In what appears to be a highly significant coming together of Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders Tariq Ramadan and Youssef Qaradawi, Gulf media is reporting on the launch of new Islamic research center in Qatar to be headed by Ramadan. According to a Gulf News report:
12:00 January 16, 2012 Manama: A research centre specialising in Islamic legislation and ethical thought has been launched in Qatar. The Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE) was inaugurated during a one day conference on Islamic ethics that discussed the application of Islamic ethics in environment, gender, economics, education, art and bioethics. Input was given by an international panel that included His Excellency Dr Mustafa Ceric, the Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina and winner of the Unesco Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize and world-famous musician Yousuf Islam, who discussed the topic of Islamic ethics and the arts. “I have always been convinced, especially in light of the developments that occurred in the last decade of the third millennium, of the vital need to create a research foundation and a proficient pedagogy able to encompass the integrated system of the principles and values of central Islamic thought,” Shaikha Moza Bin Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), said. “This in turn should be presented to us Muslims and to others in a renewed vision and systematic approach that would dispel misinterpretations, exaggerations and their consequences in the forms of preconceptions and stereotypes which are contrary to the necessity of constructive dialogue,” she said on Sunday. The message of the centre must be based on universal and established principles that integrate values as part of the learning and the formation of individuals who can be agents of change, she said. CILE, the first centre, on a global scale, to focus on Islamic legislation and ethical thought, aims to gather the scholars of the text with the scholars of the context, and to reach out to a global and mixed audience of scholars, experts, students and the general public. Article continues below The centre is under the guidance of Director Tariq Ramadan, renowned Muslim thinker, alongside Jasser Auda, Deputy Director of CILE and founding member and member of the Executive Board of the International Union of Muslim Scholars. “Islamic scholars and research centres can benefit greatly from engaging with the experts in modern fields that have been untouched by the parameters of traditional questioning,” Tariq Ramadan said. “We aim to provide not only a theoretical framework, but also concrete contributions and practical applications in areas that are current and relevant to 21st Century communities, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. We are extremely excited by the contributions that will be made from this new line of questioning by reaching out to a global and mixed audience of scholars, experts, students and ordinary people,” he said. The centre is based in Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, a member of Qatar Foundation.
The new center appears to be the latest in the series of research centers being established by the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS). An earlier post reported that the QFIS was in the process of establishing a research center to be named after Qaradawi. Dahlia Mogahed, an associate of Global Muslim Brotherhood supporter John Esposito and herself tied to the Global Brotherhood, reported via her Twitter feed that Qaradawi was speaking at the conference discussed above. It should also be noted that Mustafa Ceric, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia is also tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood through his membership in the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), headed by Qaradawi who also heads the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS). Yousuf Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, has his own set of ties to the Global 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. A ban on Ramadan traveling to the US was lifted in January 2010 and several posts have discussed his recent visits to the US where he appeared at various US Muslim Brotherhood venues including giving the keynote at the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago annual banquet in April 2010. He was scheduled to give the keynote address at the 16th annual CAIR banquet in October.
Qaradawi, a virulent anti-Semite is often referred to here as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide. Based in Qatar, Sheikh Qaradawi has reportedly amassed substantial wealth through his role as Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds. He is also considered to be the “spiritual guide” for Hamas and his fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens were instrumental in the development of the phenomenon. A recent post has discussed a video compilation of Qaradawi’s extremist statements.
Writer Paul Berman best described the relationship between the Qaradawi and Ramadan in 1997:
As for Tariq Ramadan, he reveres Qaradawi above all other present-day Islamic scholars, and in one book after another he has left no room for doubt about his fealty. If anyone in the world offers a model of modern enlightened Islam, Ramadan plainly judges Qaradawi to be that person. Ramadan has contributed prefaces to two collections of Qaradawi’s fatwas in their French editions, not to mention other books written by people with one or another sort of connection to the terrorist vogue–these editions published by the Tawhid house in Lyon, which is Ramadan’s publisher as well. one of this alters the fact that Tariq Ramadan himself disapproves of terrorism. But there is a cost in having it both ways, in noisily affirming his place within the salafi reformist tradition while pretending that terrorist components of the movement belong only to a distant offshoot; or in affirming his own disapproval of violent action while exalting his grandfather’s memory; or in condemning the terrorist aspects of the Palestinian resistance while still revering Qaradawi and even, with his prefaces, bedecking himself with Qaradawi’s prestige, and bedecking Qaradawi with his own prestige.one of this alters the fact that Tariq Ramadan himself disapproves of terrorism. But there is a cost in having it both ways, in noisily affirming his place within the salafi reformist tradition while pretending that terrorist components of the movement belong only to a distant offshoot; or in affirming his own disapproval of violent action while exalting his grandfather’s memory; or in condemning the terrorist aspects of the Palestinian resistance while still revering Qaradawi and even, with his prefaces, bedecking himself with Qaradawi’s prestige, and bedecking Qaradawi with his own prestige.
What ever conflicts have transpired between them since that time, over Ramadan’s call for the suspension of “hudud” punishments prescribed in Sharia law for example, the establishment of a research center in Ramadans name by the QFIS, the role of a Qaradawi associate as deputy director, and Qaradawi’s speaking appearance at the inaugural event strongly suggest that all is well between them. The events also strongly cement the role of Qatar as the preeminent Mideast center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood.