Tariq Ramadan believes NZ Muslims need to adapt to the kiwi way of life

  • 04/03/2008

Tariq Ramadan is a leading Muslim spokesman and he is on a speaking tour of New Zealand and Australia.

Things went smoothly over here, but in Australia, a former Howard government advisor said he should be kept under close surveillance.

30,000 Muslims live and pray in New Zealand. Tariq Ramadan says they are right to maintain their religious ways, but must adapt to the kiwi way of life.

That means accepting same sex marriage, divorce, and others customs that may not fit in with their own beliefs.

“You have to accept the laws of the country so there is no problem here, that the people can marry and now as a religious man or woman you can say ‘I'm not promoting it but I respect the people and this is the starting point of our mutual respect’,” Mr Ramadan said. “You may not like what the people are doing, but you respect who they are. People don't like that I am praying five times a day, but what I am asking is for them not to like it, but to respect me.”

But respect has been noticeably absent in recent times. The July 7 attacks in London were followed up with revenge attacks on mosques in New Zealand.

Tariq Ramadan has been on a crusade ever since September 11 to bring Islam and the west closer.

“Let us live together, to come together, to know each other,” Mr Ramadan said. “Don't wait for the next catastrophe to do something.”

The heavyweight Islamic thinker has just been in New Zealand advocating his "middle way"

A devout Muslim, who dresses in impressive suits, he has the face of a modern Islam.

“We may be unhappy, I'm unhappy with the American policy, the us policy in the middle east, but we have to challenge this through democratic processes not to kill people,” Mr Ramadan said. “It's not to kill here or the citizens in the US streets or the UK streets and to say this is the way we are liberating Muslims, so we have to be very clear on that. Anything could happen at anytime. So we have to come together and be able to say we are citizens. There is trust, between us, we are building a future together in New Zealand, as in the states.”

source: newshub archive