandil’s government and its replacement with one led by a consensual figure; and the holding presidential elections.
In hindsight, any attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood to meet the opposition halfway could have defused the crisis, putting the country on a totally different course. But the Muslim Brotherhood was not in the mood to compromise.
Morsi, it is said, was not the one calling the shots. In fact, it is believed that he would have opted for a compromise to defuse the tensions. Or at least this is what he told army strongman Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi in a private encounter back then. But anything the two men agreed upon was forgotten on 26 June, the day Morsi delivered his last public speech.
In hindsight, this shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The decisions Morsi made were dictated to him by the Moqattam-based Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Office.
On 1 June 2013, two days before the protests that changed the country’s political course, three Arab figures visited the Guidance Office to try to talk sense into Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Mohamed Badie. One was Tunisia’s Rached Ghannouchi, the Ennahda leader. Another was Monir Shafiq, a key Palestinian intellectual figure. And the third was Khayr Al-Din Hasib, an Iraqi public figure and founder of the Arab National Conference.
The three failed in their mission, for the Muslim Brotherhood had made up its mind. Muslim Brotherhood leaders were not open to a political settlement. Their hold on the country was unshakable, and power-sharing was the last thing on their minds.
According to its allies in the Nour Party, the Muslim Brotherhood grabbed more than 10,000 government jobs within only a few months. Its lack of interest in power-sharing was shocking, more so to its friends than foes. This was the Muslim Brotherhood’s second sin.
On 30 June, the Muslim Brotherhood’s third sin surfaced. As millions marched to demand an end to its rule, the group became even more adamant. It claimed that the protests were Photoshopped. It claimed that the signatures demanding early elections were fakes. It claimed that, if it so desired, it could bring even larger numbers of protesters into the streets.
Instead of understanding the country and rallying to the middle of the political spectrum, the Muslim Brotherhood travelled a path of its own, ending up in a political wilderness ï£§ befriending only the Islamists, and edging closer to known terrorists.
The Muslim Brotherhood confused Sharia for legitimacy, forgot the goals of the revolution and played down public outrage, and thus ended with no tangible political support.
Then it went into denial, which was its fourth sin. The Muslim Brotherhood refused to admit that its failure to run the country was at the heart of its unpopularity. It refused to see that its failure to engage in serious partnership was wrecking its chances.
When public outrage led to one of history’s clearest moments of revolt, the Muslim Brotherhood lost its senses. With its fate in the balance, the Muslim Brotherhood decided that its future was better ensured by relying on US and Western support than on Egypt’s ballot boxes. This was its fifth sin.
At a time when it was clear that the Muslim Brotherhood was losing its grip on power, the group pretended ï£§ with a little help from foreign friends ï£§ that it could ride out the storm.
The Muslim Brotherhood was also convinced that the army would not interfere in the power struggle. Perhaps because of US assurances, relayed by US Ambassador Anne Patterson to Khairat Al-Shater, the Muslim Brotherhood concluded that it could afford to challenge the entire nation.
What the Muslim Brotherhood didn’t understand is that the army’s decision to intervene wasn’t the decision of one man alone, but of an institution that Morsi once praised as composed of “men made of gold.” The Muslim Brotherhood also ignored the fact that millions in this country were clearly asking the army to intervene. Indeed, some members of the opposition were at this point accusing the army leadership of dragging its feet.
Because of US promises, however, the Muslim Brotherhood hardened its position. In fact, Al-Shater threatened then Defence Minister Al-Sisi that the country would erupt in civil war in the event of army intervention. This threat was made in a meeting on 24 June. Two days later, Morsi repeated the same threat in his speech in Nasr City.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s sixth sin came right after that. When the army removed Morsi from power, the Muslim Brotherhood still had a chance to admit its errors and go for some sort of damage limitation. But it didn’t.
This was its last chance, and the Muslim Brotherhood didn’t take it. One of its leaders, former parliamentary speaker Mohamed Saad Al-Katatni, suggested a meeting with other political players to discuss the roadmap. But the rest of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders didn’t go along.
Had the Muslim Brotherhood sought a compromise solution at this point, early elections could have been arranged, even without dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Shura Council or suspending the Muslim Brotherhood-authored constitution.
This was the Muslim Brotherhood’s last chance for damage limitation. But the group opted instead for violence, rejecting any political compromise.
This, the option of violence, was the Muslim Brotherhood’s seventh sin. It launched the Muslim Brotherhood down a path of sabotage against the state and its institutions, a path that was bloody for others but most fatal to the group itself.
These sins are of such magnitude that no presidential pardon can absolve them. These crimes are not ones that any court can ignore. Even if all the charges against criminals such as Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood associates were dropped, these sins cannot be forgiven, for they are written in history and live in the memory of millions. And there is nothing the Muslim Brotherhood ï£§ or its American, European, Turkish or Qatari friends can do to change this.