From the Web:
By Viewsnight on BBC
(BBC World) March 13, 2017
Viewsnight is BBC Newsnight’s new place for ideas and opinion.
Here, author and academic Tariq Ramadan argues there is an “intellectual revolution” taking place within Islam.
This is a response to Graeme Wood’s Viewsnight: The rise of Islamic State is the Modern Reformation.
[The following is a verbatim transcription of Tariq Ramadan’s speech taken from the BBC video]
Islamic reform is happening – you just can’t always see it. To talk about an Islamic reformation today is misplaced. We should not try to to understand Islam through a Christian lens. The two realities are completely different.
Some people are even arguing that the rise of ISIS is in fact the Islamic reformation. Like Martin Luther, they are radical and they don’t accept the religious establishment. But this comparison doesn’t stand historical and theological accuracy. Historically, Luther was radical against the Catholic Church and a knowledgeable scholar. (But) Islam has no church, and the leaders of ISIS have no religious credibility. All Muslims – Sunni and Shi’a – have banded together to reject them. ISIS is not reforming the message of Islam, but betraying it.
Instead, we need to ask: “What is happening today within Islam?”
There is a silent reform in process, an intellectual revolution going on as we speak within Muslim societies. Just because these reforms don’t violently colonize our news headlines doesn’t mean they are not happening. Across the globe, Muslims are trying to liberate themselves from both Arab and Asian patriarchy and Western cultural imperialism. This reform is a deep historical process and it will take time. It may not lead to the Western understanding of the “liberal values”. (But) Islam will reform within its own tradition.
It would be simplistic and dangerous to assume that the “West is liberal” and “Islam is radical”, both working in opposite directions. There is a third way we need to help create. As well as sharing values of justice, freedom, equality, and human dignity, we need to act together. We must together resist social injustice, racism, gender inequality, and deal in a more dignified way with migrants and refugees. To achieve this, the West should be less arrogant, and Muslims more open.