In what now appears to be a developing U.S. tour , the Chicago chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has annouced that global Muslim Brotherhood leader Tariq Ramadan will be the keynote speaker at its 6th Annual Banquet on April 10, 2010. According to the CAIR announcement:
Chicago is pleased to announce that Professor Tariq Ramadan will be the keynote speaker at its 6th Annual Banquet on April 10, 2010. The appearance of Professor Ramadan will be a milestone for the American Muslim community since he was banned from visiting the United States almost six years ago. Late last month Secretary of State Hilary Clinton signed an order revoking Professor Ramadan’s visa ban. In 2004, Ramadan, a Swiss citizen who is currently a professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University had been offered a tenured teaching position at the University of Notre Dame when the Bush administration revoked his visa citing unsubstantiated ties to terrorism and minor charitable contributions made by Professor Ramadan as reason for the visa revocation. Civil rights activists accused the Bush Administration of using the Patriot Act to silence foreign scholars who were critical of their foreign and domestic policies by refusing their entry into the country to speak or teach. Ramadan said in a published statement regarding Secretary Clinton’s reversal of the visa ban, “The decision brings to an end a dark period in American politics that saw security considerations invoked to block critical debate through a policy of exclusion and baseless allegation.” Professor Tariq Ramadan holds Masters in Philosophy and French literature and a PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Geneva. He received one-on-one intensive training in classic Islamic scholarship from Al-Azhar University scholars in Cairo, Egypt. Through his writings and lectures he has contributed substantially to the debate on the issues of Muslims in the West and Islamic revival in the Muslim world. He is active both at the academic and grassroots levels lecturing extensively throughout the world on social justice and dialogue between civilizations. CAIR-Chicago looks to this appearance of Professor Ramadan as the first of many opportunities for him to engage in enlightened discourse on the compatibility of Islam and modernity.
An earlier post reported that Dr. Ramadan is also scheduled to be the keynote speaker in late April at the annual conference of the Center for the Study of Islamic and Democracy (CSID), an organization with strong ties to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
Tariq Ramadan is perhaps best described as an independent power center within the global Brotherhood with sufficient stature as the son of Said Ramadan, and the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood to challenge positions taken by important Brotherhood leaders. His statements and writings have been extensively analyzed and he has been accused by critics of promoting anti-Semitism and fundamentalism, albeit by subtle means. On the other hand, his supporters promote him as as example of an Islamic reformer who is in the forefront of developing a “Euro Islam.” Ramadan is currently professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Theology and senior research fellow at St. Antony’s College (Oxford), Dohisha University (Kyoto, Japan) and at the Lokahi Foundation (London). Previous posts discussed his dismissal from his positions as an adviser on integration for the city of Rotterdam and from a Dutch University over his role as a talk show host on Iranian TV.
Documents released in the Holy Land Trial as well as historical studies have revealed that the founders and current leaders of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as identifying the organization itself as being part of the U.S. Brotherhood. A recent post discussed an interview with the Deputy leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in which he confirms a relationship between his organization and CAIR. Investigative research posted on GMBDW had determined that CAIR had it origins in the U.S. Hamas infrastructure and CAIR and its leaders have a long history of defending almost all individuals accused of terrorism by the U.S. government, frequently calling such prosecutions a “war on Islam.” A recent post discussed the deportation of a former CAIR national board member with links to the now defunct Holy Land Foundation whose leaders were convicted of financing Hamas.
It should also be noted that the President of the CAIR Chicago chapter is Safaa Zarzour, recently appointed as the new Secretary-General of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).