The ghosts of McCarthyism must be dancing with delight. Our government has
denied a visa to Europe’s leading moderate Muslim intellectual–Swiss
scholar Tariq Ramadan–thereby preventing him from teaching at the
University of Notre Dame. This is not only wrong, but foolish. We cannot
win global hearts and minds by being timid and inept on the battlefield of

After granting Ramadan a visa earlier this year, the government in late
July reversed itself, excluding him just as he was about to begin teaching
Islamic studies at Notre Dame as Luce Professor of Religion, Conflict and
Peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, a
joint tenured appointment with the classics department.

The denial surprised both Notre Dame and Dr. Ramadan, who has been teaching
philosophy and Islamic studies at Geneva and Fribourg. No wonder: When
Ramadan was granted a U.S. visa in 2002, his lecture tour included
presentations in such prestigious venues as the Chicago Council on Foreign

If the administration wants to signal to the world that we cower in fear of
moderate Muslim intellectuals, it could hardly do better


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