Stand Up for What is Right, says Tariq Ramadan


July 18, 2012

Tariq Ramadan: It is Your Duty to Stand Up for What is Right

The World’s leading contemporary Islamic philosopher and thinker Professor Tariq Ramadan has offered six principles of governance which break the stereotype that frames Muslim administrations as anti-democratic and anti-human rights.

In a lecture organised by Penang Institute yesterday, Tariq listed rule of law, equal citizenship, universal suffrage, accountability, separation of powers and ethics in politics as basic democratic principles which must be complied with by Islamic governments.

Tariq  – a professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University – said that citizens must honour the ‘agreement’ in their countries which sets the rules (of law) in their daily  interpersonal relationships. For example in Malaysia, Muslims – as any other citizens of other religions – must abide by the law as they have accepted the framework of the country, added Tariq in his lecture titled ‘Islam, Democracy and Human Rights: The Awakening of the Muslim World’.

However, citizens must struggle within the given framework to oppose existing (or new) laws which are unjust, said Tariq, adding “And you know how many laws in this country need reform”.

The remark elicited a loud round of applause and laughter from the 300-odd crowd – comprising Penang government officials, academicians, politicians and NGO activists – who attended the three-hour lecture. But an amused Tariq told the participants that their response to his comment made him feel like he was with the Opposition, which he clarified he was not.

“I am not with the Opposition, not in political terms. But in philosophical terms, I say something which is very true, your model is not perfect and your mores are not perfect,” he said.

“That in the name of justice, in the name of your conscience, as a Muslim, Buddhist, Christian or whatever you are, in the name of the citizenship you have, it is your duty to stand up for what is right, if not for your government, it is for the people who live in your country,” he added, to more applause from the audience.

“Don’t put me in the political landscape of your country. I don’t care, for if one day you come into power and you are in acceptance of injustice, you will have my wrath against you. This is the way principles are maintained,” he stressed.

‘Unity must be based on what is right’

Later, Tariq – the grandson of Hassan Al-Banna who founded the Muslim Brotherhood – said the Muslims must not be united based on what is wrong for to do so is not being powerful but weak.

The 49-year-old Swiss citizen of Egyptian origin also took part in a panel discussion with Islamic Renaissance Front chairperson Ahmad Farouk Musa, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia Assistant Professor Maszlee Malik and Penang Institute Executive Director Professor Woo Wing Thye.

Meanwhile, Tariq elaborated at length on the second principle – equal citizenship – which must be present in Islamic governance to ensure the government practised democracy and human rights.

He said that citizens must not only be equal before the law but must participate in the narrative that binds them as a nation. Tariq described Malaysian society as being “pluralistic”, saying that it is a society with different cultural and religious backgrounds.

“But every citizen, no matter what their origin or their religion, should be treated equally,” he said, followed by loud applause from the floor.

“Don’t talk about my citizenship as if I am a minority. I am a citizen, you get it? Equal citizen means don’t ask me about my history or where I come from but where we are going together.”

‘Jews welcomed as part of ummah’

Tariq then cited a situation where the Prophet when arriving in Medina – which Muslims described as the first Islamic government or society – had welcomed the Jews as part of the community or “ummah”.

He said “ummah” in Islam is not only from the spiritual aspect or an organised structural community at the local level but meant that a community was “part of us and have the same rights and duties as us”. He added that no community is better than the other just because they are Muslims.

“It is not by discriminating others that you are going to be the best,” he quipped, to another round of loud applause, which he attempted to halt but which ended with much laughter from the crowd.

Tariq then advised that a citizen of a country must observe the laws, speak the language to express himself or herself, and must be loyal. “If you are a loyal citizen, you would want the best for your nation. But a loyal citizen is always critical. Blind loyalty is dangerous, sectarian and racist,” he added.

