Controversial Muslim advisor under fire for Iran TV job
Rotterdam integration advisor Tariq Ramadan has been asked to explain his role as a presenter where he discusses about daily challenges faced by Muslims followers in the West.
Rotterdam – Tariq Ramadan, advisor to the mayor of Rotterdam on issues of multi-culturalism, has been asked to explain his role as a presenter on an Iranian state-funded television programme, reports Dutch news agency ANP.
The agency reports both the council and the university have expressed concern at the academic’s role in the weekly television programme Islam and Life on the Iranian state-funded international news network Press TV.
The programme discusses Islam and the daily challenges faced by its followers especially in the West.
Considered as one of Europe’s leading Muslim thinkers, the Swiss citizen of Egyptian origin, is also a guest lecturer at Rotterdam's Erasmus university.
Three parties in Rotterdam city council, the conservative VVD, the local populist party Liveable Rotterdam and the Socialist Party are calling for the local authority to stop consulting Ramadan as an adviser.
It is reported that neither the city council nor the university was aware of Ramadan’s work for the Iranian network, which emerged on Wednesday in the Dutch online higher education magazine Science Guide.
This is not the first time Ramadan’s role as an advisor has been questioned.
Earlier this year, the Oxford University professor was quoted in the Gay Krant, a Dutch magazine for homosexuals, as saying that homosexuality was not allowed under Islam and that women were required to cast their eyes downward when walking in the street.
Following a series of protests from the conservative VVD who withdrew from its coalition with the Green Left, Labour and Christian Democrat parties, Rotterdam launched a probe into the anti-gay comments.
The investigation found Ramadan "has a relatively conservative opinion on the topic of homosexuality," and his advisory services were retained.
In a response on the Gay Krant website, Ramadan who considers himself as a moderate in the debate on Muslim attitudes to homosexuality, said: “All the worlds’ major religions and spiritual traditions — from the majority view in Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism to Christianity and Islam — condemn and forbid homosexuality.”
He concluded that “European Muslims have the right to express their convictions while at the same time respecting the humanity and rights of individuals.”
Ramadan is known for promoting a modernised form of Islam and for his opposition to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
Ramadan, whose grandfather was a founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, has been barred from entering US territory since 2004, when he was due to take up a post at the Notre Dame University in Indiana.
Radio Netherlands / AFP / Expatica