Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald comments on the ongoing Hani Ramadan controversy. Hani, Tariq’s brother, defended stoning for adultery in a Paris magazine.
“A controversial Muslim scholar who was fired from his teaching job after publicly defending death by stoning has won a second victory in a Geneva court.” “” news item, May 21, 2005
This Geneva court must be very proud of itself, for bravely standing up for Tariq Ramadan’s brother Hani in what they no doubt see as purely a matter of unfettered free speech, the “dialogue of civilizations,” and so on and so forth. This is unsurprising at a time when half the Western world seems determined not to look at what is staring it in the face, not to study the easily-obtainable canonical texts of Islam, nor the main commentators upon those texts, nor to do anything other than the most cursory research into the actual laws of Islam, the history of Muslim conquests, and of Muslim treatment of non-Muslims “” except to “consult” such “experts” as Tariq Ramadan himself, and (stateside) John Esposito, Michael Sells, and others who for years have been involved in the rankest apologetics (for reasons that deserve to be analyzed, and pondered).
This is not a minor matter here, akin to suppressing some socialist, some anarchist distributing his pamphlets by throwing them out the window. We live in an age of celebritydom, in which people like to attitudinize rather than to think — and what better to strike an attitude about than that of “bravely defending” the principle of free speech, and to “let the marketplace of ideas decide”? No, the matter is too grave. Look around. Look at Muslim countries now, and look at what happened to the indigenous non-Muslims wherever Islam spread. Is Muslim Turkey superior in its civilization to Byzantium? What would Mesopotamia and Syria now look like if Islam had not conquered? Zoroastrian Persia? What if the Muslims had never conquered, and destroyed so much of, Indian civilization? Who wishes to bet his future on a wonderful new “Euro-Islamic” identity that is the kind of thing that the Gilles Kepels of this world, aided by a smile and an approving nod from Hani and Tariq Ramadan, are fond of predicting? In what would it consist?
The Geneva court should have insisted on some straight answers from Hani Ramadan to liminal questions. To help out, not the hopeless Deborah Sontags of this world, but those who want to take the matters at hand seriously, the following brief list of questions is offered, in the true spirit of a “Dialogue of Civilisations.” If questions such as the following are not asked, then of course the whole business of trying Hani Ramadan becomes a farce, a dialogue of the deaf, the providing of a platform only for Muslim propaganda. And surely we do not want that, do we?
1. Do you believe there is any occasion when stoning to death of adulteresses should be condemned?
2. Muhammad married Aisha when she was 6, and had sexual intercourse with her when she was 9. That was in the seventh century. Do you regard Muhammad’s behavior as any justification for child-brides in the 21st century?
3. Muhammad ordered the assassination of people who opposed him, and even of people whom he believed had mocked him. Do you think this behavior is appropriate or a model for today?
4. Muslims believe that Islam should cover the globe, that dar al-Islam should increase in size until it has swallowed up the dar al-Harb. Do you agree that it is desirable for the entire world to accept Islam?
5. Your brother has written that Western man, in what he regards as his anomie, decadence, and spiritual longing, is ripe for “reversion” to Islam. He has further written that Europe is the “future of Islam.” Do you agree with him? How do you see the spread of Islam within Europe proceeding?
6. Do you think that the possibilities for the spread of Islam in the United States are equally enticing as those in Europe?
7. In what ways do you distinguish your ultimate aims from those of your grandfather, Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood?
8. Are any of the things which make Europe more appealing to you than the Muslim world as a place to live in fact the product of non-Islamic ways of thought and activity?
9. Do you believe that women are fully equal, in all respects, to men, and do you oppose the requirement, anywhere, that women wear the hijab?
10. Here is a statement from the Ayatollah Khomeini. Do you think that this statement, from a leading Shi”a theologian, misstates Islamic theology, and is simply one man’s view, or do you think that it correctly expresses a view that can be easily derived from a reading of Qur’an and the hadith contained, for example, in the “sahih” collections of Bukhari and Muslim?
“Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled and incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world.
