Connect with us

#Current Affairs

Tariq Ramadan’s Boycott: A Critical Analysis




I had the pleasure of first meeting Dr. Tariq Ramadan during the 2011 RIS Convention when I was covering the event for this publication. It was an amicable meeting; I recall being struck by his down-to-earth attitude. He took the time to have a genuine conversation with people – a rarity at such large events.

It was the year of the Arab Springs and I remember his insightful talk about the role played by American institutions in kindling the protests in Egypt. The next year I met him again at the RIS Knowledge Retreat where he gave a series of classes entitled, ‘Shariah, Sufism and Ethics’. It was a powerful analysis of ethics and spirituality in the Islamic tradition. I recall asking him advice on how to combat the shariah fear-mongering that was going on at the time; he responded with words of wisdom as usual, ‘Normalize your presence without trivializing yourself’.

So, I was naturally quite shaken to hear that he had publicly boycotted the RIS and ISNA conventions; especially given his active role in the past several years. While he doesn’t use the word ‘boycott’ is his essay, his action is just that – a public censure of an organization and disengagement to achieve particular goals. I found his stance particularly troubling, and more importantly, ineffective. The reason being that he fails to adequately answer the essential questions for a successful protest: why boycott, how long to do it and what needs to be done to address the underlying concerns of the boycott.

Dr. Ramadan’s first allegation against RIS is that it remains ‘apolitical’. I find this charge particularly disingenuous given that speakers, including himself, frequently address political issues at the convention. I clearly recall the atmosphere at the 2008 convention when Israel started its bombardment of Gaza; outrage and condemnation was outspoken. A fundraising session that year, led by Imam Zaid Shakir in the main halls, raised over $100,000 within a half hour for the victims.

When the civil war in Syria started and Bashar-al-Assad began his atrocious crimes, the speakers did not shy away from expressing their disgust with him. When Ghaddafi was captured and killed, Dr. Ramadan was the one who voiced the unacceptable way in which his case was handled. These are just a few examples I can recall from my numerous years as an attendee and volunteer. Perhaps RIS isn’t political in the way Dr. Ramadan would like it to be, but to accuse convention of being silent on political issues is an unfounded assertion.

Dr. Ramadan’s second and more serious allegation relates to the speakers at RIS. He accuses these speakers of supporting dictatorships, despots and all the oppression they perpetrate. He fails to elaborate on who these speakers are and neither does he bring proof as to why he believes some of the leading Muslim preachers are supporters of tyranny and war crimes.

Those well informed on sectarian politics of the Middle East assume they know who and what he’s referring to; the rest of us are baffled and in utter confusion by this accusation. In his blog post, he refers to these people in convoluted terms such as ‘some speakers’ who follow the ‘sufi’ trend. This has implicated all the scholars at the convention and we’re left wondering: could he be referring to Shaykh Hamza, perhaps its Habib Ali, may be Imam Zaid, what about Dr. Jackson, or is it anyone associated with Mufti Ali Gomma or the late Shaykh Buti ?

Professor Ramadan’s elusive approach only opens the doors to speculation, conjecture and confusion. By disparaging the moral character of the scholars that Muslims so deeply trust and rely on for spiritual guidance, he has sown the seeds of doubt in their hearts – his boycott will do nothing to remove it. Not only will his move lead to political rifts, it also creates a spiritual crises built on doubts and division.

In the worldview of the Dr. Ramadan and his supporters, the immoral stances of their opponents are obvious – to the average American or Canadian RIS attendee they are not; most are clueless about the subject matter in the first place. If he was going to make such egregious allegations in public, especially on a matter generally debated in inner scholarly circles, he should have taken the liberty of at least supporting and clarifying his claims. Sure, we hear of the occasional tweet here and a facebook post there, but those hardly offer the degree of certainty required to establish such bold claims.

Instead of identifying, confronting and refuting the people he so vociferously opposes, Dr. Ramadan sanctimoniously declares them to be puppets for tyrannical rulers. He neither engages in a debate with them nor does he give these scholars a chance to clarify the basis of their positions. Using unsubstantiated claims masked in ambiguity he fosters the very phenomenon of partisan politics he’s trying to combat.

I am certain Dr. Ramadan has convincing arguments to back up his views, but his failure to elucidate them for us only breeds suspicion and bars us from the opportunity to judge for ourselves. If the scholars speaking at our conventions have indeed committed such serious transgressions, we deserve to know with absolute clarity before we decide to boycott them.

As for his boycott of ISNA, the professor offers much more concrete reasons; his approach, however, is still divisive and ineffective. The grievances he has expressed about ISNA’s unacceptable silence over deeply troubling aspects of U.S. domestic and foreign policy are universally shared by American Muslims. These Muslims, however, have not decided to boycott ISNA over it.

