Look who’s in Japan… it’s Tariq Ramadan

T Pattberg with Tariq Ramadan at Tokyo University, 2016

TOKYO – Todai was probably expecting a little bit of media attention when the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia invited controversial Islamist and professor at Oxford University Tariq Ramadan for a talk on women and gender.

Mighty Japan of 127,000,000 citizens has few Muslims – at most 100,000 according to official sources – and even fewer Western feminazis, social marxists, and social justice warriors. So, Prof. Ramadan could have said anything anti-Western or anti-feminist without causing any more than a shrug and a “Soo-desss.” Indeed, there are no trigger-warnings, no safe spaces, no staged protests (haha, in Japan, hahaha), and no campus thought-police. Barely 60 registered grown-ups attended, upon receiving a confidential confirmation email from Islam_gender@*******.

“The way the West poses its questions [to Islam] is that of a dominant to a dominated culture.” –T. Ramadan

Basically, Ramadan’s tenet is this: The Koran (I use this spelling, dunnot know why…) is God’s Word (he didn’t say Allah), through the words of our prophet, Muhammad. Therefore, the Koran’s social commentary can only be understood by a) Muslims and b) when considering the historical context and social settings during the time of the prophet when the text was conceived. [In other words, only Muslim scholars like him can access and interpret the Koran correctly, harrumph.]

“For the Muslim, the text is eternal, and those are God’s words. However, they were sent by God to human beings in a very specific times, in a very specific environment.” –T. Ramadan

So if the Koran says, for example, “that the hands of a criminal are to be cut off then, that doesn’t mean that we should cut off the hands of criminals today.” Likewise, the domestic abuse towards women suggested in the Koran is the violence the prophet (who had 12 wives, mind you) described during his times, not the Word of God, for God clearly says that all humans are equal before God.

“If you read the Koran, the eternal message is men and women are equal. […] They are equal before God, but in 99% of all text, it comes down to their complementary roles in society.” –T. Ramadan

Islam must reform just like Judaism, Catholicism and Orthodoxy do, and Islam certainly has to fend off certain arrogant elements of Western imperialism, which had pressured Muslims, it’s undeniable, into an inward-looking, protectionist people, in particular their guarding of their Muslim women against Western wooers.

“When the Westerners came to the south, they wanted to liberate the Muslim woman under Western terms. So, Muslims protected their women, which is not wrong. It is right. But the way they did protect their women – don’t leave the house, don’t read Western books – was wrong.” –T. Ramadan

In other words, the legacy of Western imperialism, colonialism, and orientalism weights in still heavily on European Muslims and Muslims elsewhere in the world and has let to a sort of inferiority complex. [This is about to change.]

“I believe that God puts us into the lives we are in, and that it is no coincidence that I was raised in Europe.” –T. Ramadan

Islam is undeniably a political and social force in Europe now and, if the Europeans don’t do anything about it [as it looks from a humanist perspective: they can’t], a much stronger, numerous and revived Islam is going to be the outcome of it.

Informed that his talk at Todai was not so controversial, Prof. Ramadan seemed almost disappointed: “I want to stir up a discussion,” he says. His global media strategy plays out beautifully: His books are translated into several languages. The world media of matters is all over him [there’s no such thing as bad publicity]. Oxford University, where he is a professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies, is perhaps the most prestigious platform on earth for any spiritual leader. In addition, he has numerous disciples and staff who feed his now indispensable social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc.), his professional website, tariqramadan.com, let alone public relation offices in Switzerland, France, England, the United States …and even Saudi Arabia.

In top academia, there is no prize for second place.

“Jihad is not ‘Holy War’. It is resistance and reform.” –T. Ramadan

t-ramadan-to-be-a-european-muslim
The book that, in his own words, made him “famous”: To Be A European Muslim (1998), by Tariq Ramadan

“Islam has no problem with women, Muslims have..” – Islam & Gender Talk with @ at U-Tokyo @ @