Sunday, June 25, 2006

Islamic Reformers in the West - An interview with Tariq Ramadan

The July issue of Prospect magazine has an interesting article about Muslim reformist thinkers in the West. There is also an accompanying interview with Tariq Ramadan who is a western Islamic scholar currently at Oxford. Interestingly, he is the grandson of Hassan-al-Banna, the Egyptian founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

I have long believed that Muslim majority societies are so oppressed and intellectually stifled that it is highly unlikely that Islam's reformation will begin anywhere in the heart of the Islamic world. The intellectual vitality needed to lead Muslim thought into the 21st century will come from Muslim scholars in the west; people who are trained in intellectually curious and open societies in which free inquiry is protected and one's cozy notions are challenged in a cosmopolitan marketplace of ideas. It is people like Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir (african-american imam), Tariq Ramadan, Ziauddin Sardar and Abdolkarim Soroush who are likely to lead this movement.

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