Chandra Muzaffar

Chandra Muzaffar

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 13:13

Will Islamic scholar get fair trial?

The unjust incarceration of Dr Tariq Ramadan, professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, demeans and disgraces the French legal system.

Ramadan has been detained in a solitary cell at Paris’s Fleury-Mérogis Prison since Feb 2.

It is alleged that he raped two women in Lyon and Paris in 2009 and 2012. A criminal investigation is being carried out to build a case against him.

He has no access to his family and is not allowed to communicate with them through the phone.

It should be emphasised that it was he who went to the police in Paris on Jan31 to answer the allegations against him. He has cooperated with the investigating authorities. And, yet, he has been treated harshly.

The way he has been treated should be weighed against the scurrilous allegations hurled at him.

In the Lyon incident, the accuser alleges that she was raped in a hotel in the afternoon of Oct 9, 2009.

Ramadan’s attorney has provided the prosecution with evidence that shows that his flight from London did not arrive in Lyon until 6.35pm and that he was in a hall by 8.30pm to deliver a lecture to hundreds of attendees.

The French police, which confirmed receiving this piece of evidence, later “claimed that it was “missing” from the case file because it had been “lost”. This in itself is a travesty of justice.

What makes it even more suspicious is a meeting between the accuser and high-ranking French magistrate Michel Debacq, in 2009 with the apparent intention of bringing a case against Ramadan, with the assistance of Islamophobes Caroline Fourest and Antoine Sfeir.

Debacq would thus appear to have unethically colluded with Fourest and “Christelle” (the accuser) against Ramadannine years ago.

Debacq, who serves in France’s Court of Cassation, did not disclose his involvement either with “Christelle” or the current case, which is illegal, according to French law.

The Paris incident, which allegedly took place in April 2012, further undermines the veracity of the claims made by Ramadan’s accusers. The accuser, one Hendra Ayari, “sent Ramadan no fewer than 280 messages via Facebook between June and August 2014”, more than two years after the alleged rape.

It has been disclosed that “Ayari recently admitted to French media that she did send these messages through a second Facebook account she had created after Ramadanblocked her first account because she was harassing him in the hope that she could seduce and entrap him”.

These revelations may be the reason why Ayari did not appear when French police summoned her last week.

Though allegations from both women appear baseless, the prosecution continues to detain Ramadan with the aim of dragging him to court.

The French media has been complicit in this. Not only does it present ludicrous allegations as facts, it has repeated lies about Ramadan to discredit him.

For instance, media outlets had reported that “Prof Ramadan has an Egyptian passport, which he might attempt to use to flee to Egypt”. Prof Ramadan does not have an Egyptian passport, and is a citizen of Switzerland only.

The French media’s smearing of Ramadan and the legal system’s skewed attitude reflect a larger problem.

Dominant French society does not take kindly to those who have the courage to criticise its bias against Islam and its followers.

This is what Ramadan has been doing for a long while. He has been forthright about how French state and society have discriminated against Muslims.

Islamophobia in Europe and the increasing marginalisation of the poor and powerless in the continent have also been abiding concerns of the man.

He has been vocal about the dogmatism of ultra-conservative Muslims and the authoritarianism of Muslim regimes.

In other words, there are different groups that would want to nail Ramadan to the wall.

This is why his persecution in France is not just about antagonism towards Islam and Muslims, and the drive to stifle rational voices that seek to expose French prejudice and bigotry.

It reveals the hypocrisy that surrounds the noble French and European ideal of the right to dissent, especially when it comes to certain fundamental issues.

Or, is Ramadan’s ordeal also related to Muslim authoritarianism and its ability to reach far beyond its own shores?

Given all these forces at work, how can we expect a fair and just trial for Ramadan? Hence the demand of the “Free Tariq Ramadan” campaign and civil society groups and people for his immediate and unconditional release.

Dr Chandra Muzaffar

Director and president, International Movement for a Just World Malaysia.

