Islam’s role in an ethical society

“Muslim teachings have a lot to offer when it comes to bringing personal values into public life and how best to live together”

Analysis of readers comments on the above Guardian Cif post by Tariq Ramadan 23 February 2010 – See full post here

Mr Ramadan has created a record. He has achieved the highest level of disagreement with a Cif post that we have ever found.

4225 votes out of 4359 (97 percent) say he is talking nonsense (and some even suggest he is “opaque and oblique and doesn’t say anything straight out”).

An analysis of the recommendations (votes) given to first 50 comments made on Mr Ramadan’s post is given below.

Analysis of first 50 comments
Type of comment Votes %
Highly critical of Mr Ramadan 4225 97
Neutral/unclassifiable 31 1
Supportive of Mr Ramadan 103 2
Total 4359 100

There are over 281 comments in total and the extracts below give a representative picture of the criticisms of Mr Ramadan’s views.

A popular criticism is words to the effect “if Islam is so wonderful why it so obviously failing in Muslim countries”

A number of comments criticise not only Mr Ramadan’s views but also his style and motives. These are grouped here.

There are also two comments, from a Muslim and an ex-Muslim, that are noteworthy. See here. They have low votes but came well towards the end of the commenting where the votes tend to fall off. Cif readers coming late to the post probably only scroll the early comments and vote on those.

liamnsw – 232 votes
I am at a loss where to start here.

[Tariq Ramadan said][Islam should be seen as a gift] Really? Why? Most major religions ask of its followers integrity & ethics, this is not exclusive to Islam.

[TR][For while we agree that no one has the right to impose their beliefs on another] Well many Islamists would disagree with you.

MiskatonicUniversity – 224 votes
[Tariq Ramadan said][Islam is perceived as a “problem”, never as a gift in our quest for a rich and stimulating diversity. And that’s a mistake. Islam has much to offer – not least when considering how individuals in politics and business have recently been behaving, within the limits of the law, but with a clear lack of ethics. Individual responsiblity, political intrgrity]

…. The evidence is that countries where Islam is the dominant religion generally have a woeful record on democracy, human rights, social development, and even literacy!

Now that might not all be the fault of Islam – but Islam sure hasn’t helped, has it?

As for the rest of your article, you know yourself that laws are themselves the product of culture – there is no neutral space where all “cultures” can gather as that space has to be created by a dominant culture.

That is why sharia is rejected and why you had such a bad time of it in France.

There is simply no way in which “lapidation” of women can be accomodated by a “common ethical framework” in the modern age.

Pairubu – 229 votes
[TR][Islam should be seen as a gift]

I hope someone kept the receipt.

RudiGunn – 190 votes
Islam does have some positive values, but also some very negative ones.

Islam has no monopoly on its positive values and offers us nothing we cant get eslewhere and with less baggage.

Im sorry, but I want nothing from Islam and I want no greater role for Islam in the life of my coutry than it already has.

MonikerLewinski – 121 votes
[TR][not least when considering how individuals in politics and business have recently been behaving, within the limits of the law, but with a clear lack of ethics.Individual responsiblity, political intrgrity.]

 

Don’t get me wrong, I was as irritated about the expense scandal as the next man, but are you really trying to suggest that Islamic polities are preferable or less corrupt.

I defy you to name one, and then I defy you to explain why millions of Muslims are desperate to leave their own countries to come and live in the West.

 

liamnsw – 163 votes
[TR][Islam has much to offer, not least when considering how individuals in politics and business have recently been behaving, within the limits of the law, but with a clear lack of ethics.Individual responsiblity, political intrgrity]

I lived for a while in Jakarta, and I can assure you, in this, the most populous Muslim country in the world, there is more corruption than you can point a stick at.

…. And how tolerant is Indonesia? There are 10 religions in the constitution that are allowed to be practised. Judaism is absent. Over Xmas we went to mass in the cathedral and it was protected by armed guards all around its perimiter, felt very Xmassey, not.

They also have Morality Enforcement Police, can you guess what they’re for?

So before you go extolling the seemingly endless virtues of Islam, please show me where it actually works. If the only answer you have is Turkey then that says it all really.

ThorHammer – 46 votes
…. All very well talking about tolerance in the largely tolerant west. In the west we can all speak up and Muslims are afforded free political space. This however this is not apparent in “muslim” Lands.

Does Mr Ramadan support freedons for All in OIC countrys does he decry the lack of religious rights of Non Muslims in Iran and Saudi. Does he decry the lack of freedom in Muslim law to leave your religion.

