Alhumdulilah, I was blessed some months ago with theÂ opportunityÂ to interview Dr. Tariq Ramadan, a luminary thinker, academician and international speaker on Islam and Muslims in modern times. Below you will find the audio of that interview and a few of my thoughts about my time with him.
A note to our readers:
This interview was conducted in transit from one of his speaking events (a round table discussion with area interfaith leaders) to another (entitled Dr. Tariq Ramadan – Citizenship, Loyalty & Change: What is the Future for Muslims in the West?); I was driving Dr. Ramadan to his next engagement. Due to this setup there are minor sound quality issues (road noise) and me, your interviewer, having a hard time focusing. May Allah make this interview beneficial and give us the ability to take the good from it and implement it in our lives.[audio:http://muslimmatters.org/audio/2011_TR_Islam in the West_ Advice & Concepts for Muslim Minority Communities.mp3]
A few observations:
In interpersonal communication Dr. Ramadan was very generous with his time. He was soft spoken, engaging and respectful. He gave his peers his full attention, showed them respect and smiled a lot.
As a speaker, Dr. Ramadan was very eloquent and yet humble. He started his talk with what is now one of his famous trademarks the â€œplease, do not shout takbirâ€ policy, stating that he would rather have the audience really pondering/considering his thoughts and challenging them in their minds than have the event turn into a slogan filled pep rally.
During the Q&A session, Dr. Ramadan was both thought provoking and steadfast. At one point a member of the audience lavished him with heavy praise, and then followed with a question that revealed a deep lack of knowledge of some of the basic tenets of our religion. Dr. Ramadan replied by saying we all need to learn more about our faith and then quickly moved on, not allowing the questioner to be embarrassed.
Lastly, while Dr. Ramadan has a unique celebrity-isque status among many in our community, he carried himself with a sense of â€œrealness.â€ The best way I can describe him is somewhere between the local scholar/imam that is loved by his community and a childhood friend that you\’ve watched become famous.