Instead, the recent events have lead to serious introspection and have stirred a much needed debate on how Muslim engage with government institutions. These issues will no doubt be raised and discussed at the upcoming convention; Dr. Ramadan could have been an important voice in influencing change but he has decided to not be present at these meetings.

ISNA is at an important cross-roads; it has become manifestly clear that its current engagement model has shortcomings which need to be seriously re-examined. It has to determine an approach where it can collaborate with institutions of power without being stifled by them or compromising its integrity. Glenn Greenwald, like many others, have stressed the need for an effective outsider-insider strategy for engagement. ISNA will certainly fall under the ‘insider’ category; its mandate is not like that of CAIR – which always seems to be in conflict with institutions of authority. It needs to transform itself into a effective lobbying group which can advocate on behalf of Muslims without being paralyzed by fear. Now, more than ever, it needs friends, not boycotters.

Dr. Ramadan’s boycott no doubt succeeds in putting pressure on ISNA and kindling up much needed discussions, especially given the support he has received from fellow speakers. However, this pressure comes at a cost. He has chosen to take a highly divisive route and no doubt has burned many bridges with the Muslim leadership in North America. Given his influence, the move has also galvanized many of his supporters who too are re-considering their attendance at the convention. ISNA is the one of the few institutions American Muslims could look up to as a representative of their interests; being publicly chastised and boycotted by a leading Muslim academic is bound to create division at a time when unity desperately needed.

Furthermore, the more important shortcoming of this move is that Dr. Ramadan has offered no concrete actions that need to be taken to address the issues he raises. How long will he and his supporters disengage from two of the largest gatherings of Muslims in North America? Blanket boycotts with no clear demands and deadlines are pointless and ineffective. What steps exactly does he want RIS and ISNA to take? We’ll never know the answers to these questions.

Professor Ramadan felt it a moral obligation to dissociate from organizations he had serious political disagreements with. Instead of the method he employed, he could have easily taken a less divisive and more effective route.  This could have been achieved had he publicly published detailed criticisms of ISNA and RIS with suggestions for actions they need to take. He could have then, like many others, privately declined attending the conventions; his absence would then be more meaningful to the organizers as well as the attendees. I am thinking of something along the approach Shaykh Hamza Yusuf took to highlight his disagreements with ISNA over the moon sighting issue.

The current approach taken by Dr. Ramadan is rash and its impact is temporal. He has picked a fight with the very people he needs to be advising; its unlikely they’ll be receptive to what he has to say if he does’t resort to more diplomatic methods. No one questions the legitimacy of the criticisms he has offered or the concern for good that drives his actions. However, this highly controversial approach has lead to greater harm, in this author’s opinion, because it engenders disunity amongst Muslims, casts doubts on the integrity of our scholars and fails to provide any tangible solutions to the exceedingly complex challenges our community faces today.

Ed Note: We encourage discourse and writers on Muslimmatters have a variety of individual points of views including this post; this should not be taken as a Muslimmatters ‘position’.

Waleed Ahmed writes on current affairs and politics for MuslimMatters. He focuses on Muslim minorities, human rights and the Middle-Eastern conflict. Based out of Montreal, he's currently pursuing a Ph.D. at McGill University in fundamental physics. Waleed also has a keen interest in studying Arabic and French. He spends his spare time reading, playing basketball and praying for Jon Stewart to run in the next presidential election.



  1. Avatar

    Ahmed A

    August 21, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    I think this criticism is silly.

    Firstly, with regards to the ISNA boycott, raising money or support for Muslim causes is not what Dr Ramadhan was referring to. What he is critical of is lending political support to political parties which have done nothing to earn the support of Muslims. I see a great deal of validity in his point and I do not see how this stance is divisive at all. Decades of “engagement” have accomplished almost nothing politically, particularly on issues where there is opposition to the greater Muslim opinion.

    With regards to his criticism of certain speakers, Dr. Ramadhan is caught in a catch 22 on this point. The author calls him out for not naming names, but if he were to call out speakers by name, he would be criticized for mud-slinging and slander. I applaud his choice of criticizing the “issue” and not the offender. I see no other way he could have raised the issue without slinging mud. Furthermore, whether you agree with it or not, criticism of apolitical “sufism” as a concept does not cross any boundaries that I can see. If anything, I think this is a theme which has repeated itself constantly throughout the history of the ummah. There will always be scholars on truth and scholars on falsehood and it is the duty of the scholars of truth to speak out against what they perceive as being falsehood. Dr. Ramadhan is not the first in this regard and I make dua to Allah that he not be the last.

    As for the issue of “whodunit”, I am not plugged in to any behind the scenes information, but it is pretty clear to me who he is referring to. I have not confirmed it with Dr. Ramadhan, so obviously I won’t name names either… but if you read the original piece carefully, I think it is pretty clear who he is referring to.

    I applaud Dr. Ramadhan for his stance and support him 100%. Criticism is critical for the growth of a mature society.

