Tariq Ramadan

Leading Islamic reformer to speak at SFU Feb. 23

February 5, 2009

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By Stuart Colcleugh
Correction Appended

Swiss Muslim intellectual and reknowned Islamic reformer, Tariq Ramadan, will outline his views Feb. 23 during a lecture at SFU’s Vancouver campus entitled The Scope and Limits of Reforming Islam.

Ramadan, who teaches Islamic studies at Oxford, is a leading advocate for a revitalized Islam in the West. His recent book, Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation, proposes an approach that integrates both spiritual and ethical objectives for contemporary Muslims, enabling them to more fully participate in the civic life of secular western countries.

The main roadblock, he argues, is the traditional methodology Islamic jurists use to interpret scripture, which often renders their rulings incompatible with modern, democratic societies. It’s not Islam but "the Muslim mind" that needs "radical reform in the way we are dealing with scriptural sources," he told The Canadian Press last December.

Ramadan says what’s needed is a more democratic process in which Muslim experts from all professions collaborate with jurists to find innovative solutions to contemporary challenges ranging from abortion and HIV/AIDS to globalization and climate change.

The controversial Geneva-born theologian, a vociferous critic of George W. Bush’s Middle East policies, was refused a U.S. visa in 2004 with no official explanation after accepting an endowed professorship at the University of Notre Dame.

But he has also been dubbed one of the world’s top "spiritual innovators" by Time magazine. And a New York Times Magazine profile praised his "reasoned but traditionalist approach to Islam (that) offers values that are as universal as those of the European Enlightenment."

Ramadan has written more than 20 books, and lectures extensively on the ethics of citizenship, social justice and dialogue among civilizations.

SFU’s Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures and the School of International Studies are co-sponsoring the lecture, which takes place at 7 pm in the Segal Graduate School of Business, 500 Granville Street.

For reservations call 778.782.5100 or email; to register online visit:

Correction: Feb. 6, 2009
The original, print version of this story mistakenly referred to Tariq Ramadan in the first paragraph as being “renowned for his questioning of Islam’s mainstream beliefs.” Ramadan does not question Islam’s mainstream beliefs but instead calls in his latest book for “a transformative reform” of Islam.


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Ramadan's Egyptian father was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood which has morphed into all the terrorist groups who are now intimidating and threatening Westerners and the freedoms enjoyed by these Western civilizations.

He is a wolf dressed up in sheep's clothing, out to hoodwink the naive and the innocents.

He is more propogandist than the academic you tout him to be.

SFU has lowered its scientific rigour, its due diligence, its standards by approving such a speaker to shape the inquiring minds you are privileged to "teach".

No wonder you are NOT the #1 university of choice! Shame on you.


Henrik R Clausen

Tariq Ramadan, whose father Sad started the spread of Wahhabism in the West, may be a reformer indeed.

The problem is, the kind of 'Reform' he advocates has little to do with the Lutherian Reformation, which was a move away from the power of the Church back to the compassionate word and deeds of Christ. Except for one thing:

Tariq Ramadan also wants a return to the fundamental message of his religion. Which is unfortunately not 'Compassion', but 'Submission'.

Reforming Islam back to its foundations has been done over and over through history, with Wahhabism being but one of these movements. The Muslim Brotherhood, with which Sad Ramadan worked closely and got his wife as reward, is another.

One should always view Tariq Ramadan in the context of Hassan Al-Banna, Said Qutb and other radical Islamic thinkers, whose works constitute the ideological background for Tariq's upbringing.

More details, and a list of interesting questions to pose to the 'Reformer', can be found here:

Steven Deson

He is By Far one of the best speakers/Debaters we had on our french channels.

despite our differences , i believe that he promotes a good Message.

Mian Ahmed

There we go again. Islamphobia at its best. Let the attendees make their minds up after listening to his message. This kind of trick is as old as the religion of Islam istself. In makkah at the time of prophet Mohammed peace be upon him his uncle tried to undermine his message by warning people that his nephew has lost his mind because he speaks against the idols they all worshipped. Some others tried to protray him as magician and/or a sorcerer.

That only aroused people's curiosity about his message, the rest is history as they say.

Whatever the lineage of Professor Ramadan, he would rather have you listen to him or read his "book what I believes" as opposed to indoctrination by "Moll" and "Henrik"

above. Enjoy a true out of the box thinker and reformer speak at your university. I wish Toronto Canada was hour's drive from SFU.

Mian Ahmed

Toronto, Canada

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