Tariq Ramadan, a Muslim of Egyptian descent, holds a recently created Qatari-funded chair at Oxford. His public speaking, with a catchy Maurice Chevalier accent, is appealing in style, but nonetheless bluff-filled and vacuous. One of his techniques is to invoke admirable and attractive concepts in the abstract and float them before his audience, like beautiful imagined balloons, to gasps of awe and admiration.
Here are some of the concepts that Ramadan has called upon: "Respect!" (long pause), "Humility!" (another pause, gasps from the audience), "Critical Thinking!" (gasps and sighs all round), "Freedom of Conscience!" (swoon). The usefulness of this technique is that it is the listeners who supply their own favourable and warm qualities to the concepts, while the speaker has, in fact, offered nothing, and may well be harbouring quite different thoughts left unspoken. It is a standard device of prevarication.
Let us focus on "Respect". An audience in England will receive that concept favourably, as denoting a deferential regard for the rights and dignity of the individual or ideology to be respected. This way the infidel audience can form a favourable impression in their minds when the speaker has not necessarily supplied one.
Respect concerns relationship. It can, though, embrace a very wide spectrum of regard, from high esteem to low esteem: it is all respect. We teach our children to respect their elders, likewise to have respect, of a different kind, for stinging nettles, snakes and scorpions. Even respect of a negative kind, disrespect, fits into this wide concept. A spokesman for Sharia4Belgium said recently:
We Muslims have not even a gram of respect for you infidels.
A measure of "not even a gram" of respect is still respect.
So much for what to tell the infidel. To Muslim listeners Ramadan is clear:
The only law we must respect and apply is the Sharia.
There you are â€“ respect.
Ramadan explains Sharia in an interview with Erick Stakelbeck:
"You have another understanding of Sharia, and the understanding of Sharia is based on the human agency that is taking from the scriptural sources, the Koran and the prophetic tradition, to try to get the principles and the objectives, and say what our religion is all about, protecting the dignity of the human being, protecting their rights â€“ men and women â€“ and then if you have this understanding, and this is my position, this, look, Sharia is a way, it's a path".
Are you any the wiser? It is more informative to look at the Islamic texts and authorities. Sharia law, Islamic law, is fixed and unchangeable, and overrides 'man-made' statute law, as Anjem Choudary has so often proclaimed. It contains a number of aspects hostile to Western civilisation â€“ no equality before the law, no freedom of conscience, no freedom of speech. Muslim lands are Dar al Islam, the Abode of Islam, while non-Muslim lands are Dar al Harb, the Abode of War. That means that non-Muslims are permanent enemies in an ongoing war. The Koran states that "Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers" (2:98); he "does not love the unbelievers" (30:45). Unbelievers are "unclean" (9:28), "the worst of creatures" (98:6), "the vilest of beasts" (8:22, 8:55). There is a "communal obligation ... to war against non-Muslims" in Jihad (Manual of Islamic Law o9.0, o9.1). The enmity is compulsory. This is the level of respect which Islam's core text commands towards non-Muslims, and which adherents, like Ramadan, are obliged to follow. He is not free to ignore or refuse it: denying any verse in the Koran brings the death penalty (Manual, o8.7(7)). The killing can be performed by any Muslim without penalty, because "it is killing someone who deserves to die" (Manual, o8.4). The state of war is continuous, with the obligation to "kill unbelievers wherever you find them" (Koran 9:5) and make them submit "until Islam is the only religion", denoting the only source of law (8:39).
A less-known element of Sharia is "permissible lying" (Manual, r8.2), specifically authorised for use with unbelievers. This has an Arabic name, taqiyya. Ramadan knows his law. Hear him again from that same talk to fellow Muslims:
"We must exploit the so-called democracy and freedom of speech here in the West to reach our goals. ... we must use every conceivable means and opportunity to defeat the enemies of Allah ."
His listeners would understand that "every conceivable means" would include taqiyya:
"Tell the infidels in public we respect your laws and your constitutions ... ."
There we are: respect. Presumably he can, himself, practise what he preaches. He, too, could tell the infidels in public he respects their laws and constitutions, even if it is only a little respect, or even if it is a little taqiyya. Sure enough, taqiyya is what it is. Here is the full quotation:
Tell the infidels in public we respect your laws and your constitutions, which we Muslims believe that these are as worthless as the paper they are written on.
There you have it, the respect that Ramadan has for Western laws and constitutions. Furthermore he expresses it while recommending one of those useful Islamic lies, sanctioned because it is in the cause of Islamic goals, namely imposing Sharia by force on everyone in the future Global Caliphate. There is no shame in such a lie for an observant Muslim: it is Islamic doctrine, and the speaker is, in Islamic terms, being diligent, observant, and pious. "War is deceit", Mohammed said.
At least we now know, don't we, children, how to regard this specimen of academia, Mr Qatari-funded Balloon Man â€“ with "Respect".
The Manual of Islamic Law, "Reliance of the Traveller", is available as a free download http://shafiifiqh.com/maktabah/relianceoftraveller.pdf
The Koran can be consulted online http://corpus.quran.com/
See also "Cameron is Being Lied To". For more of this author's articles search for Michael Copeland using the search box at top-right of the page.