Monday, February 5, 2007

NYT: Tariq Ramadan Has an Identity Issue

I knew there was a reason I liked this guy:

Ramadan’s favorite Muslim philosophers are the late-19th-century reformists Muhammad Abduh and Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, who tried to revive Islam under Western colonial rule by rational interpretation of the holy texts. They were skeptical of religious tradition, accumulated over time, and looked for core principles in the Koran that spoke to reason. For them there was no contradiction between scientific reasoning and their Muslim faith. And female emancipation or democratic government could be reconciled with the original principles of Islam. Both had lived in Europe. Both were harsh critics of colonialism and Western materialism. In Ramadan’s words, “They saw the need to resist the West, through Islam, while taking what was useful from it.”


But what exactly are his politics? Ramadan explained to me what shaped his political understanding: “In my family, resistance was a key concept, resistance against dictatorship and colonialism. When I was 18, I started to travel to southern countries, in Latin America, India and Africa. The people I met were often leftists. The liberation theologists in Brazil were very important, resisting in the name of religious principles. I was at home with this discourse. I was also close to the Tibetans and spent one month with the Dalai Lama. It was the same philosophy, spiritual commitment and resistance, in their case against Chinese colonialism. Perhaps because of these personal experiences, I started to read the work of my own grandfather, who used the Scriptures, the story of Moses, against British colonialism. He was saying in the 1940s what the liberation theologists were saying in the 1960s."

Must set asside some money to pick up his new book.


"The Evolutionary" said...

Salam Sister: I just started reading Tariq Ramadan myself. Anxious to learn more from him. I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog and will link to it! Cant wait to read more than your first page here! Masha Allah, please keep blogging.

rahma said...

Wa salaam!

JazakAllah khair for the comment. I am still slogging my way through his "Western Muslims." I'm not letting myself buy his new one on the Prophet (saws) until I finish it. It's just so dense and full of ideas that I have to mull over that I don't move through it very quickly.

inshaAllah I'll keep blogging! I've been distracted lately with my exercise goals, but I'll be surfing the web more for stuff to write about :)