Ramadan calls for a moratorium on corporal punishment
The Muslim News, March 30, 2005


“We are officially launching today an international call for an immediate moratorium on corporal punishment, stoning and the death penalty in all majority Muslim countries,” says Dr. Ramadan.

GENEVA, Tariq Ramadan Office: Tariq Ramadan, a world-renowned Islamic scholar, today issued a call for an international moratorium in the Muslim world on the application of hudud laws, the penalties linked to the Islamic penal code.

The call will appear today in many international newspapers in the Muslim World as well as in the West; more than thirty public websites will publish it and will welcome comments, support and critique. The objective of this call is to open a debate with in the Muslim World regarding the application of hudud laws.

Hudud laws deal with offences and punishments that are interpreted by Muslim jurists to be derived from the Qur’an and the Sunna (Prophetic traditions).

“We are officially launching today an international call for an immediate moratorium on corporal punishment, stoning and the death penalty in all majority Muslim countries,” says Dr. Ramadan. “This call for a moratorium is being made considering that the opinions of most Islamic scholars is neither explicit nor unanimous (indeed even without a clear majority) as far as the comprehension of the texts and to the application of the hudud.”

Dr. Ramadan says, “The political systems and the state of the majority Muslim societies do not guarantee a just and equal treatment of individuals before the law; it is therefore our moral and religious responsibility to ask for the immediate cessation to the application of the hudud laws,” he added.

Dr. Ramadan is also calling on the body of Islamic religious authorities of the world, whatever their tradition (Sunnî or Shî'î), their school of thought (Hanâfî, Mâlikî, Ja'farî, etc.) or their tendencies (literalist, salafî, reformist, etc.) to engage in a dialogue on the issue of hudud laws.

“This undertaking requires, from within, rigor, time and establishing spaces of dialogue and debate, nationally and internationally, between the ulamâ' (Islamic Scholars), Muslim intellectuals and inside the Islamic communities, since it is not only about a relationship with the texts, but equally, to the context,” he adds “It is urgent that Muslims throughout the world refuse the formalist legitimization of the teachings of their religion and reconcile themselves with the depth of the message of Islam that invites towards spirituality, demands education, justice and the respect of pluralism.”

Dr. Tariq Ramadan was named by Time magazine as one of the world's top 100 influential thinkers. He has made a longstanding contribution to the debate on the issue of Muslims in the West, seeking to apply the principals and values of Islam to the realities of modern or postmodern life. Dr. Ramadan is active both at the academic and grassroots levels lecturing extensively throughout the world and promoting a dialogue between civilizations. His most recent book "Western Muslims and the Future of Islam" (Oxford University Press, 2003) was listed by the Christian Science Monitor as one of the best non-fiction books of 2004. He has authored and co-authored over 20 books and over 700 articles.

Dr. Ramadan concludes, “We need to set in motion a democratization movement that moves populations from the obsession of what the law is sanctioning to the claim of what it should protect: their conscience, their integrity, their liberty and their rights, ”adding “It is in the name of Islam’s message of justice that we call upon and remind Muslims that it is the responsibility of each âlim (scholar), of each conscience, every woman and man, wherever they may be to speak up.”

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