Indeed, we live in strange times. In the past, the logical explanation could usually be found for events when they occur. These days neither logic nor common sense seems to help us understand the reasons behind the vicious attacks we are seeing recently on Muslim scholars and intellectuals. It seems to occur especially to the ones who are highly loved and admired by the people and who showed a balanced understanding of the faith in this complex world we live in.
The simultaneous rise in Islamophobia and the organized effort to silence Muslims who speak out against tyranny and injustice might not surprise us and could help us understand these occurrences.
One of the scholars is Dr. Salman Al-Awda a prominent scholar and thinker. He has been detained for over a year and had his trial earlier this month. The prosecutor sought the death penalty for Dr. Al-Awda as punishment for a comment he made on social media that included an invocation to God to heal the rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Another case is Dr. Tariq Ramadan, one of the most prominent Islamic intellectuals of the 21st Century, who has visited the Muslim community of So Cal at several Shura Council events in the past. Dr. Ramadan has been the victim of a vicious plot accusing him of indecent acts. While we always believed that those accusations were false and fabricated, we were careful not to publicly address the issue until we understood all the facts.
On August 18th, several leaders of the local Muslim community including some board members of the Shura Council attended a meeting where the daughter of Dr. Ramadan explained the family’s side of the story. She brought to our attention that rumors and false reports being circulated about the case. Ms. Ramadan also expressed her and her family’s frustration with the way that Dr. Ramadan is being mistreated and how the investigation is taking place. It was heartbreaking to hear the pleas of his family for Muslims around the world to support him and his family during this difficult time.
After the thorough discussion with many leaders and member of the So Cal community, we reached the conclusion that we have an obligation to stand by Dr. Ramadan and his family during this difficult time and show them our support. It is our duty as a community to voice our support for Dr. Tariq Ramadan and defend his reputation as one of the greatest scholars of our time, whom we trust and have faith in his integrity an decency.