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Ramadan Comes to Cooper Union
by Fern Sidman
Last Thursday evening, April 8th, the vaunted hero of the American Left and the denizens of the "politically correct" intellectual enclaves made his return appearance at Cooper Union in New York City. In a panel discussion entitled, "Secularism, Islam and Democracy: Muslims in Europe and the West," Tariq Ramadan, the formerly "exiled" professor of Islamic Studies at Oxford University, took center stage at the forum sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Association of University Professors, PEN American Center, the American Academy of Religion and Slate Magazine. The audience of approximately 600 people consisted of those who call him "slippery," "double-faced" and "dangerous" and his left-wing apologists who refer to him as "brilliant," a "bridge-builder" and a "Muslim Martin Luther."
Controversy has swirled around Ramadan for the better part of his adult life. He is the grandson of Hassan al Banna who, in 1928, founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and is the son of Said Ramadan who is credited with bringing the Muslim Brotherhood to Germany where it eventually spread throughout Europe. Born in Switzerland when his father was exiled from Egypt by Gamal Abdul Nasser, Ramadan studied philosophy, literature and social sciences at the University of Geneva and pursued a Master's degree in philosophy and French literature. He received his Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic studies. He is best known for his duplicitous positions on Islamic radicalism. His passive and ostensibly reasoned posture while speaking to Western audiences betrays his bellicose commitment to the furtherance of Sharia law that he reserves exclusively for Muslim-only gatherings.
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