Chicago Tribune reporter Manya Brachear has kindly written to me to alert me to this article. In her email to me she invited Jihad Watch readers to comment at her Tribune blog on this story, so have at it. Note her identification of Tariq Ramadan as a “religious scholar” in her parting question below. “Chicago welcomes once-banned Muslim scholar,” by Manya Brachear in the Chicago Tribune’s Seeker blog, April 5:
[…] Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said he wasted no time inviting Ramadan to speak when the scholar’s rights to enter the U.S. were restored in January. He had last spoken with Ramadan in December when both of them spoke at the Parliament for the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia. Ramadan now has a 10-year visa.
“We are all about reconciling Islam and the West,” Rehab said. “We challenge those who attempt to drive a wedge between Muslim and being American. That’s really the life cause of Tariq Ramadan as an academic and philosopher and media personality. He often says that he’s culturally Western, nationally Swiss, ethnically Egyptian and religiously Muslim. For him and for us as well, there is no inherent schism between being Muslim and being American.”…
Rehab said Ramadan’s visa was originally yanked by a “paranoid” Bush administration. He said Ramadan was, and still is, one of the most popular Muslim voices in the world. He is grateful that the Obama administration realized the absurdity of barring an intellectual to speak in the U.S.
But author Robert Spencer says that popularity is dangerous. In interviews, he has criticized Clinton for making an exception to U.S. law that prohibits supports of terrorist groups from entering the country. Spencer said Ramadan should still be barred for donating money to a group that funds Hamas.
Spencer contends that the scholar has the same goals as Osama bin Laden–to impose Shariah law in the West. While Ramadan paints himself as a moderate intellectual, Spencer said, he is actually a “stealth jihadist.”
What do you think? Is allowing a religious scholar to speak in the U.S. dangerous or democratic?
A “religious scholar”? Is that really all that Tariq Ramadan is? Ramadan is the grandson of Hasan Al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood — an international Islamic supremacist organization that is dedicated, in its own words (according to an internal Brotherhood document captured in a raid of the Holy Land Foundation), to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house.” While he has alluded vaguely to disagreements with his grandfather, he has also lionized him, and has never repudiated the Brotherhood’s program.
The Trib article may give the impression that I am the originator of any suspicion of Ramadan’s reformist bona fides. In fact, that is not the case. French journalist Caroline Fourest, who has published a book-length study of Ramadan’s sly duplicity, Brother Tariq, concludes that this much-lionized putative Muslim Martin Luther is actually anything but a reformer: in reality, Ramadan is “remaining scrupulously faithful to the strategy mapped out by his grandfather, a strategy of advance stage by stage” toward the imposition of Islamic law in the West.
Ramadan, she explains, in his public lectures and writings invests words like “law” and “democracy” with subtle and carefully crafted new definitions, permitting him to engage in “an apparently inoffensive discourse while remaining faithful to an eminently Islamist message and without having to lie overtly — at least not in his eyes.” Ramadan, she said, “may have an influence on young Islamists and constitute a factor of incitement that could lead them to join the partisans of violence.”
Ramadan was barred from the country by the Bush Administration not for disagreeing with the Iraq war, as Brave Ahmed Rehab suggests here and as even the Obama Administration has irresponsibly claimed, but for contributing to an Islamic charity that funded Hamas. Ramadan has also recently been in the paid employ of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
One more thing: Jihad Watch reader Steve has alerted me to an Islamic supremacist email campaign to the Tribune, criticizing them for quoting me and retailing the usual lies, half-truths, and distortions to try to portray me as an evil idiot (but one who, despite my alleged idiocy, they obviously fear enough to mount the campaign in the first place). They have no problem, of course, with Manya Brachear quoting Brave Ahmed Rehab of CAIR, despite the fact that CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case — so named by the Justice Department, and the fact that CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR’s cofounder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Honest Ibe Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements.
By contrast, I have led seminars on Islam and jihad for the United States Central Command, United States Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the U.S. intelligence community.
In light of all that, what might be the larger motive of a campaign to silence me but not Brave Ahmed, an open enemy of the freedom of speech and official of an unsavory Hamas-linked group?
Mind you, I am not saying that Ahmed Rehab should not have been quoted. Unlike him, I actually believe in free speech, free inquiry, free discussion. I am just grateful to Manya Brachear for allowing the other side to get a bit of a hearing — a rarity in the mainstream media these days.
Anyway, leave a comment at the Trib blog, and if you’re so inclined, write a polite and courteous note to Manya Brachear at mbrachear[at]tribune.com, thanking her for letting both sides of the debate on Tariq Ramadan to be heard, and asking her not to give in to the campaign of defamation from supporters of jihad terror out to smear and destroy those who are defending human rights against jihad and Islamic supremacism.