32 thoughts on “Stand Up for What is Right, says Tariq Ramadan

  1. I like when he said Muslims should not be united for something that is wrong. From my observation, I find that there are many Malays who said Malay-Muslims should be united to safeguard Islam. Therefore, UMNO and PAS should walk hand in hand. Did they forget Islam is not exclusive to the Malays? If you know UMMO is corrupted, should you work with them instead of opposing them in the name of Malay unity? I find it disturbing that some Malays can tolerate wrong doings just for the sake of unity or as they like to claim, protecting Islam. It’s ironic that some of the wrong doings are against Islam.

  2. Welcoming Jews to the Ummah? Hahaha that’ll drive most Malays up the wall.

    I wish most Malays will take heed on this and stand up against the institutionalized racism that is happening in the country.

  3. I did in malaysia….then they (UMNO-BN tools) charge me in courts, put me in prison without a trial, harass me, try to take my life……..Now I terror back like Mat Kilau!!

    Words are cheap like the talks of muslim and Islam nation about Syria Islamic atrocities against muslim people. A repeat of their talk fest against Gadaffi. Unfortunately Islam needed a Christian Nato nation to act. Never mind the 2 Billion Hindu India or Buddist Peace nation people did nothing but just lament on the problem and blame the world……..cheap talk like the ex-Sultan of Perak….pun intended.

    Perhaps your lecture need to include the unbelieveable ideology that a malay can be born Islam in Malaysia….Break this False teaching/belief… then perhaps the separation of lies and religion will give hope to muslim all over the world. Then again, Islam as a way of life have failed…and Syria + Libya is proof of what Islamic nation cannot do. Its their Ideology over life and humanity……as long as the comfort of life is achieve within their control……to Hell with other problem. We will only play the media game to be seen, sympatize with but deep down its all MUNAFIQ……name me a conflict that Islamic nation have intervene in the name of Humanity…..I see its only against Isreal story again. Glad they learnt a lesson there many years ago and continue their ideological threat and unity call. Now Syria…..how many more lives and blood need to be shed to show the ineptness of the islamic nation or muslim people to do domething?? This is the Munafiq of Islam & that is why one needs to change religion to taste the Freedom out of islam!!

  4. The Six principles of Governance highlighted by the Esteemed Professor, are universal in their values for projecting sound basis of governance, tried & tested over centuries of human experience and evolution….

    The corresponding Principles brought about by Prophet of Islam, as also the Prophets of the Jews and the Prophet of the Christians, although couched in Spiritual or ‘religious’ languages, were in themselves very ” scientific” in their Messages for the Good of Mankind…yes, for application to worldly existence…

    Put in another way very concisely, principles & messages brought about through religious values are very much Compatible with, not contradictory or derogatory to modern-day Democratic principles of Governance, nor in abrogation….

  5. “He said “ummah” in Islam is not only from the spiritual aspect or an organised structural community at the local level but meant that a community was “part of us and have the same rights and duties as us”. He added that no community is better than the other just because they are Muslims

    The biggest lie that the moslems have been made to believe is that those who do not follow the Koran are not entitled to Good. They take the Arabic word and apply it falsely to only moslems. Wrong. The Koran and the laws and Prophet Muhammad was sent to the world . Not exclusively to the ones who claim to follow the Koran. All was sent to the world if you wish to follow or study or seek it. Sop stop using Arabic words just for some . The laws of humanity therein are for All. Stop the distortion once and for all.

  6. The prior through spiritual values are to govern the aspects of Morality & Ethical imperatives….the latter, in the Democratic & scientific principles and their application is for strict Enforcement by a Just Government….

    Well set Ideals are for our strivings, as much as may be practible and achievable….

  7. In terms of the set ” Ideals ” that need to be addressed, or even Enforced, is the Socio-Politico-Economic structure of the nation : the Socio-Political whether there is ” justice ” or not emanates from the First priorii, which is whether there is Economic justice amongst its Citizens ? If there is Economic Injustice, meaning the wealth of the nation is in the hands of the Few or the minority, this will definitely be the recipe for Disaster….

