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In Pursuit of Prey, Carrying Philosophy - The Flight of the Intellectuals

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groovedaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-03-10 11:26 AM
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Paul Bermans new book, The Flight of the Intellectuals, plural, might as easily have been titled The Flight of the Intellectual, singular. It is essentially a booklong polemic against one magazine article: a profile of the Islamic philosopher Tariq Ramadan, written by Ian Buruma, the Dutch academic and journalist, and published in The New York Times Magazine in 2007.

Mr. Bermans book has already made some noise. Writing in Slate, Ron Rosenbaum compared its stinging ambience, nostalgic to some, to one of those old Partisan Review smackdowns, in which Dwight Macdonald or Mary McCarthy cracked some unsuspecting frenemy over the head with a bookcase and a tinkling highball glass. And for sure, everything about The Flight of the Intellectuals feels old school, from Mr. Bermans tone (controlled, almost tantric, high dudgeon) to the spectacle of one respected man of the left pummeling another while the blood flows freely, and no one calls the police.

Those Partisan Review fights got serious, and so does this book. Mr. Berman accuses Mr. Buruma, in his Times Magazine profile, of not scrutinizing Mr. Ramadans family, associations or writings closely enough, of presenting him in a respectful light. Presenting him, that is, as the kind of moderate and charismatic Islamic thinker in whom the West might find a useful intermediary.

Mr. Bermans book, portions of which first appeared in The New Republic, is a patient overturning of the rocks that, he argues, Mr. Buruma failed to look under. He writes about historical figures Mr. Ramadan professes to admire and notes the tiny degrees of separation that link them to Hitler and the Nazis during World War II. He points out Mr. Ramadans ambiguous comments about things like 9/11, the stoning of women in Muslim countries and violence against Jews. Mr. Berman detects a kind of seventh-century barbarism lurking behind Mr. Ramadans genial smile.
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snagglepuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-03-10 11:49 AM
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1. Muslim Canadin journalist Tarek Fatah says Ramadan is an extremist
Montreal welcomes an Islamist extremist in sheep's clothing


This time the voice of Islamism will not be the regular run-of-the-mill shrieks by sheikhs, but delivered by a man with a mellow disarming smile. The guttural accent we have come to associate with angry mullahs of the Middle East will be replaced by milky English delivered with a French accent.

But make no mistake. The message of Tariq Ramadan will remain the same. The crudeness will be replaced by sophistication; the clumsiness by finesse. And Canadians, hungry for some sense of movement towards moderation in the world of Islam, will most probably lap it all up.


He was not opposed to sharia law coming to Canada; he just didn't think it was the right time to introduce it. In his words, Muslims were displaying a "lack of creativity". He suggested that rather than ask openly for sharia law, Islamists should have sneaked it in through the existing legal framework.

Taken aback, I was reminded of the Islamist doctrine of Taqiyaa, a dissimulation methodology employed to hide one's true agenda, which recommends appearing harmless to one's adversary with the objective of having them lower their guard.

Source Tarek Fatah, National Post, November 5, 2009

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