Tariq Ramadan: the West’s Pluralist Future

November 20, 2006 § 3 Comments

The overall sentiment of Pope Benedict XVI’s planned visit to Turkey, is not as warm and welcome as he might have hoped in days prior to that fateful speech last September. Since then there has been a flood of news stories done on the Pope and Islam, that even I have contributed to ([1], [2], [3], [4], [5] and [6]). And while there has been criticism of Pope Benedict’s statements there has also been criticism of Muslims and their erred responses. Though now, after all of the mudslinging and dust kicking has subsided, perhaps we can have a dialogue. However, not a dialogue between the West and other civilizations, we need a sincere dialogue in the West among Westerners about the future of Islam within our civilization here at home asTariq Ramadan suggests,

“What the West needs most today is not so much a dialogue with other civilizations but an honest dialogue with itself–one that acknowledges those traditions within Western civilization that are almost never recognized. Europe, in particular, must learn to reconcile itself with the diversity of its past in order to master the coming pluralism of its future.” (T. Ramadan, TIME)

Part of what Ramadan is hinting at is reminding Westerners of Islam’s contribution to the West presently and historically. For example, rationalist Muslim thinkers like al-Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes, al-Ghazali, ash-Shatibi and ibn Khaldun, were Western-Muslim scientists and philosophers whose brilliant ideas and discoveries provided and entryway to modernity, let’s not forget.

If interested I have provided a link to a BBC Production on the history Islam in Europe.

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§ 3 Responses to Tariq Ramadan: the West’s Pluralist Future

  • OmarG says:

    Quite true. I wonder which non-Muslim Westerners will take what side within the Western debate. Would we as native Western Muslims have a place in that debate?

    I’ve seen the documentary and others like it on PBS. Usually they are very well made and good for non-Muslims to see a different Muslim past than the ones they are taught. Of course, the flip side to that is many Muslims use it to pump up various “Islamic” ideologies. What we forget is that many of the scientists we laud today were condemned by the Ulama of the time as heretics. Some of them were, while others were accused just because they upset someone powerful. Our past is much more complex than even most of us portray it as. And, I also wonder just why the scientists’ existance and accomplishments are used by us to claim something good for Islam, as if Islam is a being that can be credited. Instead, I’d wonder whether these scientists were influenced more by reading Greek rationalist thought translated mostly from Aramaic books, or from the Quran and sunnah.

  • Abu Sahajj says:

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum brother,

    “What we forget is that many of the scientists we laud today were condemned by the Ulama of the time as heretics.”

    You are right about that…

    “And, I also wonder just why the scientists’ existance and accomplishments are used by us to claim something good for Islam, as if Islam is a being that can be credited.”

    I don’t think that it is Islam being credited, rather those within the Islamic circle, the Muslims.

    “Instead, I’d wonder whether these scientists were influenced more by reading Greek rationalist thought translated mostly from Aramaic books, or from the Quran and sunnah.”

    But you do realize that ALL of Greek knowledge was absorbed into Islamic thought after Amr Ibn-el-Aas captured Alexandria in 640 C.E.. So it doesn’t matter really, the Greeks knowledge was and still is part of the Arab, Islamic School of thought.

  • […] The Pope determined to complete his trip to Turkey arrived in Istanbul on Tuesday to meet with Orthodox Christian leaders and Turkey’s Prime Minister. But the “overall sentiment” has not changed much about this issue. Generally speaking, it appears the Pope is not welcomed as approximately 25,000 protesters urged the Pope to “stay home” over the weekend. However, it should be noted that the Pope’s visit to Turkey was to resolve old tensions between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Christians as discussed in Sylvia Poggioli’s commentary, “Pope Benedict’s trip was originally planned as part of an effort to mend a thousand-year-old rift between Catholics and Orthodox Christians.” […]

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