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Manifesto for a new “WE”

An Appeal to the Western Muslims, and their Fellow CitizensWe have ample reason to be concerned. The situation of Muslims in Western societies has, for the last twenty years, been fraught with difficulty. If anything, this situation has worsened over the last five years. The “war against terror” launched after the events of September 11, 2001, along with repeated terrorist attacks throughout the world, increased tensions arising from social problems or from immigration have combined to portray Islam-and Muslims in general-as a threat to the societies of the West. Fear, and its accompanying emotional and often irrational reactions, has become a part of the public mindset. Such reactions, while often legitimate and understandable, are also being exploited with increasing frequency for political and electoral ends.

From Canada to Australia, by way of the United States and Europe, hardly a Western society has been spared its own searing questions of “identity”, its own “integration”-related tensions, and its own debate on the place of Muslims within its confines. Muslims, meanwhile, realize that the atmosphere has become more highly charged, that suspicions have deepened; they have become the subject of debates that are neither entirely transparent, nor very healthy. Muslims find themselves faced with clear-cut alternatives: they can accept their lot and adopt the attitude of the “victim”, the “discriminated minority”, who withdraws into itself and never ceases to justify itself or they can face up to their difficulties, become full-fledged subjects of their own History, and take the necessary corrective measures. It is only natural that they complain of the treatment handed them, that they criticize the racism and daily discrimination they must endure, but in the final analysis, their fate is in their hands. Nothing will change until they accept full responsibility for themselves, become constructively critical, and self critical, and respond to the creeping evolution of fear with a firmly grounded revolution of trust.

Handling fears; facing legitimate questions

Events of recent years have brought Western populations face to face with new realities and self-doubts as deep as they have been challenging. The increasingly visible presence of millions of Muslims in their midst has made them aware that their societies have changed: cultural homogeneity is a thing of the past, the question of their own identity has become complex, the real social mixing is an ideal that can only be achieved with difficulty, particularly when social problems such as unemployment, racism and marginalization multiply. This sense of instability, combined with the presence of a religion and a culture seen as “foreign,” has given rise to fears, and to questions that are perfectly legitimate, even though they may be expressed with a certain confusion. Are Muslims truly capable of living in secularized societies? Are their values compatible with those of democracy? Can they live side-by-side, and mingle with, their non-Muslim neighbors? Can they combat the shocking behavior exhibited in their name, in the form of terrorism, domestic violence, forced marriage and the like? Can they free themselves from their social ghettos, those breeding grounds of unemployment, insecurity and marginality?

Faced with these questions, Muslims must rise to the occasion. They must express confidence in themselves, in their values, in their ability to live and to communicate with full serenity in Western societies. The revolution of trust for which we appeal will depend, first and foremost, on self-confidence, on confidence in one’s convictions: the task is to reappropriate one’s heritage, and to develop toward it a positive yet critical intellectual attitude. They must be capable of affirming that the teachings of Islam summon Muslims first and foremost to the spiritual life, to introspection and to self-reform. They must forcefully insist that Muslims are expected to respect the laws of the countries in which they reside, and to which they must be loyal. Millions of Muslims are, in fact, already proving every day that “religious integration” is an accomplished fact, that they are indeed at home in the Western countries whose tastes, culture and psychology they have made their own.

Still, faced with legitimate fears, Western Muslims cannot simply minimize or downplay these questions. They must, as a matter of utmost urgency, develop a critical discourse that rejects the victim’s stance, one that criticizes instead radical, literal and/or cultural readings of the sources. In the name of the guiding principles of Islam, they must take a stand against, for instance, the use and misuse of their religion to justify terrorism, domestic violence or forced marriage. The future of the Muslim spiritual community will necessarily require institutions of religious training (Islamic studies, Islamology, imam training schools, etc.) to be established in the West and help to respond to western citizens’ expectations. With the same critical attitude, they must learn to make distinctions; they must not endorse the confusion that surrounds the debates related to their societies: social problems, unemployment, marginalization and immigration are not “religious problems” and have nothing to do with Islam as such. It is imperative to reject the “islamization” of educational and socio-economic issues that require political, not religious, solutions.

