An Internet news portal is reporting that Tariq Ramadan, one of he most prominent leaders of the global Muslim Brotherhood has been retained as an advisor to the mayor of Rotterdam on issues of multi-culturalism following an investigation into accusations that he had made anti-gay and anti-female statements. According to an Expatica Belgium report:
Tariq Ramadan, considered one of Europe’s leading Muslim thinkers, has been an advisor to the mayor of Rotterdam on issues of multi-culturalism since 2007. The investigation found that Ramadan “has a relatively conservative opinion on the topic of homosexuality,” Rotterdam cultural councillor Rik Grashoff told reporters following a public protest at Ramadan’s reported statements. “But he is consistent: homosexuality is hard to accept from the Islamic point of view, but respect for the individual reigns supreme.” Ramadan was also present at the media conference. Ramadan, considered one of Europe’s leading Muslim thinkers, has been an advisor to the mayor of Rotterdam on issues of multi-culturalism since 2007. He is also a guest lecturer at Rotterdam’s Erasmus university. In March, the Gay Krant, a Dutch magazine for homosexuals, published remarks it attributed to the Oxford University professor which it said were offensive to gay people and women.It quoted him as saying that homosexuality was not allowed under Islam and that women were required to cast their eyes downward when walking in the street.The magazine called him “two-faced” with different messages for western and Islamic audiences.”It is not a question of double speak,” Grashoff retorted Wednesday. “Mr Ramadan is a modern thinker who does not believe in the hegemony of religion over society.” Ramadan told reporters that the quotes used by the Gay Krant had been “taken out of context”. “I am happy,” he said. “I want to continue building bridges” between Muslims and westerners.
Dutch media had reported on the statements as follows:
Gay magazine Gay Krant yesterday published a translation of sound recordings of statements Ramadan is said to have made in a speech. He called homosexuality “a disturbance, a faulty functioning and an imbalance” and said on women that they must attract no attention by their appearance. “On the street, thus says the law, women must keep their eyes fixed on the pavement,” the magazine quotes him as saying. Rotterdam says it wants access to the recordings as quickly as possible. This will allow the municipality itself to assess the statements of Ramadan, according to a spokeswoman of Participation Alderman Rik Grashoff. “These statements raise questions about statements Ramadan has made as advisor to Rotterdam municipality and as guest professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam,” according to the Gay Krant. Ramadan, “who charges an hourly fee of 290 euros,” was recently re-appointed for two years as advisor to Grashof, according to the magazine.
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). He is also visiting professor (holding the chair: Identity and Citizenship) at Erasmus University in The Netherlands.