Thursday, May 25, 2017

Italy: Tariq Ramadan not welcome, 'known for his anti-Semitic views', says Jewish community leader

Via Jewish European Press:

Tarik Ramadan
"Unfortunately, Tariq Ramadan has not been able to reach Italy because of health reasons and therefore in the afternoon he will not be physically present at the presentation of the book ‘The Muslim and Agnostic’, as scheduled in the  Erickson Center  in Trento." 
With this statement, a representative of the Erickson Center of Trento  explains that the long-awaited arrival of someone who is considered one of the most influential intellectuals of Western Islam and professor at Oxford University will not be in Trento today to present the book written with Riccardo Mazzeo. 
Tariq Ramadan is a Swiss-born philosophy professor currently based in France. When speaking to Western audiences, Ramadan preaches an amicable message of unity and mutual respect. But to Arabic-speaking audiences, he vents his deep-seated hatred of the West and his endorsement of Wahhabism, the most extreme form of Islam.  (...)
His arrival in Italy  was preceded by many controversies. First Ramadan was expected in Bolzano, at the Center for Peace, but a series of criticisms and controversy convinced the organizers, on Sunday, to move the meeting to Trento. 
The mayor of Bolzano, Renzo Caramaschi,  announced that he will not  meet Ramadan in the town hall, and that he doesn’t appreciate the presence of the scholar. 
"I do appreciate alternative positions and ideas to mine  - the mayor explains - and I am  tolerant of people who do not share my  thoughts but there is also a limit to that. And in this case, Ramadan, who I know I've been greeted him in Trento for a long time without problems, is still a very controversial borderline character for me. " 
After the organizers decided  to move the meeting from Bolzano  to Trento at the headquarters of the Erickson Center, Italy’s political right parties Forza Italia, Lega da  agire and  Fratelli d'Italia protested the initiative. 
Tensions therefore already existed for the arrival of an intellectual that detractors complain of being "anti-Semitic" and as a person "far from our values" and admirers instead define "one of the greatest intellectuals in the Islamic world."
Shortly before the Mayor of Bolzano  rejected Ramadan’s presence,  the president of the Jewish community of Merano, Elisabetta Rossi Innerhofer, said: "I am shocked by the fact that Ramadan  has been invited  to Bolzano with all honor in the town hall. He has always attacked the State of Israel, he is known for his anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist positions and  speaking in French TV in 2003 in a debate with former President Sarkozy he had defended the Islamic law which stipulates stoning for women accused of adultery. I guess he has not changed his mind since then, at least I did not hear."
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