After the Department of Homeland Security revoked the visa
of a future Notre Dame professor, the university is considering finding an
alternative way to bring the Muslim scholar into a campus classroom.
A staff member in the communications department of the Joan B. Kroc
Institute for International Peace Studies on the campus of Notre Dame says
they department is exploring the option of using a video conferencing
classroom. Therefore, Professor Tariq Ramadan can still connect with Notre
Dame students while awaiting word from the United States government at his
home in Switzerland.
Scott Appleby of the Kroc Institute and the Director of Notre Dame’s Peace
Studies said, “We’re still trying to determine the rational behind revoking
the visa in the first place.”
The Muslim scholar planned to move from Switzerland to America to teach at
Notre Dame, but the Department of Homeland Security stepped-in.
Appleby says of the situation, “This person is one of the most scrutinized
people on the planet today and we’re still waiting for some kind of
credible proof that he has ties to terrorism.”
Bradley Schrager, a Jewish law student on campus said, “It’s hard for me to
understand the danger represented by a scholar.” Schrager welcomes
Ramadan’s diversity on campus even though he says some Jewish Jobby groups
attacked the Muslim scholar with accusations of anti-Semitism. Schrager
however believes the accusations are false. “I didn’t get that impression
from my reading of his works or his career so far. Anti-Semitism is a
charge one should be very careful of lodging in almost any context,” said
Ramadan’s grandfather founded a militant Muslim group, but Notre Dame says
it has no proof Ramadan was involved with the group. “If we thought Ramadan
was anti-Semitic, or condoned violence or moved outside the bounds of
respectable free speech, we would have nothing to do with him,” said Appleby.
Appleby says scholars of different cultures and faiths would be a good
thing for the campus. “I think the other kinds of scholars of Islam and
Judaism and other faiths that we can bring to campus, the better,” said
Students are still looking forward to Professor Ramadan coming to the Notre
Dame campus. “My hope is that professor Ramadan will join us on campus as
we all expected,” said Schrager.
Notre Dame views Ramadan as a ‘controversialist’, not a terrorist and looks
forward to welcoming him to campus someday, even if it is possibly through
a videoconference on the Internet..