90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
AUDIO EXTRA: Tariq Ramadan on China, Africa, women in politics

Tariq Ramadan at WBUR, Oct. 13, 2010. (WBUR/Jesse Costa)

Top Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan has been regarded as both polarizing and conciliatory. His nuanced and thoughtful rationale leave some nodding in agreement, and others grasping for hidden meanings. Ramadan joined us in the studio Wednesday and spoke with us about Islam, America, and our future. You can listen to the show here.

We spoke with him after the show and asked a few more questions. Below is an edited transcript and the full audio excerpts:

Question: We’ve been talking about Islam and the West. Do you forecast struggles with Islam and the East, as China rises?

While China is officially not a religious country — the opposite in fact — I would say that the Muslim Chinese and what is the future of Islam in the country, and in Asia, will be part of the discussions we will have in the coming centuries. I think we have to understand first that it’s really something which is a transversal, crossing-the-board discussion about the presence of Islam…

Question: In the past, you’ve worked in developing countries. What are you thoughts on foreign aid to Africa? Is it working? What’s the role of the West in developing countries?

Today in Africa, we are faced with something which is a lost continent…

It might be that, in the West, beyond claiming that we have universal values, a democracy, [we need] to look at our own discrepancies and lack of consistency in the way we deal with southern countries and the way we deal with “the other.” And the starting point is to ask yourself if, for you, “the south” is as valuable as your society, and that the blood of an African is as valuable as the blood of an American.

Question: Women have yet to hold the most prominent roles in U.S. politics. Is it hypocritical for the U.S. to call for gender equality across the world, when it still fosters such large discrepancies in pay and power between men and women?

I wouldn’t say it’s hypocritical…I think that [we can call for it everywhere] but without forgetting that the first that we have to assess is ourselves…There’s a great deal of discrimination for women in the American society, in the European society. When I’m saying this as a European, and even as a Muslim intellectual, people say “Yes, but it’s worse in the Muslim countries.” Yes, but the point is it might be worse, but it doesn’t mean that it’s perfect here. So call for it everywhere, but don’t forget that you have a great deal to do. And for any one of us, it starts at home.

Contributed by producer Pien Huang and staff intern Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 27, 2014
On Point host Tom Ashbrook raises a toast with a glass of fresh apple cider in the On Point studios. (Jesse Costa / WBUR)

All about hard cider. It’s all over these days. And sweet, fresh apple cider, too. We’ll look at the history and comeback.

Nov 27, 2014
Bob Dylan and Victor Maymudes at "The Castle" in LA before the 1965 world tour. Lisa Law/The Archive Agency)

A new take on the life and music of Bob Dylan, from way inside the Dylan story. “Another Side of Bob Dylan.”

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 26, 2014
A 1597 map of Lesbos / Mytilene, Greece by Giacomo Franco. (Flickr / Creative Commons)

How Aristotle invented science. The great ancient Greek, and life on Earth.

 
Nov 26, 2014
Getting together with your family and loved ones at Thanksgiving and the holidays doesn't have to lead to  arguments and fights. (Meg Hunt / Flickr)

The Thanksgiving get-together and all the family drama trimmings. Sage advice from advice columnists.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Last-Minute Thanksgiving Luxury
Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014

Our three Thanksgiving chefs offer up their best bets for delicious, last-minute holiday helpers, including a crunchy celery salad and maple glazed carrots.

More »
Comment
 
Calling All Interns, Calling All Interns
Monday, Nov 24, 2014

Have you ever thought about interning with On Point Radio? Good news: your time is now!

More »
Comment
 
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
1 Comment