When I have read Mr Ramadam on these subjects there is always a degree of obfuscation.

bluejewel – 110 votes
[TR][…. Islam has much to offer]

Give us an example of what good things have been achieved in other societies where its ‘offer’ has been accepted.

[TR][..not least when considering how individuals in politics and business have recently been behaving, within the limits of the law, but with a clear lack of ethics. Individual responsiblity, political intrgrity]

You make it sound that this is not an issue within UK society already – that it is not clear already that there may be a failure judged by the ethical standards we have. Ridiculous.

…. We have eyes and brains Tariq. We see the conditions that Islam has created in other countries. We don’t want any of it here.

MonikerLewinski – 108 votes
[TR][That future cannot be shaped by superficial discussions of national identity, values or Britishness]

…. you are asking …. the rest of us to give up our birthright in order to satisfy the cultural needs and emotional requirements of a minority of muslims. Take your special pleading, and shove it.

RudiGunn – 104 votes
[Someone said][Tariq Ramadan is not referring to the practices of so-called Islamic countries but Islam itself. Not Islamists, not Osama bin Laden, not the Saudi royal family, not Hosni Mubarak. Islam. There’s a very big difference there people. Please take note.]

You seem to be saying that we cant judge the Muslim faith by the actions of Muslims or the actuality of Muslim countries.

What then do we judge it by?

Numbers – 8 votes
[TR][To agree on the rule of law, equality and democratic transparency is surely not enough]

That’s the weasel phrase. What are you proposing to add?

JayReilly – 84 votes
A gift is something freely offered and freely received. I dont recall the offer and the reception has been far from free.

We have paid for it with a surge in sectarianism, the appearance of fully veiled women gliding solemnly around our streets, anonymously. We have paid for it with a state funded state school teaching that Jews and Christians are monkeys and pigs, not to mention the state funded faith schools in general.

We have barred entry to the country to an elected EU politician after a warning that the “community” would react strongly. We have seen cartoons cause global riots, murders, and the creeping self censorship this creates. We have had new hate speech laws drawn up to appease the “community leaders”, trampling roughshod over principles of free speech. We have seen the emergence of honour killings and forced marriage. We have seen preachers in mainstream mosques spouting the most appalling bile. We then saw Channel 4 pursued by the police for exposing it; community relations had been troubled.

Neither Muslims or Islam are homogenous entities and nor are they without positives, but this talk of being a “gift” is just a little much to bear. The emergence of 7th century cultural elements and overt religious aggression has caused some serious problems. Calling them “gifts” doesnt actually solve them.

justice4beginners – 25 votes
oh please. loads of religious gumph is a good idea – ‘don’t kill people, don’t pinch their stuff’ – love it. some religious stuff is less helpful – ‘being gay is bad, women can be slaves and that’s ok’ – see, not great.

islam is no different to christianity in the amount crap it manages to squeeze between any good stuff.

what’s great about a lack of religion is that you can develop ethics which reflect what you think is right rather than rely on some ancient book to indoctrinate you.

robofluffer – 65 votes
Islam, the gift that keeps on taking.

goldmine – 42 votes
[TR][That future cannot be shaped by superficial discussions of national identity, values or Britishness]

There’s an awful lot of British people that would disagree with this statement.

MiskatonicUniversity – 54 votes
[Someone said][(1) sharia is more than just the punishment aspects
(2) other countries have compensation systems, this isn’t a sharia concept]

On (1), I’d agree, but what Tariq is arguing is that corporal (flogging, amputating) and capital (beheading) punishments ARE an integral part of Islamic notions of justice – but that the WHOLE system needs to be implemented for it to work. The more starry-eyed among the Islamists imagine that in their ideal state no-one will get drunk, have an affair or draw a cartoon.

(2) My point wasn’t that Saudia Arabia has a compensation system devised and approved by the leading Islamic scholars of that kingdom, but that it is a compensation system rooted in foul sectarian and misyognistic attitudes.

Poor Tariq. In recommending democracy, civic responsibility, equality and justice to the west, he’s in the position of a sun-dial salesmen* in a digital culture.

(*although, actually he doesn’t have much choice. Islam has a very thorough-going system of scholarship where you need to spend years at the feet of the leading scholars of the age. Tariq is a Western philosophy graduate and never served his apprenticeship. This is why we have to read about his idea of Islam, rather than, say, the scholars of Arabia. His sundial credentials simply aren’t in order)

Gangastaista – 64 votes
A telling example of any ethical system is how it deals with apostates.