  2. Avatar

    M. Budeir

    August 21, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Excellent points. It is not an easy matter. One can argue that these organizations had not responded to advice therefore it was important to take a public stance and rock the board to get their attention. I think the ball is in ISNA’s court. ISNA should not react defensively (like the article they issued), nor should it have a knee jerk reaction (by issuing a press release at every little event), instead, the leaders of ISNA should host a true visioning process and seek the advice of scholars and experts in a transparent matter. Going back to another meeting in the back room to deal with this “crisis” is the wrong approach. This is everyone’s issue, if ISNA makes the commitment to evaluate their strategy, let us all support the process of re-strategizing.

  3. Avatar


    August 21, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    I really do not think I like the new MM redesign. As much as I appreciate the diversity of ideas and opening it up the platform, the caliber of articles definitely suffered. It transformed from experienced professional viewpoints to average Joes just voicing their opinion. I honestly thought that was what social media was for.
    In regards to this article, I do respect your right to voice your opinion even though I completely and utterly think you missed the mark. I definitely do not need to defend someone of the likes of Dr. Ramadan who has been doing a great job of defending himself for the past decades. However, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight a couple of things. One of Dr. Ramadan’s mottos is “Educate” and that’s something that in general we fail to do and expect people to spoon feed us. The fact that Dr. Ramadan even bothered to take the extra step to mention his concerns in a post rather than just not attend is in my opinion going beyond. His job is not to provide a detailed study of the reasons to boycott theses conferences, but it’s enough to alert you that it may be time to critically think. It would be insulting to your intellect and unfair to the specific speakers to mention them by name, rather than to give you the chance to find out for yourself. You mention that …”to the average American or Canadian RIS attendee they are not; most are clueless about the subject matter in the first place” that’s definitely not a reason but just an excuse, and if the average attendee does not want to bother themselves to do the background work (which in my opinion is fine) then Dr. Ramadan’s absence should equally not bother them. I try to keep my comments brief which I already failed at, so I will not even mention ISNA. In summary this really wasn’t a critique it was an attack, plagued with conjecture and assumptions. Dr. Ramadan started a discussion that none of his speeches triggered before, which is why he characterized his absence to be “be the most powerful speech I have ever given at ISNA”

    • WAJiD


      August 22, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Salaam brother Omer,

      Whilst I disagree with the main points made by brother Waleed, I would like to just say it isn’t really nice to call him an “average joe” voicing his opinion. For one, you don’t know what qualifications and skills he has. For another, equating a professionally written article with well reasoned points to voicing an opinion on social media is disingenuous.

      InshaAllah, it is always useful to stick to engaging an article on its merits as opposed to who the author is and your perception of their qualifications to write it.

      JazakAllah khairun.

      • Avatar


        August 25, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        Wa Alaikom Al Salam brother Wajid,

        Jazakum Allah khair for that advice, perhaps my emotions got the better of me and I uttered things that I should not have. I did not intend to be disingenuous or rude and I apologize if it came of that way.
        That being said, I just wanted to clarify a few things, my critique was not specific to brother Waleed, it was targeted at MM. After this redesign, MM removed the segment describing the author and his or her qualifications; perhaps to give it a more magazine/blog look. On the other hand though it loses that personal touch and all the authors become unknown to us. It’s something that has been bothering me for a while and I just decided to add it here, since I was commenting anyways. I had to look through brother Waleed’s articles to recognize that he has written articles going back to 2011, and I thought this was his first one. Perhaps I should have used the word “blog” but I think your characterization of my comment regarding social media as disingenuous was unfair. It was not intended to be whatsoever I was just noting that it and other recent articles had a blog feel to it which was not usually the case with MM articles. Once again I do apologize if it came of a little edgy, I strongly disagreed with the articles, and it may have come off as a personal attack which it wasn’t at all, and I sincerely thank you for your advice, it’s good to have people who are courageous and caring enough to give you the chance to rethink your actions under different lens.

  4. Avatar


    August 21, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    Don’t think the Glenn Greenwald interview you cited supports your point about insider-outsider approach for the Muslim community (though he goes on to talk about how the gay community is doing it effectively):

    Right. Okay. Well, let’s assume that meaningful political change is the ultimate goal, where is the balance between engaging with the government or attending these types of events, regardless of what policies you may find problematic, versus protesting or taking yourself out of the system?

    GG: I think the word that use is the right one, which is balance. And the evaluation has to be: are my goals promoted by participating in these events or they subverted by participating in these events or conversely are my goals further subverted by protesting them. Yes, there is a benefit theoretically to participating in this process because that then gets you into the door and then theoretically, once you are in the door, you can use your entrance to your influence. But that’s only true if that admission is really a meaningful one. I mean, how much have American Muslim leaders been able to affect the change over the last decade by virtue of attending White House dinners. I would argue not very much. I think it becomes counterproductive because I think people like Obama get to tell the grassroots American Muslim voters, who do not have some concern because they are not negligible in numbers and growing economically, “I know you don’t like drones and I know you don’t like Guantanamo and I know you don’t like our support for Israel but you know what? Look at, we are giving you American Muslim leaders this really important dinner and so you should continue to think good about us and continue to vote for us and continue to write checks to our party during election time, even though we are not actually doing anything on policy.” And I think it is a real danger that these rituals become exploitative in that way and relieve the pressure to take any actual action on policy changes and I think the more you protest, the more pressure you put on politicians to take concrete steps, not symbolic ones, to address the concerns that you have.

