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Title: Radicale hervorming
Subtitle: Over de noodzaak voor moslims om zichzelf – en de maatschappij – te transformeren
Author(s): RAMADAN, Tariq
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Theologie
Volume: 49    Issue: 4   Date: 2009   
Pages: 333-345
DOI: 10.2143/TVT.49.4.3203479

Abstract :
In this essay, Tariq Ramadan gives an account of the motives for publishing his new book Radical Reform. The book deals with being a Muslim in the contemporary world and facing the challenges of today. In it, Ramadan proposes a new way of thinking, a new way of dealing with written Islamic sources and Islamic principles, a new way which is transcultural, across the board for Muslims in Muslim majority countries as well as here in the West. He does not want to suggest that Islam needs to change, but argues that certain interpretations are needed for Muslims dealing with the contemporary world in the West. He proposes that there is a field of social affairs where there is room for creativity and openness. The principles involved here are permission and innocence. In this essay, the author deals with the question why, in spite of centuries of Islamic thinking and in spite of the efforts of Muslim philosophers and scholars, Muslims are unable to respond to some of the challenges of our time. In order to answer that question, he clarifies the concept of 'reform'. He does this through the debate on the concept of 'jihad'. Like jihad, 'reform' is first of all an appeal to reform oneself. For this, two kinds of knowledge are needed. The first is the knowledge of principles. What do you want to achieve? The Islamic tradition defines the same targets as all other religious traditions, first: to become more just, more generous, more open to others. This is what self-reform should aim for. The second is self-knowledge. Through the discussion of some case-studies concerning ethics, the arts, economy and the social position of women, Ramadan wants to show that Muslims need to be involved in today's world, but also need the understanding and respect of non-Muslims, their fellow citizens in the West. They may have different roots but this is the way towards a shared universality. Ramadan's main point is that at the end of the day, Muslims must take their share of responsibility and acquire confidence and creativity to provide the world with new answers, with new visions for the future. This is not exclusively their task, but a task for all the positive forces coming from the Christian, the Jewish, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the atheist or the agnostic tradition. We need an alliance of people of conscience.

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