Middle East studies in the News
Muslims Should Blame Themselves for Failure to Understand Islam, Says Scholar [on Tariq Ramadan]
Muslims have only themselves to blame for their own failure to translate Islamic values and understanding the universal messages depicted in the Quran, said Islamic scholar Professor Dr Tariq Ramadan today.
In his speech titled "The Quranic concept of jihad and how do we rise above its misinterpretation", he also said this is also why some Muslims felt the world is 'against' them.
"Islam came as a message not only for Muslims but also people of other faiths. We are not here to impose value but to spread our shared values and bringing back the forgotten ones. Quran is remembrance.
"We cannot blame the world for not understanding us. We have to blame ourselves for not being able to translate our own values (to the world)," the Oxford University professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies told those attending the International Youth Gathering 2015 in Kuala Lumpur.
Tariq said some Muslims have the misconception that because they are 'different', hence are better that others of different faith.
"We do not know how to convey the message. But the message is clear. It is our mind that is confused and clouded by emotion, saying we are not like you (others)," said Tariq.
He said these Muslims, rather than spreading better understanding of the shared values, are obsessed with being judgemental and calling others kuffar (non-believers).
He said that Muslims are more concerned with what the West said about them rather than focusing on understanding Islam from within.
"We keep saying we are better and if Muslims today are not able to understand and be clear that these are shared values, it is because of us.
"We should, in fact, say we are like you and we have human brotherhood. It is in the Quran. We are brothers and sisters. It means not only brothers and sisters in Islam, but also people of other faiths," said Tariq.
He said that just like people of other faiths, Muslims are struggling to master the emotion by resisting the ego and attractions.
"We are not born peaceful. We are struggling to master our emotions. Tell me who has ever said that they are fine as they are. If that person says he is fine and has never struggled, then that shows he has problems. That's what we call arrogant."
Tariq also pointed out that religion has often been misconstrued as denying the rights of its believers.
He cited the denial of Saudi women their right to drive vehicles, saying: "How can women be prevented from driving? It is a contradiction in our society."
He also said that Muslims should not be selective in their condemnation of brutality and extremism to please the West.
"Do it with the right principles. The situation is more complex than what they want to say. Is the blood of the Arabs and the Asian less valuable that the West? We have to remind people of our common principles," said Tariq.
To a question on hudud from a participant, Tariq pointed out that he had always maintained he was against it if it is implemented without a proper discussion of what context the Shariah code of punishment can be used.
"We should stop giving the wrong impression about Islam. Islam in Malaysia is not about hudud punishment. It is more than that. Islam in Malaysia is about more justice, more freedom and no discrimination. If you want to punish, it is the leaders, not the masses," he said.
Some 200 participants attended the youth gathering, organised by the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement. The participants included those from Turkey, Somalia, Singapore and Vietnam.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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