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Tariq Ramadan and Amartya Sen

Posted By Sunny On 5th October, 2005 @ 12:42 pm In Current affairs, South Asia, Religion, The World | Comments Disabled

The Guardian yesterday published a long-awaited interview with the scholar Tariq Ramdan, [1] worthwhile reading. His best points are always on integration.

He picked apart the Islamic scriptures and considered the laws of liberal democracies, and concluded that both were flexible enough to coexist.

But to realise this, everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim, had to be able to accept that their values might be different from those of people around them, but that they were still part of one society. He calls it “psychological integration”.

However, her makes a very good point also about Muslims becoming overly defensive and retreating back to their communities than engaging in debate over important issues (MCB take note).

It’s a seductive idea of tolerance and understanding. But when Muslims are being accused of terrorism and extremism, what is easier: to retreat into the safety of their own community, or work their way into the wider society? It’s a difficult psychological leap, Ramadan agrees. “We need an intellectual revolution. First it’s about education. It’s about self-confidence. Don’t look at yourself as part of a marginalised minority. At the moment, there is a ‘protect yourself’ mentality among Muslims. But the best way to be respected is to give something to your society. To give value and presence.”

He also makes a point about the Iraq war that many who support it try to skirt around.

“Of course there is a relationship between what is happening internationally and here. In one of the videotapes, [a bomber] said: ‘You are killing our brothers in Baghdad, we are going to kill you here.’ He is wrong. What he said is unacceptable. But he is building a political link. So give political answers. It’s not right to say this is a Muslim problem. It’s a political problem.”

Another article worth reading is the one written by Amartya Sen, the nobel peace Economics prize winner and generally a fantastic dude, published in the launch issue of Prospect magazine ten years ago. They’ve put it online to celebrate their 10th year. [[2] Link]

Update: Madeleine Bunting has been asked to interview Al-Qaradawi by the Guardian, so that should be interesting to look out for, in about a month’s time.


Comments Disabled To "Tariq Ramadan and Amartya Sen"

#1 Comment By nukh On 5th October, 2005 @ 9:02 pm

there shouldn’t be any credence given to the london bomber who claimed that he was killing to avenge his “brothers” in baghdad.
indeed, every time a public intellectual draws attention to the rationalisation, he or she is legitamising that fallacy, however, obliquely.
and it naturally begs the question, should hindus be blowing up muslims to avenge their “brothers” in bali and bangladesh?

btw, amartya sen won the 98 nobel prize for economics and not for peace.

#2 Comment By Al-Hack On 5th October, 2005 @ 10:19 pm

Why nukh - you don’t accept anyone might be a teensy weensy bit pissed off that the UK invaded Iraq? It seems you war supporters want to totally banish any suggestion that it might have actually radicalised some youth and driven them into the arms of Islamists.

#3 Comment By Old Pickler On 5th October, 2005 @ 11:25 pm

I totally agree with nukh. This nonsense about ‘our brothers in Iraq’ should be shot down in flames. British Muslims are no more entitiled to become radicalised by events in Iraq than any other Britons.

British Muslims who come out with this crap deserve to be taken to task and their loyalty questioned.

#4 Comment By Al-Hack On 5th October, 2005 @ 11:58 pm

OP - Do you have a habit of posturing purely to make a point or do you actually believe in what you type?

If we care so much about the Iraqis, why is it their dead are not being counted along with the British dead or wounded?

If that is so, why, on any given day with two tragedies with 20 deaths in the UK and 500 deaths in the Middle East, would the British tragedy get much more coverage?

There is tribalism all around us. People care mostly for their own kind. Just accept it and get on with it instead of making such futile remarks as above.

#5 Comment By Old Pickler On 6th October, 2005 @ 12:48 am

There is tribalism all around us. People care mostly for their own kind. Just accept it and get on with it instead of making such futile remarks as above.

My point precisely. So which ‘tribe’ do British Muslims belong to? The British tribe or the Muslim tribe?

If the latter, and if I’m supposed to ‘just accept it’ , fine. But do not then complain if, as is now logical, I question the loyalty of British Muslims to Britain.

