Neither the National Post nor Tarek Fatah nor the so-called "Muslim" "Canadian" "Congress" nor other Islamophobes - despite expensive propaganda - were able to generate a single protest or dampen enthusiasm for this noted scholar's speech last night at the Université de Montréal:
Despite a full-page advertisement in a local newspaper denouncing his visit, there were no protesters when controversial Muslim orator Tariq Ramadan spoke last night.
Instead, hundreds of people were turned away from the sold-out event, as Ramadan spoke to more than 800 people, most of them between ages 20 and 40, at the Jean Lesage Amphitheatre at the Université de Montréal's Jean Brillant building. [...]
The debate swirled this week, in the days prior to his visit. On Thursday, the Muslim Canadian Congress, a Toronto-based organization of secular Muslims, and Point de Bascule, an online news agency opposed to Islamic fundamentalism, took out a full-page ad in Le Devoir accusing Ramadan of hiding his true views on issues like the stoning of women behind a facade of moderation.
It accused Ramadan of being an "Islamic ideologue" and a "real professional of waffling." The Quebec department of Immigration and Cultural Communities and the Institut du Nouveau Monde both quickly denied any affiliation with Ramadan or Présence musulmane, the organization that sponsored the visiting professor's talk.
Asmaa Ibnouzahir, a spokesperson for Présence musulmane, dismissed the ad as "a meaningless collection of unfounded statements." "All those who accuse him of doublespeak have never produced any tangible proof," she said.
The organization promotes Ramadan's vision that Islam is compatible with pluralistic Western society, said Ibnouzahir, an international aid worker. "It's about feeling comfortable as Muslims while accepting multiple cultural identities." She said the organization's Montreal chapter was founded in 2004 and has about 30 members, including students, intellectuals, workers and non-Muslim supporters.
[url=From">http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Muslim+scholar+draws+sellout+crowd/2... the not-very-objective Montreal Gazette[/url]
The National Post was kind enough to publish a lengthy diatribe by anti-Muslim pro-imperialist toady [url=Tarek">http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/11/05/... Fatah[/url], always ready to see his name in lights in the wrong cause. But that didn't convince anyone.
[url=Here">http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/04/magazine/04ramadan.t.html?_r=2&pagewan... is a more nuanced[/url] though very standoffish piece about him from the New York Times in 2007, concluding:
Ramadan offers a different way, which insists that a reasoned but traditionalist approach to Islam offers values that are as universal as those of the European Enlightenment. From what I understand of Ramadan’s enterprise, these values are neither secular, nor always liberal, but they are not part of a holy war against Western democracy either. His politics offer an alternative to violence, which, in the end, is reason enough to engage with him, critically, but without fear.