    • Avatar


      August 21, 2014 at 6:54 PM

      Hmm Siraaj, I agree with a lot of that, BUT recognition is important; if not to directly affect change but then at least to project to the average citizen that these “Mozlems” are a recognised part of the fabric of the US (even if we ignore them) and have a ligitimate voice to be heard.

    • Avatar

      Waleed Ahmed

      August 21, 2014 at 11:29 PM

      I interpreted his praise for that model to mean its something Muslims should try to emulate. The section you quote, specifically, is critical of attending the whitehouse iftars – not the model as a whole. He highlights the dangers of being on the ‘inside’; which we ought to certainly be wary of.

  5. Avatar

    Ice Cream

    August 21, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

    Dear Waleed Ahmed,

    I am not sure if you have read the interview that Dr. Ramadan gave. In which he states that:

    “I am not attacking the institution. Some have misunderstood my point or not read my paper carefully and they are saying “Tariq Ramadan is calling for a boycott and is creating divisions.” What I was trying to do is exactly the opposite. The divisions are already there and it is not by hiding the tensions that we are solving the problems. My position is clearly about the leadership. I can understand and respect the fact that you want to keep the channel open with American authority. But at the same time, you need to know your goals to serve your fellow citizens and the Muslim community in the name of your principles.”

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala

      August 23, 2014 at 8:30 AM

      Dear brother

      Please try to use a valid name or Kunyah (and no Ice Cream is not a valid Kunyah).


  6. Avatar


    August 22, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    as salaam alaikum,

    This is an excellent article written in a clear cool academic voice. To those who say it is slander to call names, I respond that if you say you are addressing tyranny or any person siding with tyranny, such a serious charge requires you specifically say who has blood on their hands. We can say, not praying is wrong, but it’s different when you are bringing the issue up because you know someone who’s not praying. Then to be general and not specifically address the person is a semi-duck of the issue. My understanding of Islam is that of course you directly address people who are doing wrong, but that most of us, myself especially use the wrong tone and fail to use the gentleness required in the Prophetic model. I don’t know the source, but I always hear at masjid, that we are to praise publicly and criticize privately and combining this with the well-known hadeeth that says, first stop the evil with your hand, if you can’t then speak against it… indicates you are to directly address wrong and the person, doing so with perfect manners, I think……

    Fee Amanallah

  7. Avatar

    Syed J

    August 23, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Dr. Ramadan has initiated a very much needed discussion within the Muslim community. I hope it is seen in a positive manner.

  8. Avatar

    O H

    August 23, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    Highly disagree with the stance/attitude reflected by the author in this issue. It is filled with assumptions & conjecture which is ironic considering Dr Tariq’s approach was accused of causing conjecture & confusion, despite his explanation being sufficient in addressing the issue. I am sure we don’t want a huge dissertation or a whole booklet by him explaining all the minute sub-reasons of his agreements ISNA/RIS & I am sure the mention of names would have caused even more chaos & dis-unity.

    This failed concept of unity at all costs with everyone uttering the shahada is definitely not one followed by our righteous predecessors in whose era there were numerous cases of people socially boycotting clear innovators & major sinners to alert the person of his/her wrongdoing & also to let the masses know the seriousness of an issue. Seems this boycott has had the necessary impact of alerting people to the significant flaws of both organisations & its speakers lest people are harmed out of ignorance in to justifying & defending dictators, oppression & scholars on falsehood. Unity is important to achieve goodness, not to compromise on clear principles, justice & to maintain indifference on the face of war crimes. Recent history suggests this insular approach doesn’t help much.

    It’s not always a straightforward equation that quiet/soft approach=Only acceptable approach if one studies the Seerah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Alhamdulillaah the masses in the West, both muslim & non-muslim, are gradually realising this…

  9. Avatar

    Samy Merchant

    August 24, 2014 at 2:41 AM

    Unfortunately, Dr. Ramadan is showing khawariji tendencies. I have to now add Dr. Ramadan to my SKL (Symbolic Khawarij List.) I rate this symbolic list from 1 to 10 (“1″ representing a budding Khawarij to “10″ being a full-fledged Khawarij i.e. “a dog of the Hell Fire”). Dr. Ramadan is now on, with a rating of “1″ SKL. Of course, it’s not too late at all for him to remove himself from my SKL.