One of the most effective ways of responding to legitimate fears is to separate problems into their component parts, but without disconnecting these closely related elements. “Deconstructing without disconnecting” means that we accept, first and foremost, the obligation to distinguish what is strictly religious in nature from educational, social or immigration-related issues, and then analyze how cause-and-effect relationships are established at the socio-political grassroots. Citizens of the Muslim faith must contribute to a reformulation of the political questions of the day. Seen in this light, unemployment, school failure and delinquency have, as we already mentioned, no connection with Islam. Yet it is vitally necessary to grasp the reasons why Muslim citizens and residents bear the brunt of failure in these very areas. What new political, social and city-planning policies can we propose to redress this state of affairs, new initiatives that would enable us to combat segregation and self-segregation, and encourage a greater social justice and mixing at all levels of society?

Exploiting fear

The arguments that were, yesterday, the sole province of parties of the extreme right have unfortunately found a home within traditional mainstream parties. Political leaders increasingly play upon fear to mobilize voters and to promote increasingly hard-line policies for managing social problems, security and immigration. At a loss for creative, innovative ideas for promoting cultural pluralism or for combating unemployment and social ghettoization, they prefer the dangerous rhetoric of protecting “identity” and “cultural homogeneity”, of defending “Western values”, of imposing strict limitations on “foreigners” with, of course, the whole apparatus of new security laws to fight terrorism. These political discourses play upon deep-seated apprehensions, perpetuate confusion over the terms of debate, and promote a binary approach to socio-political issues. The implicit terms of the debate is often reduced to a distinction between two entities: “We Westerners” and “They, the Muslims”, even when citizens are Muslims.

The constant return to the same questions in national political debates (violence, women, integration, etc.) is far from innocent; the question of “Islam” often becomes a diversionary tactic that political parties employ to undermine their adversaries and attract voters. Racist and xenophobic speech proliferates; the past is reinterpreted so as to exclude Islam from the slightest participation in the creation of the Western identity, henceforth redefined as purely Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian; individuals are tested at the border to determine their “moral flexibility” of immigrants, and laws reinforcing security become reflexive in these times of fear and instability, not to mention the policies of intransigence whose ultimate effect is to criminalize immigrants and asylum seekers.

In response to these attempts at exploitation and, on occasion, to the manipulation that accompanies them, citizens of the Muslim religion must behave contrary to the natural reactions. Instead of withdrawing from the public debate and into isolation, they must make themselves heard, step out of their religious, social, cultural or political ghettos and move forward to meet and reassure their fellow citizens. The policies of those who exploit fear are intended to create precisely what they claim to combat: by perpetually accusing Muslims of not being integrated, of setting themselves apart, of setting up barriers between “them” and “us” and of shutting themselves up in a religious identity they view as exclusive, the intellectuals and politicians who warn against the “naivety” of other politicians, against “the Islamic threat” or the “failure” of pluralist society or of multiculturalism, spread suspicion, create divisions and try to isolate the Muslims. As citizens, Muslims are today called upon to establish a rigorous critique of these very alarmist pronouncements that badly conceal the ideology they promote. In the name of Western values the Muslims must fight against policies that normalize common racism and discriminatory treatment, that stigmatize a portion of the population. The true loyal citizenship is a critical loyalty which means to refuse to have to permanently prove one’s belonging to the society in full knowledge of one’s responsibilities as citizen, lay claim to one’s rights and carry out a thoroughgoing critique of government policies when these policies betray the ideals of a democratic society.

A new “We”

If there is a contribution that Muslim westerners can bring to their respective societies, it is surely that of reconciliation. Confident in convictions, frank and rigorous in their critical outlook, armed with a broader understanding of Western societies, of their values, their history and their aspirations, they are ideally placed to engage their fellow citizens in reconciling these societies with their own ideals. The vital issue today is not to compare social models or experiences in a fruitless debate (as we have witnessed between the United States, France and Great Britain) but more simply, and in a far stricter and more demanding way, to take the measure of each society by comparing the ideals affirmed and proclaimed by its intellectuals and politicians, with the concrete practices that can be observed at the social grassroots: human rights and equality of opportunity (between men and women, people of different origins, skin colors). We must bring constructive criticism to bear on our societies, and measure words against deeds: all the citizens must adopt toward their society the same healthy self-critical attitude that Muslims must demonstrate toward their community.

