On April 8, leading Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan addressed a packed hall at The Cooper Union, in his first appearance in the U.S. since the Bush Administration revoked his visa six years ago. Ramadan answered questions on homosexuality, religion, and the role of women in Islamic societies. He was on the defensive when New Yorker writer George Packer accused him of "whitewashing" history. And he used the platform to call for humility and respect among Muslims in the West and in Europe.
Dalia Mogahed, senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, and social scientist Joan Wallach Scott joined Packer on the panel. The conversation was moderated by Jacob Weisberg, chairman and editor-in-chief of the Slate Group.
"Secularism, Islam, & Democracy" was presented by the American Association of University professors, PEN American Center and the ACLU.
Stream and download the talk here for free.
Tariq Ramadan on Identity: "I have multiple identities. If you ask me about me when I am going to vote, I'm a Swiss. If you ask who I am when I am dealing with my own death, I am a Muslim...If you are asking me what is my origin, I am an Egyptian...Don't reduce yourself to a specific identity."
Dalia Mogahed on Education: "Muslim Americans are, on average, more educated and more affluent than the general public. Muslim-American women, for example, are among the most educated women in America, in fact, just second to Jewish women in their level of education. They have no gender gap between Muslim-American men and women. This is in stark contrast to many Muslim communities that are in Europe."
Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU on Free Speech: "At the end of this evening we can all decide for ourselves whether what Tariq Ramadan has to say is persuasive or unsettling or even infuriating. But we should take a moment to appreciate that we can decide for ourselves."