  10. Avatar

    Samy Merchant

    August 24, 2014 at 2:50 AM

    Khawarijism buds subtly. It’s cancerous. Won’t Muslims ever learn? They start with PHd’s and end up with AK-47’s.

    The man needs to be STOPPED, NOW!

    • Avatar

      Samy Merchant

      August 24, 2014 at 2:55 AM

      Khawarijism buds subtly. It’s cancerous. Won’t Muslims ever learn? They start with PHd’s and end up with AK-47′s.

      The man needs to be STOPPED, NOW!

      • Avatar

        Samy Merchant

        August 24, 2014 at 3:21 AM

        SNA, ICNA, AMJA and MSA are grassroots organizations created for all American Muslims. They are moderate and all-inclusive. We need to do our best not to damage these organizations in any way. I myself benefitted a lot from AMJA and the MSA.

  11. Mobeen


    August 25, 2014 at 12:22 AM

    Salam Waleed,

    I pray you are well. To be honest, I found your assessment to be predicated on a considerable amount of ad hominem (TR’s criticism was ‘rash’, ‘temporal’, ‘ineffective’, he was ‘sanctimonious’) that reflected a feeling of indignancy. I don’t have the time to deconstruct the entirety of the article, but I did want to make mention of a few points:
    – Reference to GG’s insider/outsider strategy completely missed the point. Please see Siraaj’s comment regarding this.
    – Re: Bewilderment at TR’s remarks – what could TR possibly mean by referring to RIS as apolitical? Or advancing an apolitical brand of Sufism? Perhaps TR doesn’t believe merely raising funds as being enough of a political statement, and that ‘reviving the Islamic Spirit’ should entail a conception of citizenship that requires active participation in civic life (I’m speculating, I’ve never attended RIS though I did listen in via webcast last year to a few speeches). As to whether he should have attended and brought these points up then…well he did, last year. Please go back and listen to some of his speeches that have been posted in an edited format – he is clearly imploring the crowd on points that mirror what he wrote in his open letter. Also, it is not hard to figure out reasons that map directly to TR’s objections – perhaps the most visible being Shaykh Habib Ali al-Jifri’s public prayers for al-Sissi, a support for despotism I simply cant imagine someone like TR remaining silent about. One final point regarding this – many scholars have come out publicly in agreement with TR (see Imam Suhaib Webb, YQ, Omar Suleiman, etc.). Is it really that difficult to figure out their objections, or are they all mistaken?
    – Re: Ineffective – The ensuing discourse on social media and otherwise proves the opposite. The fact is that his open letter has forced a dialog that is long overdue and continues to be enriched by the points he brought to the fore.

    Curious – Do you help with organizing RIS or are you part of their organizing committee? I know you mentioned attending, but I cant help but feel there’s a great deal of personal angst in the article (perhaps its just the way I read it).

    I don’t think anyone is discounting the important work RIS or ISNA does. It is merely a critique of their political philosophy, and as a community we need to be more mature about the manner in which we process and understand dissent. Please forgive me if any of the above came off direct or accusatory, I simply wanted to offer some responses to points you made in the article as I can only assume that you wanted to generate discussion as well :) Allah knows best.

    • Avatar

      waleed ahmed

      August 25, 2014 at 11:09 PM

      waalaykumasalm Mobeen,

      To respond to your comment:

      – Sure, the article is fiery and strong; I felt rather passionately about it. Ad hominem I certainly hope it’s not. I am not launching baseless personal attacks on TR. I’ve presented reasoned arguments as to why I disagree with his stance.

      -Please elaborate on how I’ve completely missed the point on GG’s strategy. I’ve responded to Siraaj’s comment; GG was critical of attending the whitehouse iftars – but praised the inside-outside strategy on the whole as a successful approach.

      – My criticism of TR boycott of RIS was that he accuses the speakers of supporting tyranny but fails to give us any clarity on the subject. Some are speculating its due to Habib Ali’s tweet, other’s are blaming some of the other speakers. It’s all conjecture. More importantly, what exactly are the positions of these ‘some’ scholars and their rationale for taking them? They are, after all, not naive and are reputable shyookh too. TR has made serious allegations in public – the onus of proof is on him. It’s not for us to dig up dirt and try to suss out our scholars; we assume the best of them.

      – I’ve acknowledged in the article that the boycott succeeded in starting up conversations and putting pressure on the leadership here. As I’ve explained this comes at a hefty price. More importantly, the impact is temporal as social media conversations die out after a few days. The overall outcome is thus ineffective given that he lays out no action plan in his essay on how to correct our trajectory.

      – No, I am not on the RIS organizing team. I am a longtime attendee and have volunteered a few times. It’s certainly an institution close to my heart as it has very much shaped my spiritual growth, like that of countless others.