Our societies are awaiting the emergence of a new “We”. A “We” that would bring together men and women, citizens of all religion-and those without religion-who would undertake together to resolve the contradictions of their society: the right to work, to housing, to respect, against racism and all forms of discrimination, all offenses against human dignity. Such a “We” would henceforth represent this coming together of citizens confident in their values, defenders of pluralism in their common society and respectful of the identities of others; citizens who seek to take up the challenge in the name of their shared values at the very heart of their societies. As loyal and critical citizens, as men and women of integrity, they join forces in a revolution of trust and confidence to stem the onrush of fear. Against shallow, emotional, even hysterical reactions they stand firm for rationality, for dialogue, for attentiveness, for a reasonable approach to complex social questions.

Local, National

The future of Western societies is now being played out at the local level. It is a matter of greatest urgency to set in motion national movements of local initiatives, in which women and men of different religions, cultures and sensitivities can open new horizons of mutual understanding and shared commitment: horizons of trust. These shared projects must henceforth bring us together, and give birth to a new “We” anchored in citizenship. Of course, “intercultural” and “interfaith” dialogues are both vital and necessary, but they cannot have the impact of the shared commitment of citizens in the priority fields : education, social fractures, insecurity, racisms, discriminations, etc.

Together they must learn to question educational programs, and to propose more inclusive approaches to the sum of remembered experience that make up today’s Western societies. These societies have changed, and the teaching of history must change apace; it must include the multiplicity of these experiences; it must even speak of the dark periods of history, those of which new citizens of the West have often been the original victims. Alongside the Enlightenment, and the progress and achievements of science and technology, something must also be said about slavery, about colonialism, about racism, genocide, and more. Objectively, without arrogance nor permanent sense of guilt. At the risk of touching off a competition for most-wounded victim status, a more objective reading of the memories building the current national History must be made official. On the social level, we must commit ourselves to a far more thoroughgoing social mixing in both our schools and our communities. Far more courageous and creative social and urban policies are needed, of course. But even now citizens can foster human interchange in and through projects focused on local democratic participation. National political authorities must go along, facilitate and encourage such local dynamics.

Western societies will not win the battle against social insecurity, violence and drugs through the sole security-based approach. What we need in our communities are social institutions, civic education, local job-creation, and confidence-building policies. Local political authorities can do much to transform the prevailing atmosphere of suspicion, and citizens, including Muslims, must not hesitate to knock on their doors, to remind them that in a democratic society the elected representative is at the service of the voter, and not the opposite. It is imperative that we become involved in national affairs, that we not allow ourselves to be carried away by the passions generated on the international scene. Still, it is clear that a critical discussion of how immigration is managed has yet to take place in the West: it is no longer possible to strip the Third World of its riches and in the same breath treat those who flee poverty and dictatorial regimes as criminals. Not only is such behavior unjust and inhuman; it is intolerable. To be and to remain the voice of the voiceless of Iraq or Palestine, of Tibet or Chechnya, of abused women and of AIDS victims (particularly in Africa, even though medication exists), is to take a stand for reconciliation in the name of the ideals of dignity, human rights and justice too often sacrificed on the altar of short-term political gain and geostrategic interests. In times of globalization, both local mutual trust and global critical mind pave the road towards reconciliation between civilizations.

A revolution of trust and confidence, of critical loyalty, the birth of a new “We” driven by national movements of local initiative: such are the contours of a responsible commitment by all the citizens in Western societies-for they lay claim to the benefits of a responsible, citizen-based ethic; for they want to promote the western cultural richness; for they know that survival will depend, imperatively, upon a new sense of political creativity. Citizens must work in the long term, above and beyond the electoral deadlines that paralyze politicians and hinder the formulation of innovative, courageous policies. When the elected official has nowhere to turn, when he no longer can translate his ideas into reality, it falls to the voters, to the citizens, to lay full claim to their ideals, and to make them a reality.