    That should be the first reform or re-structure : needless to emphasize, in the Malaysian scenario, we have the Chinese, Malays & Indians in the Majority of the poverty/abject poverty level, The rich & wealthy constitutes no more than 10% of the population who weilds ” power “, both political & monetary powers…. How do we accost these disparities ?

  8. Men will not die without professing a religion but sure will die without food. No one saves us but ourselves. Over dependence in religion to strive for a harmonious live will only ruin your own live. Malays in Bolehland tend to emphasize more on form over substance.

  9. bumi non malay, i agree you are completely right about ” ….ineptness of muslims governing their Islamic nations…”, simply b’coz they are MERELY applying spiritual laws to govern the nation, which is a mix-up & it is fundamentally flawed ! It is only to govern the moral & ethical aspect of human conduct….
    But to govern the material & the physial aspect of human existence, it has to be done ‘Scientifically’, which is by the Rule of Law (the science of law ) and all the Six principles expounder by the Prof – this is where Muslims have failed in their thinking…

  10. JAKIM will declare Tariq Ramadan an apostate for saying all those things. Soon the poor man will have a fatwa over his head.

  11. … And when Tariq applies for a visa the next time round to visit Malaysia, he will not get it because Tariq Ramadan endangers Malaysia’s security for saying Jews is welcomed into the muslim ummah.

    The Govt thinks Tariq Ramadan is as bad as Lady Gaga dancing half naked on stage.

  12. The Koran and the laws and Prophet Muhammad was sent to the world-Kathy

    Yes, including Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Einstein is a Jew, and he should be welcomed into the Muslim ummah as suggested by Tariq Ramadan.

  13. name me a conflict that Islamic nation have intervene in the name of Humanity – bumi non Malay.

    Malaysia…. In southern Thailand and Mindanao in Philippines.

  14. Islam as a way of life have failed…and Syria + Libya is proof of what Islamic nation cannot do. – bumi non Malay

    What about Christian countries like Zimbabwe, former Apartheid South Africa, former Yugoslavia, Christian Phillipines in Southern Philippines, and those Christian African countries, and buddhist country like Sri Lanka and Thailand.

    Do you know child prostitution, child slavery and illegal trade on minors are highest in NON Muslim countries.

    Stupid argument to lay blame only Islam for the bad behaviour of the country.

    It applies to ALL religions, silly.

    You have a bigoted mindset almost similar to that of the Ku Klux Klan.

  15. Men will not die without professing a religion but sure will die without food- CYC

    You forgot to add……also will die without women.

    I know Mr Bean and I will.

  16. Welcoming Jews to the Ummah? Hahaha that’ll drive most Malays up the wall.- Didi

    More likely drive most Malays into their graves.

  17. Guys,

    Here is Malaysia, we stand down on what is right and condone arrogance and abuse of power. We have the MACC but it will not deal evenhandedly with the powerful and well connected, although Abu Kassim and his boys know who these people are. Furthermore, the A-G’s Office NFA’s all investigation files. Even the A-G chooses to prosecute, he will charge them under the Penal Code, not the MACC act which has stiffer penalties.–Din Merican

  18. “…we stand down ….” – Dato Din,

    How to stand DOWN?

    My teachers always tell me to stand UP? So how?
    _________
    Squat.–Din Merican

  19. Now you want us to stand. Last time BERSIH you ask to ‘dudok’.- Mr Bean  

    The bloghost has given a compromise….. to “Stand Down ” instead.

  20. Furthermore, the A-G’s Office NFA’s all investigation files. Even the A-G chooses to prosecute,- Dato Din

    A friend told me during a cappuccino session in Gloria Jeans that in Malaysia, A-G stands for Associate-Gangster. Used to be Attorney-General but not now.

    I said, ” No lah. Cannot be like that.”

    And she said, ” Then how come there so many thieves and crooks in the highest echelons of Govt and even the judiciary is afraid of sending them to jail? Why is the police interested in Opposition leaders instead of the white collar crooks and corrupt officials in Govt and GLCs, siphoning taxpayers money into their pockets.?”