Published in: The New Straits Times, Tuesday 20 February 2018

Source: https://www1.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2018/02/337111/will-islamic-scholar-get-fair-trial

Monday, 12 January 2015 10:48

A dastardly act of terror

IT is not surprising that Muslim governments, organisations and individuals right across the globe have condemned the heinous murder of 12 persons –10 journalists and two policemen – at the headquarters of the satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris in the late morning of Jan 7. This dastardly act of terror, allegedly carried out by three Muslims, violates every norm in the Islamic faith. If it is true that the killers were trying to avenge the sanctified memory of the Prophet Muhammad, who has been the subject of continuous ridicule and contempt in the weekly, murdering its cartoonists and editors is clearly an abomination..................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

 

 

The House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States of America should reject any form of US military intervention in Syria. Rejection would be a clear statement against war. It would be a lucid message on behalf of peace.

There are at least 12 reasons why the US Congress, and the people of the world, should adopt such a stand.

One, if the two houses represent the voice of the American people, it is significant that 50% of the people are against military intervention in Syria according to a NBC poll conducted on the 28-29 of August 2013. Only 42% support military action.............Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

Friday, 05 July 2013 00:00

Conversion of the Child

In the midst of the on-going discussion on the question of the conversion of a child to Islam, it is important to pay serious attention to an objective and balanced Policy Paper on the issue produced by the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) based here in Kuala Lumpur in December 2012. The Paper entitled “Conversion in Malaysia: Issues and Reform Proposals” was researched and prepared by a group led by IAIS Chairman and CEO, Professor Mohammad Hashim Kamali, widely recognised as one of the world’s most outstanding  Islamic jurists............ Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

 

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 09:38

9---11: Ten Years After

911WTC

On the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy, it would be instructive to reflect on the disastrous impact of that tragedy upon the entire human family.

 

One, hundreds of thousands, perhaps a couple of million, lives have been lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Afghan-Pakistan border and other places as a direct or indirect consequence of the so-called “war on terror”  that followed 9-11. It is not just the violence generated by the US helmed occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan that is responsible for this. Terror groups that resist occupation or are seeking to avenge the death of innocent children and women at the hands of the occupiers, or those who are embroiled in the tussle for power or enmeshed in inter-sectarian and inter-factional feuds---like Al-Qaeda--- are also culpable.

.......Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

Tuesday, 09 July 2013 08:00

What is happening to the Arab uprising

Arab UprisingThe Arab Uprising is no longer what it was.  Its complexion is changing.


One of the outstanding features of the first phase of the Uprising was its peaceful, non-violent character. The ouster of both the Tunisian dictator, Ben Ali, on 25 January 2011 and the Egyptian autocrat, Hosni Mubarak, on 11 February 2011 was largely peaceful. But the protesters in Libya resorted to arms within a day or two of their uprising in Benghazi on 15 February.  It is well known that one of the leading groups in what has evolved into a full-scale rebellion is a well-armed militia, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL).......Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)

Friday, 13 August 2010 15:21

A major obstacle to '1Malaysia'

1_malaysia

Since Merdeka (Independence) in 1957, the top 20% of income earners in Malaysia have benefited much more from economic growth than the bottom 40%. It is significant that the report of the National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) on the New Economic Model (NEM) admits that, 'The bottom 40% of households have experienced the slowest growth of average income, earning less than RM 1,500 per month in 2008.' ....... Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)


Thursday, 08 April 2010 14:30

Chandra Muzaffar's interview on Word Allah

chandra_muzaffar

Chandra Muzaffar is Malaysia’s best-known public intellectual. A professor at the Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, he recently assumed the position of Chairman of the Board of Trustees of 1 Malaysia, a foundation set up by some concerned citizens to promote harmony between Malaysia’s various ethnic and religious communities. In this interview with Yoginder Sikand, he talks about the ongoing controversy in Malaysia in the wake of a recent court ruling permitting the country’s Christians (and other non-Muslims) to use the term ‘Allah’, which many Malaysian Muslims fiercely oppose.......... Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)