Tariq Ramadan: Don’t separate politics and ethics


Tariq Ramadan said that Islam and democracy are not incompatible, but we should be careful about economic and cultural colonisation.

Democracy without socio-economic justice and cultural independence was no democracy, he said.

He warned that while people may elect leaders in a democracy, economic decision-making was often made unaccountable to the people. He also alluded to the growing clout of multinational corporations.

It is wrong to separate politics and ethics/morality, Tariq pointed out. The six main principles in Islam that he listed were universal principles very much in line with human rights.

We should not just speak about human rights but also talk about our duty to society and humanity, Tariq stressed. He warned against double standards by powerful nations in their articulation of human rights (e.g the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay). At the same time, he also criticised the torture and human rights abuses including the shoddy treatment of migrant workers in petroleum-rich Arab nations. It is important to be consistent in our criticism of injustice, he said.

As for the plight of the Palestinians, he said there is a clear oppressor and the oppressed, and this conflict remains at the forefront despite all the upheaval in the Arab world.

There are three L’s that are prerequisites for people to become good citizens, noted Tariq, a second generation Swiss citizen. These are the rule of law, the need to learn the official language of the country (and other relevant languages as well), and loyalty – not blind loyalty, but critical loyalty. Citizenship should be equal and should not discriminate, he added.

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Responding to a question from the floor, he said there could be a role for affirmative action, but this should be in a comprehensive context that would actually empower people to reach their full potential over time. The problem is when this is manipulated to play races against one another.

Tariq was speaking at the third Penang in Asia Lecture organised by the Penang Institute, a state-sponsored think tank.

More than 300 people, including a mufti from a northern state, PKR MP Nurul Izzah, Pas MPs Mat Sabu and Mujahid Yusof Rawa, DAP MP Chong Eng, the former Catholic bishop of Penang and priests, academics and activists, attended the lecture this morning.

Tariq’s comments about justice and democracy that had relevance to the situation in Malaysia – such as the need to work within the legal framework to remove unjust laws – were repeatedly applauded. This prompted the scholar to urge the audience to refrain from clapping: “If you agree with what I am saying, think about it.” But his address continued to be punctuated by more applause.

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  1. I believe that Jesus wanted social justice for the world. I have discovered a new book that shows how His message was covered up by His Gentile followers. The church has blinkered its past. It’s no secret that Jesus strove to bring in the kingdom of justice here on earth and his followers implemented it in the communal society we read about in Acts 2:44-47. The church’s dirty secret is that the Jewish followers of Jesus continued to hold his vision dear, later influencing such sects as the Bogomils and even, according to their own oral traditions, the Doukhobors. After exterminating the Jewish followers of Jesus, the church’s historians buried this history of justice-seeking but an author by the name of Lawrence Goudge has exhumed their story and presented it in ‘Cover-Up: How the Church Silenced Jesus’s True Heirs.’ This book does the world a great service by illuminating for the first time this vital part of the history of social justice. I found it at http://tinyurl.com/69cazll .

  2. Actually I always don’t understand why people keep saying Islam is universal. What is that actually. Universal in what ??? Another thing is why nobody care about mixing religion in politics. Nowadays supporters are so blind indeed.

      • Hope it won’t be a Muslim Brotherhood Fever of once liberal Egypt after the Arab Springs starting from Libya and heading to next target: Syria.
        Heard that they want to demolish the Pharaohs’ Pyramids & Sphinx!
        FYI, the nicked nose of the Sphinx was the result of target practice by some militant Muslims decades ago.

      • Tunglang, I think this is not the place to discuss the obvious things as my non offensive, publicly viewable, publicly acknowledge-able, things understand by every muslim been censored by anil. No complaint here as this is anil blog.

        But I disagree with everyone intention to beautify things where in fact those things are outright ugly and disgusting. They do so just to support ABU blindly without evaluate the greater harms. As an analogy, that is “to cure a cancer with poison, but ends up with 2 new cancers” !!!

  3. It is clear that all pakatan boys and gals are going to do PAS hudud. Yeah, praise it day and night. Sooner or later it will come will full version of PAS HUDUD.

    Then, that is the time for me to migrate to Singapore.

    • Hi Gerakan K,

      When a new non-UMNO Baru govt takes over PUTRAJAYA, many UMNO Baru and BN leaders, and their cronies, with their families are certain to migrate to Singapore and other supposed sanctuaries!! After all, they (are believed to) have already parked their ill-gotten wealth at the expense of Malaysians overseas, Singapore-based banks included!

      More of the past corruption, mismanagement, intentional lack of fiduciary duty are then going to come to light, and hence, they know fully well they have to run, but CAN THEY HIDE?

      • I disagree. Except 1 or 2 cases, I don’t see there are major revelation of corruption cases related to former BN leaders in pakatan states.

        You are reading too much pakatan propaganda !!! Read The Star instead, the people newspaper. No gag order for Penang hillslope scandal. Full and balanced reporting in The Star.

