Doha • “Islamism” and “political Islam” are not monolithic ideas and they are as diverse as other contemporary trends in the Islamic world, says a prominent Muslim scholar and intellectual from Europe.
“ After 9/11 and 7/7, terminologies like radicalism, Islamism and political Islam have been widely used in West. The so called terrorism experts tend to put all “Islamists” in one category,” said Dr Tariq Ramadan (pictured), President of the European Muslim Network (EMN) based in Brussels. He was delivering a lecture at the Education City yesterday on the topic “Understanding contemporary Islamic trends”.
H H Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, was present, along with students and faculty members from the Education City and other guests. The event was organised by the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar.
Ramadan urged Muslims to “stop blaming the West for all their problems” and develop critical thinking. Muslims should be confident and consistent and they should learn to deal with their own diversity. “ It is easy to have inter-faith dialogue but intra-faith dialogue is not that easy,” he said. He noted that women have become the leading force in the Islamic world. “Islam has no problems with women but Muslims have,” commented Ramadan.The Muslim Brotherhood is not similar to Al Qaeda and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cannot be equated with Osama bin Laden, said Ramadan. We hear terms like “good Muslims” and “bad Muslims”, “moderates” and “fundamentalists”. Such terminologies remind us of the colonial attitude — “all the good are with us and all the bad are resisting us.” He felt that such terminologies have posed a major challenge and Muslims are scared to deal with “political Islam”. “Passion and confusion are misleading all of us and we are not doing enough to explain the new trends,” said Ramadan. He also disagreed with western perceptions that “Islam is too complex” to understand and “there are Islams, not just one Islam”. The speech was followed by a question and answer session.