Reinstate Professor Tariq Ramadan's Visa sign now


Cc: U.S. State Department
From: Rhetoricians for Peace and Justice
Re: Professor Tariq Ramadan


As a group representing over three hundred activist rhetoricians and scholars, and in the interest of promoting and preserving a legacy of academic freedom for scholars of all religions, creeds, nationalities, and colors, Rhetoricians for Peace and several other organizations strongly protest the Department of Homeland Securitys and the State Departments decision to rescind Professor Tariq Ramadans travel visa to the United States. Professor Ramadan, a specialist in Islamic Studies and an internationally recognized expert, was supposed to begin an appointmentat Notre Dames Joan B. Kroc Instituteas a scholar-in-residence just last week. By denying him entrance to the country, you are depriving American students of access to a recognized scholar as well as the opportunity to better understand the complex social issues that will affect all of us in the coming decades.

SUMMARY:
Last February, Ramadan, a Swiss citizen, was granted a travel visa to teach in the United States; however, after it was learned that Ramadans grandfather (Hassan Al-Banna) had ties to the Islamic Brotherhood (an organization that sought in the 1970s the overthrow of Egypt's secular government, but has since renounced violence), Ramadan's visa was revoked [on July 28th] under a section of the U.S. immigration law dramatically changed by the USA Patriot Act (Chicago Tribune, August 24, 2004). This new section authorizes visa revocation because of someone's political activities if those efforts are seen as endorsing terrorism.

SPECIFIC CONCERNS:
This revocation of Professor Ramadan's visa concerns our organization, not only in this specific instance, but because of its long-term implications for all scholars, whether they be Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, or agnostic. As the War on Terror continues to expand, and as ones pedigree becomes the basis for assessing security threats, this organization strongly protests the wide license the Patriot Act gives to the U.S. government for censoring divergent views that are vital to a free society.
We ask that the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department make public the specific reasons that Ramadans visa was revoked and explain why the views of Ramadans grandfather are of any relevance to visa considerations. We further request that this decision be reconsidered and that Ramadan's visa be reinstated.

*The persons below add their signatures in protest of the treatment Professor Ramadan has received, doing so on the basis of the information made public to this point.

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