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What I Believe Hardcover – 12 Nov 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (12 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195387856
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195387858
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1.8 x 12.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 258,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Tariq Ramadan, a prominent intellectual-activist in Europe and America, represents a new generation of Islamic reformers." --John L. Esposito, author of Unholy War and What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam"Tariq Ramadan is a Muslim Martin Luther."--Paul Donnelly, The Washington Post"Ramadan's most important message--his advice to Muslims in the West to make the West their home--is one Americans should particularly welcome."--Alan Wolfe, The Chronicle of Higher Education"Ramadan has started to pave out the road to reform and changes in the understanding of Islam in Muslim communities in the West."--Le Monde Diplomatique"Deliberately brief, sensible and accessible.... What I Believe is not just a summary of Ramadan's own views but a primer on modern Western Muslim life."--Publishers Weekly starred review"What I Believe succinctly, and in Ramadan's own words, is a compact opus that tells readers exactly what they want to know: who he is and what he stands for. This is one of today's most important books."--San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review"What I Believe offers an accessible and at times quite moving entree into the thought of this important figure."--Spencer Dew, Rain Taxi Review of Books"

About the Author

Tariq Ramadan is Professor of Islamic Studies on the Faculty of Theology at Oxford University, Visiting Professor (holding the chair : Identity and Citizenship) at Erasmus University (Netherlands), Senior Research Fellow at St Antony's College (Oxford), Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan), and the President of the European think tank: European Muslim Network (EMN) in Brussels. He is the author of Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation, In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons From the Life of Muhammad, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, and Islam, the West, and Challenges of Modernity.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By booboolina on 13 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My first thought upon receiving this book was "Oh it's so small!". I was expecting a thick biography sized book. Except this book isn't a biography. It is small and it looks cute. Yes a 'cute' book!

Anyway I thought the title of the book meant "what I Believe regarding Islams rules and regulations".
It doesn't.
To me It now seems the title is more like "what I believe Muslims should be doing to integrate and get on in life".

I was expecting him to tell us more about the nitty gritty. Does he believe women need to wear a scarf? Does he pray 5 times a day? Should women be allowed to lead prayers? Does he want or believe in Sharia law etc

In fact he does mention in this book that (some of) these questions are the sort that we Muslims are asked and really shouldn't be. As people use these type of questions to judge if we are fundamental Muslims or not.

So maybe that makes me a bad person for wanting to know? Or maybe I am just nosy. Either way these are the sort of questions I thought were going to be answered.

I can understand why he hasn't mentioned his beliefs regarding such questions. Whatever his answers are people will criticise. He's too strict, he's not practising, he's fundamental etc etc. You can't please everyone all of the time. Also I suppose he doesn't need to give his 'haters' ammunition.

Admittedly he does state some of his views, for example homosexuality. He does have reservations regarding homosexuals marrying and adopting.
Though also respects them for who they are despite not sharing the opinions and actions as to their sexuality.

He also states that anti Semitism is anti-Islamic, yet criticising Israel and it's colonisation is NOT antisemitic.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mr Tea-Mole on 6 Jan. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tariq Ramadan is an influential Muslim thinker. He is at the forefront of Muslim thought when it comes to cultivating an indigenous Western Muslim identity. Mass Muslim immigration to Europe and America in the last 50-60 years has raised many questions about the compatibility of traditional Islamic values with modern, Western, post-Enlightenment ones. A constant barrage of headline-grabbing incidents - from 9/11 & 7/7 to the Danish carton controversy to mention a few - have further exacerbated the issue, making it a critical one in the minds of policy-makers: Muslims have become one of Europe's biggest "problems".

Tariq Ramadan believes that a mutual co-existence based on respect, harmony and a pursuit of shared values and common goals is the way forward. He calls upon Muslims to escape from the convenient get-out-clause of a "victim mentality" and actively participate in their "host" cultures. In fact, he says, many European societies are no longer "host" cultures, as - away from the media razzmatazz and headlines - an organic integration process has been taking place. As a result, many Western Muslims already are indigenised and comfortable with their Western and Muslim identities, with little or no tension between the two. He also calls upon Europeans / Americans to resist the temptation to demonize the "other" or fall prey to the hysteria which far-right inflammatory rhetoric can engender. Instead, he asks them to live up to the lofty ideals of pluralism and human empathy which form the bedrock of true democracy.

This is a concise and accessible summation of Ramadan's thought; for more detailed analyses - especially of how he seeks to re-examine Islam's core scriptural canon in light of a modern context - refer to his other works.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Canon John Twisleton on 26 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked up this book because Tariq Ramadan is a Muslim I know well from the mass media. Sadly I have few Muslim friends. None of them would claim to be intellectuals. `What I Believe' promised access to the Muslim mindset. The author and I meet through the mega world of media. By engaging more with his thinking I hoped to better equip myself to counter Islamophobia within the midi and mini worlds of community and family. As a Christian leader I am also challenged by the surge of nominal Christians converting to be Muslims.

`What I Believe' impresses firstly as the work of a bridge builder feeling the pain of being walked over from both ends of the bridge. Banned from entering the US under the Bush administration and suspected by fundamentalist Muslims Ramadan is an exceptional figure. He impresses by the courage and range of his convictions as a Muslim scholar. It is this range that both excites and troubles those who hear him. He excites those who see the future of the world as dependent on brave connectors. He dismays those who suspect doublespeak in the subtlety of his communication.

This book has truth telling with wide implications. In a world where people have multiple identities why should people question the civic loyalty of Muslims? Conversely why do Western Muslims so often possess a ghetto mentality that stops them making a significant contribution to the society they inhabit? Ramadan invites a jihad for trust, more effort by all citizens towards self-respect and respect for others. His receipe for a healthy society is compelling in its call for more humility, respect and consistency.

He says `compelling a woman to wear a headscarf is against Islam, and compelling her to remove it is against human rights'.
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