Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Paul Berman with Brian Lehrer

Because the hosts at WNYC are so great, this interview of Paul Berman surpasses, in some ways, (my memory of) Berman's well-known "book" on Ramadan. Here, for starters, Berman notes that he [Berman] has been as important as anyone in promoting Ramadan in America through his criticism. And he brings the critique to a sharp point: though Ramadan cites liberal values such as equality for women, he argues for an Islamic process of reverence for Islamic scholars. That's not necessarily so incompatible with Democracy -I wish I could ask Berman this- provided that one understands that such an inherently conservative, religious process is not and cannot be a political mechanism. But it is a question worth putting to Ramadan, to which Ramadan seems quite dismissive (or unaware). At the same time, he's clearer that Ramadan's family history does not determine his views. Further, Berman is quite right to criticize Ramadan's support for Qaradawi.

Oh, and the interview touches on other things, including Berman's flawed support for the Iraq War.

I see WNYC has a new (beta) format that requires logging in to comment. That should help the quality of discussion online. (Audio should be available within a few hours of this posting.)

No comments: