Phi Beta Cons

Leiden Chair Goes To “Jet Set” Prof: Sign Of More European Decadence

Dutch News reports that Leiden University has awarded an important chair, funded by the sultan of Oman Muslim, to Islamologist Tariq Ramadan. Critics deny the scholar is a moderate, as some claim, and say he flits around the world speechifying rather than doing research.
According to NIS News, the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) objected that “the sultan of an Islamo-fascist dictatorial state” is paying 2.5 million euros to gain influence at a Dutch university. A PVV official alleged that Ramadan does not reject stoning of women and wants to destroy Israel. Other political figures suggested that Ramadan poses a risk to national security.
Education and Culture Minister Ronald Plasterk essentially washed his hands of the matter, justifying his lack of objection to Ramadan’s appointment mainly in terms of academic freedom: “We live in a free country. (…) I have no judgement on the university’s selection methods.”
Placing Ramadan’s appointment in broader context, Andrew Bostom, author of The Legacy of Jihad, characterizes it as “more evidence of Western Europe’s moral and intellectual decay.” In a fascinating aside, Bostom contrasts the appointment with the principled action taken at Leiden in 1933 by Johan Huizinga, the great Dutch historian. Huizinga

withdrew university hospitality to the Nazi scholar, Johannes von Leers, who was attending an international student conference at the university. Huizinga acted on the grounds that von Leers had published an anti-Semitic election pamphlet in which he knowingly presented the blood libel of Jewish ritual murder as a historical fact, and contemporary threat … Huizinga stood in courageous isolation when he took this action, suffering both personal criticism and significant problems in his dealings with German and Swiss publishing houses in the aftermath of the affair. (Ultimately, he died in Nazi detention, during 1945.) Thus in sharp contrast to his modern heirs at Leiden University, Huizinga had a very definite sense that a university had to judge its behavior according to concepts of intellectual honor and dignity which von Leers’ actions infringed upon.

(Family Security Matters, bolding mine)


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