Category: Switzerland

Tariq Ramadan charged in France over rape allegations

Tariq Ramadan

A French judge has placed prominent Islamic studies scholar Tariq Ramadan under criminal investigation on two charges of rape.

The 55-year-old was questioned by police in Paris earlier this week and has now been remanded into custody.
He denies wrongdoing and is suing one of his accusers, a former radical Islamist, for slander.
Mr Ramadan teaches at Oxford University, but took leave of absence after the claims surfaced in October.
An examining magistrate will now compile a case, and determine whether Mr Ramadan will stand trial for rape and assault.

How did the allegations emerge?

His first accuser is Henda Ayari, a former Muslim radical who now heads a secular feminist group.
In a book published in 2016, she wrote about being raped in a Paris hotel four years earlier, but the book did not name the attacker.
But in October 2017, she said the sexual assault scandal surrounding Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein had emboldened her to accuse Mr Ramadan explicitly.
A few days later another woman, a convert to Islam who has remained anonymous, accused him of raping her in 2009.
Four Swiss women have also accused the scholar of making sexual advances while they were students in Geneva. He says all the allegations are part of a campaign by his enemies.

Who is Tariq Ramadan?

A controversial and influential figure among Muslim scholars, he is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, the Egyptian imam who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1920s.
Tariq Ramadan challenges Muslim fundamentalists and encourages dialogue between religions, but some critics say he is a promoting a version of Islam that is inconsistent with French secular values.
He has made regular media appearances in France and Britain, and is a popular figure among young Muslims in Europe.
Mr Ramadan is a Swiss national and since 2009 has been professor of contemporary Islamic studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford.
He has also sat on a UK Foreign Office advisory group on freedom of religion.
Read more about Tariq Ramadan.

