Dutch media is reporting that Muslim Brotherhood figure Tariq Ramadan will hold the Sultan of Oman chair of Islamology at the University of Leiden financed at a cost of 2.5 million Euros. According to one article:
The Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant: reported yesterday morning that Ramadan was selected from 40 candidates for the chair financed by Oman. Ramadan will mainly focus on the position of Muslims in Western Europe and will start his work in the summer months. In Leiden, he will also be involved with the training of Imams in the Netherlands that the cabinet wants to develop. “The arrival of the scholarly Muslim is expected to lead to great – also international – interest in the Islam course in Leiden and in the debate on Islam in the Netherlands,” De Volkskrant predicted.
Responding to criticism from conservative politicians about influence buying and about Ramdan’s positions on Israel and women, Dutch Culture Minister Ronald Plasterk was reported to have said that he had no objections to Ramadan’s appointment:
We live in a free country. (…) I have no judgement on the university’s selection methods”, said the Labour (PvdA) minister. “As far as I know Ramadan does reject the stoning of women”, said Plasterk, who in addition called him an “interesting” man.
The involvement of the University of Leiden may be related to the role of Professor Martin van Bruinessen, chair at Utrecht University of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM), headquartered in Leiden. Dr. Van Bruinessen can be described as sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood and has signed a petition protesting the U.S. decision to deny Tariq Ramadan’s a visa as well as speaking at two conferences where Ramadan also spoke.