The acclaimed Swiss philosopher Tariq Ramadan seems to have hit a rough patch in the last few years. His #MeToo moment arrived earlier than it did for most men in public life, before it became totally fashionable. He is currently awaiting trial on various charges of sexual assault.
The following piece about Dr. Ramadan has been revised and updated since it was originally published by Michael Copeland at LibertyGB.
Tariq Ramadan: Respect
by Michael Copeland
Tariq Ramadan, a muslim of Egyptian descent, held until recently a Qatari-funded chair specially created for him at Oxford. At present he is on bail in France, awaiting trial for rape and sexual contact with minors.
Ramadan’s public speaking, with a catchy Maurice Chevalier accent, is appealing in style, but nonetheless bluff-filled and vacuous. One of his techniques is to invoke admirable and attractive concepts in the abstract, and float them before his audience, like beautiful imagined balloons, to gasps of awe and admiration. Here are some of the concepts that Ramadan has called upon: “Respect!” (long pause), “Humility!” (another pause, gasps from the audience), “Critical Thinking!” (gasps and sighs all round), “Freedom of Conscience!” (swoon). The usefulness of this technique is that it is the listeners who supply their own favourable and warm qualities to the concepts, while the speaker has, in fact, offered nothing, and may well be harbouring quite different thoughts left unspoken. It is a standard device of prevarication.
Let us focus on “Respect”. An audience in England will receive that concept favourably, as denoting a deferential regard for the rights and dignity of the individual or ideology to be respected. This way the infidel audience can form a favourable impression in their minds when the speaker has not necessarily supplied one.
Respect concerns relationship. It can, though, embrace a very wide spectrum of regard, from high esteem to low esteem: it is all respect. We teach our children to respect their elders, likewise to have respect, of a different kind, for stinging nettles, snakes and scorpions. Even respect of a negative kind, disrespect, fits into this wide concept. A spokesman for Sharia4Belgium said recently: “We Muslims have not even a gram of respect for you infidels.” A measure of “not even a gram” of respect is still respect.
So much for what to tell the infidel. To muslim listeners Ramadan is clear:
“The only law we must respect and apply is the Shari’a.”
There you are — respect.
Ramadan explains Sharia in an interview with Erick Stakelbeck:
“You have another understanding of Sharia, and the understanding of Sharia is based on the human agency that is taking from the scriptural sources, the Koran and the prophetic tradition, to try to get the principles and the objectives, and say what our religion is all about, protecting the dignity of the human being, protecting their rights — men and women — and then if you have this understanding, and this is my position, this, look, Sharia is a way, it’s a path.”
Are you any the wiser? It is more informative to look at the Islamic texts and authorities. Sharia law, Islamic law, is fixed and unchangeable, and overrides “man-made” Statute law, as Anjem Choudary has so often proclaimed. It contains a number of aspects hostile to Western civilisation — no equality before the law, no freedom of conscience, no freedom of speech. Muslim lands are Dar al Islam, the Abode of Islam, while non-muslim lands are Dar al Harb, the Abode of War. That means that non-muslims are permanent enemies in an ongoing war. The Koran states that “Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers” (2:98): he ”does not love the unbelievers” (30:45). Unbelievers are “unclean” (9:28), ”the worst of creatures” (98:6), ”the vilest of beasts” (8:22, 8:55). There is a “communal obligation… to war against non-Muslims” in Jihad (Manual of Islamic Law o9.0, o9.1). The enmity is compulsory.