France’s Muslim leadership reacts to Tariq Ramadan detention

When accusations against Tariq Ramadan became public last fall, the French Council of the Muslim Faith’s (CFCM) president Ahmet Ogras hoped that “justice [would be] served quickly.” Three months later, France’s Muslim leadership has rarely spoken publicly about Ramadan.

Amar Lasfar, president of the Muslims of France (formerly UOIF), whose organization is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, admitted that many of his colleagues were “shocked, troubled.”

“Tariq Ramadan, is not just anyone…he’s someone who accompanied the establishment of Islam and Muslims in Europe,” Lasfar stated. Even still, “the presumption of innocence that everyone benefits from, including a number of leaders in our country, is not extended to Mr. Tariq Ramadan.”

Abdallah Zekri, President of the Observatory Against Islamophobia, relayed the sentiments of French Muslims. “Some say, ‘that’s what this charming gentleman gets, having played with fire,” admitting that Tariq Ramadan is not “his cup of tea.”

Zekri added that others “don’t understand why he was immediately taken into custody, unlike elected officials, and it’s difficult for us to explain…Some speak of ‘double standards,’ and that’s not a good thing: it adds fuel to radicalization’s fire.”

Political commentator Haoues Seniguer has observed “dismay” in Muslims’ reactions on social media. Nevertheless, “visibly, despite the weighty accusations against Tariq Ramadan, certain people continue to believe that there’s a conspiracy [against him].” Such reactions are nourished by what Seniguer refers to as “systematic antisemitism.”

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