  12. Pingback: Tariq Ramadan’s Boycott: A Critical Analysis - Ka Waal

  13. Avatar


    August 26, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Personally, I will like to ask Tariq Ramadan why Arab issues and Arab Muslims are the face of Islam here in NA or UK? That indigeneous Black Muslims who constitute 30% of American Muslims dont get to make it to even 10% of RIS or ISNA speaker list or topics,except for Imam Siraj Wahaaj, he needs to understand that ISNA is more than just about American foreign policy combat. Muslims have so much internal fitna and bad nafs from within, that ISNA and RIS are platforms to do a clean house for ourselves too.
    That we have separate ICNA for Pakistani public, and ISNA for Arab public, please don’t add to fuel to the sweeping fire.
    Much of MM today is questioning why a few issues like Gaza and niqab are hijacking headlines for us. ISNA needs more support and representation from the diverse American Muslim
    Population,indegnious and expat, to find solutions for all of our ills,social,economic and political, and make us more cohesive with courtesy.
    He is a stout example of how oppositions everywhere in muslim countries boycott elections when it is easier to grab attention that way-
    Look at Pakistan,Bangladesh,Afghanistan,Egypt –discrediting organized structures by boycotting them,is easier than contesting them and confronting
    their narratives through established participative channels.

  14. Avatar


    November 7, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    I respect and accept 100% of what Tariq Ramadan said and will not attend ISNA convention next time. All our respected scholars, Imams, Leaders of these organizations have forgot their basic responsibilities with regard to their positions except few bold people.

  15. Avatar


    May 6, 2015 at 7:30 PM

    I think Dr. Ramadan is the best speaker in RIS, and every where else.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#Current Affairs

Malaysians Ask China To Free Uyghurs, Close The Camps

Hena Zuberi



Free Uyghur Malaysia

By Gulnaz Uighur

Muslims are standing up for Uyghurs, protests held in Malaysia.

5th of July could be just like another day for people but for Uyghurs, it brings back dark memories of a bloody past. This day, in 2009, thousands of Uyghur students were massacred by Chinese police in Urumqi. These young students were demanding an investigation into the rising number of homicides in a toy factory. These people only wanted justice. They were also upset by the ongoing discrimination in the employment sector. Graduates were denied jobs because of their Uyghur ethnicity. After the protests, China started abducting the Uyghur youth and no one knows where the missing went. Its been 10 years since that horrifying incident and the condition of Muslims have devolved in a genocidal nightmare.

Communist Government in China Has over 2 Million Uyghurs in Concentration Camps

Beijing has now locked over 2 million Uyghurs in concentration camps. People in these places are forced to denounce Islam, forget the teachings of Quran, prohibited from praying, asked to learn Xi Jinping’s speech and tortured for not obeying these orders. Sadly, Islam is being treated as a disease in China and most of the Islamic nations are turning a blind eye to it.

So Malaysia came as a breath of fresh air when Muslim NGOs organized an anti-China protest against Uyghur persecution.

On 5th July 2019, a coalition of 34 Malaysian NGOs gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to protest the persecution of Uyghurs. The organizations prepared a memo of protest to be submitted to Chinese officials. In the memo, they demanded Beijing to ‘Respect the human rights of the Uyghur people, in particular, their right to life and freedom of religion and belief.’ , ‘immediately stop the persecution and extreme repression of the Uyghur people.’ and close the camps. They also called upon the International community to increase the voices of protest and disfavour upon the Chinese government and to work together to improve the situation for the Uyghur people through concrete actions.

The protesters shouted slogans like ‘Me Too Uyghur’ and ‘Save Uyghur’. In a media interview, president of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim), Mohamad Raimi Abdul Rahim asked immediate freedom for all those who have been detained in concentration camps.

Malaysians Stand With Uyghurs

Abim secretary Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz accused the Chinese government of concealing the plight of the Uyghurs by offering NGOs and government agencies free trips and painting a rosy picture of the camps. Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, chairman of the Malaysian Consultative Council Of Islamic Organizations (Mapim), said the atrocities committed against the Uyghurs could not be denied or disguised. The Group of NGOs also included Ikram Association and the Malaysian Youth Council among others.

Though no Chinese official came out to accept the memo, the message was clear that now people won’t keep quiet about the Uyghur persecution. There is a dire need for Muslim countries to break their silence on this issue. There is enough evidence to prove that something unholy and inhumane is happening with Uyghurs. If these countries consider China their friend then ask it to stop being a Shaitan. The leaders must realize that their first duty is towards the Ummah and not towards China.

Now is the time to stand for Uyghurs before nothing is left to be saved.

This protest in  Malaysia has proved that people in Muslim countries do support Uyghurs even if their governments are silent and are upset with Beijing’s policies. This event proved that governments may fail to fight but people won’t.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

The Environmental Cost Of War With Iran

Abu Ryan Dardir



war with Iran

Report after report shows how planet Earth may reach a point of no return. An analysis written by Ian Dunlop claims the planet cannot be saved by the mid-century if we continue on this path. And yet here we are marching towards a war with Iran.