"Jung Revisited" by Brian Inglis

Brian Inglis

In a lecture given in 1977 John Beloff recalled that although when he read Jung’s Synchronicity he had been intrigued, regarding it as ‘one of the more extravagant products of Jung’s fertile imagination’, he had not expected it to catch on. Events had proved him wrong; ‘fourteen years later, although it could not be said to occupy a paramount place in contemporary parapsychological speculation, it has become a firm fixture.’
Thirteen years later still, it has spread out to establish itself among what used to be described as the intelligentsia, a species which today lacks an identification, but for convenience can be described as the readers of the ‘quality’ newspapers and magazines. Synchronicity can no longer be closely identified, however, with Jung’s concept; partly because Jung himself did not claim to present it as a fully-fledged theory. In the foreword to his essay on the subject, he explained that he was making good a promise which for many years he had lacked the courage to fulfil; ‘the difficulties of the problem and its presentation seemed to me too great; too great the intellectual responsibility without which a subject cannot be tackled; too inadequate, in the long run, my scientific training’. His research into symbols, however, had brought the problem closer; and as he had been alluding to synchronicity for twenty years he felt it was time to explain what he had in mind by it – though this would entail, he feared, ‘uncommon demands on the open-mindedness and goodwill of the reader.’ It still does, not least because Jung was not good at elucidating obscurities in his ideas. His ‘scarab’ illustration of synchronicity gives a clearer picture than his attempts to describe it as a theory: the unconscious minds of therapist and patient, brought into collaboration by the need of the patient to find a way out of her problems and the need of the therapist to help her, are assisted by synchronicity in the form of a contribution from the collective unconscious – an archetype, the scarabeid beetle, arriving at the opportune moment in the session.
How, though, was this done? Jung turned to Pauli to explain that the new physics left the door open for the acceptance of acausal forces; and to Rhine, for the evidence which his research at Duke University had provided for the reality of psi phenomena, showing how the intercommunication between individuals – and, presumably, between individuals and the collective unconscious – could be accounted for. But this pushed Jung into accepting that the phenomena should be considered acausal: a source of confusion.
It was Jung’s harping on acausality which chiefly irritated Koestler when he came to examine the theory of synchronicity. Starting from the acausality premise, he complained, Jung had nevertheless ended up with the notion that the archetypes had somehow engineered the scarab’s appearance at the window. The confusion had arisen, John Beloff has explained, because of Jung’s arbitrary decision to restrict the meaning of causality to the way in which it is understood in physics. Jung had taken for granted that because trials had shown that telepathic communication appeared to be instantaneous, regardless of the distances involved, it must be acausal, as this was how quantum physics classified acausality.
But ‘what this argument overlooks is that the concept of cause was not invented by physicists’. It was surely nonsensical to claim that the findings from card-guessing trials for telepathy, if they were positive, were not causally related. Whether Uri Geller bends keys by normal or paranormal means, ‘the one thing we can be sure about is that he causes them to bend.’ ‘Meaningful’ has also raised problems. When Jung recalled that his interest in synchronicity had been roused by coincidences which were connected ‘so meaningfully that their “chance” concurrence would represent a degree of improbability that would have to be expressed by an astronomical figure’, he was using the term in a special sense. It is usually employed – as, for that matter, is ‘synchronicity’ – to describe a coincidence which has a meaning for the person or people it has involved, in the sense of giving the impression that it may have been designed for them, for good or ill. An improbable coincidence excites curiosity, but the improbability does not make it meaningful in this second sense; whereas a coincidence which ordinarily would be readily attributed to chance can become meaningful if it leaves those concerned wondering if it has implications for them, personally.
Synchronicity may be the best known theory to account for meaningful coincidences, Grattan-Guinness has observed, but it is ‘probably the most feeble’ – he is one of many parapsychologists who share Koestler’s irritation with it. As an alternative Grattan-Guinness offers ‘propensity’, a hypothesis covering a group of theories which have in common the assumption that ‘nature’, including the person involved and his environment, ‘has a propensity to fall into certain states of affairs which are favourable (or unfavourable) to psi events’ – a notion related to Sir Karl Popper’s theory of probabilities, set out in his Logic of Scientific Discovery. The most convincing criticism of Jung’s theory, however, is Eisenbud’s.
Jung had the idea of synchronicity, and then contrived to fuse psi into it. But if psi is accepted on Eisenbud’s or Sheldrake’s model, there is less need for synchronicity.
Most meaningful coincidences can be accounted for without it.
As things stand, therefore, it would be unwise to try to resuscitate synchronicity in its original form. Nevertheless the basic idea of an acausal connecting principle, as Beloff concedes, ‘is not devoid of meaning’. The concept of acausality may have to be dispensed with, ‘but the type of cause that we are left with is very different from the type of cause we associated with mechanical forces’. The essential point, David Peat claims in Synchronicity (1987), is that Jung presented a hypothesis which spanned the apparently unbridgeable gap ‘between the objective and subjective approaches to the question of the universe and our role within it.’
Synchronicity provides us with a starting point, for it represents a tiny flaw in the fabric of all that we have hitherto taken for a reality.
Synchronicities give us a glimpse beyond our conventional notions of time and causality into the immense patterns of nature, the underlying dance which connects all things and the mirror which is suspended between inner and outer universes. With synchronicity as our starting point it becomes possible to begin the construction of a bridge that spans the worlds of mind and matter, physics and psyche.
“Jung Revisited” is an extract from Coincidence: a Matter of Chance – or Synchronicity? by Brian Inglis.

"…es Ginebra la que me parece la más propicia a la felicidad"

Borges en Ginebra
Borges en Ginebra

Florencia Carbone escribe:
Caminar por las ordenadas pero laberínticas callecitas ginebrinas despierta sentimientos encontrados: a pesar de ser la segunda ciudad más poblada de Suiza, hay tanto silencio que es posible escuchar el ruido de los propios pasos.
Ginebra está acostumbrada a “hacer podio”: en los rankings internacionales suele aparecer en los primeros lugares tanto cuando se evalúa calidad de vida como cuando lo que se mide es el costo de la vida.
Borges, que hizo parte del secundario en el Instituto Calvino (en honor a Juan Calvino, teólogo que nació en Ginebra, en 1509, y es considerado como uno de los padres de la Reforma Protestante), y eligió esta ciudad para pasar sus últimos años, decía de Ginebra: “De todas las ciudades del mundo, de todas las patrias íntimas a las que un hombre aspira hacerse acreedor en el transcurso de sus viajes, es Ginebra la que me parece la más propicia a la felicidad. A ella le debo el haber descubierto, desde 1914, el francés, el latín, el alemán, el expresionismo, Schopenhauer, la doctrina de Buda, el Taoísmo, Conrad, Lafcadio Hearn y la nostalgia de Buenos Aires”.