This intellectual position, beginning with oneself and one’s responsibilities, should immediately commit the Muslim citizen to promoting respect for the rights of every person in Western societies. If we count the dysfunctions occurring in our societies in terms of unemployment, homelessness, discrimination, violence, racism, and xenophobia, we might well wonder how a conscience informed by a sense of moral responsibility can remain passive. This is a matter of claiming rights in the name of Right: many Muslims passively submit to harassment, racist remarks, and discrimination that are unacceptable. All people, as citizens, are responsible for claiming their rights and gaining respect. Society does not hand out rights as one offers privileges: they are matter of law, respect, even compulsion. Standing between the bureaucracy that does not do its work, officials who allow themselves to make unwarranted insinuations, police officers who are rough and impolite, and those who suffer this treatment, there is the law, and it is sometimes right to fight for it to be respected. In all circumstances it is right to resist the victim mentality by refusing to sink into emotional complaining that brings isolation or a blind rebellion that brings exclusion.

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Tariq Ramadan ©2017

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