French ministers refuse to attend conference with Tariq Ramadan

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and Manuel Valls
Manuel Valls and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem

He is an Islamic scholar who teaches at Oxford University and a former member of a working group on extremism set up by Tony Blair. Time magazine once described him as the “leading thinker” among Europe’s second and third-generation Muslim immigrants.

Yet two French ministers have suddenly announced that they will not attend a conference in Florence tomorrow on the future of the European Union because of the presence of the scholar, Tariq Ramadan. He is due to be a panellist at the conference, entitled The State of the Union, speaking about “migration, identity and integration”.

The French Interior Minister Manuel Valls and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the Women’s Rights Minister who is also a government spokeswoman, informed organisers on Monday evening that they were pulling out, saying they had “not been informed” of Professor Ramadan’s attendance.

Independent, 7 May 2013

See also Le Monde, 6 May 2013

For Professor Ramadan’s response to the boycott, see the interview by Newsring, 7 May 2013

Update:  See also “French ministers boycott talks with Muslim scholar”, France 24, 8 May 2013