A Muslim, and a “Controversial Intellectual”


Indeed, after initial recognition from my society and the school system, everything had now changed. The values of dignity, solidarity, and justice which I had upheld as a citizen and teacher with no apparent religion (and which had elicited such praise in the past) no longer had the same substance or worth when they were upheld by a “Muslim intellectual” or “Muslim scholar.” From the very moment when I started speaking as a “Muslim” or when I was seen as such, a haze of suspicion fell over my intentions and discourse. I experienced this revelation : the heavy, age-old burden of Europe’s stormy relations with religion, and in particular with Islam —including denied intellectual influence, the crusades, and colonization— still needed to be cast off. I was a Swiss, a European, but I was above all “a Muslim” in my fellow citizens’ perception: besides, I was not a “real European,” or if I was, I had to prove it. My interlocutors had lists of questions that were to be put to me to “test” the real nature of my “integration” and incidentally compel me to a defensive posture of constant justification.

I observed, analyzed, and assessed the nature of inherited burdens and present fears. Continuous immigration since the Second World War, the new visibility of the younger generations of Muslims, new demands in schools and hospitals, and other issues—all those phenomena (which were soon to include violence) were liable to foster fear, suspicion, and doubt. Everywhere, the Western conscience was facing deep-set doubts : what will become of us with this onslaught of immigration which, moreover, is necessary to Western societies? Who are those Muslims who represent “a new citizenship” and who are mainly faced with serious economic difficulties, while political parties know so little about them? What is it they really want: to “integrate,” or to “Islamize” Europe, America, the West?

My involvement in the Western public debate over the issue of Islam was very soon to focus on the “visible intellectual” a large number of projections and/or animosities that beset me from different sides. My appeals for dialogue, for coming together through shared universals, for harmonious coexistence involving mutual enrichment, seemed “too good to be true” and were bound to “hide something.” In effect, my positions were also apt to impede the interests of some ideologues, organizations, movements, and governments, for whom the presence of Islam and of confident, sometimes critical and protesting Muslims, was in itself a problem and a potential danger. Over the past fifteen years, attacks have stepped up and have come from several fronts which can be fairly easily identified, as will be seen at the end of this book. The media have often relayed those criticisms either to further their own dubious agendas and objectives (when they were ideologically involved themselves) or simply repeating the allegations gathered here and there on the Internet (always the same, repeated a thousand times).

First, my lineage was attacked. Being the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, I was dangerous by definition and I must not be listened to. Islam, people said and still repeat, allows dissimulation (taqiyyah) and so I practiced it in the extreme; all that sounded so fine to Western audiences was in fact nothing but the presentable side of a far more obscure hidden agenda: I wanted to Islamize modernity, Europe and Europeans, and I certainly had links with radicals or terrorists. Such allegations, repeated several hundred times on the Internet (without any evidence, of course), now give the impression that there must be some truth in all this. Where there is smoke, there is fire, they repeat, without trying to find out what the fire is and who is feeding it.

9 Commentaires

  1. This is a tragedy of our time in the Muslim world as well as the Non – Muslim world, judging the son by the father or grand father. The truth is this is a flawed logic, in the West as well as East. Great fathers , or Great grand fathers often do not deliver to the world great children. Your grandfather a mega figure at his time, his ideas and thoughts were governed by the ethos of that time. With the changing world, time and space, ideas, thoughts, culture, outlook on many matters do change. Great Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln had children, but non can come closer to their parents. Muslim world particularly suffer from a psyche of baseless fear. Arab world lost astounding number of intellectuals to the West because of this fear mania. Dear brother, please carry on with your good work, let Allaah take care of the rest.

  2. I don’t buy all of your position but I buy most of your thoughts and positions. I trust your knowledge. I don’t care what the people have to say about you or about my position concerning you. I’m in the good side of you. What most important is God is with you. May Allah be with you. I pray you in silence. – Love from Nigeria’s Africa

  3. Thanks God still Tariq Ramadan finds the time to dedicate to which we need his intellect: sharing his thoughts and deep analysis through lectures or books like “Islam: the Essentials” (I read the french version). I admire the calm and energetic way Pr Ramadan answers to his detractors, I regret he never had the time nor the opportunity (as far As I know) to explain or write about Hassan El Banna: put into context how a 23 years young school teacher under the British colonial occupation developed his thoughts deserves it.

  4. The West seems to be going into decline – very sad for a people who have such greatness in them. They are turning inwards more and more, blaming all their woes on outsiders, on “others”. However, the same can also be said for many Muslim societies today.
    Despite the Internet and the ease of international travel, instead of embracing and welcoing the global village, the interconnected world seems to have scared the Westerners. Increasing individualism and materialism has made them more selfish, unwilling to share their enormous wealth for fear of becoming poor. Their worldview, their concept of life and humanity has become so diminished.
    There seems to be little to hope for in the way of progress and positive change from most of the present generation of political leaders, howver they, of course, get most of the coverage in the media, making things worse.
    More positive signs can be seen at local community level and among ordinary people – people of all faiths reaching out to one another when a tragedy occurs, ordinary citizens getting together in small groups to do charity work in their own community, neighbours and office mates feeling comfortable together.
    One does notice, too, that government and other public officials are usually now more careful in their statements; this is in response to a growing trend in public opinion, which reflects the fact that people have realized that they have too long been fed with propaganda, not facts.
    Reforming people’s minds and attitudes has always been an extremely long and difficult process, with many people who are dedicated to it along the way having to make tremendous sacrifices. We should acknowledge them and be grateful to them, and, even more important, each of us should build on what they have started and achieved, in whatever ways we are able.

