In 2007, the Municipality of Rotterdam appointed Tariq Ramadan as an Integration Adviser. In addition to this position, Ramadan was appointed as a Visiting Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam. This article provides a thorough analysis of Ramadan’s appointment, positions in, and premature dismissal from Rotterdam in the years 2007–2009. It will examine the interrelated roles of the main actors involved—i.e. the Municipality, the media, and the University. It also takes the Ramadan affair in the Netherlands as an empirical case study to analyse how policy makers deal with the idea of religion as a potential source of social cohesion in society. In addition, it analyses the Ramadan affair in the context of the emergence of Western-based Muslim intellectuals in the public sphere. Finally, it considers the outcome of Ramadan’s legal proceedings against both the Municipality and the University, which clearly exposes the tensions between political activism and scholarship.
Paul Berman, “Reactionaire wending in emancipatiedebat,”De Volkskrant, 7 June 2007. In the article, Berman reports about Ramadan’s view on the relation between the sexes, his opinion about the French ban on wearing veils or headscarves (and other religious symbols), and his call for a moratorium on hudud practices.
Timothy Garton Ash, “Islam in Europe,”The New York Review of Books, 5 October 2006, which is a review of Ian Buruma’s Murder in Amsterdam: the Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance (2006) and Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s The Caged Virgin: an Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam (2006).
Tariq Ramadan, “Controversy around Homosexuality and Women. Enough is Enough,” press release, 23 March 2009. For an analysis of Ramadan’s statements about homosexuality, see also Gerard Wiegers and Nelleke van Zessen, “Een moslim als gemeentelijke bruggenbouwer? Het ontslag van Tariq Ramadan,”ZemZem3 (2009). Van Zessen was a member of the municipal committee in charge of investigating the Gay Krant’s accusations against Ramadan. Wiegers and Van Zessen write that Ramadan has been consistent in his statements about homosexuality. He distances himself from people who claim that homosexuality is a disease. He indeed belongs to a movement that rejects homosexuality, yet in light of changing circumstances seeks for reconciliation between the freedoms and rights that exist in countries such as the Netherlands, and the rejection of those freedoms expressed by some Muslims.
Halleh Ghorashi, Shervin Nekuee et al., “Tariq Ramadan is kapotgemaakt,”Trouw, 21 August 2009; Bert Wagendorp, ´Tariq,” De Volkskrant, 24 August 2009; Mohammed Benzakour and Stine Jensen, “Hoezo Ramadan geen wetenschapper,” De Volkskrant, 31 August 2009.
Sylvain Ephimenco, “Broeder Tariq,”Trouw, 24 November 2007; Amanda Kluveld, “Ramadan in dialoog met Krol,” De Volkskrant, 28 March 2009; Gert-Jan Segers (director of the scientific institute of the Christian orthodox party, the ChristenUnie), “Ramadan moet leer van zijn opa veroordelen,” De Volkskrant, 15 April 2009; Afshin Ellian, “Rotterdam moet af van deze islamist,” nrc Handelsblad, 14 August 2009; Amanda Kluveld, “De schande van Rotterdam heet Ramadan,” De Volkskrant, 14 August 2009; Carel Brendel, “Benoeming van Ramadan is het echte schandaal,” De Volkskrant, 22 August 2009; Nazmiye Oral, “Weg met de Ramadans,” De Volkskrant, 24 August 2009; Yoessef Azghari, “Tariq Ramadan was nu eenmaal oerconservatief,” Trouw, 24 August 2009; Amanda Kluveld, “Tariq Ramadan is geen wetenschapper,” De Volkskrant, 25 August 2009; Fouad Laroui, “Echte en valse hervormers. Waarom Tariq Ramadan nooit een hervormer kan zijn,” De Volkskrant, 29 August 2009.
Walter P. Metzger, Academic Freedom in the Age of the University (New York: Columbia University Press, 1969), p. 6, quoted in William G. Tierney and Vicente M. Lechuga, “The Social Significance of Academic Freedom,” Cultural Studies: Critical Methodologies 10, no. 2 (2010): p. 121.