24 commentaires - “Manifesto for a new “WE””

  1. I appreciate Mr. Ramadan’s thoughtful insight into this problem, but his manifesto states two principles that are inherently wrong. First, he suggests that Western societies must accept that the Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian roots upon which our societies were founded must now accept convergence with other moralities such as that offered by Islam. Mr. Ramadan claims that resistance to this is based on fear of foreigners and instability.

    To the contrary, Western rejection of Islamic “morals” is based on a 1000+ year debate in Western civilizations as to what is morally tolerable and what is not. When Americans and Europeans examine “Islamic” societies we see widespread toleration, even encouragement, of precisely the behaviors and attitudes we are working so hard to eliminate from our societies — bigotry, religious intolerance, racism, sexism, cruel and unusual punishment for crime, inequality in voting and legal rights… the list goes on. While Mr. Ramadan appeals to Muslims in Western countries to moderate their views on such things, the proof is in the pudding. We make no effort to incorporate “Islamic morality” not out of fear of foreigners or instability. We do not incorporate Islamic values in our society because 1000+ years of blood and conflict, resentment and reconciliation has taught us that the Islamic value system — taking society back over 1000 years, in our view — is unacceptable. What Muslims in the West must realize is that wherever Islam rules — politically or religiously, or both — that society is without fail far behind non-Islamic societies in economy, education, culture, and general public welfare. When Muslims come to the table and ask that their views and values share in the societies makeup, we take one look at Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, etc. and say “No thanks”.

    The second misguided claim made by Mr. Ramadan in this article is that social problems among Western muslims is not a religious problem but rather a political one. Taken from Mr. Ramadan’s perspective — that many Western muslims view their societal problems as a result of Western prejudice of their faith, and that the solutions to their problems rely on a greater reliance on the core values of Islam — this is true. Viewed from another perspecive,however, much of the societal problems within Western muslim communities are indeed religious problems, as Muslims often see acceptance of those behaviors and attitudes necessary for employment and prosperity in Western society as un-Islamic. Relying on what Westerners view as Islamic arrogance, they refuse to accept their role as individual participants in a unified society, but instead resent Western employers, landlords, civic officials and others for not yielding to their particular set of Islamic values. So in this sense Islam is at the very root of these problems.

    1. Throughout my 17 years of life so far, I have been brought up to accept other people’s beliefs, principles, Religious perspectives etc but what i can not and will not tolerate is the perevious comment one correspondent has posted.

      As a Muslims, I am absolutely dismayed at that correspondent’s unheedful, cockamamie and quite frankly, dumb views. I could be very critical of each and everything that that reader has said in that comment, but however, (given that time is against me at the moment) I will be critical of only one of his/her views.

      That person claims to say ‘Islam is the root of all problems’ and goes along the lines of saying that ‘we should not look any further other than the economy, education, culture and general public welfare of Islam-ruled countries and compare that to the non-Islamic states’.

      Totally absurd. Does this reader of Tariq Ramadan’s articles not realise that the reason why Islamic-ruled states lag behind in economy, education, public welfare etc is because the Western States are very hostile to Islamic states? You tell me one Islamic country that is well-funded by the Western States? In fact, it is the Westerners that are cutting down on aid, money etc to Islamic-ruled States such as Palestine and Iran!! How do you expect these countries to progress in the economy, education, social and cutural wise etc??!!

      Countries such as Isreal are immensely funded by the Western Countries, and that is why you see these countrues rhetorically excelling in mattes such as education! Don’t get me wrong. I am not claiming to say non-Islamic countries should not be funded. What I am calling for is all the World Leading Countries to fund evenly, or something close to it, to all the Islam States as they do for non-Islamic countries as i believe the innocent Muslim and non-Muslim citizens should not be made to suffer [yes, I realise that some Islamic states have corrupt Governments and regimes-Ahmadinejad in Iran and Hamas in Palestine, but then again, the Americans have G ‘Dubya’ Bush,the British (like me) have Tony ‘Bush’ Blair and the Israels have Enund Ohlmert].

