This simple truth is the essence of my message to Muslims throughout the world: know who you are, who you want to be, and start talking and working with whom you are not. Find common values and build with fellow citizens a society based on diversity and equality.
The 21st century - and the atheists - needs the presence of religion, just as religion must deal with the real challenges and the thinkers of the day in order to sharpen the conscience and the intelligence of those who study the timeless sacred texts in a spirit of responding to the questions of their time.
If people who cherish freedom, who know the importance of mutual respect and are aware of the imperative necessity to establish a constructive and critical debate, if these people are not ready to speak out, to be more committed and visible, then we can expect sad, painful tomorrows. The choice is ours.
The very moment you understand that being a Muslim and being American or European are not mutually exclusive, you enrich your society. Promote the universal principles of justice and freedom, and leave the societies elsewhere to find their model of democracy based on their collective psychology and cultural heritage.
Instantaneous and mass communication is the mother of mass naivety. Should we then lose hope? Is there any hope? But to lose hope is as dangerous as to nurture false hope. Where then can we find hope that is responsible?
The challenge for Muslims in America is to respect the fears of ordinary people while resisting the exploitation of those fears by political parties, lobbies and sectors of the media. To meet this challenge, Muslims must reassess their own involvement, behavior and contributions in American society.
Cultures are never merely intellectual constructs. They take form through the collective intelligence and memory, through a commonly held psychology and emotions, through spiritual and artistic communion.
Culture constitutes an essential element of social and political liberation. As people rise up across the Middle East and North Africa, the diversity of their cultures is not only the means but also the ultimate goal of their liberation and their freedom.
Tunisia's responsibility, and especially that of its political and intellectual elites, is enormous. All the protagonists of the nation's social, cultural, economic and political life must work to overcome useless and counterproductive polarisation, and to find solutions to domestic, regional and international problems.
The young people who join extremist groups are clearly suffering from massive deficiencies in religious knowledge and are often politically gullible (when they are not attempting to salve pangs of conscience by cutting themselves off from a life of delinquency).
The 'army camp' that coordinates the agencies of our brain is vulnerable, both in itself and from within. In effect, he who can know and master its functioning and psychology from outside can become twice its master.
The fact that Western Muslims are free means that they can have enormous impact. But it would be wrong to claim that we are imposing our ways on the West. New ideas are now coming from the West. To be traditional is not so much a question of protecting ourselves as to be traditionalist in principle.
Being Muslim has become synonymous with pointed questions, with tension and mistrust, even with conflict. It has become a global phenomenon with profound consequences for inter-communal relations, political rhetoric and policies at the local, regional, national and international level.
Muslims must speak out and explain who they are, what they believe in, what they stand for, what is the meaning of their life. They must have the courage to denounce what is said and done by certain Muslims in the name of their religion.
Instead of looking outside of ourselves and counting potential enemies, fasting summons us to turn our glance inward, and to take the measure of our greatest challenge: the self, the ego, in our own eyes and as others see us.
South Africa is labouring to find its revolutionary path; the colours of the Rainbow Nation have difficulty blending together; the wealthy elites (white, black or Indian) profit from de facto segregation.
The month of Ramadan is the world's most widespread fast and yet its teachings are minimised, neglected and even betrayed (through literal application of rules that overlooks their ultimate objective).
Cultures, along with the religions that shape and nurture them, are value systems, sets of traditions and habits clustered around one or several languages, producing meaning: for the self, for the here and now, for the community, for life.
We must master our egoism, and through this mastery, step outside ourselves and educate ourselves in giving. Fasting requires that we rediscover all that is alive around us, and reconcile ourselves with our environment."
History is replete with ideologies of freedom, justice, liberation of the downtrodden and the exploited, that have been turned against the very people they had mobilised, or that have reproduced the same logic of exclusion and terror toward those whom they claimed to set free.
We must master our egoism, and through this mastery, step outside ourselves and educate ourselves in giving. Fasting requires that we rediscover all that is alive around us, and reconcile ourselves with our environment.
The dogmatic and, therefore, invulnerable core in Islam is understandably simple: acknowledgement of faith, prayer, charity and fasting. Almost everything else is open to interpretation and modification in space and time.
When we begin to look around us, to observe individuals and societies, and to study philosophies and religions, we realize that our loneliness is shared. Our solitude is plural, and our singularity is the similarity between us.
The discriminations that are found in the Muslim majority countries are more Cultural than Islamic. .... I have always said to the Muslim women, please do not nurture the victim mentality. Stand up for your rights.
We are not here to adopt Western values, we are here to colonize the U.S. (and Canada) and spread Islamic sharia law Canada has one of the easiest legal systems to penetrate and advance sharia from within...but if that doesn't work, we won't hesitate to use violent jihad.
The philosophy of fasting calls upon us to know ourselves, to master ourselves, and to discipline ourselves the better to free ourselves. To fast is to identify our dependencies, and free ourselves from them.
The philosophical connection between the Islamic world and the West is much closer than I thought. Doubt did not begin with Descartes. We have this construction today that the West and Islam are entirely separate worlds. This is wrong.
Religious symbols should be visible in public space, in a dignified and non-provocative manner. Christmas trees here, Jewish menorahs there and, further along, a minaret - these symbols represent human life in all its diversity.
In the name of the rule of law, democracy and human rights, 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.