Defimedia: “We must not use culture to the detriment of religion”

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Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan is in Mauritius since Thursday. He met the press, co-hosted debates and dialogues with all communities. Mauritius and Morocco are both his adopted countries and he says he finds here a vivid example of a multi-ethnic country, which unabashedly addresses the issue of interculturality.

The following is an extract of an interview he gave to le Défi Media Group.

You refuse identity confinements…

I play a variety of identities around my religious beliefs without conflicts between them. My references, based on knowledge are plural. I am a Swiss citizen with Egyptian roots, I teach in London and Doha. Each of these functions is an identity. I noticed that there is barely half an hour flight between Mauritius and Reunion, but the cultures are not the same. However, we must not use culture to the detriment of religion.

You are ranked among the 100 most influential people in the world. This makes you ‘an opinion leader’.

I have never considered myself as an opinion leader, but as a person in the service of a movement and principles, with an approach that is based on three axes. The first is to act on the ideas and principles; and then to face the daily challenges that require us to be active and creative; and finally to be alongside men and women in the fraternity, because we need to engage ourselves with others.

Does our belongingness to religion come before that of the country that gave birth to us?

National distinction should not affect the feeling of being Hindu, Muslim or Christian, but the danger lies in the belief in exclusive identities. We should also be very careful about chauvinistic nationalism that has already borne Nazism and fascism.

Source: Interview for Defimedia in Mauritius

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