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Why I will not attend the ISNA (August 2014) and RIS (December 2014) conferences

In recent years I have been a faithful participant in two major events of the North American Muslim calendar. As a regular attendee at these annual gatherings, I wish to express my warmest thanks to the institutions, and to the women and men who made them the success they undoubtedly were.

This year, however, I have decided not to attend or participate in the conferences organized by ISNA from August 29 to September 1 in Detroit, and by RIS, from December 26-28 2014, in Toronto. The reasons are different, but point to similar causes.

The leaders of ISNA can boast a proud record of service to American Muslims, for which they must be thanked and congratulated. The annual ISNA convention is an important gathering, featuring a multiplicity of participants and a broad cross-section of activities. In recent years, however, the political positions taken by the organization’s leadership have not always been clear-cut. Though it is essential, I believe, to remain open to dialogue with the authorities, it is likewise essential that positions of principle must be maintained, re-affirmed and defended. Not simply for the good of the Muslims, but in the name of the contribution of American Muslims to their society. Criticism of the domestic policy of the current administration, like those that preceded it, is a moral obligation. Summary arrests, arbitrary prison terms, inhuman psychological torture and solitary confinement, the shadowy role of informers and the deeply troubling and unacceptable methods used by the FBI, which has provoked young people to engage in extremist actions, must be unconditionally condemned. Not in the name of Islam, but in the name of the values proclaimed by the United States. However, the ISNA leadership is too often silent, as if paralyzed by fear. It fares no better with respect to American foreign policy. Its silence over American support for the outlaw and inhuman policies of Israel cannot be justified, even less so after attending an iftar organized by the White House during which President Obama defended Israel while the Israeli ambassador tweeted his delight! We cannot be forever silent: what kind of active and responsible citizenship does the ISNA leadership offer young American Muslims? What kind of example? That of silent, fearful sycophants–or of free, public-spirited citizens who, while defending the values of human dignity and justice, serve their country in the most sincere and critical way? That of the unconditional loyalty of the timorous, or the critical loyalty of free individuals? To attend the ISNA convention would be to endorse their silence.

Nor will I be attending RIS this year. The reasons are different, the causes similar. The organizers have long demonstrated their effectiveness; they wish to convey the impression of favoring a plurality of voices. But in fact, it is the so-called “Sufi” and “apolitical” trend that lies at the core of the RIS convention. I do not have the slightest problem with this trend (on the contrary), or its underlying structures and aims. The problem is that some of the participants, scholars or preachers, under the guise of Sufism or in the name of avoiding partisan politics, defend highly politicized positions of support for states and dictatorships. Their silence and their inferences in the heart of the West, in Toronto or elsewhere, constitute visible support for the Gulf petro-monarchies or for despots such as al-Sissi in Egypt. This while dictators from Syria to Iraq by way of Egypt are imprisoning, torturing and killing innocents by the thousands. They cast themselves as above the conflict, while the “Sufism” they offer is highly politicized and too well adjusted to the boots of the State. But I will have none of this. When some speakers boast in public of their openness but refuse to participate in panel discussions to avoid being exposed, openness goes by the board. When the same people support dictatorial governments, coherence flies out the window. I cannot, by my presence, lend implicit approval to such positions.

Spare me please any talk of my family background: I have sufficiently criticized the Islamist movements—all of them, without exception–and their choices that my approach cannot be reduced to anything resembling even implicit support. My position is that all dictators must be confronted, all injustices must be fought; we cannot be silent, or feign silence while supporting the worst regimes.

I have said it once and I will say it again: Western Muslims will in the future assume a critical role. Educated and living in free societies, they must acquire greater knowledge of their religion and become free, active and outspoken citizens, fully aware of their duties and dedicated to the defense of their rights. In the United States, just as in Canada and in Europe, they must defend everyone’s human dignity, and refuse to keep silent in the face of intimidation by the state. Drawing on their spirituality and their values, their commitment will be their finest contribution, the best possible example of the contribution of Muslim citizens to the future of the West. The leaders of the previous generation are too cautious, too fearful; they dare not speak freely.

I am also a member of a generation that is passing on. It is up to the new generation to produce leaders who have understood that in bending over backwards, in saying “Yes sir!” they sacrifice not only their dignity, but forget and betray their duty. I dream of a new feminine and masculine leadership, educated, free and bold, a leadership that does not confuse the concept of dialogue with the authorities with unacceptable compromise and intellectual surrender, a leadership that does not transform Sufism, the historical underpinning of so many liberation movements, into a school of silence and cowardly calculation. As I look around me, I see the first premises of a dream come true, alhamdulLilah.

I am well aware that the position I am taking will sound off sharp criticism; others may simply decide not to invite me. For years I have dealt with criticisms of my person, my training, my credibility. I have no time to waste with these low blows and refer readers to my résumé, which can be found on my website (http://tariqramadan.com/english/biography/). These are the same individuals who attack my character to avoid responding to the content of my critical thought. I know their methods all too well, but I refuse to waste my time by answering their attacks, which are nothing but a manoeuvre to sidestep the true subject. It is impossible for me to attend such events when my presence alone would imply support for positions that stand in total contradiction to my vision of the role of Western Muslims in their society, now and in the future. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. It is imperative that we educate ourselves, and that we display good judgement and fortitude. If those around us are silent in the face of the unacceptable, the conscience of Muslims must not remain silent, neither in the name of wisdom betrayed, nor of Sufism perverted.

170 commentaires - “Why I will not attend the ISNA (August 2014) and RIS (December 2014) conferences”

  1. احسن ما عملت،هذا زمن الابتعاد عن الشبهات و وضوح الموقف . احييك على شجاعتك و اقول لك ان ما فعلت لا يققلل من مكانتك شيء بل يضاف الى رصيدك اخوك عبد الصادق من المغرب

  2. Your presence was so constructive and necessary last year, wouldn’t it be better to talk and to give an alternative point of view, more centered upon political issue like you did last year? I think that your absence will only be in disfavoured of the 20 000 young muslims who wants to nurture their taughts.

    We thank you for your commitement and your accessibilty of last year by having giving access to people to talk to you freely. I will always remember this as a part of your philosphy.

    Sami

  3. Thank you prof. Ramadan for speaking out on this. I’m continually baffled and then led in one direction then another when it comes to how we view some of our religious elders and their views on the despots who claim leadership of ‘our’ lands. I hope in coming years we collectively have the intelligence and strength to know and speak the truth, without fear of our own inadequacies.. integrity is a rare and precious commodity in this era

  4. I am very pleased with your position. Finally someone was able to stand up and state the facts behind RIS and ISNA. JazakAllahu khairan Ustadh Tariq!

    1. Dr. Tariq Ramadan. I agree with your critical thoughts on ISNA and RIS. For instance, you had said the past the Islamist opposition should not seek power but seek to be a counter power, they did not heed your sound advice; then we have all seen what has happened. It is really shameful ISNA and RIS leadership are taking a cowardly position while representing us proud, decent and dignified American muslims. But don’t you worry about nothing. You have done well serving the PEOPLE faithfully just like your father. You have done your part and played your role as the ulema of the umma. We the muslim youth of the west are very thankful for all your immense contributions in adding and advancing to the understanding of our religion, identities and for becoming a bridge for understanding between cultures and civilizations. You are that bright jewel ulema who comes every 100 years to revive the Deen. Your generation maybe passing, but your legacy and ideas inscribed in your books and many talks will live thru us the youth. May Allah protect you and preserve you our beloved Ulema. I will make dua for you.

  5. I support Tariq Ramadan’s decision, as it is high time for muslim countries to stand united as well as the organizations.

  6. Wow. Maasha Allah, this is a historic document and much needed wake up call.

    Tariq Ramadan has spoken what many of us have been saying and thinking about for so long.

    It is so unfortunate to see some of our organizations choosing to be the silent and consenting in the face of injustice. They don’t have to do this.

    I have been an elected Democratic Party official at the national level – while still being critical of the party platform. I have campaigned for President Obama while voicing criticism of his words and actions on NPR. American political culture does not require total compliance to any domestic or foreign policy matter for active civil society organizations.

    Yet, ISNA routinely invites U.S. government departments dealing with defense or other foreign-related matters, with one exception, to set up booths at its annual convention. They are cultivating and solidifying the idea that Muslims are a foreign element, and one that is a threat to the country and/or interested only in matters pertaining to issues overseas. You will rarely, if ever, find any agency present that deals with domestic issues.

    And this comes after ISNA did not openly oppose the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and refused to allow any panels to discuss them. This was at a time when many other American Christian denominations were vociferously speaking out against them. ISNA even invited a U.S. deputy/assistant Secretary of Defense to explain why the Iraq war was right – instead of making the session an open dialog where Muslims could voice their opposition to this position.

    For years, the conference began with a video message of the King of Jordan. I always wondered why this person, a monarch who has not been democratically elected by his people, was so consistently shown before audiences at the convention.

    In short, Muslim organizations must learn that having a place at the table should not mean accepting everything the host is serving. We can refuse and we can speak up in the best way, graciously and respectfully – but firmly, fulfilling our promise to God to be “witnesses to humankind” of the Truth (Quran 22:78) and to “stand up for justice” (Quran 4:135) for all.

    Let us not jump on saying that this criticism will divide Muslims. I believe a critical discourse actually strengthens our commUnity: http://www.soundvision.com/info/muslims/criticism.asp

    Once again JazakAllahu Khaira

    1. As Salaamu Alaykum:
      Imam Waritheddin Mohammed presented an empowering lecture that is carried on our Compilation Website “We are with the Imam” entitled:”The shackles of slavery.” Imam Mohammed Identifies the emotionally and psychologically emasculating, indeed crippling effects of enslavement by western powers on the minds and hearts of the African American and their oppressed DESCENDANTS of that enslavement. It is a psychic legacy that spiritually castrates many of us ’til to this minute.
      Could it be that many of the “Leaders” of these SOCALLED Muslim organizations suffer from a similar emasculating and crippling Spiritual Disease [fear] from the ‘shackles of COLONIALISM’? I am particularly reminded of the PBS DVD GOLD Documentary; “Lawrence of Arabia ~ The Battle for the Arab World” with its plain reference to both the Balfour Agreement and Rothchild family’s “request” to the British Government for the GIFT of PALESTINE for a JEWISH HOMELAND and your “Resistance was Futile”.

