Thursday, July 06, 2006

Tariq Ramadan: Muslims need to stop behaving like victims

From the UK newspaper THE INDEPENDENT

An excerpt:

In this climate, arguments that were previously the sole province of the extreme right have found space within mainstream political discourse. The past is reinterpreted so as to deny Islam any place in the creation of Western identity which is now frequently redefined as purely Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian.

Meanwhile many politicians have opted for the dangerous rhetoric of defending "Western values" and seek to impose strict limitations on "foreigners", while at the same time putting in place a whole apparatus of new security laws to fight terrorism. Hardly a Western society has been spared its own debate on questions of "identity" or "integration", but the implicit terms of the debate are often reduced to a distinction between two entities: "We, Westerners" and "They, the Muslims".

Muslims have clear-cut alternatives faced with the new reality: they can adopt the attitude of the aggrieved victim or they can confront their difficulties. Nothing will change until they accept full responsibility for themselves, become constructively critical, and self-critical; until they respond to the creeping "evolution of fear" with a firmly grounded "revolution of trust".

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