Tariq Ramadan talks to Nikolai Eberth 9 July 2009

During the Resetdoc Istanbul Seminars (May 30th – June 4th) prominent Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan reacted positively to Giuliano Amato’s call to support the women demonstrating against the Shia Family Law in Afghanistan. Tariq Ramadan has been emphasising the issue of self-criticism for Muslim scholars and has been himself critical of a literal implementation of Shar’ia: «Giuliano Amato is right. We Muslims need to take a stand – he added in an exclusive video-interview with Resetdoc on June 2nd – I have been doing this for the last twenty years stating that we cannot accept the literal implementation and a dogmatic interpretation of Islam. Self-criticism is not only important for Muslims, it is important for all of us and we need a sense of humility within dialogue. Now that Obama is going to talk to Muslims (this interview took place just before Obama’s speech in Cairo, Editor’s Note), what we expect to hear is a degree of self-criticism in order to be heard and trusted by Muslims. The first step towards a debate includes opening up, being able to talk to scholars from different trends in Islam, even if there are conflicting views. The next step is to open this internal debate to the public, so they can listen and understand. We have to look forward and get more people as well as civil society involved in this critical discussion. This is important not only for Turkey and Muslim majority countries but also for the future of Europe.»

«In 2005 I called for a moratorium against corporal punishments, stoning and the death penalty in the Muslim world – he added at the Resetdoc Istanbul Seminars – When I say that we should open a discussion on this I mean that we need to stop this now, stop corporal punishments everywhere. I have never stopped criticizing literalist and violent interpretations of Islam, which do not respect human rights. Any country that does not respect human rights should be equally criticized. The fundamental right of choice, for example, should be respected everywhere, while at the moment this right concerning the veil is not respected in Iran but neither in France.»