15 thoughts on “Dutch University Fires Ramadan for Hosting TV Show for Iran-Backed Network – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Richard, the two or three times I’ve been a guest on a Press TV show I have been amazed at the political diversity of the other guests, including people from a very broad range of DC think-tanks plus ‘establishment’ figures like Larry Korb, etc.

    To attack Tarek on these grounds is quite ridiculous.

    1. Helena is yet another person I respect who was on Press TV.

      Perhaps Ramadan should invite his leading Dutch detractor to a debate on Press TV? That would be a cool way of undercutting the argument of these numbskulls.

  2. i think in couple of yeras wilders gets bored with islam bashing and starts attacking christians traditional
    bogy man the jewish people .

  3. Why have so many in the West become frightened of free speech and expression and divergent outside-the-mainstream ideas? While it’s true that the Netherlands has become somewhat of a bastion of neoconservative assumptions in continental Europe, I would hope the country’s traditions of tolerance and intellectual open-ness would trump this current Dutch vogue of right-wing crankiness. Very depressing.

    Are Tariq Ramadan’s intellectual positions that destabilizing for the shrinking violets of Western discourse? Oxford seems to be able to deal with him OK, he must not be too much of a piker. Maybe the contemporary Dutch have some (psychological) insecurity issues they need to deal with. To be THAT scared of a different perspective is rather sad. Not a healthy cultural sign.

    1. If you look at Western history over the last two thousand years, you’ll see an emphasis on uniformity. Once, everyone had to have the same religion, more recently the same language. I connect it with the rather authoritarian tradition of the Roman Empire.

      1. There’s truth in what you say, but compared to what, I’d ask. China? As someone who has a lot of respect for and interest in the incredibly long (to understate) proud sweep of Chinese history and the wisdom & beauty of ancient (and not so terribly ancient) Chinese culture, I don’t think you can point to either “communist” China or the arguably far worst uber-capitalist dystopia China has become in the last couple decades, as a more promising counterweight to the West, however dysfunctional it is.

        I still think our best model(s) forward in the midst of this collective breakdown of civilizations and world ecological catastrophe we’re experiencing (alas, Tom Friedman’s world come to fruition) are the social democracies of western Europe, or the EU more generally, as wildly imperfect as they and it are.

        But I still appreciate the validity of your point.

  4. As you may have heard also, a lot students of the University strongly protest against the firing of mr. Tariq Ramadan, as well of a number of members of the City Council of Rottedam have objected to the firing!
    Also, mr. Tariq Ramadan has stated that he will appeal the decision, in court, and demand the position he had with the council, that of mediator to increase integration, will re-installed upon him…….

    In other words, not everyone, in neither the netherlands nor the city of Rotterdam, is accepting the firing!

  5. My impression is there has been an increase in polarization of opinions, which I think is driven by those who appear to thrive on animosity, such as our fundamentalist ‘friends’.

    It seems that one becomes more reactive, because of increased frequency in encounters which incite reactions. I really dislike the feeling that accompanies such encounters, but as the experience becomes more familiar, I appreciate that I am better skilled at handling my reactions.

    I also think that the increase in the level of open animosity may reflect the degree to which those who hold such views feel challenged – a reflection, possibly, of the fact that they have decreasing power. On the other hand, most studies of terrorism, to date, have focused on other societies, ignoring the danger of religious fundamentalism within the Euro-American sphere. Now that notice is being given to that danger, perhaps, the notice creates a feeling of danger for them.

    How to deal with that? Richard, has there been any response from the Jewish community regarding the attacks on you?

  6. It is true that a protest letter signed by many members of the Erasmus University is circulating. I also have no doubt that Tarik Ramadan will win his case in court and in the end will not be fired. But this whole affair is nevertheless typical of the sick atmosphere that has pervaded the Netherlands for years now.

    Unlike countries like Spain, we have so far had only one victim of Islamic fundamentalist violence (Theo van Gogh), but if you follow the ‘debate’ here, you would think we are at a war with Islam in which we are fighting for our very survival: Our ‘freedom of speech’ (or ‘right to insult’, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali prefers to put it) and all we hold dear are at stake.

    It is not the ‘God-fearing Christians’ who lead the choir of Islamophobia here, but rather the secular elite. They follow the words of their Guru Ayaan Hirsi Ali, according to whom there IS no moderate Islam. The only way to read the Koran is to take everything absolutely literally, and interpret everything in the harshest way possible (is this respect, she agrees completely with the fundamentalists, just as most Islamophobes do).

    Since the Van Gogh murder the newspapers and television programs have been filled with unending criticism of every possible aspect of Islam. The national attitude has become to slap Muslims in the face with choice morsels of texts from the Koran, telling them: “This is what your Holy Book says! You can’t deny it: It is clearly written here! You have to denounce this, if you want to be a member of Dutch society!” This is accompanied with a ruthless dissection of all moral and cultural failings of our defenseless Muslim minority. (I say ‘defenseless’ as most Muslims are (or descend from) relatively recent immigrants. They are still disadvantaged education-wise so that they are generally incapable of countering this barrage.)

    Needless to say that despite having to deal with this for years now, there has in fact been no violence from the Muslim side to threaten our ‘right to insult’, and this ‘right’ is still freely exercised on a daily basis.

    There is no doubt in my mind that deep down, all of this has to do with simple fear of immigration. It is most likely even a form of racism, but it has received an intellectual stamp of approval, so people feel no longer inhibited. Nowadays you can see secular, progressive and well-educated fathers unashamedly declare on the news that they send their children away to a school in another part of the city to avoid too many Muslim classmates saying: “I do not want my children to go to school with these people, because they have not been through Enlightenment”. (With thanks again to Ayaan Hirsi Ali for providing them with this superb excuse: She really did this country a lot of good!)

    I hoped the atmosphere would gradually improve, as people’s fears would prove unfounded, but as is evident from the Ramadan affair, we still have a long way to go.

  7. Don’t blame the Dutch. In the 17th century it was the Jews who ostracized Spinoza. Today, it’s Wilders and his right -wing Islamophobes who do the same to Ramadan.

    Plus ca change……..

  8. There’s no real evidence that the Iranian government “rigged” the vote. The site IranAffairs.com has collected the fraud claims and counterclaims, and the fraud claims are debunked resoundingly.

  9. Thank you, Elizabeth, for pointing out that other types of extremism remain active, and that it is not only violent acts that are of concern. Discrimination against others holds potential for lethal consequences, as well as influencing the opportunities people have.

  10. Please note that Ramadan used the Tehran backed TV Press to talk. TV Press is not legal because Ahmadinejad is NOT Iranian president. And the government of Iran does not have the right to spend the Iranian money to do any thing

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