, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 58–69 | Cite as

Tariq Ramadan and the Quest for a Moderate Islam

Global Society


Tariq Ramadan calls himself a bridge builder between Muslims and European culture, but contradictions in his theology prevent him from fulfilling this role. He is an Islamic intellectual who espouses democracy and pluralism, yet he believes that shari‘a law is universal. He exhorts his European followers to refrain from anti-Semitic violence, yet he cites as an authority Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is an apologist for Palestinian suicide bombers. He calls for Muslims to be full participants in Western civic societies, yet he calls on Muslims to “resist” the neo-liberal economic order that forms the basis of Western society. Ramadan has made alliances with left wing politicians and academics in France, Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States, but he has a pattern of disappointing and frustrating his leftist allies. In the wake of terrorist attacks in Britain and the Netherlands, the British and Dutch governments called upon Ramadan to support peaceable brands of Islam in these traumatized countries. These efforts failed because Ramadan’s most important constituency has always been “the Muslim street,” and this makes it difficult for him to embrace liberal principles.


Tariq Ramadan Yusuf al-Qaradawi Paul Berman Ian Buruma Salafism Muslims Europe 

Further Reading

  1. Baum, G. 2009. The Theology of Tariq Ramadan. Notre Dame: The University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bawer, B. 2006. While Europe Slept. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  3. Bawer, B. 2009. Surrender. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  4. Berman, P. 2007. Who’s Afraid of Tariq Ramadan. The New Republic, May 4.Google Scholar
  5. Berman, P. 2010. The Flight of the Intellectuals. Brooklyn: Melville House.Google Scholar
  6. Bernhard, B. 2006. White Muslim. Hoboken: Melville.Google Scholar
  7. Buruma, I. 2007. Tariq Ramadan has an Identity Issue. The New York Times Magazine, February 4.Google Scholar
  8. Caldwell, C. 2009. Reflections on the Revolution in Europe. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  9. Habeck, M. 2006. Knowing the Enemy. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Kepel, G. 2004. The War for Muslim Minds. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Kepel, G. 2008. Beyond Terror and Martyrdom. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Lewis, B. 2002. What Went Wrong. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Ramadan, T. 2004. Western Muslims and the Future of Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Ramadan, T. 2009. Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Tibi, B. 2008. Political Islam, World Politics, and Europe. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The King’s CollegeNew YorkUSA

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