  7. Jazak Allah Khair Sh Tariq Ramadan. Well said and much needed for leaders such as yourself to take a stand in this manner.

  8. I understand and agree with your criticism, but then again, I feel this is the exact reason why you should be attending. The majority of attendees will not know why you didn’t attend nor fully understand your stance, thus it’s probably more important for you to be there and voice your concern.

    During the First Continental Congress, the 2nd and the subsequent Constitutional Convention, a number of delegates including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton and many others had numerous differences about the direction of the nation. However, they recognized that if they did not attend and their opinions expressed, their positions would not be strengthened.

    It is during these times in which such voices need to be heard so that our collective future can be of more benefit to the Muslim community. InshaAllah you will reconsider your position and attend these conventions and further initiatives in the future.

    1. As Salaamu Alaykum: Mr. Bradley, your THINKING can benefit greatly from a review of Brother Ramadan’s previous statements of his position, the contents of his website and blogs and his work to date. Your FEELINGS are under examined emotion. What your FEELINGS miss is his submission to the dictates of his INTEGRITY.

    1. As Salaamu Alaykum: Unity in What? Cowardice? Allah(swt) is not unmindful of those who will “go along [with any program of injustice] to get along [with disregard for Allah(swt)’s instructions, admonitions and warnings]. When you dedicate more effort to the study of the Life of our Prophet, may the Prayers and Peace be upon him, you will better recognize and appreciate his stance.

  9. Being vocal and highly educated to stand for our rights is a great approach. But amidst this low spirited majority of Muslims ( busy earning a luxarous living) who present an expilling picture of Islam; I personally have to appreciate the silent resistance of Sufi. People sympathize with who they originally like.

    1. As Salaamu Alaykum: Our Prophet(pbuh) told us that it was our Duty to help our Brother when we see him going wrong. When asked how we were to help when we see him going wrong, he instructed us to first stop him [hold him back] with our hands; if we could not do that, to stop him [call him back] with our mouths; if we couldn’t do that to at least hate his wrong in our hearts. He then said that the last was the WEAKEST of the three. Where is the strength in silent resistance?

  10. Brother and Scholar – Tariq Ramadan (Sahab),

    I have to endorse your views fully, I reckon you have hit the nail on the head. I have been living for 5 years in Canada and I have come to realize a wide gap between what is preached and what is practiced by the Islamic leadership right across the board (there may be exceptions but extremely few and far in between).

    We are not leading by example – a classic case happened only about a fortnight ago – there was a rally in Ottawa against the incursion in Gaza, there was not one senior person – we were being led by what I would call undergraduate students. The only senior person was from IJV (Independent Jewish Voice).

    The people were from all walks of life (age, color, gender, religion) and my salute to all of them. But where was the Islamic leadership, we have over 8 Masajids in Ottawa. Surely we are not behaving as one Ummah – where the pain of one is felt by everyone.

    Like you, though I would like to remain hopeful and would like to see and be that agent of change where we indeed lead by example.

  11. I totally agree with. That is one of the reason i stopped attending and taking my children despite my belief that children do benefit of these kind of gatherings. Good luck, and pray that you and people like you will see a need of more independent organization that is not afraid to speak up its minds in accordance to our beloved messenger, peace be upon him.

  12. I commend Brother Tariq for taking this stand. May others follow. The Muslim movement cannot with rationality, sincerity, honesty, continue to exist in a political vacuum. However invincible the high barriers around the government structures that claim to guard the dream of democracy, you remain accountable for your silence and willingness to discount your efforts to affect change.

    No one wants to feel responsible for an outcome that is less than desirable. We deal with life’s unmanageable situations by shifting responsibility for the results to fate. Fate is that ubiquitous companion, spanning both time and place. We use it to explain a range of effects as a result of our action and inaction; the belief that whatever happens was supposed to happen.

    The fact is fate is not responsible for the murder of Palestinians or for the strong armed military assault in Gaza. It did not destroy the hospitals and schools where children sought safety or cause them to be burned by bombs or bleed to death.

    Human beings decide themselves whether or not to take a hand in altering the terms of unjust societies where these things are possible. Ignoring these facts eases the psychological burden of a difficult time, but is also comes at the cost of short-circuiting effective decision-making and powerful change.

    Neutral-based behavior or non-activism are almost always dishonest and, when taken too far, become beyond pathetic. Injustice is a part of the equation that requires mobilization and should encourage tactical estimations that translate into collective action by Islamic minds with a shared understanding of the world and of themselves that initiates legitimate action and motivates collaboration.

    Khalilah Sabra
    MAS Immigrant Justice Center

    1. As Salaamu Alaykum [Peace be UPON you] It continues to fascinate how our Women are permitted [by Allah(swt)] to wear their own clothing to the Hajj Rituals but it is we males who are required to put off the garments that give us a false sense of distinction. I do believe that you Sisters are more intellectually honest and, in too many cases, more courageous than any of us who call ourselves Men.

  13. JazakAllah khair wa barak Allaho feek, brother Tariq. Well said and well-written. A much needed reminder that everyone should read and share.

  14. Asalaamalaikum,

    Likewise, Professor Ramadan, it is essential that positions of principle must be maintained, affirmed and defended by scholars like yourself. For example, for the good of Muslims who are learning to live in Pluralistic societies and who are suddenly making political decisions with global consequences, it is essential that leaders like yourself be willing to spell out exactly what they mean when then climb upon stages at major conferences and proclaim without further elucidation: “I WILL NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT PALESTINE.”

    So since you won’t be with me in Detroit, please tell me now: What exactly is your position on the content of The Hamas Charter? Do you believe it should be rescinded in entirety, amended
    or do you agree with its content? If you disagree with parts of it, with which parts do you disagree?

    Thank you.

  15. BarakAllahu feel. My family and I have also boycotted ISNA this year. ISNA has been quiet about topics that should at the very least be addressed and acknowledged. Furthermore, ISNA has inexplicably invited many Shia speakers, when not a single Shia Imam in the US has denounced the slaughter of Sunni Muslims in Syria.

  16. Salaams. I am not at all surprised or shocked at the position that you have taken. I agree with you 100%. The leadership of both organization are living in another world as if the plight of muslims in other areas of the world does not exist. Putting your head in the sand is not the way to deal with issues. I laude you for your forthrightness, honesty and the courage to take a stand for what is right. Thank you Dr. Ramadan.

  17. May Allah bless you and protect you. I agree with you 100% and admire your courge. The ummah…no the entire world…needs more leaders like you.

  18. I commend the Sheik for his bold position. Our ummah is falling apart and these gathering which are positive nonetheless its shows our leaders are avoiding taking any controversial positions.

  19. I read with admiration the comments of Dr. Tariq Ramadan. Those with a conscience will easily relate to the pathetic chokehold for power the entire leadership of the OIC displays. Our national organizations need to stand up for truth in the face of power. Only then can we claim the moral high ground and be able to arrest the erosion of values and principles both in the public and private domain. Our leaders need more spine to stand in solidarity with the likes of Dr. Ramadan. JZK.

    1. ASA: No, it takes More than the ‘leaders’ standing; it takes we, the Believers standing:”Like a solid, cemented structure”. That’s why he demanded you seek education. The BEST Education is in the Revelation to Mohammad(pbuh) and the Life he lived manifesting that Revelation.

  20. I believe your position on this issue is totally wrong you could have come and address this issue to ISNA leadership or the general audience ant it will have bene more productive, but to turn people away from the organization that has realize great success for them is to destroy that organization secretly, although this may not be your intention but that is the end result.
    One the greatest failure of the Muslims in our time is the absence dialog we don’t want to discuss our differences everyone is entitled to his own opinion and sometimes takes very extreme stand against his opponent.
    This has destroyed our relationships in many of our Home countries and we should have learned from our mistakes and not act in the same manner in our new countries.
    We all know that people in the west discuss their differences and try to find the best solution to their problems i don’t understand why Muslims in the west can’t do the same.

    I hope you will reconsider your decision and attend the convention and encourage people to attend.

    1. ASA; You might really benefit from watching the PBS DVD GOLD Presentation of “LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, The Battle for the Arab World” While watching, bear in mind that MOST the Presidents of the United States of America, since George Washington, have been Moslem Shriners and/or Freemasons and most recently, members of the Yale University Fraternity < Skull & Bones.
      THE greatest failure of the global Ummah has been and remains our Failure to Follow the TWO BOOKS.

  21. Mr. Ramadan
    You are an incredible human being. You have been honest and for that you have all my respect.

    The young Muslims need leaders like you who are willing to address the real issues we face in our world.

    We are Muslims and are duty is not conform with what is wrong, but change it.

    I must say you and Imam Warith Deen Mohammed are the only reason I have ever kept an interest in Islam. No Disrespect but these other scholars could never get me interested in Islam with the emotional speeches. I am not a child…. I am an intelligent 22 year old adult… speak to my intelligence not my emotions.

    You are a true hero… keep speaking out for whats right…

    1. ASA My apologies; my comment accidentally shifted to a Reply to Basem on 10/10/14 at 5:40

  22. Your points about doctrinaire “moderates” and Sufi transcendentalists are well taken, especially as they refer to the false god of both Israeli and so-called Islamic Statism. Nevertheless, an equal threat to the rehabilitation of the world religions as a cure rather than as a cause of conflict is the herd mentality that reacts to the flameout of the Egyptian Ikhwan by supporting the extremist wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, typified by Syed Qutb, who invented the “clash of civilizations”. We hear so little, for example, about the phenomenon in Tunisia, where the former professor of philosophy, Shaykh Rachid al Ghannouchi, is trying to put into practice the wisdom of your grandfather, Hassan al Banna.

