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Muslim scholar loses Dutch posts
Tariq Ramadan calls decision to sack him for show on Iran's state TV "naive and simplistic".
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2009 11:36 GMT

Ramadan has said he will appeal the decision to dismiss him because of his television show [EPA]

 

A Dutch university has dismissed Tariq Ramadan, a well-known Islamic scholar, for hosting a show on Iran's state television.

Ramadan was fired on Tuesday from his positions respectively as professor and "integration adviser" by Erasmus University and the City of Rotterdam.

They said his programme, Islam & Life, currently airing on Iran's Press TV, is "irreconcilable" with his duties in Rotterdam.

Ramadan, a Swiss citizen who is now on vacation in Morocco, told Dutch radio he would appeal the "naive and simplistic" decision.

Ramadan "continued to participate in this programme even after the elections in Iran, when authorities there hard-handedly stifled the freedom of expression", the City of Rotterdam and Erasmus University said in a joint statement.

It said Ramadan had "failed to sufficiently realise the feelings that participation in this television programme, which is supported by the Iranian government, might provoke in Rotterdam and beyond".

He had worked at the university since 2007.

Ramadan - known as a reformist who condemns terrorism and urges Muslims living in Europe to integrate - has recently been criticised in the Dutch press for allegedly voicing more conservative views for Muslim audiences than he does in the West.

Open letter

In response, Ramadan has written an open letter to Dutch media saying that the show was a debate forum, and that he had no involvement with Iran's government.

"Repression against and killing of civilian people cannot be accepted and must be condemned," he said in the letter, published by Dutch media last week when the debate broke out.

"I support transparent, democratic process, and I expect the Iranian regime to respect this principle."

Ramadan has lectured in France, England and the US, and also has had trouble with the US government.

He had his US visa revoked in 2004 shortly before he was to receive tenure at Notre Dame University in Indiana.

He was denied entry to the US in 2006 on the grounds that he had given $1,336 to a charity linked to Hamas, which the US considers a terrorist organisation.

Source:
Agencies
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