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Tariq Ramadan

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

tareqramadanUnion City (Calif.)–This well-known Swiss (citizen) scholar was born in Europe in 1962 of Egyptian refugees.   His grandfather was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood and his great-uncle was a progressive reformer of Islam.

He is, also, a recent political cause celebre here in America for his long fight to successfully gain a visa into the United States.  The whole unpleasant episode appears to have been due to institutionalized Islamophobia within the (U.S.) State Department.  Tariq was not only persona non grata in America, but, also, was so in (pre-democratic) Tunisia and Libya, and still is in (post-coup) Egypt along with the current regimes in Saudi Arabia and Syria due to their contempt for human rights.

Ramadan is a Professor of Islam (within the study of Theology) at Oxford University in the United Kingdom and, also, lectures widely.  Most importantly he believes that Islam must adapt uniquely in the West while still holding onto its basic tenets.  He is a deeply religious personally which is, moreover, expressed within his writings.

Tariq Ramadan came to speak to an American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) funding banquet here in the San Francisco Bay Area.  He expounded upon that occupied nation. 

He began his comments with Palestine “…is central and critical,” and its plight connects our lives here in the Occident to theirs in the Middle East, and, further, to the rest of the world.  He emphasized that we residing in the United States have special responsibilities to that (denied) nationality (because of our irrational support of the Jewish State). 

Speaking of himself and his audience, “We here must promote [recognition] of what is wrong [there] and to oppose it!”  This should form the basis of our actions and reactions to injustices in that part of the Levant.   “Pray to Allah and be courageous,” for “Our religion teaches [us] to stand [up] for life.”  Our Islamic message is “…to stand up for Allah [SVT]!”  You are “…not in America by accident!”  Speaking to the largely Muslim audience, he urged them to be aware of what has been happening in that benighted land.

“It is the Arabs [regimes] who are repressing the Palestinians, [too]–” along with the Israelis.  [Furthermore,] the Americans are “merely” the enablers of this outrage. 

Egypt, again, is under a dictatorship.  The Israelis are acting upon their (own) interests, but we “have to criticize the [Arabs],” too.  Furthermore, the American citizenry are repressing Palestine. 

“The Israelis are making a two-State solution impossible!”

What you cannot say directly, you can say with your pocket book.  You must, further, keep talking about the atrocities within the Holy Land in North America of where you currently reside as Muslims.

“We [Muslims] are powerful”    Although we are powerful, “The psychological greatness of [our] civilization resides more in its thinking than in its power.”  and our history demonstrates the depth of our thought.

“You are on the side of justice… [and]…You are powerful…[because] you are lucky [enough] to be in America.”

“Support for Israel is fading…We have to [influence] your [U.S] media [to be more] supportive of Palestine…It is not only for the Muslims, but for all the people” here and there.  “Islamic lands and Muslims here are not against the Western nations.”

Israel is putting the United States of America in a bad position.  We “should [join and] support the discourse.”  American Muslims must help dismantle Settler Colonialism in the Palestinian parts of the Fertile Crescent.   We must support the resistance that is happening on the ground between the Mediterranean and the Jordan.   By its de-humanization of the Palestinians, the Israelis are encouraging a culture of death. 

You “As American Muslim…have to resist.”  You cannot be content when anyone is murdered because he is human.  “We have to resist any type of de-humanization.”

We (you) have to connect with Afro-American Muslims as well (to shore up your strength and unity with their oppression).  Although there has developed a societal fear against us after 9/11, “Be Faithful…Trust Allah!”  Speak about love.  “We came here with a mission….Wake up to serve Allah in life:”  To serve America and Palestine — even though I (he) had been banned from your country, and, in my (his)country of employment, Britain, anti-Sharia Bills are being debated in Parliament.

“It is important that we… go beyond Islam…we have to have people with us who are not Muslim…You need [have] to remember Allah” within the new context of the world!

“We have to support Palestine, and change the United States, and “ Never forget the oppressed: Never be far from them…Ask Allah to help the oppressed:  Be close to the poor; close to Allah…We have to be close to Allah in the U.S.A”   especially!


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