I would rather not question this. I would rather that British Muslims considered themselves British first and foremost. But those who put Iraqis first must face the consequences in terms of hostile reactions and suspcicion of disloyalty, which they will have brought upon themselves.

#6 Comment By Sunny On 6th October, 2005 @ 12:56 am

For your benefit OP, I’m posting the last quote here again. I don’t think you understand what he’s trying to get at:

In one of the videotapes, [a bomber] said: ‘You are killing our brothers in Baghdad, we are going to kill you here.’ He is wrong. What he said is unacceptable. But he is building a political link. So give political answers. It’s not right to say this is a Muslim problem. It’s a political problem.”

#7 Comment By Mokum On 6th October, 2005 @ 1:02 am

Tariq is

1) spot on about confidence – where is it? Victim culture is way out of control when Islam should make for some of the most confident people on earth.

2) dead wrong about the bomber videos. This kind of slaughter is not political in any normal sense of the word and it is haram. If haram means anything, it means no bombs on the Tube, end of story, not the beginning of politics.

No haram, no peace.

#8 Comment By Old Pickler On 6th October, 2005 @ 1:11 am

I understood what Ramadan was saying - he was pretending to distance himself from the bomber’s comment, while legitimising it in a roundabout way.

He’s a bit of a weasel.

#9 Comment By Al-Hack On 6th October, 2005 @ 1:19 am

Lol, no that wasn’t what you were saying the first time around OP. Your argument switched to questioning British Muslims from talking about giving credence.

There people before who used to ask Catholics where their loyalties lied. Then came the Irish. Now the Muslims. Oh and lets not forget the Jews. Why aren’t they asked those questions now?

People have multiple identities now, that is a fact of life. Why can’t someone be British and Muslim? And does being only British imply you should not question the state?

Through your narrow-minded pattern of thought… one should follow without question the British invasion of Iraq. One should not make any assumption that Muslims in this country don’t care about Muslims in Iraq.

That brings up another point. Why is there so much interest in Zimbabwe? Could it be because he is turfing out white, previously British, people from that country? Why do the British care so much about Zimbabwe, and not, let’s say about the Kurds in Turkey?

He is not pretending to distance himself from the bomber, he points out clearly that dimwits who pretend that this sort of tribalism should not be expected of Muslims are clearly applying double-standards. Though he’s being far more diplomatic.

#10 Comment By Siddharth On 6th October, 2005 @ 1:26 am

Dear Old Pickler:

British Muslims do not have to prove their loyalty to Britain any more than any other religious denomination does. On the contrary, Governments that British people vote in and pay taxes to, owe it to its electorate, irrespective of religion, such that when it invades any country based on false prospecta and fabricated data causing the deaths of tens of thousands of innocents, to demonstrate at least some accountability.

I think you are old enough to remember the meaning of British Honour. Old All-Indian Picklers were very reverential of it. Its not British Muslims who have lost all sense of loyalty to it, its the present Government.

#11 Comment By Al-Hack On 6th October, 2005 @ 1:26 am

Let me put it another way. America invaded Afghanistan a month after 9/11 (which I supported) in retaliation. Despite most of the bombers coming from Saudi Arabia of course.

Yet we all supported the invasion because the Taliban were to be despised, and more importantly because America saw a link and wanted revenge. To pretend it was not affected by the death of its own people would be stupid.

Yet America is allowed to take revenge for its own dead, and draw parallels, but no one else is?

#12 Comment By Old Pickler On 6th October, 2005 @ 1:30 am

Why can’t someone be British and Muslim? And does being only British imply you should not question the state?

There is no reason why someone can’t be British and Muslim and no reason why Britons, whether Muslim or not, should not question the state.

What I take issue with is the reasons given by some Muslims, and endorsed in a sneaky way by Ramadan,
for opposing the policy of the country in which they live, from whose freedoms and democracy they benefit.

There are many good reasons for opposing the war in Iraq. The fact that the country’s citizens are Muslim, as opposed to anything else is emphatically not one of them.

