Horse's Mouth

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Tariq Ramadan, the controversal Swiss scholar whose visa to teach at Notre Dame was revoked recently, states his case in the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times. Read 'em and see what you think.

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  1. pigwiggle, you say, “It is because of irrational and faulty beliefs”

    can you provide a link proving your assertion?

  2. It is enough that they are hostile to my freedoms. I can’t bring myself to care a wit for what motivates this kind of religious diarrhea.

    It is enough that AIDS kills. I can’t bring myself to care a wit for what causes the disease.

  3. I understand, share and publicly discuss many of the Muslim criticisms of “Western” governments, including the deleterious worldwide effects of unregulated American consumerism.

    So he professes a commitment to personal freedom but also suggests that American consumerism should be regulated. That’s a contradiction, no doubt, but it’s a widely held contradiction that?s already been set to music at many campuses across America. Much as I might like the thought, we can?t block all non-libertarian academics at the border.

    …Still, if our intelligence services tell us that he?s dangerous, then it must be true.

  4. “I was also accused of anti-Semitism after I criticized some leading French intellectuals – including Bernard-Henri L?vy and Alain Finkielkraut – for abandoning France’s noble traditions of universalism and personal freedom because of their anxiety over Muslim immigration and their support for Israel.”

    Well, thats an awfully self-serving charactersation of the affair. Now, my knowledge is limited to American press coverage so there could be some signal loss, but Ramadan basically accused Henri-Levy of “communitarinism” over the book “Who killed Daniel Pearl”. That book is pretty much an investigation of fundamentalism in Pakistan + continental cogitation/tyre spinning of the sort french phlilosophers are wont to do + dubious investigative journalism. It is very much in the tradition & defense of French universalism etc rather than an abandonement of those values. I suspect TR drew to the conclusion he did (communitarianism) because he is incapable of seeing the world other than in fundamental religious categories ie because he grounds his thinking in the koran and religiuos identity etc, therefore Levy must also start from jewishness. Its as if the French Catholic clergy were to accuse Voltaire of favouring Quakers for “communitarian” reasons rather than substantive ones. I didn’t know that Levy was jewish when i read the book & could sense no such bias. Levy appeared to be very much a “why is there something instead or nothing” kind of guy rather that a neo-con.
    That’s not to say TR shouldn’t get his visa. Having a penchant for counting angels on a pin shouldn’t alone be a disqualifier.

  5. Read – > “Why is there something, instead of nothing?”

  6. Gunnels-
    Jesus is the son of God, Mohamed is the mouthpice of God. Do I need to point out a link for this?
    Raymond-
    Care to explain what motivates AIDS and why I should care? It is enough that I avoid it.

  7. They’d better have somethins more than family relations and political opinions on this guy.

  8. i’ll say it again — regardless of what our stupid prejudgements may be — we should be finding excuses to listen to the man, not excuses to ignore him.

    imo, all honest americans have to admit to a profound lack of cultural understanding in our efforts to analyze what drives islamists to oppose the west. ramadan offers a chance to fill in some of the gaps.

  9. I was also accused of anti-Semitism after I criticized some leading French intellectuals – including Bernard-Henri L?vy and Alain Finkielkraut – for abandoning France’s noble traditions of universalism and personal freedom because of their anxiety over Muslim immigration and their support for Israel.

    SM,

    This phrase – when I read it yesterday in the NYT – also struck me as strange for similar reasons.

  10. I’d like to see a neutral translation of his Arabic writings, and then I would decide if he’s guilty of “double talk.”

  11. Knowing the cause of a disease and its transmission vectors helps us avoid (and cure) it.

    Trying to know stuff, understand stuff, mustn’t be confused with sympathising with stuff.

  12. “imo, all honest americans have to admit to a profound lack of cultural understanding in our efforts to analyze what drives islamists to oppose the west. ramadan offers a chance to fill in some of the gaps.”

    It is because of irrational and faulty beliefs. Reason will not sway the unreasonable. It is enough that they are hostile to my freedoms. I can’t bring myself to care a wit for what motivates this kind of religious diarrhea.

