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
Feb 5, 2016
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas mingles at a campaign event at Robie's Country Store, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Ted Cruz, Clinton and Sanders out of Iowa. Zika panic. Syrian peace talks fall apart. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Feb 5, 2016
A portion of the cover of Ben Ratliff's new book, "Every Song Ever." (Courtesy Farar, Straus and Giroux / The Publisher)

How to choose music in an age when everything is online and always there. New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff shows the way.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 5, 2016
A portion of the cover of Ben Ratliff's new book, "Every Song Ever." (Courtesy Farar, Straus and Giroux / The Publisher)

How to choose music in an age when everything is online and always there. New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff shows the way.

 
Feb 5, 2016
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas mingles at a campaign event at Robie's Country Store, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Ted Cruz, Clinton and Sanders out of Iowa. Zika panic. Syrian peace talks fall apart. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #4: Donald Trump — You Heard It First!
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Jack Beatty recounts an evening rally with Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, and wonders if the billionaire businessman is really looking for an exit.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 5, 2016
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Spread the word — we FINALLY have both a new website (in beta) and a new newsletter. Sign up, visit and see what’s happening in the On Point digital universe.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #3: Jeb Bush — Cry for Me, America!
Thursday, Feb 4, 2016

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) asked a New Hampshire audience to clap for him — and our own Jack Beatty was there to hear it.

More »
Comment