I would indeed be suspicious of Jews and Catholics if they came out with this treacherous crap, and, more to the point, if any of them were blowing themselves up on the London Underground, or trying to justify such actions.

But they are not. So I’m not.

To recap - there are legitimate reasons for being against the war in Iraq. ‘Feeling the pain of our Muslim brothers’ is not one. It is bullshit. And treacherous bullshit. Muslims who say it deserve to be treated with the utmost suspcion and contempt.

#13 Comment By Al-Hack On 6th October, 2005 @ 1:42 am

for opposing the policy of the country in which they live
But you’re only asking this of British Muslims… what about the 2 million who marched against the war. Are they all comitting treason? I thought the whole point of a democracy was to be able to challenge the state?

Or is it a case that if you’re white and Christian, you can challenge, and if you’re not, then you can’t question the govt?

I would indeed be suspicious of Jews and Catholics if they came out with this treacherous crap

so presumably you’re not happy that British Jews are questioning the BBC’s portrayal of Israel? After all, why are they still loyal to another country?

there are legitimate reasons for being against the war in Iraq. ‘Feeling the pain of our Muslim brothers’ is not one.

Yeah, that explains why there is so much attention on Zimbabwe right?

#14 Comment By Old Pickler On 6th October, 2005 @ 1:50 am

But you’re only asking this of British Muslims… what about the 2 million who marched against the war. Are they all comitting treason? I thought the whole point of a democracy was to be able to challenge the state?

Spectacularly you miss the point. British Muslims, as I said loud and clear, have every right to oppose the Iraq war, just as any other Britons do.

Just read that paragraph again, and if there is any bit of it you don’t understand, please ask.

My problem is with the reasons given by some, not all, some, British Muslims for their opposition, namely ‘you are killing my brothers and sisters. Bull. Shit. Unless they are part of one huge familiy.

Do you really not understand the above?

British Jews can question the BBC’s portrayal of Israel. Many British Jews actually question Israel’s own actions. Opposition is fine. Disloyalty is not.

All British Muslims who talk about ‘feeling the pain of their Muslim brothers and sisters’, unless they are genetically related, should have their loyalty questioned, their head examined and should be treated with suspicion and contempt.

#15 Comment By Old Pickler On 6th October, 2005 @ 1:52 am

Sorry about all the bold, forgot to turn it off.

#16 Comment By Al-Hack On 6th October, 2005 @ 2:01 am

You’re so unwilling to understand anything other than your narrow-minded train of thought that its like banging my head against the wall. I could hit you in the face with my argument, as I am now, and you still refuse to see it.

Because ot tribalism, Muslims will care for Muslims around the world more than others. The same way Christians here are tied to Anglicans in Nigeria and America. I hope you’re not too stupid to understand so far.

This is not about justifying anything, other than pointing out that the Iraq invasion, and the subsequent hysteria by the press over this new fourth-column (apparently), has made more Muslims feel the British govt not only exercises double standards, but also has imperial designs in the Middle East.

Once again, I hope this wasn’t too much for you to take in.

Let’s take this further now… a bit slowly so you, my dear slow friend, can understand.

You don’t care for Iraqis because they are not Muslim. Religion is not a big deal for you. Nationality clearly is more important. Try to understand something though - for people whom religion is important, they always feel a sense of affinity to others sharing that religion. With me so far?

there are thick twats who get brainwashed and decide that blowing themselves up will be revenge.

And then there are thickos who try to convince themselves that Muslims here do not care for Muslims around the world.

You, I believe, firmly lie in the second category.

#17 Comment By Al-Hack On 6th October, 2005 @ 2:04 am

I’ve repeated my point three times alone in that last bit. I hope it wasn’t too hard to grasp. If you still refuse to accept it, then we are diametrically opposed on this.

I hope you don’t take this as ‘He is a suicide-bomber lover and a child molestor’, but going by the hysteria exercised by other pro-war peeps, I would not be surprised. Goodnight.

#18 Comment By Old Pickler On 6th October, 2005 @ 2:18 am

there are thick twats who get brainwashed and decide that blowing themselves up will be revenge.

And then there are thickos who try to convince themselves that Muslims here do not care for Muslims around the world.