      I seriously hope that the previous correspondent (and anyone else for that matter) ponders on what i have just said. Like Tariq Ramadhan, I believe the World should be more grateful the role Islam played significanly in society, culture, history, technology, medicine, etc in the past and also what it can offer in the future.

    2. YOU ARE VERY WRONG, THE COMMENTATOR IS RIGHT. HOW CAN YOU EXPECT THE WEST TO FUND ISLAM COUNTRY WHILE THE HAVE VAST MINERAL RESOURCES TO DEVELOP THEIR COUNTRY. ALL THAT THE WEST HAS IS KNOWLEDGE THROUGH CHRISTIANITY AND THE RESULT IS MASSIVE DEVELOPEMENT. AGAIN YOU CANNOT EXPECT THE WEST TO AID YOU WHILE AT THE SAME TIME YOU HATE THE WEST FOR THEIR WAY OF LIFE AND CALL THEM THE ACCURSED PEOPLE WHILE THE ISLAM WORLD CALLED THEMSELF THE CHOOSING.ISREAL OF YESTERDAY IS FAR BETTER THAN EGYPT OF MORE THAN 3 3,000YEARS.YOUR PROBLEM IS RELIGION,UNTIL YOU SEPARATE RELIGION FROM STATE YOU WILL REMAIN WERE YOU ARE FOR THE NEXT THOUSAND YEARS TO COME. THE WEST HAVE INVENT AND DEVELOP EVERYTHING EVEN INTERNET AND MOBILE PHONE WHICH WE ALL ARE ENJOYING TODAY,THAT IS WHY THE MUSLEMS ARE FLOODING TO MIGRATE TO THE WEST. IF ALL WISDOM IS IN ISLAM AS YOU PEOPLE SAY,WHY CANT YOU PEOPLE USE IT TO DEVELOPE THE ISLAM WORLD AND LIVE ACCORDING TO THE TENETS OF ISLAM WITHOUT CORRUPTING YOUR SELF HERE IN THE WEST. TURKEY IS FIGHTING TO JOIN THE WEST ,WHY BCOS THEY ARE POOR AND NEED ECONOMIC HELP FROM THE CHRISTIAN WEST. JUST TELL ME ONE GOOD THING FROM THE MUSLEM WORLD TODAY, I ONLY SAW FIGHTING AND PROTEST FOR ANY SLIGHTEST COMMENT.

    3. Dear Mr. Kevin Richards

      you are very right in pointing out the contributions of western invention. and we are deeply grateful to you for this. I think,You would be quite interesting to note the following piece of writing
      “According to one calculation, the average American baby represents twice the enviornmental damage of a Swedish child, three times that of a Italian, thirteen times that of a Brazilian, 35 times of that of an Indian and 280 times that of a Chadian or Haitian…”
      (Source; Paul Kennedy, Preparing for the 21st century Harper Collins Publisher, 1993)

      Being the National of a former British Colony I would also suggest you to study the grounds of wealth that west obtained, so please google for the “Frank’s Depenceny Theory”

      In conclusion I’ll like to say that we strongly appreciate all the positive values like equality, transparency, civil rights etc. that west holds and that are not contrasting to the Islamic values. and Even for the values that are contrasting we still respect them and are ready to start a healthy debate on them.

      Peace b with u

    4. just let me tell smth you seems to be so and so agressive and sorry to tell that u seems to be rasict let me tell you smth u r talking about islam négativily can u tell me what do u know about islam??? u r just say what non islamic shows you about islam you have a bad backgrounds about islam, islam doesn’t accept terrorism he is totally against and what happens nowadays it’s bcoz of misunderstanding of true islam so advice you to read and not to belive bcoz people like u don’t belive readabout true islam religion of peace and the respect of others religions,and if all muslims really apply their religion truely we will never need you help and sory again if i was not polite but ur words about islam hurt me bcoz it’s not true what you have said

    5. hello
      i’m surprised when you said such good notices about muslims world.first bull let ma say that islam is the last and the usefull “deen” for the human because of him we’ve reached the level of a true human being..he taught us the right way to use our mind and our heart to respect even the unbelievers in the way to show ’em the light of the way that god had called us to walk in;the way of faith,peace the way of islam.next time i’ll explain ..but i thank you lof for your courage.you should seek for islam not for muslums believe me..ciz we’re human and may we wrongly understan even the christianity ..god blessed you

    6. Unfortunately it has taken me 7 years since your article to discover this website and only now on through my self read interest will intend to give u insight on mr. Ramadans topic and your view of judicio, christian moral society.