    And the Sweet-Young-Thing added, ” Telll me how many of those criminals on the street involved in bag snatching in broad daylight in KL and PJ and in other towns are caught by police? Why are the police not interested to catch them.? I tell you why… Because the A-G is not interested? And he has good reasons for doing that.”

    I said admiringly, “I must say you have projected two very strong points there, young lady.”

    Well, of course, I emphasized to the SYT I didn’t mean that in the physical sense. And she smiled approvingly.

  21. …. After we finished our chat and cappuccino at Gloria Jeans, as the SYT stood up to leave, she said, “I am fed up with all these nonsense going on in the country and tired. I am going some place quiet to take a rest for the afternoon.”

    I replied, “That is a damn good idea. Can I come along and join you?”

    She was furious, “Join me? You are a sex-maniac!!!”

    Oops!!!

  22. English 101: Learn a phrase a day. {Readers Digest (Malaysian Edition)}

    Phrase for today : stand down = squat

    Example of usage: Sentence: ” After the scandal broke out, the Prime Minister asked the Minister of Home Affairs to stand down from his office.”

    Meaning of the sentence: The Minister of Home Affairs was asked to squat in his office by the Prime Minister.
    __________
    That’s right Frank. The Prime Minister himself should also stand down (squat).–Din Merican

  23. In the Chapter 49 of the Al Quran the following verses were indicated and covers the above summarily as follows: Verse 9, And if two parties of believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them. And if one party of them doeth wrong to the other, fight ye that which doeth wrong till it return unto the ordinance of Allah; then, if it return, make peace between them justly, and act equitably. Lo! Allah loveth the equitable. Verse 13, O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.

    When we talk about unity is not between political parties but unite knowing the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong. If political parties unite then the Rakyat has no choice. So PAS and UMNO cannot neither should DAP and MCA, superficially they will show a united front initially but then will be at each other throats sooner then expected. When separated they give us a choice just like the 2008 election made us realize there is a choice now especially to clean the dirt created not because we favoured any group but we are surely heading somewhere better God willing.

  24. He said not to be too concerned for women’s attire viz: the hijab and telekong. “Educate them”, he implored. This may not go down well with the Islamist in the country.

    Tariq’s maternal grandfather who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and lost his life for doing so, was a teacher. He, against all wishes, started a school for girls.

    I am truly impressed by this man. None of our kopiah-clad ulamak measures up to Tariq in intellect and persona. Harussani is nowhere near him.
    _______________
    Tok Cik, it is not worth mentioning Harussani. You embarrass Tariq Ramadan. Your Mufti is a political ulamak and an average Joe full of pretensions and crap.If you follow him, you will be lost. He can only survive in Malaysia with his type of dakwah.

    Tariq Ramadan is a philosopher, an intellectual and a scholar of international repute, who champions Islam as an inclusive and enlightened religion.

    Your should read his book, Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation, now that you have listened to him in Penang. His book on the life of the Prophet pbuh is, in my view, as good as Martin Lings’ Muhammad: his life based on the earliest sources (New York: Inner Traditions International, 1983) and Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s, Muhammad: Man of God. (Chicago, IL: Kazi Publication, 1995)–Din Merican

  25. How to stand DOWN?

    My teachers always tell me to stand UP? So how?
    _________
    Squat.–Din Merican

    Frank – July 19, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    You don’t know squat about women, Frank.

  26. Professor Ramdan simply advised the audience be it Muslims or non-Muslims to ‘COOL IT’ before one does anything in the name or any religion.

    It is like two people driving different brand of cars and crashing into each other. Sometimes the two will fight and come to blows. I have seen this in many developed countries. Why do they fight?

    Well in Penang, the two will most probably come out and say, “Is anybody hurt? Do you need help?”

    And the one about citizenship. He stressed fervently, there is only ONE class of citizenship – no discussion to split hairs. He aptly added, “What matters is whether the citizens are going along together.”

  27. I’m suffering from a few smaller security difficulties with the most recent blog as well as I’d choose to discover anything more secure. Have just about any suggestions?

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