Tariq Ramadan was born in Geneva, Switzerland on 26 August 1962 to an Egyptian Muslim family. He is the son of Said Ramadan and Wafa al-Banna, who was the eldest daughter of Hassan al Banna, who in 1928 founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Gamal al-Banna, the liberal Muslim reformer is his great-uncle. His father was a prominent figure in the Muslim Brotherhood and was exiled by Gamal Abdul Nasser from Egypt to Switzerland, where Tariq was born. Tariq Ramadan holds an M.A. in French literature and a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Geneva. He also wrote a Ph.D. dissertation on Friedrich Nietzsche, titled Nietzsche as a Historian of Philosophy. He has received one-on-one training in classic Islamic scholarship from Al-Azhar University scholars and holds ijazah in seven disciplines. He taught at the Collège de Saussure, a high school in Lancy, Switzerland, and held a lectureship in Religion and Philosophy at the University of Fribourg from 1996 to 2003. He was appointed a professor at the University of Notre Dame in the United States in 2004 before his visa had been revoked by the Bush administration because of the Patriot Act. In October 2005 he began teaching at St Antony's College, Oxford on a visiting fellowship. In 2005 he was a senior research fellow at the Lokahi Foundation. In 2007 he successfully applied for the professorship in Islamic studies at the University of Leiden, but “premature announcement” by the University of Leiden of his appointment as professor of religious studies, before that had been made official, had placed him “in a delicate position," Ramadan said; combined with family concerns and other academic projects he worked on, that were his reasons to turn down the appointment. He was also a guest professor of Identity and Citizenship at Erasmus University Rotterdam, until August 2009 when both the City of Rotterdam and Erasmus University dismissed him from his positions as "integration adviser" and professor, stating that the program he hosted on Iran's Press TV, Islam & Life, was "irreconcilable" with his duties in Rotterdam. Ramadan described this move as Islamophobic and politically charged. The courts of justice of Rotterdam and The Hague ruled in 2012 in a civil law case that both Erasmus University and the Rotterdam municipality indeed had too hastily dismissed Ramadan, and thus needlessly harmed Ramadan and his reputation. Beginning September 2009, Ramadan was appointed to the chair in Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University. Ramadan established the Mouvement des Musulmans Suisses (Movement of Swiss Muslims), which engages in various interfaith seminars. He is an advisor to the EU on religious issues and was sought for advice by the EU on a commission on "Islam and Secularism". In September 2005 he was invited to join a task force by the government of the United Kingdom. He is also the founder and President of the European Muslim Network, a Brussels-based think-tank that gathers European Muslim intellectuals and activists.
Tariq Ramadan is a Swiss Islamic scholar, academic, philosopher, and writer. He is the professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at St Antony's College, Oxford and also teaches at the Oxford Faculty of Theology. He is a visiting professor at several other universities around the world, including Qatar and Morocco, a senior research fellow at Doshisha University (Japan), and the director of the Research Centre of Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE), based in Doha. He shares his incredible wealth of knowledge online through his official website that offers an extensive media library and articles on contemporary issues and spirituality in three languages: French, English and Arabic. He has a large social media following of over 2 million on Facebook and almost half a million on Twitter.
He was elected by Time magazine in 2000 as one of the seven religious innovators of the 21st century and in 2004 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world and by Foreign Policy magazine (2005, 2006, 2008-2010, 2012-2015) as one of the top 100 most influential thinkers in the world and Global Thinkers. In January 2014, Ramadan was nominated for the title of Religious Advocate of the Year at the British Muslim Awards
“If you read the Quran with your head, you find repetition. If you read it with your heart, you find depth.”