The incredible international call for Tariq Ramadan



Ian Hamel (*)

A little more than a hundred intellectuals and activists are demanding that the French Minister of Justice cancel the indictments against Tariq Ramadan for rape and dismiss the magistrates in charge of his case. In other words, that politicians trample the independence of the judiciary underfoot.

How could 35 British people, presented as members of often prestigious universities, of Oxford, Bristol or Nottingham, have signed this “International call for the attention of Nicole Belloubet”, published on a blog hosted by Mediapart? In this call, they ask the Minister of Justice to “immediately stop the process of indictment in the Tariq Ramadan’s case”. The minister must not only immediately dismiss the three examining magistrates who have been handling the case since 2017, but she must also get rid of the psychiatric expert, Dr. Daniel Zagury, who is described as “pro-Zionist” and who is “ideologically opposed to Professor Ramadan”. How can one describe a call that asks a democratic country to intervene to disrupt the course of justice? Curiously enough, the signatories often come from Western countries, namely, the United Kingdom, but also the United States (16 signatories), Italy (11) and Canada (3).

The magazine Marianne ironizes on this initiative launched by the Tariq Ramadan’s “fan club” at the time of the deconfinement. Especially since the call was only able to mobilize very few French citizens, like François Burgat, a researcher who incites Muslims to communitarianism, or Houria Bouteldja, priestess of the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic, a group that brings together less than fifty activists. In response to this French shortage, the names of… professional footballers had to be added to the list to reach a dozen people. In addition, there are only three Swiss people, including two teachers aged over eighty, and the former wife of Bilal Ramadan, Tariq’s elder brother! However, Tariq Ramadan was born in Switzerland and his family lives in Geneva. Finally, there are only two Belgians. Have the three European French-speaking countries definitively let down the preacher? The latter apparently lost two of his oldest companions, the Frenchman Alain Gresh, former editor-in-chief of Le Monde diplomatique, and Jean Ziegler, professor of sociology at the University of Geneva. As for Edwy Plenel, even though he opens his site to this blog, the Mediapart boss is careful not to put his signature on it.

For his part, political scientist Pierre-André Taguieff views this appeal as the “academic consecration of anti-Zionist conspiracy“. Was it not launched by some figures of the postcolonial and decolonial movements; Americans, British and French people, who consider that “Islamophobia” has historically replaced “anti-Semitism”? Tariq Ramadan being only the innocent victim of the racism systematically hitting Arab Muslims in France. Hassan al-Banna’s grandson, who has been forbidden to leave France since his release from prison in November 2018, is sinking a little deeper and deeper into conspiracy every day. Denouncing security policies, he wrote on May 13 on Twitter: “From the planes of 2001, visible by all the worldwide televisions, to the virus of 2020, invisible everywhere, here comes the blissful society of tomorrow: we take your freedom for your safety.”

Mentioning this media operation, does it not, in the end, bring a lot of advertising to a call that has not been echoed by any serious media, either in the French-speaking world or in English-speaking countries? His failure shows the loss of audience, undoubtedly definitive, of Tariq Ramadan, who had been the most mediatized Muslim personality in the West for a quarter of a century. Moreover, this petition has only collected two signatures in the Maghreb (in Morocco) – none in Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania – and two in Qatar, where Tariq Ramadan’s family was domiciled until recently. One of whom presents himself as a “journalist, war correspondent”…in Doha!

We still need to know whether all these people (described as “internationally renowned intellectuals and activists”) have truly endorsed this call. What is the value of the eleven signatures obtained in… Malaysia? Are their authors even aware of the content of the call? At another time, personalities like Jean-Paul Sartre or Abbé Pierre signed all the petitions that were submitted to them with their eyes closed. These petitions only needed to refer to human rights, the exploitation of man by man, racism or colonialism, for them to approve, without even reading the texts.