Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Tariq Ramadan Has an Identity Issue - Ian Buruma - New York Times: "To his admirers, he is a courageous reformer who works hard to fill the chasm between Muslim orthodoxy and secular democracy. Young European Muslims flock to his talks, which are widely distributed on audiocassettes. A brilliant speaker, he inspires his audiences, rather like Black Power leaders did in the 1960s, by instilling a sense of pride. A friend of mine saw him last year in Rotterdam, talking to a hall packed with around 1,000 people, mostly Muslims. To them he had the aura of an Islamic superstar. Even my friend, an Iranian-born Dutchman with entirely secular views, was impressed by the eloquence of this Muslim thinker, who wishes to press his faith into the mainstream of European life. His critics see things differently: they accuse him of anti-Semitism, religious bigotry, promoting the oppression of women and waging a covert holy war on the liberal West."