Scientists deal with apostates with criticism. Atheists deal with apostates with sadness, or sarcasm. Religious Jews and Christians deal with apostates with derision.

The state-based punishment for apostasy against Islam in Muslim nations is either death (or threat of it), jailing, or fines. At the local level, murders of apostates are recorded, in recent times, in Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Nigeria, Indonesia, Somalia, and Kenya.

It is not difficult to see why the disparity.

 

Every major branch of Sharia law, every single one of them without exception, states the penalty for a a male, sane, apostate is death. Variance between the branches of Sharia law occur on which form of execution, how to deal with the mentally ill, and how to deal with women.

aboveusonlysky – 63 votes
…. Can anyone think of ANY society in the world which is made more ethical by Islam?

Thought not.

AntonyIndia – 48 votes
[TR][Let us agree on this: we live in pluralistic societies and pluralism is an unavoidable fact]

This “we” goes only for those living in India, Europe and the US.

Most North African and Middle East countries are not and do not want to be pluralistic (=multicultural), they are Islamic states. They want to be strictly mono-cultural, Like Pakistan, which weeded out its “minorities” over the last decennia: that’s an unavoidable fact as well!

Clusty – 40 votes
[Quotation][Sarkozy accused Ramadan of defending the stoning of adulterers, a punishment stipulated in the section of the Islamic penal code known as huddud. Ramadan replied that he favored “a moratorium” on such practices but refused to condemn the law outright. Many people, including Sarkozy, were outraged. When I talked with Ramadan in London, the mere mention of the word ?stoning? set him off on a long explanation.

“Personally,” he said, “I’m against capital punishment, not only in Muslim countries, but also in the U.S. But when you want to be heard in Muslim countries, when you are addressing religious issues, you can?t just say it has to stop. I think it has to stop. But you have to discuss it within the religious context. There are texts involved.”]

I’m quite happy that the UK can decide that stoning is wrong without first running it by the words of a deceased 1st century warlord. So I’ll have to politely decline your gift.

PS. Stoning is a shade more than capital punishment. Again, keep it.

Clusty – 23 votes
And the sleight of hand to create an equivalence between lethal injection for murderers in the US, and pummelling someone to death with rocks for shagging around. Tu quoque rhetoric in the Soviet brand. Ugh, what a vile man.

pengadil – 28 votes
[TR][Superficial discussions of national identity, values and Britishness]

Why are these superficial? They are the bedrock of our society and have been so and developed over many hundreds of years. They are not perfect but meet more of our needs as a society than any current construct of Islam.

I have lived in a Muslim country and know at first hand how restrictive Islam can be. It is not tolerant of other religions and attempts to impose its “laws” on non-Muslims.We need to be secure in our history and traditions not soft and weak in always attempting to accommodate those who seek to take over our “Britishness”

MiskatonicUniversity – 24 votes
[Someone said][…. a (Muslim) group who had a stall where they were distributing literature. Some of it was a critique of Christianity and I pointed out that it was attributing beliefs to Christianity eg that Christians believe in three gods, which form no part of orthodox Christianity.]

…. the misconceptions/misrepresentations go a long way back – all the way back in fact to the Quran. Mohammed never got the idea of the trinity and especially objected to the idea of the son of god.

But he thought it was such a good stick to beat the Christians with he also applied it to the Jews (who he could have been expected to know something about) in the Quran 9:30: “The Jews say Ezra is the son of God, while the Christians say the Messiah is the son of God. Such are their assertions, by which they imitate the infidels of old. God confound them! How perverse they are!”

It apparently makes a good rhyme in Arabic, which Mohammed evidently considered to be more important than accuracy:

“Waqalati alyahoodu AAuzayrun ibnu Allahi
waqalati alnnasara almaseehu ibnu Allahi”

MiskatonicUniversity – 37 votes
[Someone said][You can legislate away for everything, but the Quran is actually surprisingly light on the regulations]

Agreed, the Quran fact it is quite light on Islam too, much of which was invented later (the confession of faith and other “five pillars” for instance), hence the need for the hadith where these additions are contained. Tariq is an orthodox believer in that he accepts the authority of the hadith – he is not a new-fangled Quran only Muslim.

[Someone said][On the Diyya system – it’s the Saudis enforcing their beliefs which are more cultural than Islamic through a medium of Islam. Again you tend to skip past current historical example of our own western society and go straight for saudi example.]