  23. Dear Dr. Ramadan:
    I dare say that it did not come as a complete surprise to me at least that the decision you have taken to not partake in ISNA and RIS conventions.this year.
    ” Summary arrests, arbitrary prison terms, inhuman psychological torture and solitary confinement, the shadowy role of informers and the deeply troubling and unacceptable methods used by the FBI, which has provoked young people to engage in extremist actions, must be unconditionally condemned. ”
    These methods will only be condemned only by those who have either experienced them first hand or have very strong sense of empathy for those suffering from it. Besides taking a stand on these issues requires a sense of duty and purpose which can only come from deep understanding of the prophets life learned under the tutelage of a learned scholars ( like you).
    I do not know how to express my feelings and sense of loss knowing that you will not be there. You were perhaps the reason in addition to one or two others have I have attended to listen.
    I personally have some issues with the spineless behavior of the organizers with respect to IRFAN Canada and bending over backword to accommodate Justin Trudeau at one of the RIS. I hope they take note that Justin and Rodger Harper have daylight ain their policies towards Israel.
    I think your declining to attend would serve as a test for both these organisations to see if it serves as a means of reformation of the organizational stance on some issues..
    MAY I SUGGEST THAT YOU ORGANIZE CRITICAL THINKING COURSES IN CANADA and US instead from next year.
    Please forgive me if I have said something which I should not have. I seek refuge with Allah Subhanuwataalah.

    Wallahu Aalim.

  24. Dear sir, I don’t know you, never even heard your name before because I live on other side of the globe. But if your description about the ISNA & RIS decisions is correct, and their role on such things is just silence then YOUR DECISION IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!! May Allah reward you for raising the voice against such silence! Amen

  25. I wholly support your views, especially on the supine attitudes of our so called leaders in positions which could have so much influence, and yet fail time after time.
    It’s time to stand up and be counted

  26. Dear Dr. Ramadan,

    I am a 19 year old student at the University of Toronto, and I am very sad to hear of your decision. My family and I (parents, aunts, uncles, as well as cousins and siblings aged 4-16) attended RIS for the past few years and always felt energized by your talks and your presence. While I’m sure some of the things you spoke about went over the younger ones’ heads there is no doubt they too are your “fans.” I truly admire everything you say and stand for.

    Throughout the past few years of my youth I have done everything I could; attend rallies (some 1000s strong), raise awareness, talk to people, send emails and letters to try and give a Muslim voice against injustice, as I too have always believed the Western Muslim voice is critical and that we should engage and take leadership roles, and yet never forget who we are and that it is our job to fight oppression.

    I will admit, with some embarrassment, that your reasons for not coming to Toronto seem out of my grasp. I feel like I am going to miss out due to the actions of my elders on a great speaker and a great talk. Not only this but the many youth in the city who are always engaging and trying their best would love to hear you speak I am sure, and like me also feel inspired by your talks. In fact, if you truly believe some of the participants at the conference are too silent and too supportive of oppression then your presence and talk could perhaps combat this attitude. I want to hear all perspectives of Muslim voices, even if they conflict. We need as many people as possible like you to speak out about this issue.

    As for the ISNA leadership, again, if they are so silent and if this translates to their invited speakers list then this is even more reason to offer your voice to the conference.

    After all this I must say that I will respect your choice, whatever you decide, . This may seem like me lacking a backbone to some people, saying that I would really like for you to speak and then backing off and saying I respect your decision regardless. This is because I know the scope of the issue is beyond my knowledge and education at the moment, although I try my hardest to read and learn more every day. I do not wish to say something wrong just because I didn’t have all the facts. If this is what needs to be done to send a message, so be it – but I will feel deprived of an experience despite my level of engagement. I’m sorry if what I have said above sounds like a weak argument, I realize this and wish I could say more.

    So as an engaged student, I ask you to reconsider speaking at the conferences. I will miss your calls to action. Please do not stop doing everything you are doing, sir.

    Best wishes.

  27. It is a sad state when a prominent thinker withdraws from such public forums , its your choice and we can only respect your choice .Most speakers at these forums besides peddling same topics and talking of past glory have nothing to offer to an educated modern muslim who struggles to be a contributing member of this ever changing world of science and technology but his culture and religious interpretation makes him/her feel guilty for worldly betterment .It would also have been comforting if you and other thinkers attended and raised these points.We have heard enough about past we need a path to build a future and be a part of this todays pluralistic world ,
    The speakers not only have to highlight excesses against muslims but excesses by muslims to be relevant.

  28. Salam Dr. Ramadan,

    So if everyone who disagreed with something at ISNA didnt go, no one would. Its a fairly neutral platform, and just because you feel they are not doing what you think is right (regardless if that is the best position or not) does not sound like courage.

    These are differences in strategy/approach, not fiqh, not aqidah, and by doing this you need to realize you are weakening what is the largest gathering of Muslims in the US where diverse opinions are expressed. The ones who are most excited at this are those who seek to have Muslims in the US further fractured and destabilized.

    ISNA is a platform, and as such many people who openly disagree with positions they may take, including yourself, can speak openly.

    May Allah open your heart to take a really courageous stand and reverse your decision, it will be better for the Muslims in the United States, and ultimately as we nurture our community, better for the Muslims across the globe including Gaza.

  29. As-Salamu-Alaikum Imam Tariq,

    I hope you and your family are in the best of health and iman.

    With that, I want to begin by acknowledging your bravery, chivalry for doing what is human and/ or Sunnah: speaking out on the truth (even if it is against oneself).

    It is no secret that what you have stated is not your opinion. Rather these are crystal clear facts that you-yourself bore witness to.

    We as the youth / next generation must learn from the challenges and triumphs of those who have came before us.

    This will prevent us from making mistakes and falling into same situations. I am reminded of an Ahadith of our Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad Ahmad Mustafa (Salallahu Alayee Wa Salam).

    باب لاَ يُلْدَغُ الْمُؤْمِنُ مِنْ جُحْرٍ مَرَّتَيْنِ

    The believer is not stung by the same hole twice. [Sahih Bukhari].

    In your message of proof, what should be read (whether we agree or disagree, like or dislike, creates happiness or sadness) is the fact that we as humans and believers must openly speak out on all injustices. Whether it be Trayvon Martin or Falasteen. Whether it be Eric Garner or Syria.

    We can not disregard, ignore topics, subjects and issues that are sensitive or may cause discomfort.

    As believers we are not in a popularity contest with the general society – rather we are in a popularity contest with Allah Ta’ala (as the Sahabah Akram used to battle in who can perform the most good deeds to please Allah).

    My staff has reach our to ISNA and requested to meet with their board, our request was either ignored or an oversight in the procession/volume of their emails, wallahu alim.

    I make du’a that Aza Wa Jala preserves your Family, Students, Community and yourself.

    Please know that you have an open invitation to visit my media platform (I am not mentioning it because I don’t want to use this as an opportunity to “market” my “brand”).

    Barakallahu Ta’ala Feek.

    Your Nephew, Brother in Al Islam, Human Family Member,

    Hanif J. Williams

  30. «It doesn’t matter what faith you follow, as long as your actions are consistent with whatever convictions and ethicals beliefs you hold»
    «Remember 2 words WISDOM in your projects and COURAGE in your resistance ~RIS2013~ » : Tariq Ramadan

    I wish your dream will come true
    As-salâm aleykoum
    thank you
    with Love

  31. I must say I stand in solidarity with this remarkable, brave and just decision. Not many leaders make these statements, that are so imperative. Your work and the message of the Quran that you strive to spread- one of humanity, responsibility and justice, on finding a balance and becoming whole…, is such an inspiration, Dr. Ramadan.

  32. I agree. The days of appearing to be indifferent, neutral, or above the fray are over. It’s time to declare our positions and defend them with courage. I was going to go to ISNA this year, but will not.

  33. Thank you, Tariq Ramadan for your decision not to attend the ISNA/RIS events. I have found the ISNA events completely divorced from the political problems faced by Muslim here in the US and round the world at a time when Muslims desperately need real leadership.

  34. Dr. Ramadan,

    Thank you for this piece. The content of your lectures (a few of which I have attended in recent years) has indeed been congruent with many of my own inner thoughts and feelings about our role as citizens in the west. I have lived in Malaysia for 10 years, Qatar for 3 years, and am a dual citizen of both the USA and Canada and as such I often feel a great responsibility towards my community and my fellow citizens This is true especially considering the freedom and opportunities that are found only here in the west and may still be a distant dream in most of the Muslim world. It would be a pleasure to meet you in person and talk about how I can best use my time for the best interests of everyone in this community. Although I am disheartened to read that you may not be attending the ISNA/RIS this year, and I know everything happens for the best inshAllah, it is true that we are in need of many more role models like yourself in the west who can integrate the beautiful values of our faith with a strong and active political presence.

    Saif Y. Khan
    4th Year Geological Engineering
    University of Waterloo
    Waterloo, Canada

  35. Masha’Allah. Finally a thinker that thinks… And a leader that leads. May Allah you reward you and keep you constant.

  36. Dear DR. Ramadan,
    I have always respected your ideas and I always look up to them in matters of religion , belief and upholding them in love of fellow humans and strengthening the sense of belonging to the countries we live in ..
    I respect and understand your decision regarding abstaining from attending the ISNA convention , being the MAN you are, and your passionate response to unforgivable stances taken by WEAK individuals.
    The thing that I cannot accept is , you not being able to say that categoracly ,and in front of everyone ,as a distintive highly respected possible speaker , lecturer in ISNA , in ” the free world” ! Are you suggesting that you are not allowed to speak up ? Or , by your own personal choice to do it safely so not to disrupt stagnant waters ??
    I find your retraction sad , and unhealthy to the advancement of Muslims in the free world .

    1. ASA: May we invite you to investigate over the forty (40) years of Video, Audio, Print and Documentary resources on the Life work of Imam Waritheddin Mohammed on the Imam W.Deen Mohammed Study Library? You will find in the Imam a spirit kindred to Professor Ramadan. He is personally responsible for over 2,000.000 persons taking Shahada. If you follow his work closely, you will find that He had to take a similar stand on principle against “spineless leaders”. Imam Mohammed called them “Sissies” while they were right on the Rostrum behind him!

  37. Jazak’Allah akhi! The muslim ummah, especially the youth, have been in need of these kinds of stances for a long time from leaders and scholars. While the youth stand up against the silence and fears, they have been deserted by previous generations far too often. However, we need leaders from your generation to reenforce the youth because we cannot do it alone! I am hoping the youth can get together and create a new kind of convention with higher relevance and no ambiguity of what the ummah needs to progress and not what it needs just to survive. For example, the khilafah is the most important project of our generation, yet leaders and scholars stay silent about it. Another example is creating relationships between masajid instead of watching them compete with each. Or why are we always told to assimilate instead of proclaiming our identity. Allah hafiz.

