(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/20/10) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed a decision by the U.S. Department of State to lift a ban that prevented Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan from entering the United States for the past five years.
SEE: Anti-War Muslim Scholar Says U.S. Ban Lifted (Reuters)
US Government Lifts Ban on Tariq Ramadan
An order signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reverses a July 2004 decision by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to revoke the visa of Ramadan, a respected scholar and author who was due to begin teaching at the University of Notre Dame that fall.
Although the DHS cited security concerns as its reason for the visa revocation, CAIR and other civil liberties organizations saw it as a form of censorship that fit a pattern of denying visas to foreign nationals whose political views were not in favor with the U.S. government.
In 2006, the ACLU and the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging the “ideological exclusion” of Dr. Ramadan on behalf of the American Academy of Religion, the American Association of University Professors and the PEN American Center.
SEE: CAIR Calls for Reversal of Prof's Visa Revocation (2004)
ACLU in Court Wednesday in Challenge to Ideological Exclusion of Tariq Ramadan
“We welcome this move by the Obama administration to permit a respected scholar and voice for religious moderation to enter our country,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “This is a step toward beginning to repair the damage to our image among Muslims worldwide.”
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com