Well my society isn’t an example of sharia concepts of justice – Arabia, font of Islam, and home to hundreds of very learned Islamic scholars, is. In fact, Islamic groups bring over these Saudi Arabian scholars to lecture here, their knowledge and practice of Islam is considered to be so good.

[Someone said][My problem with what you tend to posit is that – you don’t give any impression of that debate taking place. You make Ramadan look like he’s acting lie a fifth columnist and he still accepts all the laws that exist in places like Saudi.]

There isn’t much of a debate taking place. Vishanti has Tariq bang to rights – Tariq knows the moment he gets into points of detail with a Western audience he will be sunk. Better to keep the tax-payer funded biscuits coming and never make a concrete statement or engage in an argument.

And never, ever, come out from behind the curtain and post below the line. I’m sure Tariq has seen The Wizard of Oz and doesn’t intend to make the same mistake.

I don’t think Tariq is a fifth-columnist, but I do think he is a propagandist for an out-moded, illiberal, and fundamentally unequal conception of human relations.

He’s a sun-dial salesman. The problem is he’s not just trying to sell us sun-dials as nice ornaments for our gardens, he’s proposing to install them on the flight decks of aeroplanes.

greymatter – 28 votes
[TR][More broadly, the Muslim presence should be perceived as positive, too. It is not undermining the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian ethical and cultural roots of Europe]

Piffle. There is absolutely NOTHING that is decent in Islam that isn’t already encompassed in the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian ethical and cultural roots of Europe.

However, what Islam adds to the equation is a dogmatic adherence to a collection of primitive Bedouin Arab traditions which were granted bogus ‘divine’ authority by the charlatan founder of this religion, and are still part of its founding principles today.

No Thank You, Mr Ramadan.

GarryG – 23 votes
[TR][Muslim teachings have a lot to offer when it comes to bringing personal values into public life and how best to live together]

So show me an Islamic society that actually puts these wonderful Islamic teachings into practice. Iran? Saudi Arabia? Egypt? Let’s face it, Islamic countries in general lag far behind the West in terms of personal liberty, tolerance and diversity, democracy, gender equality, religious equality, education and even general health and standard of living.

I see no evidence that Muslim teachings lead to better or more prosperous societies, quite the contrary in fact.

Anglophobia – 22 votes
Islam brings nothing good to public debate that indigenous traditions don’t already provide, and it brings with it serious problems, including antagonism to our established ways, a dangerous blurring of the public and private, challenges to state sovereignty, and a systemic lack of appreciation for the path that western democracies have followed in purging the conservative and reactionary excesses of our own religious traditions. The growth of Islam simultaneously pushes us backwards and pushes us aside.

MiskatonicUniversity – 24 votes
[Someone said][We have learned from the ancient Greeks, this knowledge survived because Muslim scholars and scientists during the Golden Era preserved this knowledge and expanded on it, in turn we’ve also learnt how to make paper etc from the Chinese.]

…. Greek knowledge was never lost to humanity, there was Greek culture right around the Mediterranean.

Europe lost its Greek connection due to the imperial expansion of the Arabs and later the Ottomans. Their colonial policies meant the extinction of the Greek language in many of the countries it used to be spoken.

The impetus for the rediscovery of Greek knowledge in Europe came from the Ottoman conquest of Byzantium – presented by the Ottomans as a clash of cultures – followed by the destruction of that country and Greek refugees fleeing to Italy.

Greece and the other Balkan states were finally decolonised in the early 20th Century.

StGallen – 16 votes
I have been trying to understand the relevance of this article. The only conclusion I can draw is that it is a plea to the western societies to make a success of Islam its own followers have failed to realise.

The problems Ramadan mentions that will be magically cured by Islam are eclipsed by far bigger and more appalling issues prevalent in Islam-majority countries that do indeed follow Islam to the law.

EJTS – 20 votes
You really don’t seem to understand the futility of telling us how wonderful Islam while we have the capability to see, hear, read and perceive for ourself tells us otherwise (look anywhere from existing Islamic regimes to the Quran and Hadiths for examples of ‘equality’ and respect for alternate beliefs), or take any notice of the fact that you have repeatedly been told that it is neither wanted nor needed in 21st century, largely secular Europe (before someone jumps down my throat, I refer to the Islamic ideology, not Muslims themselves!).