      • I, GK don’t see there are major revelation of corruption cases related to former BN leaders in pakatan states – because I am one of those(?)

    • Don’t forget to change your pseudonym from Gherkin K to Wandersing and continue being a philanthropist at Genting, Singapore

    • yeah yeah yeah, i love hudud, it is any time better than corruption !!!

      If we are not thieves we fear no hudud!

      Gila, are you a thief? If you are a small thief, we will chop off your little finger if big thief, then, whole limb, ok?

      • Kee, he fear PAS because he fear being chopped of his …… otherwise he will have to migrate

    • PAS hudud is better than UMNO hudud.
      PAS hudud is for Muslim only
      UMNO hudud is for ALL (Muslim & Non Muslim)

      UMNO guys are now in full swing calling for hudud for ALL (Muslim & Non Muslim). Najib is still dumb still will not deny no hudud.

      With UMNO hudud, Geelakan sure have to migrate

      With PAS hudud Geelakan did not have to migrate
      Unless he has become a real wannabe …

  4. Hi everyone,

    Yes, Professor Tariq Ramadan is not against affirmative action, that he is for positive discrimination that would “empower people to reach their full potential over time”, but he is against NEGATIVE discrimination brought about by supposedly affirmative action! The latter resonates in the context of the Malaysian experience!!

    The UMNO-led Federal Government affirmative action from the 1970s onwards has been and is still being HIJACKED by UMNOputras and their families to enrich themselves and their families!! Is it any wonder you have the Cowgate, Anakgate, Prawngate, Taibgate, Amangate, Scorpenegate, etc, etc, resulting in RMbillions siphoned-off to enrich the UMNO elitists at the expense of the Bumiputras, in particular, and all Malaysians, in general!

    Under the pretext of affirmative action, the Federal Govt has initiated a NEGATIVE discrimination, such that instead of positively giving a leg-up for the bumiputras to “empower people to reach their full potential over time”, it has only served to make them dependent on clutches!!

    UMNO Baru-led Federal Govt has made the bumiputras captive through such negative discrimination, appeasing them with occasional handouts to ensure their continued support so that UMNOputras, their families and cronies can continue to perpetuate their culture of corruption and cronyism, capitalising on and hijacking so-called affirmative programmes, purportedly for the masses but rather flowing into their own pockets!! Again, is it any wonder that corruption and cronyism is an endemic disease in UMNO Baru and other BN component parties’ elites?!!

    For the next GE, it is crucial that the bumiputras join other Malaysians to put an end to the hijacking of affirmative action by UMNO Baru!! Let us boot UMNO Baru and BN in the 13GE to put a stop to their corruption and cronyism culture, often under the guise of NEP, NEM, and other supposedly affirmative action programmes!!

      • Hi Anil,

        The pleasure is mine! I was actually hoping one day I could meet you in person. Glad to see you yesterday.

      • It’s always nice to put a face behind the name, especially a long-time visitor at this blog 🙂

      • It is difficult to do so. You can see the hostile reactions of certain commentators. Some people just can’t exchange opinions in a calm and rational way.

        It is more hostile if anil publish those comments without censorship !!!

      • Lies and omissions tend to peeve people off, Gherks. Maybe you could try to lessen that and people might start to be rational with you.

      • Gila, please read Andrew’s reply. TQ!

        Gila is talking about his rational comments ???

        Looks like dia lupa makan ubat kepala pusing !!!

        Anyway, we just have too many people like Gila, never look themselves in the mirror when they talk.

      • Hi Uncle Anil

        have you met in the face other regular readers like tunglang, Gerakan K, Yang, Sze Toh, Ong Eu Soon, king kong etc ?

        You can do a profile feature of those ardent fans of anilnetto.com.

        i started reading your blog early this year to improve my English.

        with my best wishes for sustainable anilnetto.com

      • Thanks for dropping by, Orang Pinang. I have met or know a handful of them in person, a couple over the phone. I would be happy to put up photos of the regular commenters and a couple of lines about them – if they want me too! Just say the word 🙂

        I hope you don’t pick up some of the ‘cursing’ here!

      • That’s me, flesh & blood artist reliving timeless impression of Pulo Panang some years ago with the tools of trade in a baba nyonya 2nd hall in Penang.
        The beauty posing at the left is the apple of my eyes (besides Madam Pykett).
        I love Nyonya ladies for their beauty, small waists & elegance. And also for the see thro’ dress!!!

        The hornbill (Lau Chiao) or Singalang, a Sarawakian warrior god bird at the top banner is my spirit watching over the Malaysian rainforest.

        So you see my home is not only in Cosmopolitan Penang.
        If it is wantonly, irresponsibly destroyed by greedy development, I have an option to fly away.

  5. Ho 😆 Ho 😆 Ho 😆

    😆 Methink that perkasar fat frog … must gone berserk n might collapse … ai yoyo yoyo he know laaaaa !! 😆

    Ho 😆 Ho 😆 Ho 😆


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