The well-known Islamist Tariq Ramadan has been fired from his faculty job at the Erasmus University in Holland, just days after the City of Rotterdam dismissed him from his post as advisor for integration.
University and Rotterdam city officials issued a joint statement stating that Ramadan's hosting a weekly talk show "Islam and Life" on the Iranian government-funded TV channel, Press TV is "irreconcilable" with his posts. Press TV toes the Iranian regime's line. In June, it issued a report disputing eyewitness stories that militiamen had shot Neda Agha-Soltan during the election protests in Tehran. At about the same time a prominent British presenter quit the channel citing its biased election coverage.
Ramadan said he plans to sue the Rotterdam City Council and the university.
Ramadan has also been involved with litigation with the United States government, appealing the 2004 revocation of a visa to teach at the University of Notre Dame. In July 2009, an appellate court ordered Ramadan be granted a chance to prove he didn't know that a charity to which he donated was tied to Hamas, a designated terrorist organization.
U.S. officials cited that donation as a reason to reject Ramadan's visa.
Controversy emerged in the Netherlands over Ramadan's statements over homosexuals ("God has established norms and the norm is that a man is meant for a woman and a woman is meant for a man.") and women ("When walking in the streets austerity requires that you always cast you eyes down to the pavement.").
Although touted as a moderate, Ramadan has made a long series of disturbing statements. At a 2002 conference in Washington, when he was still allowed in the United States, Ramadan said of terrorism in Palestine, "I am not going to justify killing innocent people, but what is going on now in Palestine is explainable… we are leaving one population be oppressed, be killed and we are all spectators… we have to understand is that there are causes that should be removed" More recently, a 2006 YouTube video shows Ramadan praying for Palestine:
"God, strengthen their belief, those who are in Palestine, and let them celebrate their victory over their enemy, your enemy, enemy of the faith."
The Wall Street Journal editorialized on the firings, noting that Ramadan "likes to talk about democracy and following the rule of law—but only as long as the law doesn't contradict an Islamic principle. He rejects terrorism and violence but thinks that blowing up eight-year-old Israeli children is "contextually explicable."
The right to free speech protects those views, the newspaper said, but the Netherlands "has no obligation to bankroll" them.