When we think of climate change, we rarely think of war. On June 12th, 2019, Brown University released a report declaring the Department of Defence to be “the world’s largest institution to use petroleum and correspondingly, the single largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world.” Burning jet fuel for transportation of troops and weapons make up 70 percent of the Pentagon’s emissions.  Ironically, earlier this year the Pentagon released a 22-page report to Congress stating the ⅔ of their mission-essential installation in the US are vulnerable to flooding, and ½ are susceptible to wildfires. To no surprise, Trump rejected those findings at the time. The Pentagon is now concerned with the impact climate change has on their “foreign missions.”

war, iran, America, Climate change, pentagonWith tensions high with Iran, and several thousand troops are expected to be deployed, if war with Iran is to happen, it may lead us to a more damaged planet that may not recover. This makes the Pentagon guilty of killing people and the earth. The Department of Defense has consistently used between 77-80% of the entire US energy consumption. We see spikes during times of massive war (since America is in a constant state of war), like in 1991, 2001, and so on.

Here is a list of the seven significant sources of greenhouse emissions done by the Department of Defense:

  1. Overall military emissions for installations and non-war operations.
  2. War-related emissions by the US military in overseas contingency operations.
  3. Emissions caused by US military industry   — for instance, for production of weapons and ammunition.
  4. Emissions caused by the direct targeting of petroleum,   namely the deliberate burning of oil wells and refineries by all parties.
  5. Sources of emissions by other belligerents.
  6. Energy consumed by reconstruction of damaged and destroyed infrastructure.
  7. Emissions from other sources, such as fire suppression and extinguishing chemicals, including   Halon, a greenhouse gas, and from explosions and fires due to the destruction of non-petroleum targets in warzones.

This impact on the climate is just the portion from America, in the Iraq war, 37 countries fought alongside America, and 60 are allied against ISIS. There is a way to calculate those emissions as well.

The Rules of War

Before engaging in battle, the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) instructed his soldiers:

  1. Do not kill any child, any woman, or any elder or sick person. (Sunan Abu Dawud)
  2. Do not practice treachery or mutilation. (Al-Muwatta)
  3. Do not uproot or burn palms or cut down fruitful trees. (Al-Muwatta)
  4. Do not slaughter a sheep or a cow or a camel, except for food. (Al-Muwatta)
  5. If one fights his brother, [he must] avoid striking the face, for God created him in the image of Adam. (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)
  6. Do not kill the monks in monasteries, and do not kill those sitting in places of worship. (Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal)
  7. Do not destroy the villages and towns, do not spoil the cultivated fields and gardens, and do not slaughter the cattle. (Sahih Bukhari; Sunan Abu Dawud)
  8. Do not wish for an encounter with the enemy; pray to God to grant you security; but when you [are forced to] encounter them, exercise patience. (Sahih Muslim)
  9. No one may punish with fire except the Lord of Fire. (Sunan Abu Dawud).
  10. Accustom yourselves to do good if people do good, and not to do wrong even if they commit evil. (Al-Tirmidhi)

A verse in the Holy Qur’an

4:75 (Y. Ali) And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!”

How does this potential war against Iran play into all this?

Our first call to action is to organize an anti-war rally. This type of work is weak in America, and virtually non-existent within the Muslim community.

فَقَالَ أَبُو سَعِيدٍ أَمَّا هَذَا فَقَدْ قَضَى مَا عَلَيْهِ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ مَنْ رَأَى مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُنْكِرْهُ بِيَدِهِ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ وَذَلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الإِيمَانِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ ‏.‏

Abu Sa’eed said: ‘As for this, he has fulfilled what is upon him. I heard the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saying: ‘Whoever among you sees an evil, then let him stop it with his hand. Whoever is not able, then with his tongue, and whoever is not able, then with his heart. That is the weakest of faith.”‘

War with Iran will be a Greater Mistake than War with Iraq

Historically, anti-war sentiment in America has grown over the years. When the Iraq war first started only 23% thought it was a mistake, today it is close to 60% that believe the war is a mistake. Yes, this is in hindsight, but that it is also growth. The reason the anti-war movement is feeble in America is that there is no platform for the campaign to grow. Both parties are guilty of starting wars or taking over the wars from the past administration. Whether we do it alone as an individual or as a group, we should do everything we can as privileged members of this planet to save and protect those that can’t defend themselves.

There is a famous quote of the famed boxer Muhammad Ali when explaining why he wasn’t fighting in the war. He said, “…I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion.”

Fighting Earth

With that said, there is a significant interest in the region for more than just fuel and resources. It is truly a problem, our operations in the Gulf is to address our dependency on Persian oil, and the fuel that is used to address our dependence is to protect those resources and access to them. One estimate is that America spends $81 billion annually defending the global oil supply. They do this because the DOD feels its dependency will make it vulnerable on a larger scale.