  5. La justice fini toujours par vaincre l’injustice car le sabr la vérité et le temps sont les meilleurs juges et justiciers, quoique le test de la foi est parfois cruel et douleureux .
    Résister au pire de soi et et offrir le meilleur de son être quand tout ce qui vous entoure vous invite à l’extreme opposé et assister à l’enterrement des valeurs communes qui préservaient la survie de la diversité humaine . Les maîtres du monde s’acharnent assidûment ,depuis la chute du mur de Berlin , à essayer d’imposer des valeurs mercantiles habillées dans le laïcisme afin de justifier l’injustifiable et promouvoir l’inconcevable . Cette stratégie va qu’accélérer le collapse d’un système agonisant , maintenu sous perfusion , à l’aide de trinité néolibérale : l’industrie de l’armement ( qui alimente les guerres et le terrorisme ) , l’endettement ( qui alimente le système bancaire )et la spéculation financière ( qui accélère les inégalités )
    Tel est l’épreuve à laquelle est confrontée l’humanité ,et les relations humaines qui la régissent . Des interactions qui sont semées d’obstacles et d embûches, générés par la rancœur ,la haine ,l’individualisme à outrance que l’on vend comme de la liberté individuelle et de l’autonomie , l’avidité sans limites , la soif aveugle et sanguinaire du pouvoir et de ses accessoires…
    Cette épreuve exige beaucoup de volonté , de courage , de patience,de persévérance et d’endurance (assabr) combiné à de l’humilité de la sagesse et surtout beaucoup d’amour,de compassion et d’empathie . Éléments nécessaires mais toujours suffisants pour mener le jihad quotidien contre notre ego (Nafssou laoumma et amarra bissoû).
    Le vrai sens du mot jihad( déformer médiatiquement par l’ignorance des uns et promu par celle des autres ) réside dans notre capacité à affronter notre égo,l’empêcher de prendre notre raison en otage ,par le biais de la dictature des apparences aveuglantes ,enivrantes , abrutissantes,aliénantes , asservissantes …La globalisation de l’ignorance , soutenue par les maîtres du monde et appuyée par le dictat de l’image numérique en tant réel ,formate nos esprits petit à petit ,jour après jour,subtilement,vicieusement pour finir par nous déshumaniser doucement,lentement mais sûrement ,à l’image de cette première cigarette à laquelle nous finissons par devenir dépendant à vie.
    Le but , étant de promouvoir le clash des ignorances , qui consiste à nous monter les uns contres les autres par la promotion de la haine , de la violence , de la discrimination , de l’exclusion , de l’inégalité , de la mauvaise distribution des richesses ,des guerres , des occupations , des exodes massifs de bébés , de femmes , d’enfants , de la cupidité ,de la justice sectaire et partisane….

  6. Being Muslim person who flow the footsteps of Islamic teachings, is what defines being Muslim, we don’t believe nationalism first rather we are Muslim community and our ideology is universal brotherhood, of course we different ethnicity just only to know our roots, because three can’t have his root, what ever people said about you or any other person doesn’t define who we are, I believe that to be a Muslim person is privilege and other believes are our mirror to know where we are, its a part of Islamic teaching to respect other religious and define yours as best us you can, ever single Muslim is ambassador of hi/her religion, so do your job and try to have best manners, since our role model is our Prophet Mohamed(PBUH) the best of all human being.

  7. It is very saddening to hear about these allegations. The media, the right wing fanatics in Europe were after Dr. Ramadhan for a long time. He – MaashaaAllah – was gifted with wisdom and knowledge and knew how to put these extremists in their places.

    The media have already found him guilty until proven otherwise. As the article below explains, there is double standard when it comes to the justice system that is being applied to this giant thinker and philosopher.

    The casualty of the so-called ‘me too’ movement is the truth. Once you are accused of wrong doing, no due process is deemed necessary. The fanatics of this movement are working hard to take away the presumption of innocence against the accused.

    Dr. Ramadhan has done a lot to combat Islamophobes, to speak up for justice and to help Muslims uphold their values and principles.

    If anything, we should repay him back at the most difficult juncture of his life is by praying for him and his family. We should remember that he is innocent until proven otherwise. May Allah protect him from the hate mongers who hate Islam and Muslims. May justice prevail.

    I am not saying because of his contributions he should be held above the law. Anyone who has done wrong has to pay the price. But what is at stake here is the truth. Those who hate the Muslim Brotherhood including the stern supporters of the Egyptian dictator are already vilifying the man just because he is the grandson of Hasan Al Bana. May Allah have mercy on him.

    To them this case has been used against their opponents to justify their crackdown of the Mursi supporters and to suppress their opponents and continue holding on to their illegitimate power which then got by overthrowing the previously elected government.

    What is puzzling in these allegations is: why in the world have they waited years before reporting to the police? This is suspicious itself.

    May Allah restore justice and peace everywhere


  8. You are the salt in the eye for fundamentalists and islamophobes – paradoxically – that’s good.
    For me, you are one of the most important voices in contemporary European Islam and I thank you for that. You inspire me!

    As Salamu alaykum from Poland.


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