You, I believe, firmly lie in the second category.

On the contrary. You have convinced me, as if I needed any convincing, that Muslims do care for Muslims around the world, and that it is in some people’s view ‘understandable’ if that caring takes the form of disloyalty.

Like it or not, the Western model is the nation state, not the tribe, not the religion, not the ethnic group. People who place loyalty to other members of their ethnic or religious group above loyalty to the nation state will, rightly, or wrongly, but inevitably ,have their loyalty questioned. They will have nobody to blame but themselves should this happen.

#19 Comment By Al-Hack On 6th October, 2005 @ 2:31 am

Just as I was about to give up, we have a break-through. I will however leave you with this before going to bed.

Islam and British-ness is compatible, as Ramadan points out, so there is no need to question the loyalty. That only arises from people’s own prejudices.

Muslims (and others) are not supporting the Saudi govt. they are opposed to the UK’s invasion and the lies that preceded it.

Would you expect Jews to sit by is the UK attacked Israel? Hell, some are up in arms just over BBC coverage! But no one is questioning their loyalty because we know the UK is not going to invade Israel anytime soon.

Or what about Catholics and their allegiance to the pope?

Now that we’ve established people are tribal and care for their own kind - it comes to down to your own values. If the British govt can uphold true humanitarian values, then there is no conflict really is there? But lie about a dossier… about the Niger connection, about the WMD, about the 45 min claim, about not using Napalm in Iraq, about avoiding civilian casualties, and people get annoyed Old Pickler.

It’s not too difficult to understand that right?

#20 Comment By Old Pickler On 6th October, 2005 @ 9:59 am

Not at all, but again you have missed the point. The reasons you gave are legitimate ones for opposing the Iraq war. The crap about ‘my Muslim brrothers’ is not one, and I would question the loyalty of any Muslim who used it.

#21 Comment By Arif On 6th October, 2005 @ 12:10 pm

On the Sen article, I was slightly disappointed by his analysis.

While I like the fact that he opposes the ideas of “postponability of social-change and human-development” and of “political unreadiness for speedy human-rights”, he bases it on a utilitarian view which makes a fetish of economic growth.

Sure, he is an economist, and needs to stay within the orthodox assumptions of the discipline, so I guess this might help other economists be more accepting of social, economic, political and civil rights because they have been persuaded it will help increase GNP.

But there are different kinds of utility which have more relevance to arguments on human rights, and that would be based on happiness and, possibly, dignity.

If we argue that our rights should be maintained because they help achieve economic growth, that would be to put ourselves at the mercy of fashions in economic theorising. It means our concepts of rights and economic progress become narrower in order to be measurable (as in the study by Partha Dasgupta which Sen alludes to). I also think it misconstrues why human rights and social justice advocates really care about these things.

India and China may be economic tigers and their people may have certain rights and lack others, and there may well be relationships between them - but how are we going to make the human miseries and needs visible and act upon them, if we are focusing on giving abstract rights only to make the economic and political structure more efficient.

A third idea he might have added is “the postponability of redistribution and leisure”, whereby politicians in rich and poor countries alike ignore the actual sense of poverty and alienation that exists now in order to focus on attracting capital and labour flexibility.

#22 Comment By nukh On 6th October, 2005 @ 2:58 pm

Al-Hack:
i fully support the ouster of saddam. someone had to bell the cat. look at the payoff.
for starters, the oppressed shia’s and kurds are free after being tyranically ruled for thirty years. what is wrong with that?
i can list a many more benefits, which any rational person would be hard presed to defend.
i am assuming you guys live in britain, wonder if any of the london bomber was a shia?

#23 Comment By nukh On 6th October, 2005 @ 2:59 pm

sorry,
i mean hard pressed to argue against….not hard …..to defend.

#24 Comment By Luke On 6th October, 2005 @ 3:10 pm

Whether or not the Iraq war inflamed Muslim opinion in Britain is not the point. They can be as inflamed as they like - but using it to in any justify - even in the slightest way - a rhetoric of we told you so - effectively justifying with weasel words suicide bombing and terrorist slaughter - is something that I see in the words of some Muslims and some on the left. Needless to say, such people are risible and to be scorned.

