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What Does It Mean To Be a Progressive Intellectual after the Refugee Crisis in Europe? A Dialogue with Tariq Ramadan

Part of the Religion and Global Migrations book series (RGM)


This chapter examines the idea of progressivism in the context of the current refugee crisis in Europe. By investigating a variety of the progressive frameworks for the inclusion and the integration of Muslim minorities into European society, Morteza Hashemi highlights the significance of an empirical examination of what Tariq Ramadan calls the European Muslims’ “silent revolution.” Hashemi argues that one of the most progressive missions of public intellectuals today is to challenge the “dialogical monologue” with European Muslims through the empirical study of Muslims’ everyday engagement, including the co-practice of Muslim and non-Muslim citizens. Progressive intellectuals who are seeking authentic dialogue need to see and study these social practices.


  • Tariq Ramadan
  • Progressive Intellectuals
  • Dialogic Monologue
  • European Muslims
  • Silent Revolution

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  1. 1.

    Tariq Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 33 (my italics).

  2. 2.

    Frank-Olaf Radtke, “Multiculturalism in Welfare States: The Case of Germany,” in The Ethnicity Reader: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Migration, ed. Montserrat Guibernau and John Rex (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010), 295 (my italics).

  3. 3.

    See Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, 62.

  4. 4.

    See H. Cohen, Religion of Reason: Out of the Sources of Judaism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995).

  5. 5.

    See Daniel H. Weiss, Paradox and the Prophets: Hermann Cohen and the Indirect Communication of Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

  6. 6.

    Hermann Cohen, cited ibid., 154.

  7. 7.

    José Casanova , “Exploring the Postsecular,” in Habermas and Religion, ed. Craig Calhoun, Eduardo Mendieta, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013), 33.

  8. 8.

    Jürgen Habermas , “Religion in the Public Sphere,” European Journal of Philosophy 14/1 (2006), 15.

  9. 9.

    This refers to Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), one of the founding fathers of the United States, who famously said: “it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god.”

  10. 10.

    Richard Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 175.

  11. 11.

    See Richard Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope (London: Penguin, 1999), 169–170.

  12. 12.

    See Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, 190.

  13. 13.

    Jürgen Habermas, Between Naturalism and Religion, trans. Ciaran Cronin (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008), 127.

  14. 14.

    Ibid., 129.

  15. 15.

    See ibid., 137.

  16. 16.

    Casanova , “Exploring the Postsecular,” 33.

  17. 17.

    See ibid., 33.

  18. 18.

    Tariq Ramadan, What I Believe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 38.

  19. 19.

    See Tariq Ramadan, Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

  20. 20.

    See Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, 3–101; Ramadan, What I Believe, 41–45.

  21. 21.

    Ramadan, What I Believe, 41.

  22. 22.

    See Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, 26.

  23. 23.

    Ramadan, What I Believe, 43 (my italics).

  24. 24.

    Stephen F. Dale, The Orange Trees of Marrakesh: Ibn Khaldun and the Science of Man (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), 215.

  25. 25.

    Ibid., 214.

  26. 26.

    Ramadan, What I Believe, 3.

  27. 27.

    See Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, 62.

  28. 28.

    See ibid., 62–77.

  29. 29.

    Ibid., 65.

  30. 30.

    Ibid., 66.

  31. 31.

    Sundas Ali, British Muslims in Numbers: A Demographic, Socio-economic and Health Profile of Muslims in Britain (London: The Muslim Council of Britain, 2017), 16, available at (accessed 05/ 2017).

  32. 32.

    Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, 69.

  33. 33.

    Ibid., 67.

  34. 34.

    Ibid., 73.

  35. 35.

    Ibid., 47.

  36. 36.

    See ibid., 74–75.

  37. 37.

    See ibid., 76.

  38. 38.

    See ibid.

  39. 39.


  40. 40.

    See Morteza Hashemi, Theism and Atheism in a Post-Secular Age (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 183–189.

  41. 41.

    Chantal Mouffe, “Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism?,” in The Idea of the Public Sphere, ed. Jostein Gripsrud, Hallvard Moe, Anders Molander, and Graham Murdock (New York: Lexington Books, 2010), 273.

  42. 42.

    See Richard J. Bernstein, The Pragmatic Turn (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010).

  43. 43.

    Ramadan, What I Believe, 41–45.

  44. 44.

    Ibid., 33.

  45. 45.

    See Matthijs van Den Bos, “European Shiism? Counterpoints from Shiites’ organization in Britain and the Netherlands,” Ethnicities 12/5 (2011), 556–580.

  46. 46.

    See ibid., 578.

  47. 47.

    See Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, From Immigration to Integration: Local Solutions to a Global Challenge (OECD, 2006), 16.

  48. 48.

    These are some of the questions of my current research project on the Imam Hussain Blood Donation Campaign.

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Hashemi, M. (2018). What Does It Mean To Be a Progressive Intellectual after the Refugee Crisis in Europe? A Dialogue with Tariq Ramadan. In: Schmiedel, U., Smith, G. (eds) Religion in the European Refugee Crisis. Religion and Global Migrations. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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