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.