Netherlands: Tariq Ramadan responds

Netherlands: Tariq Ramadan responds

Though traveling, Tariq Ramadan responded on Dutch media today to his dismissal by the city and university of Rotterdam.

If I understand correctly, he's not technically fired. The municipality and/or university just don't intend to renew his contract.

* On the Science Guide site, the site which broke the Press TV story, he writes that he was not censored by the Iranian government in any way, and that he did not deal with the Iranian government at all.

* On NRC: Tariq Ramadan answers his Dutch detractors

Ramadan writes that he's being used in a political game.

The attacks on my involvement have been extremely violent; to those, I will respond with utmost clarity.


For the past twenty-five years, while observing that compared to the Arab countries Iran has made substantial headway in women's rights and democratic norms, I have been critical of the lack of freedom of expression there, of the obligation for women to wear the headscarf, and, more recently, of the 2006 Holocaust conference (which dangerously blurred the lines between criticism of Israeli policy and anti-semitism). It goes without saying that I have condemned the shooting of demonstrators and the repression that followed the June elections.

My position has always been one of constructive criticism. I have devoted much of my time to studying the internal dynamics of the Iranian political system. I refuse to be swayed by propaganda claims, either from the Iranian regime, or from Israel (which asserts, all the while proclaiming its innocence, that Iran is the main obstacle to peace), from the United States or the European countries, all of whose strategic interests are involved. In Iran, the relationship between religion and politics is extremely complex.


have always taken full responsibility for my views; I have never supported either dictatorship or injustice in any Muslim majority society, or anywhere else for that matter. As for those who condemn me 'on principle' for hosting a television programme on an Iranian network, I reply: to work for a country's television network does not mean support of that country's regime. Were things so straightforward my detractors, those paragons of political virtue, would have long ago insisted that the government of the Netherlands sever all political and economic ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel or China.

Curiously, their voices are not to be heard, just as when Rotterdam municipality publicly cleared me of the false accusations of 'doublespeak' or 'homophobia', or, more recently, when an American federal court quashed the decision of a lower court revoking my visa. Why the silence? Why the accusations that seem to fit me alone?

The answer is simple: when they single out a 'visible Muslim intellectual' for attack, their real agenda is the politics of Muslim-baiting and fear. When it comes to seeking votes, all options are on the table, even the most dishonest and the most scurrilous.

I respect my principles far too much to submit to this deceitful propaganda campaign. Not only as a question of personal honour, but in the name of human dignity, and faith in the future.

In a separate interview Don't I get a chance to defend myself, Ramadan asks he comes out against the way he was fired, without warning and without a chance to explain himself.

* In a TV Interview on NOVA (Starts at 2:40) he goes through all the points above, then turns his dismissal into an issue which should concern all Dutch Muslims.

"I want also the municipality to understand, if this is the way you deal with a guest, who's a Muslim guest, be careful. Never treat your citizens the way you treat a guest, and if you treat a guest like this, I'm afraid that the Muslim citizens are going to be dealt with in a very bad way. This is not the way.

So this is for a me a question of principle, has nothing to do with money, and I'm not going to keep quiet about that."

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