Reinstate Tariq Ramadan and Support Academic Freedom sign now

In February of 2004, Muslim scholar and intellectual Tariq Said Ramadan was hired by the University of Notre Dame as the Henry R. Luce Professor of Religion at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Known for his reformist views on Islam and the relationship between Muslim majority countries and America, Ramadans scholarship rejects the tired binaries that have long divided people of different countries, faiths, and ethnic groups and embraces mutual understanding, comprehensive cross-cultural education, and tolerance.

Shortly after his appointment at the University of Notre Dame, his non-immigrant visa was revoked on the basis of ideological exclusion provisions and Ramadan was refused entry into the United States. In October, the University filed a petition of Ramadans behalf and after no action was taken by the government, he resigned.

Since that time, various attempts have been made to allow Ramadan entry into the United States to speak and engage in the academic freedoms that make this country so great. In fact, Ramadan has been forced to turn down numerous speaking invitations by the American Academy of Religion as a result of his ban. In September of 2006, Ramadans VISA application was denied with the USCIS suggesting that the denial was a result of donations Ramadan made to an alleged terrorist-supporting organization, the Comitй de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniensa French based humanitarian group that provides charity funds to support the victims of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, documents show that Ramadans contributions were made between December of 1998 and July of 2002. The United States did not blacklist this group until 2003one year after Ramadans contributions. How could Ramadan have known that this group had ties to Hamas before the United States government itself knew?

Tariq Ramadans ban is a threat to academic freedom and the exchange of ideas that can lead to more peaceful relations with our global partners. The Obama Administration has placed premium on straying from a politics of the pasta politics that isolates dissenters and sharpens divisions. It is time for the U.S. Government to review Tariq Ramadans case and revoke his ban.

We should not fear those people who are critical of American policy. We should not fear a plethora of ideas some of which question aims and means of American political endeavors. Yet, we should fear the silencing of individuals who participate in such discourses. The actions of our government have extended beyond a fear of individuals to a fear of ideas. This is not what America stands for. President Obama said in his June address to Muslims at Cairo University that: There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, Be conscious of God and speak always the truth." It is time for that sustained effort and truth to prevail.

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Ronda HarringtonBy:
ReligionIn:
Petition target:
President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Distinguished Members of the 111th Congress, Department of Homeland Security

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