In the same way that if a white man or Christian who bombed a mosque in retaliation for all the killings inflicted by Muslim terrorists would be wrong - and those who spoke of their condemnation of the attack, but told of how they ‘understood’ the ‘anger’ behind it - would also be risible and craven scum.

Muslims feel free to embrace your Ummah - but shut up about it in reference to the fascist murdering plans of terrorists and al Qaedaism - you can feel brotherhood with who you want to - that is a straw man and is not the issue.

==========

Further to this - I think Tariq Ramadan is a creep who speaks the rhetoric of the left when in reality he has a Qutbist and Muslim Brotherhood inspired belief system that is not progressive by any sense of the word (but is progressive according to the low standards of many so called progressives and leftists in our modern day - the relativists and apologists for terrorism and fascism - they are easy to excite and please - such is the world today)

#25 Comment By Al-Hack On 6th October, 2005 @ 3:51 pm

Luke - People like you just come out with lame rhetoric to justofy your own prejudice. If you were even willing to see someone else’s point of view, then we wouldn’t have all these issues.

Today the Left is as bad as the Right in getting caught up in its own rhetorical agenda and not bothering to understand what others are saying. I’ll leav you to fester in your own hatred.

Nukh - I don’t mind the ousting of Saddam either, but what about all the lies that preceeded it? And who gives Britain the right to invade another country in order to install a government they are comfortable with?

#26 Comment By nukh On 6th October, 2005 @ 4:03 pm

Al-Hack:

you claim that you are not opposed to the removal of saddam.
and yet you dispute the british involvement…are you ok with america doing it solo?
and britain is not attempting to install a friendly govt in iraq.
the iraqi people will be governed by an elected body. albeit, the sunni’s are deathly opposed to that….and we all know why.

#27 Comment By nukh On 6th October, 2005 @ 4:18 pm

Al-Hack,
sorry, i did not answer your question. “what gives britain the right……”
first, saddam invaded a sovereign nation, kuwait.
the world reacted, ousted him and applied sanctions.
the sanctions were repeatedly broken over the next decade and half. they ranged from the eviction of inspectors to gross human right violations against his own people.
this left us with no option but to force him out.
as simple as that.

fact: the majority of the oil reserves in iraq are concentrated in the shia and kurdish dominated areas.

btw, could someone tell me, whether any of the london bombers was of the shia school of thought.

#28 Comment By nukh On 6th October, 2005 @ 4:48 pm

Al-Hack:
fact - putin, chirac, schroeder, the u.n., and hans blix all believed that saddam possesed wmd.
they just did not want to do something about it, because they were benefitting monetarily from the status quo

fact - libya gave up the pursuit of wmd post iraq and also exposed the nefarious pakistani scientist, a.q.khan who was operating a nuke mart. and selling merchandise to very unsavory characters.

fact - lebanon, evicted the syrian occupieres post iraq.

fact - the endemic corruption permeating the u.n. would not have been exposed hadt it not been for iraq.

fact - the islamo-fascists have also bombed turkey, indonesia and morroco. all islamic countries and all, btw, opposed the iraq war.
go figure?

#29 Comment By Ben On 7th October, 2005 @ 1:11 am

Siddharth:

“…Governments that British people vote in and pay taxes to, owe it to its electorate, irrespective of religion, such that when it invades any country based on false prospecta and fabricated data causing the deaths of tens of thousands of innocents, to demonstrate at least some accountability. ”

FFS. There was an election. Labour won. Stop whining like a little kid. Get over it.

#30 Comment By Siddharth On 7th October, 2005 @ 1:45 pm

Ben

They won. Sorry no prizes for you for stating the obvious. My point is does that mean a party stops having to remain accountable to its electorate after it moves into number 10? You don’t have answer that question, its already been affirmed.


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URLs in this post:
[1] worthwhile reading: http://education.guardian.co.uk/egweekly/story/0,,1583800,00.html
[2] Link: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=4961&AuthKey=626074e05d32654929da7831d
43742ed&issue=374