A new row has emerged over the controversial Islamic expert Tariq Ramadan. Ramadan, integration advisor for Rotterdam council and a guest professor at the city’s Erasmus university, is under fire for presenting a weekly talk show on the English-language Iranian channel Press TV.Esther has more.
In an interview with the AD newspaper on Friday, Ramadan says that he is not connected in any way to the Iranian government and stresses that he has always been free to make his own decisions in terms of the subjects and guests he includes on the show Islam and Life.
Ramadan also stresses that the ‘oppression and murder of citizens’ must be condemned, reports the NRC. The comment refers to the allegedly heavy-handed reaction of the Iranian authorities following widespread public protest in July against the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the country’s ruler.
Three opposition parties on Rotterdam council (the local party Leefbaar Rotterdam, the Socialists and the right-wing Liberals) are demanding that Ramadan be sacked as the city’s advisor.
The Liberals resigned from the city’s coalition government in April following comments allegedly made by Ramadan against homosexuals and women.
Neither Rotterdam council or Erasmus university were aware that Ramadan is employed by the Iranian broadcaster and both organisations are considering what action to take, says the NRC.
Ramadan was asked to present the Iranian tv show two years ago because of his eighth position on a list of worldwide intellectuals according to Press TV’s Matthew Richardson, reports the AD.
Richardson does not believe Ramadan will give up his job on the station because of a few ‘irritated and badly informed critics’in the Netherlands, the paper quotes Richardson as saying.
Ramadan told the AD that he will reconsider his position ‘as a free spirit, not under pressure and on the basis of my own principle’ when he returns to Europe in three weeks. He is currently on the island of Mauritius.
[UPDATE 18 - 8] Chickens... home... roost: Rotterdam sacks integration advisor.
[O]fficials believe Ramadan can no longer 'lead the dialogue in the city' because he himself has become part of the debate. Last week it emerged that Ramadan presents a weekly programme on Iran's Press TV which is paid for by the Iranian authorities.And for the traditional muslim lack of self-criticism we go straight over to Mr. Ramadan himself:
The present controversy says far more about the alarming state of politics in the Netherlands than about my person.I'd beg to differ. The fact that the Rotterdam council and Erasmus University went out of their way to appoint him, a hugely unpopular and controversial decision right from the very start, tells us a lot about tolerance and accommodation in Western civilization. That mr. Ramadan managed to eff up this opportunity anyway says more then a little about mr. Ramadan in particular, and the muslim sense of entitlement in general.