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Update, translation of the article as it appeared in the NRC Handels blad.
Tariq Ramadan declines chair: 28 November 2007 15:17 | Changed: 28 November 2007 16:31 Through editor Mark Duursma NRC Handelsblad, Rotterdam, 28 nov.
The Swiss philosopher and theologian Tariq Ramadan (45) Doesn’t become lead professor at the University.
The international renowned islam apologist passes on being the chair 'islam in the contemporary western world' at the faculty religious studies that he would have occupied starting next year. The chair is financed by the sultan of Oman.
From Oxford, where he senior research fellow is at the St. Antony’s , Ramadan let it be known that it had been premature to announce his appointment at the Leidse University and it has brought him much embarrassment. "I had not yet informed my other employers, the University of Oxford and the Erasmus University in Rotterdam”. I was waiting for official confirmation, when it became public via the media on the 6th of November. I had not yet made my definitive choice for Oxford or Leiden. I decided to take a few weeks off and to weigh everything, and decided to remain at Oxford. I do not want to give up this appointment. I have given the Leiden University my decision this morning."
According to a spokesman of the Leiden University, private matters were also a factor: your family would not be able to face a move from England to the Netherlands.
"That definitely plays into it, a move would be very difficult. We chose to remain for the foreseeable future England. My appointment here is permanent."
In your news release today you write that the decision has nothing to do with the criticism that has pursued you for years, namely that your plea for a western islam is not sincere and that you are much more radical then you pretend to be. But at the same time you take a swipe at politicians and journalists that led a critical backbiting campaign against you. What about that?
"The news about the appointment in Leiden led to the usual reactions of a mere handful of customary critics. Someone in France, someone in Italy. That is annoying, but no reason not to take the job."
But in the Netherlands the criticism wasn’t all that severe?"Well, De Telegraph went against me . And there was that guy in your parliament.
Member of parliament Bosma of the Freedom Party (PVV) on the day of the news about the appointment in Leiden immediately questioned Minister Plasterk (Education, dutch labor Party). He thought of the appointment of Tariq Ramadan, "who does not distance himself from the stoning of overly-playful women", paid for by the "islamo- fascist dictatorship" of Oman. Wilders during question period called Ramadan "a terrible man".
Ramadan in his explanation praises the courage of the Leidse university administration and of Education Minister Plasterk, whom according to him has always put academic freedom in the forefront.
How was your reception on the University of Leiden?"I felt very welcome. Staff members of the faculty of religious studies were at my orientation in Rotterdam, I was looking forward to the academic debate. I feel myself welcome in the Netherlands, I like the work at the Erasmus University and I certainly want it to continue for a few years."
The expressive Leidse professor Afshin Ellian, who is very critical about islam, couldn’t possibly have been very happy with your arrival."I have not yet met Ellian, but we follow each other's work and we respect each other."
According to the spokesman of the University of Leiden, Ramadan was "an interesting candidate" . There are at this moment "several candidates in the picture" to fill the vacancy.
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