The French journalist Caroline Fourest has published a book-length study of Tariq Ramadan’s sly duplicity, Brother Tariq. Fourest 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.”
And in this case, remember Muhammad’s old adage: “war is deceit.”
“Whither the Muslim Brotherhood?,” by Tariq Ramadan in the New York Times, February 8:
[…] The Muslim Brothers began in the 1930s as a legalist, anti-colonialist and nonviolent movement that claimed legitimacy for armed resistance in Palestine against Zionist expansionism during the period before World War II. The writings from between 1930 and 1945 of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Brotherhood, show that he opposed colonialism and strongly criticized the fascist governments in Germany and Italy. He rejected use of violence in Egypt, even though he considered it legitimate in Palestine, in resistance to the Zionist Stern and Irgun terror gangs. He believed that the British parliamentary model represented the kind closest to Islamic principles.
Notice how Ramadan calls Stern and Irgun “terror gangs,” but never uses such language of the Brotherhood, despite the fact — also unmentioned by Ramadan — that it not only “claimed legitimacy for armed resistance in Palestine,” but that Hamas styles itself as the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. And Hamas is undeniably a terror group that has included its murders of civilians in restaurants and pizza parlors in what it calls its “glory record.”
And as for the Brotherhood’s supposed nonviolence in Egypt, scholar Martin Kramer notes that the Brotherhood had “a double identity. On one level, they operated openly, as a membership organization of social and political awakening. Banna preached moral revival, and the Muslim Brethren engaged in good works. On another level, however, the Muslim Brethren created a ‘secret apparatus’ that acquired weapons and trained adepts in their use. Some of its guns were deployed against the Zionists in Palestine in 1948, but the Muslim Brethren also resorted to violence in Egypt. They began to enforce their own moral teachings by intimidation, and they initiated attacks against Egypt’s Jews. They assassinated judges and struck down a prime minister in 1949. Banna himself was assassinated two months later, probably in revenge.”
Al-Banna’s objective was to found an “Islamic state” based on gradual reform, beginning with popular education and broad-based social programs. He was assassinated in 1949 by the Egyptian government on the orders of the British occupiers. Following Gamal Abdel Nasser’s revolution in 1952, the movement was subjected to violent repression.
Several distinct trends emerged. Radicalized by their experience of prison and torture, some of the group’s members (who eventually left the organization) concluded that the state had to be overthrown at all costs, even with violence. Others remained committed to the group’s original position of gradual reform.
Many of its members were forced into exile: some in Saudi Arabia, where they were influenced by the Saudi literalist ideology; others in countries such as Turkey and Indonesia, Muslim-majority societies where a wide variety of communities coexist. Still others settled in the West, where they came into direct contact with the European tradition of democratic freedom.
Today’s Muslim Brotherhood draws these diverse visions together. But the leadership of the movement — those who belong to the founding generation are now very old — no longer fully represents the aspirations of the younger members, who are much more open to the world, anxious to bring about internal reform and fascinated by the Turkish example. Behind the unified, hierarchical facade, contradictory influences are at work. No one can tell which way the movement will go.
“Fascinated by the Turkish example”? Is Ramadan actually saying that some in the Brotherhood do not want an Islamic state, but want a secular state on the model of Turkey? This is a wild claim, akin to saying that the movement, or part of it, has entirely discarded its initial goal and is working against it. It is unbelievable on its face.
[…] The West continues to use “the Islamist threat” to justify its passivity and outright support for dictatorships. As resistance to Mubarak mounted, the Israeli government repeatedly called on Washington to back the Egyptian junta against the popular will. Europe adopted a wait-and-see stance.
Both attitudes are revealing: at the end of the day, lip-service to democratic principle carries little weight against the defense of political and economic interests. The United States prefers dictatorships that guarantee access to oil, and allow the Israelis to continue their slow colonization, to credible representatives of the people who could not allow these things to continue.
Citing the voices of dangerous Islamists to justify not listening to the voices of the people is short-termist as well as illogical. Under both the Bush and Obama administrations, the United States has suffered heavy losses of credibility in the Middle East; the same is true for Europe. If the Americans and Europeans do not re-examine their policies, other powers in Asia and South America may begin to interfere soon with their elaborate structure of strategic alliances….
Ramadan is suggesting that the “Islamist threat” is a bogeyman created or exaggerated by the U.S. and Israel to justify their support for dictatorships in the Islamic world. Let’s consider that in light of the words of Mustafa Mashhur, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1996-2002, which you can find here.
– “It should be known that Jihad and preparation towards Jihad are not only for the purpose of fending-off assaults and attacks of Allah’s enemies from Muslims, but are also for the purpose of realizing the great task of establishing an Islamic state and strengthening the religion and spreading it around the world…”
– “…Jihad for Allah is not limited to the specific region of the Islamic countries, since the Muslim homeland is one and is not divided, and the banner of Jihad has already been raised in some of its parts, and it shall continue to be raised, with the help of Allah, until every inch of the land of Islam will be liberated, the State of Islam will be established,…”
-“Then comes the power of arms and weapons,… and this is the role of Jihad.”
– “Prepare yourself and train in the art of warfare, and embrace the causes of power. You must learn the ways and manners and laws of war. You must learn them and embrace them and adhere to them, so that your Jihad will be the one accepted by Allah.”
– “Allah is our goal, the Prophet is our leader, the Quran is our constitution, the Jihad is our way, and the Death for Allah is our most exalted wish.”
– “The Jihad is our way and death for Allah is our most lofty wish”, this is the call which we have always called,… Many of our beloved ones have already achieved this wish,… We ask Allah to accept all of them,… and may He join us with them, …”
– “Honorable brothers have achieved Shahada (Martyrdom) on the soil of beloved Palestine, during the years 47′ and 48′, [while] in their Jihad against the criminal, thieving, gangs of Zion. The Imam and Shahid (Martyr) Hassan Al-Banna is considered as a Shahid (Martyr) of Palestine, even if he was not killed on its soil.”