Controversial Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan said Wednesday that with the backing of civil rights groups he was appealing a decision by the US administration to refuse him a visa.

Ramadan was forced to give up a teaching position at the University of Notre-Dame in Indiana in late 2004 when US authorities revoked his visa at the last minute on the recommendation of the Department of Homeland Security.

The noted scholar, who lives in Britain where he is a senior research fellow at Oxford University, has since been barred from entering US territory, and has been unable to take part in several conferences in the United States.

But his case has now been taken up by civil liberties groups in the country, as well as by the university, which argues that the White House is trying to muzzle freedom of speech and intellectual thought.

The administration of George W. Bush “has barred Professor Ramadan from the US for more than three years now,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU National Security Project.

“First by alleging without basis that he endorsed terrorism, then saying that it would take years to consider his visa application, and now pointing to charitable donations that were entirely legal at the time they were made”. . .

“In Professor Ramadan’s case and many others, the government is using immigration laws to stigmatize and exclude its critics and to censor and control the ideas that Americans can hear,” added Jaffer. (MORE)


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