Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Tariq Ramadan has published an article in OnIslam titled “Behind the Toulouse Shootings” in which he argues that religion was not the problem with Mohamed Merah, the individual who carried out the recent shootings of Jewish school children and French Muslim soldiers. The article begins:
Tuesday, 27 March 2012 00:26 Religion was not Mohamed Merah’s problem; nor is politics. A French citizen frustrated at being unable to find his place, to give his life dignity and In the midst of continuous and intense media coverage and political crisis management our response to the events in Toulouse and Montauban must be put in proper perspective. As in any situation of war and violence, our first obligation is that of compassion for the victims, adults and children alike. Grief and despair has touched French families, be they Jewish, Catholic, Muslim or without religion. Far from the floodlights and the excited commentary, far from hypotheses and from possible political exploitation, our hearts go out to them in an intimate encounter with our minds that alone can express our condolences and our feelings of human brotherhood. Mohamed Merah stands before us like an overgrown adolescent, unemployed, at loose ends, soft-hearted but at the same time disturbed and incoherent The loss of a child, a brother, a father, a husband, a sister, a friend in such circumstances is all but unbearable. In Toulouse and Montauban as well as at the graves of all innocent victims, in the West and in Africa and in the Middle East: they remind us of our shared humanity, of the horrors men commit, of both the dignity of our fragility and the legitimacy of our resistance. To the victims, to all victims, go our first thoughts and compassion. And our respectful silence. Twenty-three year-old Mohamed Merah was a familiar face in and beyond his neighborhood. People describe him as quiet, easy-going, nothing at all like an “extremist jihadi Salafist” ready to kill for a religious or political cause. His lawyer, who had previously defended him in offenses ranging from petty theft to armed robbery, had never detected even a hint of religious leanings, let alone of the Salafi stripe. He had just been tried and sentenced for theft and driving without a permit. Two weeks before the shooting, witnesses said he spent an evening in a nightclub in a very festive mood. In 2010 and 2011 he traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and earlier attempted to join the French army, which was unsuccessful, because of his criminal record. Mohamed Merah stands before us like an overgrown adolescent, unemployed, at loose ends, soft-hearted but at the same time disturbed and incoherent, as illustrated by his long hours of conversation with the police as they surrounded his apartment. An unbalanced, provocative, conscious, non-suicidal killer, are we told, who wanted, as he put it, to “teach France a lesson.” Religion was not Mohamed Merah’s problem; nor is politics. A French citizen frustrated at being unable to find his place, to give his life dignity and meaning in his own country, he would find two political causes through which he could articulate his distress: Afghanistan and Palestine.
Read the rest here.
The Global Muslim Brotherhood routinely dismisses any connection between religion and violence committed by a Muslim. In a post titled “Muslim Brotherhood Positions On Terrorism- Denial, Deception, Defense, And Obstruction”, the following first theme was identified:
1. DENIAL- Since the Brotherhood is pursuing Islamization and eventually Shariah (Islamic Law), it is necessary at all costs to deny that Islam as a religion has any connection to violence or terrorism. Of course, the Brotherhood represents Islamism as opposed to Islam in this regard but since the general audience does not understand that distinction, it is Islam which is the Brotherhood reference. They cannot afford to fail in this denial and the denial strategy is usually pursued through sophistry. That is, the Brotherhood claims that Islam is unfairly associated with terrorism while Christianity, Judaism, and other religions are not (e.g. Abortion bombers are not called Christian Terrorists) and/or that other religious terrorism is just as dangerous as Islamic terrorism. The Brotherhood may be winning this battle (see here.)
It should be noted that the Israeli/Palestine conflict is perhaps the central preoocupation of the Global Muslim Brotherhood which consistently and frequently portrays the conflicts in terms which demonize the Israeli side. For example in 2009, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.organization perpetuated the myth that the Israelis were harvesting the organs of dead Palestinians without their permission. GMBDW finds it ironic that Ramadan’s article was carried by OnIslam, an Islamic news portal associated with Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi who is also closely tied to Ramadan. Qaradawi himself is a virulent anti-Semite who has written that Muslims and Jews will fight each other to the death at some unknown time in the future.
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 postsdiscussed 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.