Local media is reporting on the appearance of Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Tariq Ramadan at a recent fund-raiser for the Muslim Legal Fund of America. According to a report in the Detroit Free Press:
Saying that Islam is a religion of dignity and justice, scholar Tariq Ramadan urged Muslims to combine spirituality with political and social activism. Ramadan, a professor from Europe who is one of the leading Muslim intellectuals in the world, spoke to about 500 Muslims on Saturday night at a fund-raiser for the Muslim Legal Fund of America, a Texas-based group. “Never disconnect (activism) from spirituality,” Ramadan told a crowd at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn. “Never forget to pray, and never forget to serve.” He said that Islam is a religion that emphasizes helping the poor, noting that Prophet Mohammed said to help the needy. “Be close to the poor people,” Ramadan said. “Respect them. Love them. Your heart should be close to them.” Ramadan also said that Muslims need to be more self-critical of themselves and of governments in Muslim-majority countries. “Islam is great, but not all the Muslims,” Ramadan said. “Too many Muslims accept racist attitudes within the community.” Ramadan, grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, was barred from visiting the U.S. under the Bush administration, but his ban was lifted this year by the U.S. State Department. He teaches at Oxford University and was named by Time magazine in 2004 as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world. Ramadan urged the crowd to be active in politics while honoring their faith. He stressed that Muslims should be more involved in helping non-Muslims, such as opposing the new law in Arizona that critics say allows for profiling. “This religion is about dignity and respect,” Ramadan said. “We have the light from the Quran. We have to use the light from our minds.” Ramadan also urged open, free debate among Muslims about Islam. “In mosques…I should be able to criticize,” he said.
Tariq Ramadan is perhaps best described as an independent power center within the global Brotherhood with sufficient stature as the son of Said Ramadan, and the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood to challenge positions taken by important Brotherhood leaders. His statements and writings have been extensively analyzed and he has been accused by critics of promoting anti-Semitism and fundamentalism, albeit by subtle means. On the other hand, his supporters promote him as as example of an Islamic reformer who is in the forefront of developing a “Euro Islam.” Ramadan is currently professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Theology and senior research fellow at St. Antony’s College (Oxford), Dohisha University (Kyoto, Japan) and at the Lokahi Foundation (London). Previous posts discussed his dismissal from his positions as an adviser on integration for the city of Rotterdam and from a Dutch University over his role as a talk show host on Iranian TV. A ban on Ramadan traveling to the US was lifted in January and several posts have discussed his recent visits to the US where he appeared at various US Muslim Brotherhood venues.
US Jewish media is reported that former UK MP and Muslim Brotherhood supporter George. Galloway had been expected to be the main attraction at a Memorial Day weekend event benefiting the MLFA.