Erasmus University, in the Netherlands, has fired Tariq Ramadan from a visiting professor position he held, citing his having hosted a show on Iranian television, the Associated Press reported. Ramadan is a leading thinker on Islam who teaches at the University of Oxford. He has been engaged in a lengthy court battle to come to the United States for academic positions and to talk with academic groups -- and the last decision in the case was favorable to him, but not final. Erasmus said that it was wrong for Ramadan to continue to participate in anything in Iran after the crackdown there that followed the elections.
In response, Ramadan posted a statement on his Web site saying that his actions are being misinterpreted, and that while he believes in engaging Iranians, he has repeatedly criticized violence, discrimination and other actions. "When I agreed to host a television program on Islam and contemporary life, I chose the path of critical debate. I accepted no obligations," he wrote. "My guests have included atheists, rabbis, priests, women with and without headscarves, all invited to debate issues like freedom, reason, interfaith dialogue, Sunni versus Shi’a Islam, violence, jihad, love, art, to name only a few. I challenge my critics to scrutinize these programs and in them to find the slightest evidence of support for the Iranian regime. My program proclaims its openness to the world; all guests are treated with equal respect."