Marc Lynch hat in Foreign Policy eine ausführliche Auseinandersetzung mit Tariq Ramadan und seinen Kritikern (vor allem: Paul Berman) vorgelegt. Lynch ist der beste amerikanische Kenner der internen Debatten der Muslimbruderschaft. Sein Blog ist eine hervorragende Quelle über Diskussionen in der islamistischen Bewegung.
Sein Plädoyer für eine differenzierte Betrachtung des neueren Islamismus – vor allem unter Berücksichtigung der Deutungskämpfe zwischen Salafisten, Al-Kaida und moderateren Teilen der Bewegung (wie der ägyptischen Muslimbruderschaft und der palästinensischen Hamas) – scheint mir überzeugend. Lynch warnt auch eindringlich davor, allzu viele Hoffnungen auf „Ex-Muslime“ zu setzen, die vom Mainstream islamischer Gesellschaften isoliert sind, aber in unseren Öffentlichkeiten gut ankommen, weil sie dem Glauben abgeschworen haben, Israel unterstützen und die Außenpolitik des Westens verteidigen. Diesen Stimmen ihren Platz zu geben in der öffentlichen Debatte, sei kein Ersatz für den Dialog mit denen, die vielleicht keine liberalen, aber doch Demokraten sind – wie etwa Tariq Ramadan:
„In trying to understand Islamism, two approaches are possible. The first sees Islamism as essentially a single project with multiple variants, in which the similarities are more important than the differences. In this view, the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda represent two points on a common spectrum, divided by tactics rather than by goals. Such an understanding makes it possible — if not unavoidable — to see Osama bin Laden lurking in the figure of Ramadan.
The second approach sees consequential distinctions in the ideology and behavior of various Islamist strands. In the years since 9/11, the United States has moved from the former camp to the latter. The United States‘ experience of cooperating with nationalist Iraqi insurgents against al Qaeda in Iraq has led many U.S. policymakers to favor a strategy that identifies differences among Islamists and uses them to accelerate al Qaeda’s marginalization. Many observers in the United States and elsewhere adopted a similar tack after watching the Muslim Brotherhood contest elections and defend democracy in countries such as Egypt, even as the Brotherhood opposed U.S. foreign policy objectives.
Those, such as Berman, who see Islamism as flat and uniform claim that Islamists of all varieties — despite differences over the use of violence or the value of democratic participation — ultimately share a commitment to achieving an Islamic state. But this is misleading. There is a vast and important gap between the Salafi vision of enforced social uniformity and the moderate Islamist vision of a democratic state, with civil institutions and the rule of law, populated by devout Muslims. The gap is so great as to render meaningless the notion that all Islamists share a common strategic objective. Ramadan stands on the correct side of this gap, and by extension, he stands on the right side of the most important battle within Islamism today: he is a defender of pragmatism and flexibility, of participation in society, and of Muslims‘ becoming full citizens within liberal societies.
Ramadan’s defense of participation places him opposite the literalists and radicals with whom Berman attempts to link him. The hard core of the Salafi jihadists view all existing Muslim societies as fundamentally, hopelessly corrupt — part of a jahiliyya, which means „age of ignorance,“ from which true Muslims must retreat and isolate themselves. Ramadan, by contrast, calls for change from within. Groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood offer clinics, charities, schools, and other services, while pursuing the dawa, or „spiritual outreach.“ Their approach would be familiar to anyone who has engaged with American evangelicals — the polite conversation, the pamphlets and other literature, the self-presentation as honest and incorruptible. There is an obvious difference between a woman who is forced to wear a veil for fear of acid being thrown in her face and one who does so to show respect for God. But there are other forms of coercion — peer pressure, societal norms, and economic need — that can be difficult to detect from the outside. These are topics for serious study.
But Berman does not even try.