  38. I was never a big fan of the speakers at the conferences my self mainly just for Dawah purposes

    Better to stick to the Scholars of Ahluls Sunnah InshaAllah

  39. By not going, you are removing yourself from being able to participate in the dialogue that you should be a part of. With this article, we are also discouraging others from going to an Islamic event that helps many Muslim vendors and teaches many of our fellow Muslims tenets of our great Deen. Please reconsider your position.

  40. I am so appreciative when someone who has the ability to communicate forms into concept what I have felt and been unable to express. I have been involved with ISNA for 30 some years and have seen the paling of the stand, the “trying to be the nice guy that everyone loves”. over conviction of principle. Thumbs UP

  41. Dear Mr. Ramadan,

    My name is Adnan Zabian and I live in Toronto Canada. I have attemded your live conferences as well as followed your online lectures for a long wile.

    I wanted to tell you personally that I have started a fb page that calls to boycott you in canada and the US. The reason being is that how I can understand what your stamd point is, the aimple fact that your choosing to boycott the events because of that ISNA dod not say anything at the white house and throwing RIS in the mix is nothing short of a complete cop out and i have chosen to boycott you and encouraging others to do so. You live in a country that manufacturers the largest amout of israeli drones in the world, and your critisizing us. I encourage you never to return here to north america if you are going tonuse islam for your own ajenda much like you accused Isna of the same. With you any proof of this so called suffi ajenda. If you wosh to contact me do so at anytime and just know you will hear of me more in the furure I am sure.

    Sincerly,

    Adnan Zabian.

  42. I agree that “the ISNA leadership is too often silent, as if paralyzed by fear.” It has a lot it can rightfully be proud of, but it should either speak out on matters of principle, or withdraw their participation and let others speak out.

    One principle that is to be found in the history of successful Islamic societies is open debate. The Indian Muslim King Akbar encouraged debate on Islam itself. Yet Muslim leaders (ISNA is not alone in this) shy away from debating the one issue that has had the most negative effect on Muslims in this century — 9/11.

    When it comes to 9/11, Muslim leaders are paralyzed by fear — http://www.twf.org/News/Y2010/0803-Fear.html

  43. Salamu Alaikum,

    Dear Dr. Ramadan,

    Your stand is both admirable and courageous. While many my find it uncomfortable, even unbecoming, of a scholar to single out certain organizations by name in order to make a point, I view what you did as necessary.

    There is a crisis of authority in many Muslim communities, often due to blind and unwavering devotion to charismatic scholars. This is deeply problematic because such scholars are typically (and unknowingly) elevated to the status of an unfailing moral compass, incapable of committing sin or analytic miscalculations. To be sure, this is an historic problem, and one that is not necessarily limited to Islam or even religions per se. It is a fundamental challenge in any ideologically-driven organizational system. As much as Islam, more than any religion, has gone out of its way to break and flatten hierarchical authority, one would never know by simply observing the mind-blowing corruption and multi-layered vertical hierarchies found within Muslim majority countries.

    I sincerely hope your readers will not miss the point of your message. This is not about RIS or ISNA conventions being bad. I have been to both, and there is much to benefit from them as you have aptly pointed out. There is much good in both conferences, and many of the organizers are well-intentioned young activists who sincerely want to accomplish noble goals. I am also convinced that even amongst the boards of these organizations there must be tension, and I am sure not all who are involved agree with the political apathy and social agnosticism that their respective organizations practice.

    I feel it would only be respectful and fitting if I direct some critical questions your way:

    First, why now? Both of these organizations have been fairly apolitical for years — this is not really a new development. Yet, you have participated in both conferences for years. What precipitating factors led you to make such a public statement, and now?

    Secondly, can you kindly comment on the steps you have taken to address this issue directly with the board of both organizations, or the fellow scholars/speakers that you are so critical of? Specifically, have you attempted (successfully or not) to engage these scholars privately to understand why they seem to be engaged in some form of doublespeak? If so, what was the outcome of these discussions?

    Sincerely,

    Mohammed

  44. ISNA and similar organizations, organized and philosophically led by immigrants desiring acceptance above all else, are so overjoyed by being given a seat at the table that they keep their mouths shut for fear of being uninvited. They cite the long term positive effects of their access, however what they are ignorant of, it seems, is that they are not given a seat at the table because they are accepted and valued, but that they are being used to legitimize the nakedness of the emperor. They are the modern day house negro. I applaud your sentiments here, brother.

  45. Asalamu Alaikum

    Jazakum Allah Khairan for your view on why you are not attending the convention 2014 for Isna and RIS.

    People need to stand up I my self and my family totally agree.

    Wasalam

    Jazakum Allah Khairan

    Br Shahab
    Hickory Hills Illinois.
    USA

  46. Dear Prof. Ramadan!
    I congratulate and support your feelings and decision to boycot ISNA and RIS convention. You are my hero and always will be one.Only once I saw you in RIS 2012 and I embraced you like a kid in the book signing events because You changed my life upside down forever. Such is your influence on me.
    I understand and appreciate ISNA’s outreach to Govt., but failed to apprehend the silence on several unjust US policies. I was really shocked when I read that Khaled Amr and Ali Goma gave religious credence to the killings and massacre on MB supporters while even US and NY Times condemned. Amr Khaled is a regular speaker in RIS. This is not a good decision on the organizers part. The pliant leadership is not the answer for NA Muslims, we need principled and pragmatic leadership both in religious affair as well as in mundane thing we face everyday.
    Having said that I have a question to you who I admire and respect from bottom of my heart, how do you reconcile in your decision to be in the company of Qatar monarchy (though academic involvement) whose record of Human Rights is palpable. Another is Muslim Ummah’s silence on atrocities on Muslims/non-Muslim minorities elsewhere in the world,e.g., CAR, Sudan, China, Pakistan, Iraq etc. and I did not see you as much to whip the Muslims for being selective in their rage.

    Regards
    Firoj
    N.B. Dont take this as personal attack to you, this is a question to me as well re selective rage on Pal sufferings only.

  47. I believe ISNA knows it has a problem on its hands as there are many families who are not attending ISNA. As the esteemed Dr. Ramadan has mentioned, the apolitical silence, which speaks volumes about the happenings around the Muslim world can no longer be ignored. The model of simply focusing on Ibada with complete and utter disregard to the policies (ie. Sufis) that have humiliated Muslims around the world is most damaging. For example, had Said Ramadan Buti spoken out against the killings of innocent Muslims thirsty for religious and political freedom, then who knows how many tens of thousands of Syrians would be alive today.

    I will not attend because of Dr. Ramadans reasons as well as because one of the invited speakers, Mehdi Hassan has publicly defended Assad and his criminal gang against the innocent people of Syria. I will not allow myself to be laughed at by him nor by other Shia speakers who were invited (Qazwini, Bazzy, Rajabali, etc). They have not (and will not) address the serious issue of Shia brutality in the lands of Bilad ashaam. At best, they will be silent and preach their so-called “love” between Sunni and Shia. I do not condone sectarianism, as the Prophet (pbuh) warned us from fragmenting, but I cannot trust a people whose orders come from Sistani and Nasrallah, both of whom have fomented and actively called for a war against the Sunni Muslims in Syria.

    What a humiliation. Why doesn’t ISNA invite Assad himself?!

  48. Assalam alaikum

    Alhmadulillah there are still people on this earth who can speak the truth
    May Allah protect you and your family

  49. Dear Mr. Tariq

    I belong to the orthodox church community in Tirana,Albania.
    I was really sad when I read about your decision to not participate at Isna and Ris conventions for this year.
    I respect your decision and arguments.
    I also believe that your presence at these events is more than neccesary.
    I say that because in my opinion your presence will show exactly the contrary of what you are thinking.
    Please do not forget that many muslims and also many people from my faith community are supporting you and your sincere message to humanity.
    That mediocre silence you opposed to needs to be confronted by a powerful voice and mind.

    Sincerely from Tirana, Albania.
    Denisa.

  50. Shukran and salaams Dr. Ramadan. Thank you for these insights which appear to reflect the highest ideals of Islam and without your expression someone like myself would never have considered these viewpoints. However, I do wonder if by taking this stance you are not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It may benefit attendees and people like myself who wish I could attend if you were present and would express your viewpoints. Anyways my dear brother I love you and everything you have done for Muslims. May God reward and protect you.
    Your brother in Islam,
    Jason Hammer

  51. A truly inspirational thing to do as both events would only boost your following. I will admit that I am quite new to your work and lectures etc, but having read this have gained much respect for you. Well done for standing by your principles.

  52. Assalaam Alaikum: It is my sincerest hope that your principled position will serve as a much needed wake up call for truly committed Muslims in the West; esp for prominent Muslim leaders and their associated organizations.

  53. Professor Ramadan: This is a serious stand and I have to admit, a long overdue one. My question to you is, did you follow the Prophetic model of airing differences, by personally seeking out the leadership of both organizations and persuading them with your arguments, so that a constructive outcome would be assured. Respectfully – abid

  54. While Dr. Ramadan has clearly indicated the ineffectiveness of ISNA and RIS as leading organizations; I feel it is essential that at some point in time an analysis may be in order about why it is so. I have always felt that while ISNA transformed from a coalition of masajid ‘establishers’ to a national organization; the leadership never evolved; the same top leadership from decades still drives it. They think it is a big accomplishment to have a congressperson attend ISNA conference; ISNA has never had a ‘meaningful’ discussion with them. Their time is long gone; a new leadership must be the face of American Muslims.

  55. Wow, your way of expressing your thoughts are great. I admire your outspoken views, the way you convey in sharing them, and allowing others to see a different perspective of what many see as a Muslim gathering and conference, without truly analyzing such organizations in the way you’ve done. Thank you for sharing your views. Had no idea…

  56. I agree with the sentiment. However would it not be better to appear and make your opinions heard by all attending members?

    I am not sure that your protest/boycott would be better heard than your voice. Beyond that I fully agree with the views you expressed.

  57. Very courageous stand.
    My family and I will not attend either.
    I suggest that we arrange for a conference in the states that reflects our Islamic core values when it comes to courage in voicing our opinion about the injustice inflected on our umma from the dictators in our birth places and in our adopted countries.
    I live and practice medicine in Las Vegas, Nevada and run a not for prophet Islamic school.
    Dr. Haikal

  58. Assalaamu alaikum!

    May Allah always keep you under His protection. I heard you speak in Doha for the first time and saw how everyone was trying to attack you even though you were not saying anything that controversial. I admire your courage to speak the truth. Only Allah can change our condition but at least we can all do our part in whatever sphere Allah has placed us in. May Allah grant us the knowledge to do justice to this most beautiful deen and forgive us our shortcomings. May Allah protect us all from every evil and guide us to what is pleasing to Him.