But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world”¦.Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies[. Does this mean sitting back until [non-Muslims] overcome us? Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! Does this mean that we sould surrender to the enemy? Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Koranic] verses and Hadiths [sayings of the Porphet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”
11. Do you agree that freedom of conscience is to be upheld at all costs, so that those who in dar al-Islam, or in dar al-Harb, who wish to change their religion, for another religion, or for no religion at all, should be protected by the full force of the state, and no punishment or retribution of any kind should be visited upon them?
12. Would you agree that if the non-Muslims in the southern Sudan, 1.8 million of whom have died at the hands of the northern Muslims, wish to secede from the Sudan and form an independent state, they should be allowed to do so?
13. Do you agree that the Muslim ban on statues unless they have been defaced or vandalized, as described for example in Al-Qaradawi’s well-known guide to what is Halal and what is Haram, simply reflects a view from the 7th century Arabia and should be jettisoned — so that public statuary, in museums and in public squares, should be safe from possible attack?
14. Do you agree that the traditional Muslim prohibition of any paintings of human beings should similarly be ended, especially since Muslims in Europe are likely to encounter a great many of these in museums — and naturally people are worried about the possible fate of the great art of the West?
15. Do you believe that the Jewish people are entitled to a state of their own, and do you support the existence of the state of Israel?
16. Do you think that there should be a constant effort by all articulate Muslims to undo the traditional treatment of non-Muslims under Muslim rule, including all of those fiscal, legal, political, and social disabilities which together make up the institution of dhimmitude? Do you think that Muslim authorities should copy the apologies made by, for example, the Vatican, and apologize to the non-Muslims for the treatment they have received over the past 1400 years?
17. Do you think that the Armenian genocide reflected ethnic hatred by Turks against Armenians, or do you think that it reflected a Jihad mentality of both Turks and Kurds, carried out against the “giavour”?
18. Do you think it was wrong for the Egyptian pilots to take part in the Biafran War on the side of the northern Muslims, and to bomb Ibo villages where hundreds of thousands died?
19. What do you think should be done to make up for the thousands of churches that have been destroyed in Indonesia since 2003?
20. Do you think a statement by Muslim authorities demanding that Muslims in Bangladesh cease to murder Hindus and Christians would be useful and appropriate?
21. Do you agree that the very best way for Infidels to learn about Islam is to read, thoroughly, the text of the Qur’an, along with notes as to such things as the doctrine of abrogation (naskh) so that they will know which verses are still given force? Do you agree that the worst way would be to read a bowdlerized version such as Michael Sells” “Approaching the Qur’an”?
22. Do you think that Infidels are sufficiently aware that in order to learn what Muslims themselves believe, it is important not to limit oneself to study of the Qur’an (with an intelligent guidebook), but to read a good many of the hadith in the recensions of the accepted or authoritative compilers, such as Bukhari and Muslim?
23. Do you think that the biography of Muhammad should be carefully studied in order for Infidels to learn better what this “best of men” has to teach the world? In addition to the earlier biographers, what Western biographers would you recommend? Have you read the works of Tor Andrae? Of Noldeke? Of Henri Lammens? What do you think of Sir William Muir’s monumental biography, now available in reprint?
24. What do you think is the role of free and skeptical inquiry in the development of modern science? How do you explain the last thousand years, in which science appeared in the West, despite Christian beliefs, but not in the Islamic world, where — after a few centuries, and the general disappearance of non-Muslim populations — even rudimentary science seemed no longer to be a subject of much interest?
25. What intellectual activities — music, art, and so on — interest you the most, outside of your philosophical studies in Islam?
26. Would you agree that any “dialogue of civilizations” should not be between Islam and the Christian, or Judeo-Christian, West alone, but should definitely include others, such as Hindus and Buddhists and Confucians and of course agnostics and atheists as well?
27. Do you think there are any real issues dividing Islam from the non-Islamic world, or is it simply a question of the non-Muslims failing to fully understand the tenets of Islam?
Thank you, Mr. Ramadan, very much, for your time. Your answers, or failures to answer, will be studied, and no doubt will prove to be most instructive.