Western Muslims and the Future of Islam

In This Review

Western Muslims and the Future of Islam

By Tariq Ramadan
Oxford University Press, 2004
288 pp. $29.95
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The grandson of Hasan al-Banna, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, Ramadan was born in Switzerland 42 years ago and is now a professor there and at the University of Fribourg in Germany. Last August, his bags were packed to come to the University of Notre Dame to teach Islamic philosophy and ethics when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security revoked his visa. Though Ramadan is lauded by many as a liberal preaching an effective integration of Muslims into European and North American society, others have denounced him as "really" an Islamist and antisemite. What does this book, his most recent, tell us about the man and his ideas? Addressed to those Muslims living as a minority in the West, Ramadan affirms that Muslims can (and indeed, as proper Muslims, should) become active, loyal citizens of the states where they find themselves. He makes his case working comfortably within the mainstream Islamic theological and juridical tradition. In the spirit of interfaith dialogue, which Ramadan embraces, one might well describe this book as a splendid practical catechism for Muslims in the West. There is much food for thought in it as well for non-Muslim majorities in the West and Muslim majorities in the Middle East.