  13. Greg-
    Sorry for the late reply, today has been a real ordeal. I am running on the sdsc teragrid site and had a problem with an overflow of space, several of my files were corrupt and all of today was spent trying to salvage them. This week I got Kim up to speed with the state of the methanol/methoxonium parameterization. The balance of the week was used with the nafion letter. Now I have diffusion data for the MS-EVBII hydronium as well as the classical one at two hydration levels. It took a while to reach convergence. The RDFs are also converged for both the 7H2O/SO3 and 15H2O/SO3 systems. The 7H2O system looks reasonable with respect to the old field. There are some very interesting differences between the classical and MS-EVB hydronium as well as the differing hydration levels. We should be able to say something about the relation of hydration and proton diffusion. I am planning to have the draft ready some time next week. I understand the urgency here and am working hard to turn out a quality report.
    Matt

  14. Raymond-
    You are confusing how with why. I don?t care why, whenever it comes up it is shortly followed by some complicated social engineering project with a lot of good intentions, regulations, funding schemes. Less unemployed = less terrorists or honor killings or bla bla bla, never mind Osama was very wealthy. Or, we need to win hearts and mind. The why is that religion is a constant and pervasive meme, an immutable fixture in the word. Some dumbass teaches his kid to accept Jesus or about Mohamed and then he teaches his kid and so on. It is irrelevant. When you talk about transmission vectors and the like you are talking about how, not why. Ask a hammer why it?s hard? No, just watch that it doesn?t end up on your head.

  15. Ignore the first of the two recent posts. I inadvertantly posted an update to my boss. It is tough to go back and forth between Linux and Windows.

  16. When I wrote “terrorists”, I wasn’t talking about militias. However, I’m willing to include militias and even armies, if you wish to reach a higher figure. “Shock and Awe” is, after all, a terrorist-type goal.

    who cares why these people are like they are

    Does that mean we shouldn’t worry about their aspirations, their hopes?

    Does it mean we (“we”) continue to support corrupt regimes which maintain their power by violating the rights of the people?

    The Chechens are not terrorists. There are, it seems, terrorists who are terrorising for the cause, but that’s beside the point.

    The Chechens have real grievances against Russia. The western world has pretty much kept quiet while Russia violates human rights in Chechnya.

    Take a world in which the end justifies the means, add a dose of violated rights and hopelessness, and you end up with 250 dead kids in Ossetia.

    The Uighars have real grievances against China. Though most Uighars “support non-violence, and there is little evidence of significant al-Qaeda links”, “America at first played along with Beijing’s fiction…” “(China now defines a terrorist in Xinjiang as anyone who thinks ‘separatist thoughts’.)” (Quotes from The Economist, August 28th)

    The Kurds in Turkey. (Though things are changing there.) Copts and the poor in Egypt. Saudi Arabia.

    “He may be a bastard, but he’s _our_ bastard.” Ever hear that before?

    I’m surprised that a scientist wouldn’t think that knowledge is worthwhile in _any_ situation.

    ps – I bet you’re not doing “science of any consequence” with your windows machine, either.

  17. social engineering… win hearts and mind.

    I don’t think that’s the point.

    We function in a world which has about a billion Muslims. It might be useful to know what common beliefs they hold about life, the universe, and us.

    We live in a world which has maybe 1000 (?) real terrorists. It might be useful to know how to stop them from winning hearts and minds.

    Everybody has beliefs of one kind or another. That shouldn’t stop us from trying to educate people on the merits of respecting fundamental individual rights.

    1. With a Mac, one doesn’t get confused.

    2. Sometimes my students use the excuse that their printers are broken, they’ve run out of ink, their computers crashed…. and this is why their homework isn’t done. A modern variation on “my dog ate my homework.”

    I hope for your sake that Greg has never had dealings with sophomores.

  18. Actually, you can do a lot of interesting science on a Windows machine. OK, you can’t do really heavy-duty computational work. But most scientists who just need data analysis, data acquisition, and light numerical simulation now and then find that ordinary Windows machines, and even Macs, are just fine.

  19. Raymond-
    Of course you wont get confused with a mac, then again you won?t be doing science of any consequence. Running on supercomputers isn?t quite as trivial as printing a term paper. However, I imagine you have as much familiarity with the daily dealings of science as most academics. You made it?s acquaintance a decade or so ago and now your time is occupied playing patty-cake with your colleagues (and showing off your shiny new G5s that will only be used to read PDFs) while you present your students work. I suppose you?ve paid your dues and earned it. I believe you have underestimated the problem; there are around 2 billion Muslims in the world. 1000 real terrorists? al-Aqsa, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Ansar al-Islam, Jamaat al-Islamiyya, Janjaweed; lets ask the residence of the Darfor region of the Sudan, they don?t have skyscrapers to bring down but they seem terrorized to me. Like I said before, who cares why these people are like they are, its enough that we know what they are planning to do. Anyone who is one over by a terrorist was damaged goods to begin with. Toss them in with the rest.

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