Muslims are more than welcome to live in Europe, provided they are prepared to integrate with the host society, as would be expected anywhere in the world (especially Islamic countries, ironically enough). This does not automatically mean sacrificing their private belief system nor their personal values; it means showing respect for the existing social, political and legal system, not to mention its customs and traditions, whilst practicing religion in the personal sphere. That is simply good manners.

The rest of us neither want nor need to have Islam forced upon us in order for integration to function properly, as has been demonstrated perfectly well with all other communities of Buddhists, Jews, Sikhs, etc. That is because these communities call themselves people first and by religious denomination second, instead of segregating themselves and telling the world that it must better understand and/or adopt their religious principles for integration to function properly.

The same peaceful, respectful coexistence between the aforementioned communities has not been the case with Islam in many instances across Europe (again, refer to any number of recent news articles).

Why should it be the responsibility of the host culture to adapt to Islam, and not the other way around?

EJTS – 32 votes
[TR][the Muslim presence can play a critical role in thinking about our future and shaping a new common narrative. It can help recall and revive some of the fundamental principles upon which the cultures of Europe are based.]

Has it ever occurred to you that Europe is quite happy with its common narrative and fundamental principles – namely secularism, gender and sexual equality, freedom of speech, and respect for individual beliefs – without needing reform by those entering it?

The sheer arrogance.

jennyanydots – 6 votes
As I was reading this article I couldn’t help thinking that once again Mr Ramadan is presenting …. an intellectualized version of Islam. Then I read the comments and came across this from OopsItsMe :

“Tariq Ramadan is not referring to the practices of so-called Islamic countries but Islam itself. Not Islamists, not Osama bin Laden, not the Saudi royal family, not Hosni Mubarak. Islam. There’s a very big difference there people. Please take note.”

If “Islam itself” is so different from what is practiced by all of the above named, what good is it except as a set of beliefs that should be confined to the private and personal sphere? Because, from what I’m reading, it seems that as a religious/philosophical system it is useless as the underpinning of any political/social/ethical structure.

Therefore, this is what I see as Mr Ramadan’s big failure–his refusal to grapple with the problems inherent in Islam while at the same time presenting it as something wholly desirable that should be embraced or accepted in its entirety.

Mr Ramadan is presenting Islam as the basis of an ethical structure that is completely divorced from reality.

Without any sense of irony he and his followers seem to be saying “Listen to us rather than believe what you observe happening in Islamic countries”. I have no doubt that most Muslims are genuine believers and followers of their faith, but I would hazard a guess that those are the ones whose beliefs are private and who do not wish them to impinge on the public sphere.

So I think that Mr Ramadan should turn his attention to solving the problem of why Islam has failed as a political system before trying to convert the West to his vision of Islam as an ethical force, bar none, which should have a greater role in political discourse and structure.

A Muslim and an ex-Muslim

chilledoutbeardie – 6 votes
After a great deal of thought, I am convinced that Tariq Ramadan and many other Muslim intellectuals are wrong on this issue. I have followed th Cif blogs on Islam-related topics and it is perfectly clear that there is a huge amount of negative thinking regarding Islam and Muslims in this country.

This cannot be counteracted by well-meaning articles or special pleading. For the regrettably large number of Cif bloggers with closed minds regarding Islam, I fear that nothing can be done to change their views. In order to convince those with open minds that Muslims can be (and are) as good Britons as anyone else, it is incumbent on us to do 3 things:

(1) Condemn forcefully all extremist ideology and terrorist acts committed in the name of Islam.

(2) Provide information, when we are sure of its veracity, to the police on potential terrorist threats of which we become aware.

(3) Finally, and perhaps most important, we must endeavour to lead productive, honest and decent lives.

These practical steps, in contrast to ineffectual intellectualising, will, in time, convince the rest of society of the truth; Muslims are just normal human beings and not the demonised fifth column beloved of the BNP and their supporters.

MMughal – 5 votes
Hello brother tariq ramadan, salaam.

As for me, if you whole heartedly accept five pillars of humanity you are welcome and as an exmuslim I have nothing against you. The five pillars are freedom, secularism, democracy, human rights and separation between religion and state. I take them seriously because without these pillars being accepted as foundation of humanity we cannot coexist in peace and harmony therefore cannot cooperate effectively for making progress towards prosperity of mankind.

If you are true to these fundamentals for humanity then I expect you to do all you can to promote them through out the world including the muslim countries. I expect you to be at least as concerned about these principles as you are for your religious beliefs if not more to be accept in the free society. One cannot be accepted in free scoiety if one tries to destroy it from within.

