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Swiss Muslim advisor fired

The Hague — The Dutch city of Rotterdam said Tuesday that Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan would no longer serve as an advisor for hosting a programme on a television channel it claims is supported by Tehran.

Rotterdam’s Erasmus University has also dismissed him as a guest lecturer on citizenship and identity, said a joint media statement.

"The reason is Tariq Ramadan’s involvement with the Iranian television channel Press TV, which is incompatible with his functions," said the statement.

Ramadan has been an advisor to the mayor of Rotterdam on issues of multiculturalism since 2007.

"Press TV is a channel that is financed by the Iranian government," said the statement. "We find (his) indirect relationship with this repressive regime, or even the appearance of such, to be unacceptable."

Ramadan said he would take the council to court.

"I am going to sue the municipality. It is a question of honour and dignity," he told public broadcaster NOS.

Ramadan said he took offence to being labelled a supporter of the Iranian government.

"To put me in a position where I am supporting the regime is just unacceptable," he said, adding that his television programme was of a "religious, philosophical" nature.

The dismissal was "more about the political climate in the Netherlands than anything else", said Ramadan, referring to the rise of far-right parties in Rotterdam and elsewhere.

A Swiss citizen of Egyptian origin, Ramadan is considered one of Europe’s leading Muslim thinkers.

He 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.

AFP / Expatica