Defending Academic Freedom in the United States: ICNA Demands Reinstatement of Dr. Tariq Ramadans Visa sign now

September 23, 2004


We are deeply concerned and dismayed by the visa revocation of Professor Tariq Ramadan who was appointed Henry B. Luce Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peace-building at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. We strongly feel that this action by our government is contrary to our national interest, as it contributes to widening our gap with the Muslim world and all voices of conscience around the globe. Domestically, it goes against many of our great traditions and achievements, including academic independence, tolerance, and diversity of thought.

Professor Ramadan is a distinguished and highly revered scholar. He commands respect not just from his own religious community, but also from people of all faiths, ethnicities and nationalities. His track record of inter-faith activism is also noteworthy. He is truly a voice of moderation and enlightenment in the Muslim World, exactly the sort of person who can facilitate and lead the dialogue that our country and world desperately needs.

By barring a personality like Dr. Ramadan from entering the U.S., the government is not only depriving the Notre Dame University and our country from having a much needed scholar at this critical juncture, it is also reinforcing the perception that the U.S. is engaged a war with Islam and all the followers of this religion. Furthermore, the erroneous decision to revoke Dr. Ramadans visa seems to have been guided by Islamophobes, who proffer only unsubstantiated allegations and have failed to produce any evidence to justify their opposition to Dr. Ramadan.

As a matter of fact, Dr. Ramadan is no stranger in the United States. He was invited here in the past to attend a number of high profile conferences. Furthermore, even before his appointment to the distinguished academic position at Notre Dame, as the university officials have revealed, Dr. Ramadan was subjected to an intensive background check. The university assembled a committee of 10 faculty members who thoroughly analyzed his published writings in French, Arabic, and English and cleared him of all allegations. After his visa was revoked, Dr. Ramadan himself publicly, through mainstream North American and European newspapers, refuted the charges brought against him by some motivated people. Dr. Ramadan has also pointed out that previously Swiss and French authorities cleared him of similar allegations. Today Dr. Ramadan is perhaps one of the most scrutinized persons on this planet. It is evident that there is no reason for the United States to be afraid of him, and there is also no legitimate basis for our government to revoke his visa.

We, thus, join the academics, professional associations, community activists, journalists and students to urge the Secretary of Homeland Security to reinstate Dr. Ramadans visa immediately.

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Jewell SuarezBy:
School and EducationIn:
Petition target:
Department of Homeland Security (DHS),The White House, Department of State, Members of Congress

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