Tariq Ramadan: Visa denial coming up in court ThursdayHistorians in the News
The spirit of the old law, the McCarran-Walter Act, was revived after the Sept. 11 attacks. The USA Patriot Act of 2001, for instance, allowed the government to deny visas to people who had used their “position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity.”
The government invoked that law in 2004 when it denied a work visa to Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss philosopher and Muslim intellectual. As a consequence, Professor Ramadan had to give up a teaching appointment at, in the words of The Guardian newspaper, “that hotbed of Muslim extremism, the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.”
In the three years preceding the denial, Professor Ramadan had visited the United States 24 times, lecturing at Dartmouth, Harvard and Princeton — and the State Department.
Three academic and literary groups sued the government last year over the denial, saying they had a First Amendment right to hear from Professor Ramadan. “There is something so dangerous in keeping writers out of the country because they don’t support the government,” said Francine Prose, the president of the PEN American Center, one of the plaintiffs. “Tariq Ramadan is the voice of reason, of logic, of toleration and common sense.”
After the suit was filed, the government changed its rationale for excluding Professor Ramadan, now saying that he had contributed about $1,300 to a charity in Switzerland from 1998 to 2002. That charity, later designated a terrorist organization by the Treasury Department, in turn made contributions to Hamas, which had already been designated one. Professor Ramadan’s second-hand contribution amounted to material support for terrorism, the government said.
Excluding Professor Ramadan “in no way restricts speech,” government lawyers wrote in a brief in the case in May. He remains free to say what he likes, they continued, and Americans remain free to hear what he has to say. Just not in person in the United States.
Judge Paul A. Crotty — a federal district judge in Manhattan who was New York City’s chief lawyer under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani — will hold a hearing in the case on Thursday. In an earlier decision, he said the principles at stake were crucial ones....
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John W Bland - 10/24/2007
I am managing to quelch my natural reaction to the name Ghoolyanny for a moment to say that for most of my 70 plus I would have been smartly startled at such a thing as denial of visa on the basis of intelligence (Let's call it what it is.)—God, if there be such, knows we could use some here. But that was before I realized that I will probably live to see my country die of malignant corruption, malignant "religion" (devil-in-drag christianitus,) and the metastatic cult of Ayn Randy.
By the way, I am no fan of Islam but I have muslim friends and tend to be biased on an individual case/person basis.
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