In 1975 America decided to take away the fear of losing the resources and developed the “Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” and in 1978, they created the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF). Their only purpose was to defend US interest in the Middle East. This, in turn, leads to extractivism of resources and supplies. (Which will be explained in a future article).

This war can be the end of all wars as it can accelerate us to the point of no return in regards to climate change.

A war with Iran is a war with Earth and all who live on it.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

5 Quick Things Americans Can Do For Uyghurs Today

Abu Ryan Dardir



“I may die, but let it be known that my nation will continue their struggle so long the world continues to exist.” Kazakh leader Uthman Batur. He said these words as Chinese authorities executed him for resisting the communist occupation. Currently, China has, one million Uyghurs (Uighurs), Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities held in concentration camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) (East Turkistan) in northwestern China.

Their struggle surpasses the 10 or so years since we have become aware of it. Just like the Rohingya genocide, we waited till the last minute. We are always late and say, “Never Again.” It happens again and again.

In my lifetime, there have been horrendous genocides that could have been prevented to stopped. As a child, I remember Rwanda in the headlines, then a year later Bosnian genocide. Then we hear these demonic stories after the fact. I remember stories from survivors from Bosnia, and thinking to myself, “How are you here and functioning?”

Let us not be fooled to why this is happening now. It is related to economic advantages. The Chinese government’s present signature foreign policy initiative is the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) that seeks to connect the PRC economically to the rest of the Eurasian continent through massive infrastructure projects that will stimulate international trade. The western and south-western components of the BRI require the XUAR to serve as a transportation and commercial hub to trade routes and pipelines that will join China with Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and the entirety of Europe. As a result, the XUAR has become an important strategic region for the Chinese, and the state views its indigenous populations as an obstacle to developing its vision for this future critical center of international commercial networks.1

The expansion of their trade route also ties in Iran hence the sanctions placed, but that’s a different report for a different time. China, of course, has defended their actions by claiming its an anti-terrorism plan. Getting reliable information is hard. China has made it a point to make things difficult for reporters. Yanan Wang, a China-based journalist from the Associated Press, has reported extensively on and from Xinjiang.

In a ceremony at Asia Society on Tuesday commemorating AP’s 2019 Osborn Elliott Award for Excellence in Journalism on Asia, Wang described the subtle ways government minders worked to thwart her reporting: “(Both of the times we went there we arrived at the airport, we had a welcoming committee from the local authorities. They’re always very polite and professional. They say that “you’ve arrived in Xinjiang and we’re here to assist you in your reporting. Tell us what you’re working on so we can help you.” They offer us drives in their car and plenty of hospitality.

Basically, from the moment we arrive, we’re followed by at least one car. There are a bunch of interesting scenarios that we came across. You can see that the local handlers are trying hard to be professional. They are members of the propaganda department, so they’re PR professionals. They don’t want to make it appear like it’s so stifling. At one point, we were taking photos, and someone suddenly appeared on the scene to say he was a “concerned citizen.” He said he’d seen us taking photos and that it was an infringement of his privacy rights. He had this long monologue about privacy rights and about how it wasn’t right for us to take photos of him without his knowledge. We asked him, “Well, where are you in these photos?” and he’d go through all of them. He said we had to delete all of them. He’d say, “This is my brother,” or “This is my place of work, you have to delete it.”

They had all of these interesting tactics to work around the idea that they were trying to obstruct our reporting and make it appear that someone who claims to be a concerned citizen.)”2

On top of that, locals that talk to journalist are punished, sometimes go missing.

I decided to do something this time around; I got in touch with an Uyghur community near my residence to see how an individual could help. It started at a Turkic restaurant, and from there, I have been involved in whatever capacity I am able. Through this effort, I got in touch with a Turkic professor in Turkey who has students stranded as they are cut off from contacting family back in Xinjiang. He helps them out financially; my family and friends help with what they can.

As Muslims in the West, there is no doubt we should act. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith” (Muslim).

How Can You Help Uyghurs

Here are a few things you can do to help:

1. Ask Congress to pass To pass S.178 & H.R.649 Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019. Urge your senator and representative to support this cause. It has been introduced. This bill can help the Uyghur community to be treated like Tibetans (another region oppressed by China).

2. Stay informed. The mainstream media is not the place to get accurate information on the situation. Be skeptical of where the data is coming from, stick to reliable sources that are verified. As mentioned above, journalists find it difficult to report.

3. Donate to Uyghur Human Rights Organizations to end concentration camps: UHRP, Uyghur American Association  Donate to Awareness Campaigns: Save Uigur Campaign 

4. Boycott or reduce buying Made in China products

5. Follow these links for updated information: and

This crisis is an ethnic cleansing for profit. These are dark days as we value profit over people.

1.Statement by Concerned Scholars on mass detentions | MCLC …. s/

2.Why It’s So Difficult for Journalists To Report From ….

Continue Reading