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Muslim academic calls for book-fair boycott
What’s the phrase? Speak of the devil . . . and see his horns. Or in the case of Tariq (come with me to the Kasbah) Ramadan hear his lying little forked tongue.
One of the most prominent signatories to the open letter issued this week calling for Muslim dialogue with Jews has urged a boycott of book fairs in Turin and Paris this spring because they honour Israel.
Professor Tariq Ramadan, senior research fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford, set out his view in a statement posted on his website earlier this month.
The Turin Book Fair, to be held in May, had initially designated Egypt as its “guest of honour”, he said, before choosing Israel instead in commemoration of its 60th anniversary.
In response to appeals from organisations supporting Palestinian human rights, he stated that it was “neither normal nor decent to commemorate Israel when Israeli state and government policies in the devastated Occupied Territories are clear for all to see.”
He added: “I have repeatedly stated that all women and men of conscience… should boycott the Turin Book Fair (as well as the Foire du Livre de Paris) when the guest of honour is a country that refuses to respect the rights and the dignity of peoples.”
Ronnie Fraser, director of the Academic Friends of Israel, said: “It is reassuring to read that he is calling for dialogue with Jews, but if you boycott events, you don’t have dialogue.”