  59. I TOTALLY agree with you Sir! May ALLAH give you continued strength and good health and keep you on HIS straight path, ameen.

  60. Br. Tariq Ramdan is 100 % correct. But he has taken Criticism to an extreme. He criticized Moorsi when he was in power. Was that the right thing to do ? Criticizing Moorsi played a role in bringing Sisee to power. What does he have to say about that ?

  61. AoA,
    I support your decision not to attend these conferences. I feel that majority of Muslim leadership all over the world, be it dictator or so-called-elected, is basically supporting global capitalistic agenda by hiding it under a green (Islamic) sheet. What is the difference between “miss muslimah” competition and “miss universe” ? Muslim winner will to go Mecca the secular will go to Bahamas, both courtesy of global cosmetic and fashion industry.

    I don’t know about other Muslim countries but most of the religious figures in Pakistan promote submissiveness among masses in the name of شكر They tell them that their wretched condition in this world is sure shot ticket to heaven in the next world so they should practice شكر and not rise up against the oppressors.
    Regards & AH
    Nadeem

  62. I am very disappointed in you.. RIS that was selling Rabaa t shirts is too sufi and not islamist enough? ISNA was progressive before and is not now? Dr Ramadan, you are way too good to say that. i was shocked to hear that last year you went on a very un-Tarek-like rant against Sisi. Egypt has averted a horrific fate like Syria, Iraq and Libya and is moving forward .. give it a chance. Focus on the horrific fatwas of Islamists about enjoying the body of your christian wife but do not love her like a rapists do or fatwas that knowledge is exclusive to men, that stoning is natural because monkeys once stoned an unfaithful monkey, that a husband is not obligated to treat his wife, that we should tear down churches and use the bible as toilet paper , that burial torture is a corner of belief, that FGM is a corner of belief.. all this is in the “turath”.. help us purify our understanding of Islam and do not let your hatred of Sisi blind you..يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ criticize him.. he is not infallible.. but do not let his anger at Egyptian people’s choices blind your judgement.

  63. Brother Tariq,

    Thank you for writing this. ISNA has needed to be called out for the last 15 years now; since the beginning of the so-called ‘war on terror’ if not sooner. The official Muslim organizations and official Muslim leadership have avoided these issues for as long as I’ve known. While there is a scattering of individuals who have done far more than simply speak out — I’m talking about concrete and sustained political activity — we are often met by these leaders and organizations with a silence that they justify with a combination of fear and preference to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, businessmen, and husbands and wives. Simply put: they prefer the life of this world over the next; they prefer professional titles, fancy cars, and big houses over defending Muslims and other oppressed people both in the U.S. and around the world.

    Not only is the official leadership officially backwards in their politics, but the rare moments when Muslims have the desire to raise their heads take action seldom go beyond the empty sloganeering for Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, and elsewhere. All the religious leadership can propose is that we make dua for them. We — American Muslims — on the average lack any political training, vision, or understanding of politics in American history and American civilization as much of the Muslim leadership is dominated by immigrants, or by those who take positions of political abstentionism. We are terribly unexperienced and unsophisticated in any sort of praxis.

    We need real political organizations, real political strategies, tactics, goals, and vision. We need Muslims who are willing to show their love of Allah and the hereafter in serious and committed political activity. This, however, still seems a long way off.

    Jazak Allah khair.

  64. I am delighted to see that Mr ramadan is always true to his convictions no matter what. He is being critized because of his truthfullness and sincerity. I salute his courage. May Allah (SWA) strenghten him. Amine!!!!

  65. Thank you very much Dr Tariq. the shy appearance of Muslims in the american political sphere is due mainly to the lack of Muslim leadership. our organizations are controlled by a generation brought up under oppressive regimes in the Muslim world. unfortunately, these leaders are still thinking and acting with a mentality of appeasement and Subservience. that is not the message we want our youth to soak out.

    thanks dearly for your courage.

  66. I posted this on Prof Jonathan A A Brown’s Facebook profile.

    Thanks Abdul Aleem, for Tariq Ramadan’s letter and Sherman Jackson’s response. I like this conversation. I also agree with this conversation and the necessary dialogue that it can generate. Ramadan must take this conversation as a basis to participate. From these conversations, I’m hoping that organisations such as ISNA, will have a maturity and insight of relevant purpose to engage the present situation and circumstance demands, not only in North America but globally. We all have to participate and assist this courtesy, responsibility, duty where we can.

  67. I now fear what you are saying above, will be used against Muslims in Toronto and Canada as a reason to cancel the RIS. Can’t right wing use that same argument to try to shut it down? — are we shooting ourselves in the foot?? Just askin’

  68. Good points raised by Tariq Ramadan and indeed ISNA and RIS definitely should take a note and act on ways that works effectively in pushing our agenda forward within the confines of the political systems in the USA. However, I do not agree with the approach that Tariq Ramadan chose to make his point. We as Muslims should do everything in our control to maintain unity and highlight our weaknesses in the most humble way possible. There are many lessons on this from the lives of our beloved Prophet(pbuh) that we can take and learn from. I believe with your credentials you could have made more positive impact to ISNA and RIS by participating in these events and showing by example on how to bring about the change you so much desire. By the way, I hold no positions in any of these organizations nor I am employed by them. I am life time member of ISNA and do value their contributions and ongoing efforts to bring change and educate muslims and non-muslims about the issues Muslims are facing and to tackle those issues in the best manner possible. Are they doing effectively, no. Are they trying, absolutely YES. ISNA like any other organization has good hard working people but to bring about change takes time. And to just boycott Iftar party just because US Govt supports Israel, is ludicurous to say the least. You cant expect Jewish Lobbyists efforts from many decades to change US policy just because we boycotted an Iftar Dinner. Far from it, actually going to these events and even further expressing our concerns and displeasure is the right way to it. Tariq Ramadan should set an example of unity and still go to these events and not let his ego get better of him.

  69. Assalamo alaikom Dr Tariq
    I ask Allah subhanaho to plus you and your family, reward you for your efforts and grants you jannah.
    I thank Allah for his guidance and I thank you for speaking up as I find people in general avoid taking clear stand on issues of clear value.
    Jazak allah khaira.

  70. Ma-shaa’ Allah, Al hamdulillah. Allahu Akbar!

    I trust the good professor’s analysis. Then I must support his position. I did many moons ago argue with him following an ISNA presentation about whether Muslims should clap or shout takbeer following a solid presentation by a speaker. He wanted no clapping or takbeer. He felt the enthusiasm premature and undeserved, and perhaps a reflection of audience’s over enthusiasm without any follow through in productivity. It appeared that he was squarely against feel-good shoow of extravagance. I apprecaited his position, but seemed to feel that his position was based on European Islamic experience, and not necessarily a North American one.

    Now, about this article, fear will destroy all the mighty principles and processes of Islam and make it defunct from the inside.

    For a long time Muslims have been tumbling for things external to Islam but internal to themselves. However, Muslims could rely on Islam and take strength from its clarity and honesty. To the extent self-identifying Muslim leaders and organizations adhere to that position, Muslims will have an ever-reliable fall-back option in the pristine and wholesome nature of their faith. If Muslim leaders and organizations run shallow on prime Islamic spiritual-psychological-social-intellectual-emotional real estate, then Muslims become truly endangered. Outright apprehension vs. self-preservation during inclement times are separated by a very fine line. We should be able to discern the difference between the two sides of the line and act and react accordingly as to the state of the existing situation.

    If this is what worries Br. Dr. Tarique Ramadan? If so, then I cannot but endorse his position.

  71. Our highest responsibility is to comply with our conscience, through which we serve God. If we compromise with that we compromise with the essence of Islam. Silence is not an option for a man of faith irrespective of what one does. I agree with you totally. I myself have been raising these issues for sometime.

  72. As salaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu Brother Professor Tariq. I am very disappointed that you will not be attending the upcoming conferences. We need you there first and foremost for your honesty and for your strength, wisdom and insight. You tell us what we need to hear, even though it is often painful, and not what we want to hear. You challenge us and force us to take an honest look at ourselves even when what we see is too often ugly and distasteful. You give us the “proverbial medicine” that tastes horrible while it is the thing very thing that we need most. And remember that the leadership of organizations often just represent themselves but not the members and those who attend their conferences (as a member of ISNA, I can speak to this).

    You are our Brother, part of our Family and we love you for the sake of Allah. I hope that you will reconsider and attend these conferences. If you do not, and because you are a Brother who stands on principle, I will feel the loss of your absence but I will understand. BarakAllahu feek.

    Wa alaykum us salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu

  73. Kudos to you for this position. As a Muslim, I have refrained from attending ISNA events because from the sidelines it seems like an young boys and girls club for furthering hot careers in the media, arts, and academic fields. In light of your comments, I am reminded of Edward Said’s chilling distinction between the professional and amatuer intellectual. Sadly, in the US, the desire for a great high profile career outweighs the calling to integrity. The self-deluding belief that one can do more good from the inside of the system by making tepid and apologetic commentary on foreign policy, always with the caveat of undying support for Israel’s right to exist, absolves such people of all moral credibility.

  74. I am very sad he will not come. I cannot speak about RIF. Yes, ISNA is, I think, in a unique position. And I feel it is still filling into that unique position. It is not a political organization, nor is it an exclusively religious organization, and it is not a cultural group. It represents a heterogeneous mix of Muslims, just as Islam does. By being the largest American Muslim organization in America, it has some clout, but til now, I think ISNA wanted to focus on American Muslim issues, and getting American Muslims as part of the American mosaiq, in an apolitical way. It chose to go the inter-faith route for that.

    Personally, I think ISNA needs to forge a closer alliance with W Deen Muhammad’s group. It is working on that, but that should come before any political messages.

    i do think ISNA is mainly all about the conference. It does need to grow from that single mold. But again, we are talking about a few volunteers trying to run such a huge organization, so the goals have to be limited. For now it is really only about the annual convention.