      This model breeds secularism, supposedly based on faith. Which faith? The one which you so boldly consruct as per your mental capacity? Through your education systems, constantly debated within you own minds with your own pschologies, phylosophies, evolutions, theologies, etc which have no faithful ground except your psyche.

      Your debated morals have always been adapted to your needs, you write of the benefitsof you models have you noticed the negatives? That your society indoctrinates sick mental values as well which far outway that of its positives. Where were your concepts which you say are developed for betterment of society during the white christian world domination and oppression? Your systems collapsed due to fallability of your own ideas and today are still based on these original godless concepts of thinking.

      I agree faith is blind. But you guys are blind to your minds eye, everything is rational even your faith, so what faith do you have. I would rather be blinded by faith that has peace as its top moral value than to follow the faith of reason which is adaptable.

    7. ..most of the 1000+ year debate in western civilizations as to what is morally tolerable as you put it, is a depiction of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Maybe you should reassess your views and do an academic research on the subject. Islam is not a proper noun, in arabic it means “deliverance” and in Islamic context it refers to “self-deliverance”, to the Creator and nothing else, you’ve probably heard of him. Anyway my answer is for anyone who might be lucky enough to stumble here and take my aforementioned advice on academia. I hope this helps.

    8. Before claiming that an Islamic ruling county is unable to function, perhaps further study should be made about the Islamic Golden Age.

  2. My personal opinion is that Islam and western society are incompatible. I do not believe there is any middle ground between the cultures. We should live apart. 9/11 changed everything for me and it will never be put back together, no matter how lofty the words. What’s done is done.

    Richard W.
    Texas

    1. Hi,

      Since you are from Texas, you may want to visit this link. It’s a video about turning muslim in Texas.

      [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9184353144432289069->http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9184353144432289069]

    2. Dear Richard

      I can fully understand that an atrocity of such scale in your own country would bring you to the above conclusion. It has shaken all of us, regardless of our faiths, and left us in disbelief. One thing, however, I would like to ask you to consider. If you have developed such negative feelings towards Muslims in general, surely, you would appreciate the hate and dislike, which some people from other countries have experience towards the US. It may be worthwhile looking into the recent history in Serbia, Japan, Palestine/Israel, just to name a few. If we all start dismissing each other and hating based on what a few lunatics/extremists/government officials do, none of us will live in peace. For your own wellbeing, learn to forgive even if you choose never to forget.
      Warm Regards
      E

  3. It is to the Richards out there that scholarships, initiatives, and work on the ground like those of brother Tariq’s must not stop, and God willing, will not stop. The West and Muslims are not worlds apart. The West and Islam are not incapable of living together. I live in the West, I am Western. I am also Muslim. I, and millions of Western Muslims would have fallen apart, literally, if the West and Muslims cannot exist together. This did not happen, and God willing, will not happen.

  4. Cet article, Tariq, mériterait une traduction française. Il est riche de propositions et éclaire votre positionnement dans le champ social, qui est tellement caricaturé!

    Nous avons tant à faire ensemble, avec nos/au delà de nos différences, pour prendre à bras le corps les problèmes de notre société, dans la durée, au delà, en effet des préoccupations de type électoraliste..

    F

  5. In June 2001, authorities formally placed Venerable Thich Quang Do under house arrest after he announced his intention to escort back to Saigon the 82-year old patriarch of the UBCV living under house arrest for the last 19 years. Security police currently maintain a 24-hour cordon around the pagoda of Venerable Thich Quang Do.

