Crooked Timber has graciously linked and trackbacked my last post about Daniel Pipes’ intellectual vendetta against Tariq Ramadan, which culminated in the revocation of the latter’s U.S. visa to teach this fall at Notre Dame.
Several commenters to CT’s post have done a tremendous job completely eviscerating Pipes litany of Ramadan’s supposed “crimes” and intellectual dishonesty. But first, let’s list the substance of Ramadan’s “crimes” as quoted directly from Pipes’ post:
* He has praised the brutal Islamist policies of the Sudanese politician Hassan Al-Turabi. Mr. Turabi in turn called Mr. Ramadan the “future of Islam.”
* Mr. Ramadan was banned from entering France in 1996 on suspicion of having links with an Algerian Islamist who had recently initiated a terrorist campaign in Paris.
* Ahmed Brahim, an Algerian indicted for Al-Qaeda activities, had “routine contacts” with Mr. Ramadan, according to a Spanish judge (Baltasar Garzón) in 1999.
* Djamel Beghal, leader of a group accused of planning to attack the American embassy in Paris, stated in his 2001 trial that he had studied with Mr. Ramadan.
* Along with nearly all Islamists, Mr. Ramadan has denied that there is “any certain proof” that Bin Laden was behind 9/11.
* He publicly refers to the Islamist atrocities of 9/11, Bali, and Madrid as “interventions,” minimizing them to the point of near-endorsement.
And here are other reasons, dug up by Jean-Charles Brisard, a former French intelligence officer doing work for some of the 9/11 families, as reported in Le Parisien:
* Intelligence agencies suspect that Mr. Ramadan (along with his brother Hani) coordinated a meeting at the Hôtel Penta in Geneva for Ayman al-Zawahiri, deputy head of Al-Qaeda, and Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheikh, now in a Minnesota prison.
* Mr. Ramadan’s address appears in a register of Al Taqwa Bank, an organization the State Department accuses of supporting Islamist terrorism.
Then there is the intriguing possibility, reported by Olivier Guitta, that Osama bin Laden studied with Tariq’s father in Geneva, suggesting that the future terrorist and the future scholar might have known each other.
Scott Martens proceeds to virtually destroy every major point in Pipes’ list of charges:
I note that the interview that Pipes links to where Ramadan denies that “there is ‘any certain proof’ that Bin Laden was behind 9/11” is dated 25 September 2001. If Pipes is going to be dishonest enough not to point out that Ramadan’s reluctance to assign blame to bin Laden was all of two weeks after 9/11, I see little reason to trust the sleazeball on anything else.
He claims Ramadan was denied entry into France in ‘96 and that Baltasar Garzón claims he had repeated contact with an Algerian terrorist. Funny thing, I can’t find any source for the first claim – it’s not that easy to refuse a Swiss citizen entry into France – and the second one is explicitly denied by Ramadan, repeatedly. The lack of follow-up charges, and the plausibility of Ramadan’s account, suggest that only Pipes and a few others with agendas are still pushing the claim.
Pipes repeats the claim made by Jean-Charles Brisard that Ramadan was under investigation by “various intelligence agencies” – but since none of those “intelligence agencies” have come forward, this smacks a bit of hearsay. The same person is the source of the charge that Ramadan is linked to Al Taqwa bank. Again, I can find charges – denied as well – that Al Taqwa bank may have donated some money to Ramadan’s centre in Geneva. Al Taqwa’s Geneva branch might – for any of a number of reasons – have names and addresses for local promonent Muslims on their mailing list.
And lastly, whatever else Pipes is no good at, he certainly isn’t a French translator. If his Arabic is as crappy as his French, I see no reason anyone should take him seriously about the Middle East. The sentence he is referring to – and links to, the dumbass – where he claims that Ramadan is “minimizing [the 9/11 attacks] to the point of near-endorsement” goes as follows:
Des banlieues françaises aux sociétés musulmanes, vous ne trouverez pas de soutiens, sauf infimes, aux interventions de New York, Bali ou Madrid. On ne peut pas confondre les résistances irakienne ou palestinienne avec les actions pro-Ben Laden.
“From French suburbs to Muslim society, you will find no support, except for some neglegible amount, to the actions in New York, Bali and Madrid. We cannot confuse Iraqi and Palestinian resistance with pro-bin Laden activities.”
“Intervention” is a relatively neutral word in French, but if you see a “near-endorsement” in the above sentences, please explain how. I guess Pipes assumes that if you actually know French, you’re already too far to the left for his pitch.
Pipes actually links to a Le Parisien article that makes different claims than Pipes. Ramadan is not suspected of ever having talked to this Algerian terrorist arrested in Spain. His name apparently came up — not as a co-conspirator but as a name mentionned in conversation — in two taped phone calls, one of them to his publisher in Lyon. One of the terrorists arrested in Spain claims to have taken one of Ramadan’s courses in 1994, but Ramadan points out that he didn’t teach in Paris until 1997.
I rest my case (or I should say that Paul Martens rests the case for me).