Tariq Ramadan Talks About Jihad, Shariah, and “Infiltration”


Global Muslim Brotherhood Leader Tariq Ramadan has made some interesting comments relating to the concepts of Jihad, Shariah (Islamic Law), and idea that Muslims are involved in “Infiltration.” The remarks were made at a lecture given March 18, 2013 at the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit entitled “American Muslim Identity: Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects”:

(The GMBDW thanks Point De Bascule for the transcription of the remarks)

Excerpt 1 / Terminology – “Jihad is the way we implement sharia”

Tariq Ramadan
Tariq Ramadan

0:50:04 The first challenge that we have, that every one of you have here, has here, is terminology. In fact, if you want Islam to depart of the American narrative, we should be able to speak Islam in English, in the English language by knowing what we are talking about and to regain, reshape, redefine the words that we are using. Don’t let anyone make sharia a dirty word. Don’t let anyone speak about jihad as if it’s a holy war. Don’t let anyone speak about the way we, as Muslims, we speak about the values that are ours, in a way which is done by Orientalists and not by ourselves. The first, now, to challenge some definitions when it comes to Islam is us, in the way we speak about our values There is no way to be a Muslim if we don’t understand a deep … if we don’t have a deep understanding of what sharia is and jihad is. Jihad is the way we implement sharia by saying… It has nothing to do with holy war. It’s something which has something to do with resistance and positive presence.

[Quote in Arabic]

0:51:24 We’ll resist the bad and we are here to promote the good. Not only for us, for all the people because the best amongst us is the best for humanity, as the prophet (saw) said. So, this is where it’s important, for us, to have this theoretical challenge is terminology. And I am sorry to tell you that many of you, you might rely on the imams on this but you have to do the job. You should have basic understanding of the Islamic terminology in English. This is the way to resist because language is power.

Excerpt 2 / Tariq Ramadan pushes American Muslims “not to infiltrate”, just to become journalists and “to shape the perceptions”

1:39:58 What is important in our number, our number as Muslims, is not that we are converting people. It’s by having an important number… the more committed Muslims we have, the more witnesses we have and the more we change mindset around us. If we understand. The second thing that we have to understand is that we live in a country where the mainstream media now are powerful but, at the same time, they are not trusted by many people. Listen to the Americans. Listen to the Europeans. They don’t trust them. They go now to internet, they go to alternative media. This is where we have to be present. This is where we have to promote texts, videos, lectures, articles… We have to do the job. We are not going to wait for a mainstream so-called “Islamic media” to appear, to… you know… Many people were very happy with Al-Jazeera… I, myself, from the very beginning was very cautious. Because I don’t want the other side of you know something which is… the tension. It’s to do the same on the other side. I want something which is a bit deeper. But what we have to do as Muslims is to use the alternative media and we have. And then, for example, now you can have hundreds, thousands, millions of people who can just watch some of the things that we are promoting.

So, this is also something that we have to be skilled. Media, journalism is also something… You know, when I was once saying: we need more Muslims and more American Muslims being journalists… One of the journalist who heard that, he said: “Oh! Tariq Ramadan is pushing the Muslims to infiltrate.” I never said that. What I said is not to infiltrate, it’s just to be a journalist. Because the journalist, when you come with your background, of course you should be objective or try to be the most objective but you are coming with a background, and you come with another vision… We have to push our daughters and our sons not only to be medical doctors, not only to be computer scientists but journalists to deal with this, to deal with academia because within academia we have all this business: to shape the perceptions, to help the people…


1:42:52 I wouldn’t care too much about, you know, the big media. They are changing. It’s going to… It is powerful but we have the power of our presence, we have the power of our principles and we have the power of alternative media. And we should send our children, when they want to do so to… in the field of journalism, to be able to be part of the whole thing and then things are changing.

Last example that I want to give you and I keep on repeating this because we don’t realize this, is… You have trends here who are very much promoting Islamophobia and they are saying, for example: Europe is becoming Eurabia. But why are they saying this? They are saying this because they know something. And once again: don’t work only with emotions and perceptions. Come to facts, figures. Study. Know what is happening. The evolution of history. In less than…

For the full video, go here

Of course, depending upon one’s view of Dr. Ramadan, these remarks can be read either as a goodwill effort to properly communicate Islamic concepts or a deliberate attempt to “shape the perceptions” according to the wishes of the Global Muslim Brotherhood.

Tariq Ramadan is best described as an independent power center within the Global Muslim Brotherhood who has 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 Contemporary Islamic Studies at the Oxford University (Oriental Institute, St Antony’s College) and also teaches at the Oxford Faculty of Theology. He is Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, (Qatar) and the University of Malaysia Perlis; Senior Research Fellow at Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan) and Director of the Research Centre of Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE) (Doha, Qatar). In 2009, Ramadan was dismissed 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 2010 and since then he has appeared a number of times in the US to speak at events organized by various US Muslim Brotherhood organizations. The Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CLIE), headed by Ramadan, was launched in January 2012 and represented a  significant coming together of Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders Tariq Ramadan and Youssef Qaradawi.

A post from earlier this month reported that that two French ministers refused to attend a conference on the future of the EU due to the scheduled attendance of Tariq Ramadan.

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