    And that is why I am sad he will not come speak here anymore. This is the only chance we ordinary Muslims have to meet, hear and discuss thoughts and ideas with great minds like Tariq Ramadan. I understand his frustration that western Muslims have not come as far as he had hoped by now. But I personally think we are slowly heading the right way. It took almost 50 years before ISNA had a non-foreign born president. So it will take a long time to develop its full identity and full potential. It is by meeting together at the large ISNA annual forum that we can begin to resemble the society that Tariq Ramadan dreams about. To hear stories of what others are doing in their communities, so get help in starting our own projects in our own backyards is incredibly exhilarating. And when we get to hear the ideas of the likes of Mr Ramadan, why that is icing on the cake for me. I am sorry that now I can only read Mr Ramadan’s words, and no longer hear the energy of them.

  75. Asalamoalaikum Br. Tariq. May Allah swt reward you with His infinite grace and mercy, for all you’ve done for Muslims and on behalf of decent, justice loving human beings the world over. As a fairly active American Muslim I am completely in agreement with your position on this critically important topic. It’s high time for Muslims in America and elsewhere to realize that an integral part of their obligation as believing and practicing Muslims is to uphold justice and the truth in every and all situations regardless of fear or favor. In fact for those who are leaders in our communities this is their veritable duty and if not diligently acted upon makes them blameworthy and unworthy of their leadership roles. I will join you in the boycott of ISNA and all such groups until and unless they accept their duties and truly reform themselves in words and deeds so truth is spoken to power across the board.

  76. Dear Dr. Tariq Ramadan,

    After reading your proclamation of your intended absence from the ISNA as well as the RIS conferences, I was mesmerised and flabbergasted, in that I expected more from you. From my viewpoint, as well as that of others, you are an outspoken individual who is highly involved in the intellectual political realm of world affairs, especially the concerns that currently face the Muslim international body. Furthermore, you are highly respected and regarded as one of the leading Islamic intellectuals of our time. As such, I implicitly ask for your permission to share my thoughts and disagreements with you on this particular matter, regarding your choice of not attending either conferences this year.

    Although I do agree with your stance on not keeping silent regarding issues that affect the Muslim world, I disagree with the method in which you chose to exercise that stance. I began with the indisputable claim that your thoughts have a large influence on many Muslims around the world, and no doubt will this proclamation discourage many youth and elders (and anyone in between) from attending these conferences. The question I want to pose to you is the obvious: what are the benefits weighed against the harms of such an action vis-à-vis the progress that will be made amongst the Muslim community as a whole? Will your statement of absence motivate others into action and entice them to do more than they currently are doing, or will the opposite happen, which is an unfolding of hatred and prejudice towards the aforementioned organisations on grounds of misunderstanding your statements?

    In addition, I reason that your statements will lead to inactivity of the current youth who are specifically stagnant in their resolve to helping any cause which will benefit the Muslim community at large. In other words, those outstanding minorities who are the movers and shakers in our society, are already projecting their voices against the foes of injustices in our world, while the majority of the youth remain passive and sidelined (by choice), waiting only to criticise and to comment (and perhaps be motivated to change). It is rather the latter group who will be most affected by your statement, and it is them that are most in need to attend these types of conferences. Discouraging them from attending these beneficial forums will undoubtedly lead to further inaction and will not motivate them to change in the least. They will continue on their merry internet-surfing, iPhone-texting, and selfie-taking ways.

    What we do need my dear Dr. Ramadan, are voices that keep on ringing in the ears of those who are yet to be motivated to move and change towards goodness. You are amongst the powerful voices that have yielded many supercharged people (youth and elders alike) willing to dedicate their time and efforts towards beneficial causes. By discounting yourself from the theatre of youthful-motivation, in a forum that attracts thousands of youth from around North America, I believe, humbly, that you are doing a disservice towards the Muslim population at large, rather than providing the motivational encouragement that is desperately needed to make necessary changes amongst our communities.

    I ask, sincerely, that you reconsider your stance and that you do attend both conferences. I understand that you whole-heartedly disagree with the tactics employed by either organisation, but I believe, and may I say the following with the utmost respect, that a man of your status has a responsibility to be patient with the people who he has devoted his life to educating, motivating, and changing for their and their communities’ betterments.

    1. ASA: I continue to find it fascinating, Brother Halim, that you and others who think as you do, seem so at ease, seeing Brother Ramadan “devote HIS life to educating, motivating, and changing for THEIR and THEIR communities’ betterments.” Isn’t it YOUR community also? How much of YOUR Life have you given to that effort? How long have YOU struggled to elevate the consciousness of the Leaderships of the two organizations in the areas addressed? As you read the comments of so many other respondents who “100%” endorse and agree with his decision, what is preventing YOU from taking up the role of helping to bring a NEW, fearless, and more willingly in submission to the Will of Allah(swt) mentality and paradigm into the leadership of the two organizations? What’s stopping you? Because IF You “understand that [he] wholeheartedly disagree[s] with the tactics employed by either organization”, , then it would in fact be Much More Respectful to him to thank him for his life of efforts and YOU take up the task [you called it RESPONSIBILITY] trying to accomplish what You believe He should continue to try to do. Or is it that you do not find the skills, strengths, resources, commitment, learning, abilities or FAITH in that outcome’s possibilities in Yourself to dedicate Your life to it? Or, worse, have you forgotten Allah(SWT)’s admonition to “avoid FUTILITY with an honorable avoidance”? HE warns us who would obey HIM about the futility of “trying to lead those who HE has withdrawn HIS Guidance from” Again, if you don’t believe that is the case, and you so obviously recognize that the “The Muslim population at large desperately needs motivational encouragement to make necessary changes amongst OUR communities” [slight change,I know],, you can write, I assume you can speak… what’s stopping YOU from “stepping up to the plate” as they say, and doing IT yourself? Or would that pull you out of you humble, respectful, quietly reasoning, theatre lounge sofa to move into some credible, respect generating action?
      It is astounding that you can really think that one mind’s decision to step aside so that you can get to work will cause “an unfolding of hatred and prejudice towards the aforementioned organizations on the grounds of misunderstanding your [his] statements.” in the minds of the 1000’s of people who plan to attend. “Hatred & Prejudice..? The respondents comments thus far, my dear Halim Sberati, don’t suggest that THESE young Muslims are anywhere near that dimwitted.

  77. Bismillah

    Absolute masterpiece. This message should hang on the door of all Islamic associations. May Allah swt bestow on us His protection, guidance and blessing.

  78. As-Salaamu-Alaikum:

    Dr Tariq Ramadan’s position is one I agree with 100 %! This is why I stopped attending ISNA, RIS, and other such conventions and conferences several years ago. These organizations are quite shameful because they appear to be grossly compromising the progressive, righteous, revolutionary zeal of Islam in order to accommodate the criminal ideology of American Exceptionalism which manifests itself as American Imperialism, an imperialism that displays itself to the world in so many ugly ways, from misguided military interventions that only serve the interests of the American corporate oligarchy to the satanic unilateral support of the Zionist apartheid state of Israel whose clear agenda is to destroy the Palestinian people! I completely support Dr. Tariq Ramadan’s intellectual boycott of the 2014 ISNA and RIS conventions.

    Wa laikum salaam rahmahtullahi wa barakatu.

    Muhammad Al-Hashimi, PhD
    Washington, DC

  79. AlhamduAllah for leaders such as U, who does not want to take the easy road, hating in your heart when you know something is wrong, but to Speak and Act. May Allah swt increase your guidance, and those that read what you write, so others will have the courage to take a stand for justice. In Jacksonville, Fl, I was happy to be one of a small crowd to march against oppression in Gaza. What united everyone there was the need for Justice and an end to the attrocities that the Isralis try to explain as self defense, and too many here are willing to accept it. What saddened me is the small number of people who took the time to attend. When people text to tell you to be “safe”, why should we be “fearful” to march for what as Muslims we know is Right. The future of America is our Youth. We need leaders who do not fear to say NO, Enough is Enough, no longer can we be hypocrites, just as you did, and to give the example to stand by what we believe in. May we always be guided to do what is right for any human being who is being treated unjustly here in the US or in too many places in the World. JazakaAllahkairan.

  80. Conferences off opportunity of discussion to all points of view. Participation in them need not be silent. One can use the occasion for expressing one’s views freely and as forcefully as one may choose to do just like this post does. Truth is no one’s property. One should participate in such conferences to air one’s own beliefs and opinions that need not be the only one possible. Refusal to participate could imply betraying one’s own cause.

  81. I agree that we all have a duty to denounce Israeli atrocities, but certainly not in the name of Islam. Israel occupies, takes control and kills to expand its territory. While this course of action is inexcusable (though not all of it is without cause and all sides are to blame,) it’s one mirrored by the history of every nation since the beginning of history; East and West, North and South, we are all occupiers and killers.
    Islam is no exception. It also has killed and continues to kill to occupy territory, but Islam also kills people merely for their beliefs (I’m thinking ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Taliban, IRI and variations thereof.) That is why people shouldn’t speak up against Israel as Muslims but as mere human beings.
    My single biggest gripe with Islam is the doctrine of apostasy that legitimizes murdering people who were born Muslim, that is, with their personal lives under Eternal Occupation, and who choose to leave it [without harming anyone, I might add.] There is also the parallel Islamic doctrine that legitimizes killing non-Muslims who decline to convert to Islam, Yaizidis, Christians and others in Iraq today but elsewhere, historically and in our own times, even Sufis and Shi’is. Have I mentioned the double whammy of spiritual, physical and legal indignities dealt by Islam on women, millions and millions of Muslim women all over the world, all in the name of divine authority and expressed by men who, like yourself, enjoy a sense of moral superiority while ignoring their own faults?
    To return to the specific subject of your blog, I believe that both Israel’s vision of eventually occupying a Total Territory and Palestinian dreams of getting Total Justice in time are fallacies that beget nothing but war, destruction, and an endless, unintelligent and hopelessly greedy struggle. I therefore suggest that instead of avoiding the ISNA and RIS conferences, you should attend and strongly advocate–not as a Muslim but as a world citizen–that Israel should relinquish its vision of Eretz Israel and leave the occupied territories, and that Palestinians should accept the existence of Israel and then settle down and build a sovereign state that gives their people a chance to live and grow and thrive in peace.

