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The Center for the Study of Islam Democracy

CSID Urges DHS to Issue Visa for Prof. Tariq Ramadan

August 31, 2004

Washington D.C.  – The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) deeply regrets the decision of the Department of Homeland Security to revoke the visa granted to Professor Tariq Ramadan. Following a rigorous and exhaustive search, Dr. Ramadan was appointed by the University of Notre Dame as Henry R. Luce Professor of Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute, and was scheduled to begin teaching in the fall. Dr. Ramadan is considered a moderate and reform-minded Muslim scholar. He has written over 20 books and 800 articles, including “To Be a European Muslim” and “Western Muslims and the Future of Islam”. He was described by Time magazine as one of the “100 most likely innovators of the 21st century.” He is a well-known and well-respected scholar, especially among young men and women in the Muslim world, Europe, and the United States.

Revoking Dr. Ramadan’s visa will not only deprive Notre Dame students of a great educational opportunity, it will also deny the American people and institutions a much needed opportunity to engage the Muslim world in a real and serious dialogue. In addition to his teaching commitments, Dr. Ramadan was invited to participate in a number of high profile conferences including the France-Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, at Stanford University, a meeting with former President Bill Clinton, and another in Florida with former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. Although Dr. Ramadan has voiced criticism of some U.S. and Israeli policies in Palestine, the war in Iraq, and U.S. support for authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, such opinions constitute no reason to deny him a visa.

The recently published 9/11 Commission Report correctly emphasizes the urgent need for understanding Islam and engaging Muslims in a serious dialogue about mutual understanding, religious tolerance, and democracy. This effort, as the Commission Report recommended, would also counteract rising anger and frustration towards America all over the Muslim world. The denial of Dr. Ramadan’s visa sends the wrong message and provides further ammunition to those who argue that the U.S. is not interested in a real and substantive dialogue.

We urge the Secretary of Homeland Security to reinstate Dr. Ramadan’s visa and allow him to share his views on Islam and Muslims with the American public who are eager to learn more about Islam and how Islam could make a real and positive contribution to global peace.

The CSID Board of Directors:
Prof. Aziz Sachedina (Chair), University of Virginia
Prof. John Esposito (Vice-Chair), Georgetown University
Dr. Radwan A. Masmoudi (President) CSID
Dr. Joseph Montville (Treasurer), CSIS
Mr. Robert Schadler (Secretary), Center for Western Civilization
Prof. Akbar S. Ahmed, American University
Prof. Asma Afsaruddin, University of Notre Dame
Dr. Nimat Hafez Barazangi, Cornell University
Prof. Asma Barlas, Ithaca College
Prof. Charles E. Butterworth, University of Maryland
Prof. Louis J. Cantori, University of Maryland – Baltimore College
Prof. Ali A. Mazrui, State University of New York, Binghamton
Dr. Louay Safi, ISNA Leadership Development Center
Dr. Antony T. Sullivan, Fund for American Studies
Mr. Svend White

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