Opinion: Maintaining Civil Society in Wake of Bombings Requires Acknowledgement of Shared Responsibilities

July 9, 2005

Source: The Guardian


On July 9, 2005 The Guardian ran an opinion piece by Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Muslim scholar, on the importance of maintaining unity in the face of the July 7 bombings. Ramadan writes, "The proponents of the 'clash of civilisations' theory will have won if we allow ourselves to become suspicious towards people of other faiths and cultures... Where does and where shall our strength lie? First, we must condemn these attacks with the strongest energy; Muslims in unison with wider British society. But to condemn is not enough. Our values, our societies, our common future require that we become aware of our shared responsibilities. Yes, London is a multicultural society but - in common with the rest of Europe - it will preserve its pluralistic equilibrium only through the personal engagement of every individual in their daily life, within their own neighbourhood. Muslims must speak out and explain who they are, what they believe in, what they stand for, what is the meaning of their life... we cannot accept that the rights of individuals (Arab or Muslim) be trampled upon, or that populations are targeted and discriminated against in the name of the war against terrorism... We shall achieve this balance only if every citizen... makes the effort to get to know his neighbour better - his difference, his complexity, his values and hopes."