    1. ASA: This person’s Belief’s are the most insensitive to the realities and the sequence of Allah(swt)’s workings over the last 1000 years. He (I assume that Mahasti is a male because I cannot imagine a woman failing to distinguish between Almighty Allah(SWT)’s Grace, Mercy and Magnificence and the male perpetrated atrocities railed against in the statement; if I’m wrong I’m even more flabbergasted!) somehow missed the ENTIRE Message and Meaning of the Holy Qur’an and has gotten stuck in the behaviors of those whose fate we seek refuge in Allah(swt) to protect us against in the very last step of our Ablutions,,how many times each 24 hours? NONE of the groups mentioned as griped against are seeking to make Peace or are followers of the Life example of the Seal of the Prophets (pbuh).
      Let’s be clear: Al-Islam is an Ideology and a System of Behaviors, Revealed by G-d, for the Revitalization and Rejuvenation of the World [and mind of Man] and this environment. None…but NONE of those uglies came to us, through our Prophet (pbuh) from our Creator, in Revelations by the Instrument of the Arch Angel Gabriel.
      They are ALL the travesties of men.
      As for the atrocities of the gang of thugs ruling the State of Israel: Google will give you the work of one Arthur James Balfour, British Foreign Secretary from 1902-1905 and how it was he and his helpers in that British Government, in response to requests from Lionel Walter Rothchild, first Peer in the British House of Lords and Head of the Zionist Federation, to GIVE Palestine to the Jews as their National homeland. See:”The Balfour Treaty”. An even broader treatment is in the PBS DVD GOLD Presentation on “LAWRENCE of ARABIA ~ The Battle for the Arab World” These, taken for what they are worth, will help your world view.

  82. Assalamwalikum

    I fully support your views. Keep up your good work. I don’t think I will be attending the RIS this year. The spirit and beauty with which it started is not there any more. I see it more as a convention of Islamic celebrities.

  83. It is shame that Tariq Ramadan had to write this piece. It must be painful for him. He has valid points. The Muslim Americans have no spine. They have no clout. They are scared and confused. The world around them is collapsing. Each day they face a new bad news that needs attention, response and action. They are overwhelmed. I pity American Muslims but cannot offer a solution. They must continue to have conferences even if they cannot fully express their frustration in their speeches and open discussions. Seeing each other, shaking hands, attracting new generations of American Muslims are good enough reasons for holding conferences.

    The Middle East is burning and we do not know which fire to control first. The smoke is everywhere. The kings and the generals are inapt and callus. The armies want more power, more arms, more money, more of everything but they do not want to come out of their barracks. If they ever do come out, they are there for killing of their own. There is no policy, no agenda….just drifting with the wind.

    1. ASA; The solution is simple. Follow the Actual Revelations in the Qur’an and the Life example of our Prophet Mohammed (pbuh). Two Books: or do you think that Prophet Mohammad was a liar? You want a current, modern day example? Look at the Life and Works of Imam Waritheddin Mohammed. Its on the WWW.
      For our open enemy’s side, look up “Outwitting the Devil” by Napoleon Hill. Its all there.

  84. The most powerful message of justice and standing up against oppression is none other than the sacrifice of Hussain ibn Ali in Karbala. It is unfortunate that just as the current Muslim leadership refuses to acknowledge oppression within the Muslim world, they also refuse to discuss this powerful message in our history. Events that hold some great lesson and inspired some of the greatest advocates for justice in modern history such as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
    Is this message hidden by sectarian fears? Or is it simply favor other agendas? I cannot tell, maybe you can clarify this thought for me Dr Ramadan for I see you as one of the loudest and least bias advocate for human justice today. Would exposing this part of our history help Muslims stand against Muslim oppression befor criticizing oppression done to Muslims? Or is there an other more effective way to eradicate Muslim oppressors?

  85. “I am also a member of a generation that is passing on. It is up to the new generation to produce leaders who have understood that in bending over backwards, in saying “Yes sir!” they sacrifice not only their dignity, but forget and betray their duty.” Very well said.

  86. I fully understand ISNA’s desire for the need to stay engaged and I completely agree with ISNA that Muslims have a tendency to isolate themselves and thus, be removed from calculations of the next policy, internal or foreign. This is why I strongly urge our youth to join their Police and FBI, work as political interns, run for office etc., because this is how we can help our political leaders understand Muslims and Islam.

    However, while being invited to the White House was an honor for the Muslims, it is also an honor for the President, that he appears to have the support of Muslims. I understand the desire to conform to the rules of politeness as guests, however, when the President is bashing at Muslims and supporting the wholesale slaughter of Muslims by Israel, when he is saying openly that Israel is only defending itself…something he KNOWS, is a lie, it is time for Muslims to lead the way and help the President be more honest with himself and with the public.

    Just ONE, single Muslim, standing up and (politely) telling the President that he is supporting a slaughter and that this Muslim will not give strength to the President’s support for open war crimes and then for the Muslim to walk out, would have been a statement that would have been heard around the world, like the Iraqi who threw a shoe at King George the Worst.
    Just one Muslim walking out would have caused the façade of lies to be exposed and who knows? it may have caused Muslims around the world, (or at least, in this country) to stand together against the Israel-US slaughter of Muslims.

    It could have been ISNA.

    By continuing silently with the “Iftar” (which might well have become “Makruh”…reprehensible, in Islam…after the President’s speech), Muslims unanimously supported Israel’s “right to defend itself” against the men, women and children of Gaza.

    To our collective shame…

    1. ASA Wait a minute; have you ever heard of Guantanamo Bay? Did you see what happened to the young fellow who took exception to some of Vice President Kerry’s speech points? Got to keep up with the news before you get TOO cocky.

  87. Right on! Brother Ramadan. I have written about the ISNA leadership and quoted you in an article about a progressive Islam rising in the West. However, I have also been a silent critic of the sycophancy practiced by the ISNA leadership, whose adult children have done very well by and in the successive American governments, traveling all over the world, beating the drums of equitable domestic policies. These beneficiaries included my late brother, Omar Khalidi, an MIT librarian, who traveled the world on behalf of the U,S. State Department, speaking of mosques in America and the freedom of speech enjoyed by Americans. However, he also spoke from the podium of the “despicable” American foreign policy while referring the audiences to direct questions of foreign policy to the American diplomat who was present on the stage with him.

    Why can’t the ISNA leaders denounce the successive American governments’ barbarism overseas and trashing of the U.S. Constitution at home? Is this because they have been cowed down by U.S. authorities? Or is because of the bones the authorities have thrown to their children?

    I was not aware of the sophisticated RIS propaganda; it clearly stinks of Gulf petrol to high heavens.
    Thanks for you leadership.
    Usama Khalidi
    Alexandria, VA

  88. very well written. I fully endorse the position taken by Dr.Ramadan. He, rather criticized RIS approach very politely. Whenever I attended RIS, I had feeling, its a message of making Muslims inactive and distracted from their current state ( of being ummah).”perverted Sufism” preached by sermons which is new form of monasticism.

  89. Wouldn’t attending such an event be the best way to convey this message to the muslim youth of Canada? I know that you often insist on the role Muslims who grew up in the West can and must play and I don’t think the message will ever be heard enough.

    1. ASA: Are you telling it? To whom? When? Is it your job too? Or do you think, in spite of all the Hardships our Prophet struggled through, that you will just Slide into Paradise without your Personal Trials? Do you see what the Illuminati is up? Is Intent upon?

  90. Dear brother,
    Alsalam alaikom wa rahmat Allah wa barakatu
    I agree with you 100% as many of who are called Muslim leaders in Canada have nothing in concern with that mission. My experience confirms me what I suffered with the same story in Europe and is being repeated all over the world. In the best cases I found that complexes or enjoying a false image is one of the reason why those people are fighting to keep their places for which they can give nothing to Muslim community through heads caught by rust not allowing any idea to take hand of our people to do some progress with courage and dignity. They are scared of their own shadow and play heroes like Don Kichut Di Mensha looking for battles in their sick imaginations.
    I expected that those who shared Iftar with that puppet Obama ought to lift their…. and leave the place as soon against that rudeness without even saying good bye; but dignity was a missed factor in their ZOMBI reaction.
    Those countries made us headache for the named freedom they have so, why those gusts had their pans full?? Is it the extreme original hypocrisy which they brought with them from their mother land and can not exist without it or it is the lack of faith which leads to be scared for whatever because they are not truly sincere in their worshipping Allah so they have to suit any garbage Degrades and humiliates their Islamic believes and solidarity towards other Muslims under torture and aggression.
    Those whether the so called leaders or other ZOMBIES are what Prophet Muhammed warned from are weaker than bubbles on the flood surface.
    Unless they wake up and feel concerned to fulfil their mission and duty to spread Islam and defend it with pride and courage then the inside of the earth is better for them than it’s surface.
    Nothing remains to say exept :” حسـبنا الله و نعم الوكيل”

  91. Totally agree with Tariq Ramadan! As a local Torontorian……we, Muslims in the West we have rights and freedom to express our thoughts and displeasure in terms of any government policy whatever that maybe. If the law of the land grant us (citizens) and we don’t utilize these rights and freedom as organization such as ISNA and RIS it makes them useless in the face of muslims ummah. These are just my feelings.

  92. It would be more effective if you were to attend the conferences and bring up your concerns over there. Do you really think you showing your ire by boycotting the conferences bring about any changes?

  93. Well said. Let’s remember the mission of any moral, Godly, and even patriotic person: to invite to all that is good and to speak out against injustices and all that is bad.

  94. Agree with the criticism, disagree with the response, few will read your website , many more can hear you if you present your views to all attendees . if you stay away for one time to show your disagreement with the position of the conference organizers, could be acceptable, but to stay away is giving up on your rule, and aborting your ability to speak against injustice, this is an obligation you need to do if you want to fulfill your duties. And if you stop going to these events you open the door wide to views you are critical of to take over and dominate
    Dr Sakkal .

    1. ASA: Dr. Sakkal. May I call your attention to the Travels of a Little Thought of fellow named Mohammed Ibn Abdullah? If I read the accounts correctly, he LEFT the Quraysh leaders in Mecca because he couldn’t stand their practices and intentions and they couldn’t stomach his. When he did return, peacefully, and with those who valued his position and submission over theirs, they gave up their fraudulent efforts to control the masses. Haven’t you ever heard about that?

