January 28, 2009
An alliance of values
01.02.2009 | The Guardian
By Tariq Ramadan
While governments stand mute, Muslims must unite with the majority to resist the violence done to Gaza
Listening to the feelings expressed by Muslims around the world one gets a sentiment of anger and revolt mixed with a deep sense of helplessness. The current massacres are but a confirmation of the well-known: the “international community” does not really care about the Palestinians, and it is as if the state of Israel, with the support of the US and some European countries, has imposed a state of intellectual terror. Among the presidents and kings, nobody dares to speak out; nobody is ready to say the truth. All are paralysed by fear.
While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is sometimes perceived, and experienced, as critical to the relationship between the west and Islam, many Muslims no longer know how to react. Is it a pure political conflict? What does Islam have to do with it? Should we make it an Islamic concern to call upon the ummah?
Muslims around the world are facing three distinctive phenomena. First, in the Muslim-majority countries or in the west, they see they can expect no reaction from governments, especially from the Arab states. Theirs is the guilty silence of the accomplice, the hypocrisy, the contempt for Palestinian lives. Second, western media coverage is alarming, with the majority buying the Israeli story: two equally powerful belligerents, with the victim of aggression (Israel) acting in self-defence. What a distortion! Yet the third phenomenon is interesting: while 73% of Europeans were backing Israel in 1967, more than 67% are supporting the Palestinians today. With time, understanding and sensitivity have moved: populations are not blindly following the games and hypocritical stands of their political elites.
Considering these factors, Muslims around the world, and especially western Muslims, should clarify their position. While refusing to turn the Israeli-Palestinian war into a religious conflict, they should not deny its religious dimension, and thus formulate an explicit stand. From an Islamic viewpoint, it should be clear that their resistance is not against Jews (antisemitism is anti-Islamic); to target innocent civilians must be condemned on both sides; and the objective should be for Jews, Christians and Muslims (with people of other religions or no religion) to live together with equal rights and dignity.
The Palestinians are never going to give up; and Israel, for all its awesome firepower, has not won the conflict. Muslims around the world should be a driving force of remembrance and resistance. Not as Muslims against Israel, the west or the hypocritical Arab states, but more widely, and constructively, for justice with all (religious or not) who refuse to be brainwashed or reduced to powerless spectators. It is time to create broad alliances and synergies around clear political objectives.
If the Middle East is teaching Muslims anything, it is to stop acting in isolation and return to the universal values they share with their fellow citizens. They should realise they are in and with the majority. Demonstrations and articles are crucial but we need to go further. To launch a global movement of non-violent resistance to the violent and extremist policy of the state of Israel has become imperative. The violence inflicted, in front of us, upon a population of one and a half million humans makes our silence, our division and even our limited emotional reaction undignified, insane and inhumane. A true and dignified resistance requires commitment, patience and a long-term strategy of information, alliance and huge, non-violent democratic participation.
Tariq Ramadan is a professor of Islamic studies and author of Radical Reform, Islamic Ethics and Liberation www.tariqramadan.com
Global Movement of Non-Violent Resistance
Official Website Launch:
Palestine Global Resistance
01.28.2009 | TariqRamadan.com
School of Oriental and African Studies
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre
28th January 2009
LIVE ON INTERNET
Please click here for live streaming of the event:
11:30AM (CST- Central Standard Time)
6:30PM (CET- Central European Time)
Bestselling British Author of works in comparative religions, awarded TED Prize, Freedom of Worship award by the Roosevelt Institute. She has recently launched the ‘Charter for Compassion’
Leader, and former vice-chair, of Respect – the Unity Coalition. Birmingham City Councillor. She is also the head of the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition and a spokesperson for Birmingham Central Mosque.
Professor Tariq Ramadan
Professor of Islamic Studies (Oxford/ Erasmus), and President of the European think tank : European Muslim Network in Brussels.
– School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC 1H 0XG –
Global Movement of Non Violent Resistance
01.28.2009 | http://www.palestineglobalresistance.info/spip/
For a Non-Violent Global Resistance Movement
Against the Violent, Extremist Policy
of the State of Israel
The crisis in Gaza today underlines once more the horror—and the impasse—that the Palestinians face. We cannot simply wish a plague on both their houses ; cannot hope for a negotiated settlement in the absence of direct, forceful outside involvement and intervention. To adopt a stance of false neutrality, to pretend to be powerless onlookers means letting events take their course ; it means concluding, after every massacre, after every crisis, that the “peace process” has lead nowhere, that the situation grows more desperate with every passing day. A significant number of organizations around the world, and particularly in the West support the Palestinian cause. But these organizations are seemingly unable to agree on a common vision and strategies. In their discussions, they often confuse analysis of causes with the principles of resistance, or with the most effective methods of seeking support and the solutions to be put forward. In such circumstances, it is difficult to articulate a clear and coherent platform from which we can address the issues, engage in multi-dimensional action and build a solid united front. We must begin with a minimum program of principles we can all agree upon:
Based on these seven principles, we can build local, regional and national collectives and platforms. They can then determine the priorities and objectives of the local/global resistance movement. The examples of “collectives” or “coordinating committees” in England and France, and in certain regions (the United States, Europe) must now be expanded to all countries on all continents, especially considering that the ostensibly local Israel-Palestine conflict has a global impact on the political and economic realities of today’s world. These local, regional, national and international coordinating committees should pursue the following objectives :
The most recent events in Gaza and the attitude of governments East and West make it clear that their widespread passivity and hypocrisy will rule out any solution to the conflict. It is as if the State of Israel, with the support of the United States and several European governments, has created an atmosphere of international intellectual terror : no one dares utter a word, speak the truth, or denounce the unacceptable. At the same time, the people of the world are far less gullible ; increasingly large numbers of citizens are refusing to be brainwashed by the media, to be reduced to impotent spectators. These are the people who must be mobilized. Our task today is to state clearly our principles, to determine the most effective methods of resistance, and to coordinate our actions. Recent national experiences prove that this process can be generalized. We call upon those organizations with years of experience, as well as new structures and individuals, to view the creation of this global movement as imperative, and to build it by setting up broader-based, more effective local chapters and regional and national coordinating committees. We must reject both divisions and political manipulation : we must, instead, establish a platform of shared principles to shed light on our shared commitment ; we must undertake actions that express the determination of our global resistance. Because we cannot stand idly by while the Palestinians are being humiliated, while their rights are being trampled, while they are victimized by atrocities, we are launching the Non-Violent Global Resistance Movement. We call upon public personalities (intellectuals, artists, etc.) to join the Movement ; we appeal to activists and ordinary citizens around the world, to organizations committed to the defense of individual rights and dignity ; we summon to our cause all those who refuse to tolerate the silent complicity of governments East and West, while in Palestine civilians are being slaughtered, or relegated to the new Bantustans that the Occupied Territories have become under Israel’s policy of colonization and apartheid.
Our only hope for success is a broad-based international mobilization.
Sign this Appeal, make it be known, be informed and keep people around you informed and aware. Join the already existing organisations, collectives and plateforms or help creating new ones wherever you are. Multiply information activities and civil and political resistance around the world.