  6. The problem occurs whenever the nation and the religion are made the center of the agenda. The problem doesn’t occur so much in the discussion among individuals. Even friends of the foreigner of fact Watashi are all people very respectable as man. It is gentle to the elderly person and the child and wonderful. However, the problem occurs whenever becoming big stories such as the religions and nations. Let’s talk as man before it talks about the nation and the religion.

  7. We — all of us — must continue the strugle to assert the enshrined basic values we have in our various constitutions. In Canada we risk the destruction of our generous society through the vilification of various groups. In particular we are beginning a return to Penal Times with more brutal appraaches to criminal sentencing ans inmate treatment.
    The treatment of any group of people that assaults the basic right of dignity of the human condition should be fought through discouse, challenge and the proposal of better ways.
    We will continue.

    Dara OhUiginn
    Ottawa

  8. One of the most beautiful statements in the Quran is for me, when you do not like your surroundings, change within. Thus advise is now being supported by Western science, f.i. dr Bruce Lipton. For me it means Allah never supports victimhood. Although there are many victims in our world, but supports the idea that every experience is selfgenerated. Allah also advises us to be grateful for all of our experiences. The world is bigger than the Muslim/Western conflict. What i, a western Dutch woman, who was called by Allah to become a muslim, regret is that with many other conflicts, f.i. about new healthcarelaws, that will make it impossible to buy good supplements, have alternative healthcare, buy organic groceries, i do not seem to find muslims on my side. The Quran advises muslims to always study, but when it comes to studies about Quantummechanica, i rarely meet muslims in that environment. So to me it seems, the question of isolation is a selfchosen one. A too rigid living of ones inherited, traditional doctrines instead of living in this world at large, taking responsibility for the problems faced by humanity. The way many muslims dress, also appears archaic, as if they chose to live in ancient history. (The Quran forbids to stimulate animosity against Allay in a foreign culture). A position no human being can afford, when being aware of the many planetary and human conflicts. When i talk to one of my muslim male friends, i hear that among his peers there is much gossiping and judgement, whether one is a good muslim or not. When i was still married, badly treated and abused, finally thrown away like garbage, my muslim neighbours presented me food when there was the Ramadan, after he abandoned me, that stopped. It is a lonely affair, celebrating Ramadan by oneself, alone. But no Western person gives me any bad rap, when telling them i can not eat or drink, because i am doing Ramadan. So possibly it is not the Religion in itself, but people that are creating all this animosity against the Islam. Except for when i was still wearing an hidjab, shortly after 9/11, i never had any adverse reaction from any sane person here in the Netherlands. As for the infamous politician, most people voted for other enticements, he promised, like healthcare, retirement-age. He is now under attack for not being a democratic party. Research shows, although it does not appear so in the media, here in the Netherlands, relations between muslims and non-muslims have actually improved.
    We are many fragmented groups/genders/nationalities, but is that not what the Quran pretells us, that we will all be brought together to learn from each other.

  9. You are right to make a distinction between the national and the local level. And I think on a local level things aren’t as bad as they are portrayed in the media.

    We are now in the third generation. My mother was illiterate, she never went out, my father hardly spoke the language of this country. But all their children have studied and do well in society. I mix with non-muslims, and apart from some tension there is not really a problem and I have non-muslim friends. Actually, I’m doing better than many non-muslims who don’t have foreign parents (if you think about the human capacity to adjust is amazing!) My brothers’ children are raised by people who understand this society and are doing even better.

    But then you have all the debates, the rhetorics, the bad politics on a national (and international) level. It says nothing about my situation and that of many other muslims, but yet it does and it does influence how you assess your situation. Whether you like it or not. But there is nothing you can do about it and too much energy that could be better used otherwise is lost.

    So here´s my dilemma. Should I stop reading the newspaper, throw away my laptop (internet) and forget about it and live my life without the headache. But that would mean I would’nt be informed about a reality that is there and close my eyes to that.

    We are ready for some good news now.

  10. VIDEO

    -[Ramadan Tariq – Has multiculturalism failed in Europe ?->http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xf9q27_ramadan-tariq-has-multiculturalism_webcam]

    Tariq Ramadan reacts to Angela Merkel’s remarks that multiculturalism in Germany has “failed.”

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