  95. Thank you Dr. Ramadan for your position and well articulated thoughts. I have stopped attending ISNA a long time ago, although I had been involved with it since the days it was MSA. For me ISNA has come to represent a group of first generation Muslims, for the most part belonging to the same group, who were not able to understand or integrate with the American larger society. For 50 years they have been recycling the same names and faces as though the Muslim society in the US is incapable of producing next generation leaders. They have demonstrated very high degree of responsiveness to events affecting non-Muslims, making sure they could never be accused of being anti-Semitic or unpatriotic. But they have been extremely sluggish in making their position known when it comes to standing up for the right causes, if those causes are not popular with the political establishment. Simply, the ISNA “leadership” has proven time and time again a total lack of political courage. They have long been completely isolated from the American mainstream of Muslims, except, perhaps, for those seeking matrimony!

    1. As Salaamu Alaykum:
      How has that clique kept control of your organization for so long? Fifty years? WOW.

  96. For too long did I consider you a sell-out. Please forgive me for the negative thoughts. Your actions deserve immense respect. May ALLAH SWT bless you and increase you in guidance.

  97. Beautifully expressed and the Muslim American leadership should heed this advice and be grateful for your willingness and courage to take a stand . I agree 100% with all you said and I pray that Allah will reward your efforts to shed light on the weak leadership that we currently have and either give them the guidance and understanding to do what is always RIGHT by the community or to replace them with a better leadership very soon, Amen.

    1. ASA: Amazing! Allah(SWT) clear said that HE doesn’t change the condition of a People until They Change what is in their own hearts. Here is a hint. Allah is busy creating NEW parts of HIS Universe ~ YOU have the power and the ability to shed that light yourselves. You also have the ability to Replace them. The Question is: DO you have the will?

  98. Very well said. Way to take a stand for justice regardless of the consequences misguided perceptions. I respect your stance, support your decision and salute your courage.

  99. May Allah (subhan wa tallah) bless you for standing up for the truth. You are a real leader and an exemplary example of a man who beautifies his actions with his virtue and love of truth. May Allah keep you safe. Ameen.

  100. I support Tariq Ramadan’s stand on this matter. Too long have these thoughts not been given voice and we continue to bury our heads in the sand. When someone has designated me a threat because of my religion or ethnicity and the rights enshrined in the constitution are being eroded, we have to ask ourselves what will happen to all of us if no-one speaks?

    1. ASA: Exactly! What answer does his story offer you? Others have surrendered their humanity and principles for a little piece of peace and what did it get them? Have you looked into Europe’s leaders interactions with Adolf in the road up to WWII? Authoritarian thinking only goes one way. What did their cousins do to others?

  101. Pingback: Dr. Ramadan "boycotting" ISNA and RIS - What do you Think? » MuslimMatters.org

  102. I don’t have the knowledge so may Allah forgive me. I am a member of ISNA who has never been to the conventions. If Professor Ramadan does not wish to participate, that is his right. But here he is airing his differences. Do we all have to agree on how we feel about President Obama? Is that a condition for us to be united as Muslims? I think, in my cursory reading I saw that the Professor sees the Obama Administration as one that tortures and does injustice to Muslims. For us to go into political detail and for those details to be acid tests for us as Muslims is full of fitnah. President Obama has totally withdrawn US Forces from two Muslim majority countries. One is in total chaos and the other we all see the chaos is not far away. Our open direct confrontational differences should be on the deen of Islam only. There is so much out there to divide us. I have seen the experts and forgive me for speaking in ignorance without the citing the Quran and the Sunnah. We have scholars on both sides who can do this 100 times more effectively, so I won’t pretend. I will only say that in close relationships tolerance is key. In a marriage, there are couples who differ on Barack Obama and still sleep in the same bed. Our agreement should be on our taqwa, our love for Allah and His messenger. I see Muslims leaders and Muslims do things I find objectionable every day and it is mostly politics. I think we as Muslims have a lot to learn when it comes to politics. Our politics is the way the world has been able to portray us as hateful people. If we are serious, how can the fact that you say you worship the God of Abraham alone, be a point for those who hate us to use against us? But we have Muslims everyday hiding their politics behind Islam and when the politics are stupid, people use our bad actions and say it is Islam. May Allah forgive me for speaking in a conversation that should be settled by elders and scholars. I am not a very good Muslim. I only ask that every see political positions as transient and ephemeral. Our guide post is the Quran and the Sunnah and even then we don’t burn people at the stake. What our Prophet gave, we should never move off of. For me, and my highly limited knowledge, everything else is negotiable.

    1. ASA: Our Prophet(pbuh) admonished us that it was our DUTY to SEEK Knowledge from the Cradle to the Grave. Are you in either, Brother Greg? Are there still innocent Muslims in the Prison at Guantanamo Bay?

  103. Well said Tariq. You must educate the Canadian and American youth. We are with you, please enlighten us often. This type of open comments are good for our ideological health. Thanks.

    1. ASA: Do you have access to the world wide web? Why do you put the job on his shoulders? it took a lot of work for you to get out of your mother’s womb. You are going to have to climb out of that passive dependency by MUCH MORE of your OWN EFFORTS. The good news is, just like he grew, So can you! Surprise, surprise!

  104. O my dear, if this is your stand:
    “Unutterable human situation;
    Shamelessly –
    Eyes are drenched with bloody scenes;
    Red is making ruthless return,
    Green – the favourite colour of God – is gone.
    Ears are busted with benighted talks;
    The most supreme social duty – “To counsel one another to follow the truth and to be steadfast!” – dubbed claptrap.
    The ship of human society discovers bouncing buoyancy in human blood.
    Tearfully, the red era is in!”
    It is high time to show character. And it is ripe moment to listen to savant.
    Professor, the Mentor of Muslim Youth in becoming!
    PEACE!
    Mairaj Mahmood Bhat

  105. You’re absolutely right. We’ve got too many dangerous minds trying to take the lead, too many puppets, clowns, parrots and false radicals. Leadership comes cheap nowadays. People are too afraid to challenge the system. But they’ll make a YouTube video standing on a platform performing, spewing just enough provocative rhetoric to become famous. They’re delusional, jet-setting Facebook fan page false leaders whose primary goal is chasing fame. Sometimes I cry till it hurts, because I’m so deeply saddened by the hypocrisy.

  106. It does seem that telling people your concerns to their face would be more effective. Presence is always more effective than absence. Someone will take your place no doubt.

    1. ASA: Did Prophet Mohammed(pbuh) spread the Revelation given to him by the Arch Angel Gabriel to a third of the people of this planet BY HIMSELF? Or did some other people who believed what he Believed, help?

  107. Fantastic article!
    However, I sincerely hope you change your mind. Boycotting RIS will NOT make a difference, on the contrary, it will encourage the people who you mentioned above.
    The Muslims residing in the west need honest people such as yourselves to educate us.
    Regards,
    Ahmed (17) Manchester.

    1. ASA: What are YOU doing in Manchester? Have you visited his website? If you are 17, what have you Learned since you were 15?

  108. My Allah’s guidance and mercy be upon you always.
    I support you position on this matter. For far too long the Muslim leadership in NA has been disappointing to say the least. I’ve attended ISNA as well as RIS conventions in the past and I would like to congratulate and thank the organizers for their hard work and tired less efforts. I have to say this so that I don’t become ungrateful ( man lam yashkur alnasaas lam yazhkur Allah). But this does not stop me from stating my disappointment in the lack of solidarity or proper acknowledgement of the injustices suffered by fellow Muslims here in NA and those in other parts of the world. The least that ISNA & RIS organizers could do is use the convention platform to call out our NA governments for the harm they are doing here to us and atrocities they are helping commit against our brothers & sisters in the rest of the world. Speaking out is what I consider the weakest of Iman. As Muslims we believe that only what Allah has planned for us will happen, so I honestly don’t understand the need to be silent and afraid. I really hope we NA Muslims will be able to rid ourselves from this shameful behavior, after all we are the best people brought to this world.

    Jazak Allah khair Brother, Ustad, Sheikh Tariq for expressing what has been occupying my mind & heart but I didn’t really know how to express it without being hurtful or causing fitnah.

    Salaam

  109. Professor Ramadan, I agree with your stance. You have spoken about courage and you certainly have shown it in voicing your opinion. But you would be alot more courageous if you told all of us who are these speakers at RIS that give legitimacy to tyrants and dictators in the Muslim world? Can we have their names? Don’t just say there are speakers at RIS who support tyrants and not tell us who they are. Keeping us, the unlearned audience, in ignorance about these speakers is just as bad. So please, who are these tyrant supporters that speak at RIS?

  110. Assalam, Yaa Brother Ramada, you have spoken and you have through this message made jihad on several grounds. Yes, history will continue to unfold the coded information contained in your message. I pray the others will accept this as an intuitive inspiration the perspective upon which we should build Islamic thought and philosophy.
    Your message is universal to all muslims around the world. In Africa, for example, we experience such ambience from some of our factions so as to subordinate Islamic values to ethnic and other differential viewpoints in our day-to-day values extending to constitutional and electoral matters.
    Not that the situation goes unchallenge, but the intrahouse weaknesses always provide the interopponent with fallicious ground of feelings.
    Yaa Sheikh, alhamdulillah, I remain your student.
    Shehu Yahaya Kano.

  111. Resp. Dr. Tariq Ramadan, Assalam o Alaikum,

    100% agree as a responsible catalyst.

    Indian’s Diaspora: Kindly allow to disseminate your thoughts on Indian Muslims living in USA, Canada, UK and Europe, so that at back-home, Muslims are marginalized and experienced complexed issues by rightist.

    Humbly, suggest to create think tank of Indian expatriates in above countries, who could well serve by giving positive guidelines to one Ummah, besides their over-whelming support as and when natural and unnatural crisis.

    Can we do a honest effort to reduce the gap between Shia brethern and Sunni brethern, initially. Secondly, Barelvi, Sufis, Ahle Hadeeth, Deobandi could think of uniting, try to understand and revisit the definition of One Ummah, for plural co-existance with and without difference.

  112. “The best jahad is speaking truth infront of a dictator” .those who speak about the definition of jihad as strive & struggle in the name of god for justice and truth,still they are in the AC room with dreaming and flying about heaven with only whispering “thikr”.are they thinking that we can cheating god?allah May accept your dicision & courage.my teacher

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http://www.cismor.jp/en/top.html…

Présence Musulmane (Am…

http://www.presencemusulmane.org/…

European Muslim Networ…

www.euro-muslims.eu…

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