Archive for October 5th, 2005

Tariq Ramadan and Amartya Sen

by Sunny, on 5th October, 2005

The Guardian yesterday published a long-awaited interview with the scholar Tariq Ramdan, 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. [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.

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Telling a thousand words

by Sunny, on 5th October, 2005

The World Press Photo foundation celebrates the 50th anniversary of its annual photographic competition this year, according to the BBC, and it shows some of the previous award-winning photographs.

Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the pictures relate to war and personal grief. Below shows 13-year-old Omayra Sanchez trapped in debris caused by a mudslide following the eruption of a volcano in Colombia in 1985.

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