Tariq Ramadan

From Academic Kids

Tariq Said Ramadan (born 1962 in Geneva, Switzerland) is a Francophone Swiss Muslim academic and scholar.



His maternal grandfather is Hassan al Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. His father, Said Ramadan, fled Egypt due to the persecution of that organization, and settled in Switzerland. Tariq Ramadan studied philosophy and French literature, having two doctorates, one in Philosophy, and the other in Islam. He also studied Arabic and Islam in Al Azhar Islamic university in Cairo, Egypt. He held the position of lecturer of Religion and Philosophy at the University of Fribourg and the College de Saussure, Geneva, Switzerland. In February 2004, he accepted a tenured position of Luce professor of religion at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, USA. However, in late July 2004, his visa was revoked by the State Department, and he was forced to return to Switzerland. [1] (http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=domesticNews&storyID=6060480). No specific reason was cited for the visa revocation, just a general reference to stricter security measures. In December 2004 Ramadan submitted his resignation to Notre Dame, as the State Department never provided him a new visa.

Tariq Ramadan is married and has 4 children. His wife is French, and converted to Islam after their marriage.


Being born and raised in Europe, Tariq Ramadan advocates that Muslims living in the West should not view themselves as foreigners or temporary residents in their respective countries, but rather as full citizens with full rights and responsibilities. His message is about integration and not alienation from the surrounding society. The main theme of his book, To Be a European Muslim attempts to bridge the gap between being a Muslim and being European.

He also advocates that immigrant parents not confuse culture with religion. Their second generation kids born in Western countries have to adopt the tastes and cultural norms of their country, and not their parents' homeland.

He sees no conflict between being a Muslim, and being a full citizen in Western countries, active in the community and caring about it. He criticizes the 'us vs. them' mentality that some Muslims advocate against the West. He also advocates having Muslim scholars in the West who are versed in the ways of the West, and not relying on religious studies that come from the Muslim lands only.

He is the first Muslim Intellectual to declare a moratorium on hudud laws, in the absence of a proper functioning Muslim State.


Tariq Ramadan was initially (2000 to 2002) lauded in Western media as a Muslim reformer, and even dubbed the Muslim "Martin Luther".

Later, in 2003 and 2004, however Tariq Ramadan was attacked intensively by the French secular establishment, and Zionist proponents.

The French secularists attacks are mainly from some intellectuals, as well as secular government officials. They accuse him as being "the master of double talk," saying one thing to the non-Muslim public, and the opposite to the Muslim audience. Nicolas Sarkozy, then French Minister of Interior in a televised debate, accused him publicly of this. His stances on Muslims youth better remaining within their own religious community (especially for their personal and marital relations) is considered as segregationist, at odds with his pretended integration preference. His refusal to condemn stoning for sharia crimes until April of 2005 was once also an issue.

Other charges levelled against him in French media is that he is sexist, and a reactionary Islamist. More fundamentally, his attitude towards European legal and democratic institutions is dubious at best because of his insistence that Muslims should literally respect the Qur'an and sharia, and that there would be no incompatibility between those and the secular democratic society. This conflict is nevertheless quite explicitly recognised by the European Court of Human Rights, which said that "The Court concurs () that sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy" (13/02/2003).

It should be noted that these criticisms came at a tense time between French secularists and officials on one hand and Muslim on the other hand, because of the hijab issue, and the French government banning it from schools and official buildings. His detractors have known prejudices against Muslim leadership that does not fit their own vision of Islam.

Other French intellectuals and Zionist proponents accused Tariq Ramadan of being anti-Semitic. Like most Muslims, Tariq Ramadan is against the policies of the state of Israel and the occupation.

These accusations are echoed by people in the USA who are considered Islamophobes themselves or have strong pro-Zionist opinons, such as Daniel Pipes. Pipes was quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying: "I worry that he [Tariq Ramadan] is engaged in a complex game of appearing as a moderate but has connections to Al Qaeda." He said he read about those connections in the French media.

The charge of anti-Semitism and some of the double talk accusations are vehemently denied by Tariq Ramadan and his sympathisers [2] (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040830.wramandan30/BNPrint/Front/).

However, the conflict between secular democratic society and sharia/Qur'an has never been recognised by Tariq Ramadan. In all cases where conficts exist (mainly between equality and propriety, or secular law and religious law), Tariq Ramadan consistently chooses the sharia over the democratic state. As such, one might conclude that Tariq Ramadan, although strongly aspiring toward a modern, revigorated Islam and well versed in modernistic ideas, is essentially favouring a very well-packaged, but nevertheless pure and uncompromising Islamism.


His books and are widely read by the francophone young Muslims in France. His lectures are also widespread on cassette tapes as well.

He also takes tours lecturing in the USA, and Canada where his views were well received.


In English:

In French:

External links

Homepage Tariq Ramadan (http://www.tariqramadan.com) "An International call for Moratorium on corporal punishment, stoning and the death penalty in the Islamic World" (http://www.tariqramadan.com/calls/an_international_call_for_moratorium_on_corporal_punishment_stoning_and_the_death_penalty_in_the_islamic_world-article264.html?lang=en)

Quotes and Interviews:

Articles on Tariq Ramadan

es:Tariq Ramadan fr:Tariq Ramadan nl:Tariq Ramadan


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