Tariq Ramadan, the magic of a (fake) university degree!

Ian Hamel (*)

How did a Swiss of Egyptian origin manage to seduce so many young Muslims from the French suburbs since the 1990s? Tariq Ramadan certainly speaks well. Tall, slim, elegant, he has charisma, a charming smile. A speech perfectly adapted to its audience. But the main thing is not there. He is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Such a lineage is a must when those who are listening to you pull the devil by the tail. And that their parents, who came from the village, left school too quickly and are lining up small jobs.

Above all, the French authorities gave Tariq Ramadan a superb gift, by banning him from French territory for a few weeks, from November 1995 to May 1996. From now on, young people in depressed areas see him as the rebel. The one who fights the dominant and arrogant West. The Swiss bourgeois does not hesitate to compare himself to Malcolm X. Nevertheless, he only has a little touch left to add to refine his image. At the time, he was only a French teacher in a secondary school in the Geneva suburbs. It’s not devaluing, but it’s not enough to make you look like an intellectual.

He set out to conquer the small Catholic university of Fribourg (10,000 students). What did he propose to them in 1997? Give a one-hour presentation entitled “Introduction to Islam” on a weekly voluntary basis. This is a good thing: Switzerland, which has no colonial past, had very few Muslims before the Balkan wars. Since then, it has welcomed Bosnians, Kosovars and Macedonians. From now on, Tariq Ramadan presents himself in all symposiums and conferences in France, Canada and Africa as “Professor of Philosophy and Islamology at the University of Fribourg”. He still gives himself this title in Le Monde on 31 March 2005… whereas the University of Fribourg had finally done without his services a year earlier!

But isn’t the most serious thing to be found in the blindness of television hosts and journalists, who have never stopped handing him their microphones or pens? None of them bothered to check, even though this imposture has been recounted in detail for more than ten years in several biographies devoted to Tariq Ramadan. It was not until 16 February 2018 that the Vice-President of the Socialist Party of the Canton of Fribourg called on the Cantonal Parliament: “The accusation of “false teacher” is very significant. It would imply that our university may have been fooled about the academic status of Tariq Ramadan. It would also and above all imply that the students who were students of the said Islamologist were misled.”

The rectorate of Fribourg immediately replied that “Tariq Ramadan was neither a teacher nor even an assistant”!

* Journalist and writer, specialist of the Muslim Brotherhood