You can help by setting up discussion venues in muslim educational institutions in muslim states. In these discussions you should be able to help involve all sorts of religious and nonreligious scholars so that we could help educate people about each other openly and fairly. This is the real way forwards, not fighting for muslim acceptance while muslims reject apostates of islam and other nonmuslims in muslim societies and countries treating them as dirt.

There are colleges and universities in muslim countries wherein open debates can be arranged by people like you if you really do want to help change things for the better. So Please think about these ideas seriously and you can find me on website of council of exmuslim in britain, cemb for short to discuss further.

I hope you are a sincere man and would give some thought to my proposals because otherwise clashes between people cannot be avoided because that is where spread of islamic fundamentalism would lead us to. Islam and muslims cannot be reformed by giving in to them rather it is time we brought about reformation of islam and muslims from within by telling our fellow muslims where they are wrong and making them accept a role that they must start playing in the wider society.

regards and all the best. Mughal.

Criticism of Mr Ramadan’s style and motives

PeterJackson – 57 votes
As ever with Mr Ramadan, this argument is opaque and oblique rather than saying anything straight out.

But in so far as I can understand it, he is saying that everyday ethics – the way we interact in society, in business and socially – should be influenced by Islamic traditions.

Well, OK. Islam is not alone in recommending to its adherents that they act with honesty, integrity, humility, and so on, while blurring over the religion’s more negative implications. Christianity says the same, as does Hinduism and every other recognised religion apart from the most solipsistic ones.

And Muslims fail in these areas just as much as everyone else, given the numbers of them appearing in the dock for benefit fraud, burglary, and the other crimes that those with other religions and none also commit.

So what special role does Mr Ramadan envisage Islam playing in the development of society? As I see it, Muslims should act as any other citizens do; arguing their points alongside the rest of us, with no special privileges or preferential access to power structures. If that’s what he’s saying, then it’s unexceptional. If it isn’t, then I don’t know what it is.

Could we have a translation of this piece?

LDAW – 22 votes
This is a pretty sloppy article, because it lacks any specific examples/suggestions. Of course, Muslims like anyone else take part in political debates and have opinions on a range of issues, based on their values. In that sense, Islamic cultural/religious values are already ‘part of the debate’, along with every other ethical/cultural framework in Britain.

Is that all the author is trying to say? If so, then it’s hard to criticise it. However, if the author is suggesting that Muslim (or indeed, Christian or Jewish) organisations should be involved in policy-making, then I strongly reject that. We are a secular country, and hence religious practice should be a private manner.

MorrisZap – 46 votes
Tariq, I am trying to work out if you deliberately made your arguments opaque through the medium of pretentious pseudo academic twaddle, or if you couldn’t help it. I suspect the former.

I’m still not certain quite which ethics you want to “share” with ignorant kufirs like me. You start by saying, “Let us agree on this: we live in pluralistic societies and pluralism is an unavoidable fact.” Well, the day a Christian can worship openly in Saudi Arabia, is the day I’ll start believing that Islam and pluralism can go together like bread and butter. I’m not holding my breath…

When apologists like you stop defending the second class status of women, stop defending medieval punishments, and denounce the profound anti semitism, anti gay, anti intellectual mindset that makes almost every Muslim country in the world economically backward, corrupt dictatorships, then I might think you have something to say.

I’m not holding my breath on this one either…

Vishanti – 56 votes
This article is actually terribly instructive. Anyone wishing to join the multi-cultural conference bandwagon ( good buffet lunches, usually a coffee break with biscuits, nice laminated lanyards with your name on it, and all fully paid for by you and me) then this is a text book example of how to do bollox-speak.

Mr Ramadan has managed to fill an entire column, hence earning his fee (admittedly small in the Guardian , but it keeps the brand alive for the next conference booking) without actually saying anything at all.

He gives no examples of how we might benefit from the ‘gift of Islam’ because then he’d have to work really hard, compare and contrast, argue and conclude. Given the many incisive and brilliant posts above, it seems he’d have a rather hard time.

The multicultural conference junkie never gives examples. He uses a cross between theology and the social work vocabularly much loved in the 70’s to fill time and space without presenting a point that can be contested.

Bravo. Genius. From start to finish.

peterNW1 – 33 votes
As Ramadan’s critics point out, he has a stern and realistic message for his Muslim audience, and a soothing and emollient message for the non-Muslim audience.

In other words, he has mastered ‘Taqiyya’ …

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