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Vienna | 4.5.2007 | 15:27 
God, what's happening in the world! A reality check on the web.

Chris, DaddyD, Zita

Who is Tariq Ramadan?
  Before and after 9/11, Tariq Ramadan was cited by many in the West as being an Islamic reformer; some (like writers at even went as far as to call him The Moslem Martin Luther. He was invited to join a task force by the UK Government aimed at "examining ways to prevent young Muslims in Britain from deteriorating into violent extremism". This after having worked on several special investigations for the British authorities. Bill Clinton even invited him to speak at a couple of events.
Visa Revoked?
  Banned in places like Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Egypt, the last place you would imagine shutting the door on him would be Washington but this is what happened in 2004. He was about to take up a teaching position as professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Then, without any reason given, he was told that his US visa was being revoked. Two years later, though the Department of Homeland Security eventually cleared him of all charges of links with terrorist groups, it pointed to donations totalling $900 Ramadan's made over the years to a Swiss Palestinian-support group that is now on the American blacklist. In his defence, Ramadan says he had brought those donations to the US's attention, and that the organization in question continues to be officially recognized by the Swiss authorities. He also contributed to the organization between 1998 and 2002, more than a year before it was blacklisted by the United States.

Phase of Transition
  So a voice of moderation - someone we should listen to or not?

As a resident of Switzerland, he writes on his website:
"We in the West have entered a phase of transition, fraught with tension. Just as it is true that our societies must make major adjustments, it is equally essential that Muslims, who have been residing in the West for several generations, respond clearly to the challenges of the modern, secularized societies in which they have chosen to make their homes. For the last 20 years, I have been focusing my efforts on the ways that Muslims can live their lives in the West, becoming Western Muslims: Muslims by religion; American, British, French, German by culture.
I have attempted to show that one can be entirely European, or American, and Muslim (that is why I have written my books in Western languages). We all possess multiple identities, and we must, as a matter of necessity, put forward the values we share with our Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, and atheist fellow citizens of our secularized societies."
Reality Check Special
  Time Magazine called him one of the 100 most important innovators of the 21st century. His mission is reform within Islam, challenging many Moslems to think again and to consider re-interpreting ancient texts to bring them into context with modern-day life.

Tariq Ramadan can be heard in his own words speaking on Reality Check, this Saturday at 12 noon.

And after the programme, a download of the programme will be available.

fm4 links
Reality Check Special - available as Podcast after the show.
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