Tariq Ramadan, Islamophobia and Islamolucides | rabble.ca
Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss professor of Islamic studies at Oxford University, gives a talk tonight in Montreal about how Islam is compatible with Western liberalism. If that sounds uncontroversial, banal even, take a look at today’s Gazette.
Coverage of the event is dominated by commentary by Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC), an organization that also thinks Islam is compatible with “progressive, liberal, pluralistic, democratic and secular society.”
Fatah is given a full-page editorial in which he accuses Ramadan of a number of crimes by association: Ramadan’s failure to denounce other people’s reactionary interpretations of Islam makes him complicit with them. The language of Fatah’s editorial is vitriolic. Ramadan “camouflages his Islamist agenda under the niqab of ambivalent doublespeak.” Because he doesn’t actually say any of the things Fatah wants to accuse him of, Ramadan is able to shake off criticism “like a slippery eel.” But this is just a ruse, because “the new technique is to undermine the West from within, like parasites and termites, with the host society never knowing what hit it, until it is too late.” This is an urgent task, since European countries are already succumbing to the infestation: “UK is one example.” I wonder what he means.
On the front page, Fatah is given the first comment on the conference. He does not mince words: “Tariq Ramadan has come here to make sure our children become the fifth column against Western civilization,” he says. Fatah spoke at a press conference organized by his new group Pointe de Bascule featuring a motley group of Ramadan opponents assembled from around the world. Also present were Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), an organization that strives to be “an expression of American liberty and freedom in an attempt to take back the faith of Islam from the demagoguery of the Islamo-fascists” and Naser Khader, a Muslim member of the Conservative Party of Denmark who supports a complete ban on the “un-Danish” burqa.
So: what to make of this stand-off between two camps of Islam that claim to support the reconciliation of Islam and the West?
A clue might be in this National Post editorial by Barbara Kay. Irritated that her colleague Ezra Levant was called out for his Islamophobia by the Alberta Human Rights Commission, Kay is impressed with a term she finds on Pointe de Bascule’s website where the group describes itself as “Islamolucide.” Like Lucian Bouchard’s lucides, Islamolucides are able to see through the hype of political correctness and understand that the interests of the powerful are the only interests that matter. In other words, what they see so clearly is ideology itself.
Islamolucides have been appearing with greater frequency in Western countries since the War on Terror began. They are called upon to condone government attacks on the rights of Muslim citizens. Though not all of them openly support the War on Terror, they work to advance the main ideological justification for that war: Islamophobia.
But the Islamolucides are small players in a much bigger game. Ramadan was prevented from entering the US for six years because donations he made to a Palestinian charity were linked by the State Department to Hamas. What is wrong with Ramadan’s attempt to reconcile Islam and the West is that it does not propose the relationship of subservience to the West that is implied by the AIFD’s clinging to “American liberty” or the MCC’s claim to use “the Canadian constitution as our guiding principles.”
More about Ramadan:
Tariq Ramadan interviewed on Democracy Now
Tariq Ramadan on Nietzsche, Islam and Global Citizenship
Analysis of Ramadan’s politics by Sadri Khiari