Christopher Hitchens is characteristically precise in his lancing of Tariq Ramadan, and as ever his piece is worth reading in full rather than quoting. But one small segment caught my eye:
Thus, he tells Egyptian television that the destruction of the Israeli state is for the moment "impossible" and in Mantua described the idea of stoning adulterous women as "unimplementable." This is something less than a full condemnation, but he is quick to say that simple condemnation of such things would reduce his own "credibility" in the eyes of a Muslim audience that, or so he claims, he wants to modernize by stealth.Does Ramadan really believe that a Muslim audience would feel a condemnation of stoning reduced his credibility? There are plenty of Muslims who make the same condemnation.
Ramadan's approach dovetails neatly into that of those extremists who say they would only wish for Sharia'a in a fully Muslim state, but who seek to create such states around the world. In such states, stoning would become "implementable".
Ramandan says he he is seeking Islamic reform by stealth, but it seems at least equally possible that, admittedly by stealth, he is seeking a quite different outcome.