Tariq Ramadan QuotesTariq Ramadan is a Swiss Muslim academic, philosopher, and writer. He was a Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at St Antony's College, Oxford and the Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford, but as of 2018 is taking an agreed leave of absence.
As Muslims, our interests are our values. In any society, be it in Western or Muslim-majority countries, our duty is that of critical loyalty: Staying loyal to our countries by always being critically engaged in the name of the principles of justice, equality and human brotherhood. We should be the ethical and moral voice wherever we are by saying that, even though we understand economic and geo-strategic interests, we cannot accept a violation of these principles by any society.
Saying that the origin of the Islamic State (IS) is within the Muslim Brotherhood organisation only strengthens IS. This is what the Israeli government asserts when claiming that Hamas and IS are the exact same thing. By saying so, the historical resistance [against the Israeli occupation] is viewed as unlawful, called extremism and terrorism.
I look to Islamic ethics to find something that can provide the basis for shared values with other traditions, and ultimately universal values. This ties into the point I made in a book, ‘The Quest for Meaning’, that the only way for values to be universal is if they are shared universal values. My main point is, in this quest for value the aim is not to express your distinctness from others, but about being able to contribute to the discussion of universal value.
We need to revisit how the Prophet dealt with water, animals, in how he talked about slaughtering, caring for plants and so forth. Respect towards nature is a part of Islam. This is essential but Muslims are not aware. The whole world is talking about global warming and respecting nature but Muslims are not doing enough of that.
You cannot limit the debate to being solely in favour or against. It should be more complex. When you condemn, you need to understand what led to it. In general, if it is our responsibility to condemn terrorist actions after they had happened, we have an even greater responsibility beforehand to make sure they won’t happen.
I opposed the Fatwa against Salman Rushdie. I read the book and took a critical distance. I did not think The Satanic Verses is a blasphemous book. I did not consider the book as being a great read, but as an intellectual I read, I assess, and I respond. I make a difference between true freedom of expression to which we owe a response and provocation, which we ignore.