Islamic Scholar Gives up Post for Lack of Visa



GENEVA - A prominent Swiss-based Islamic scholar said Tuesday he had given
up plans to teach at a leading U.S. university after waiting months in vain
for a visa from the State Department.

Tariq Ramadan, who is also well known in France, said he had sent a letter
of resignation earlier this week to Notre Dame University in Indiana.

Ramadan was issued a U.S. visa last May but it was revoked in early August
-- just before he was to move to the United States to take up his tenured
post as professor of religion -- after the Department of Homeland Security
changed its position.

Notre Dame, a Catholic university, said at the time it was "deeply
disappointed and concerned" about that decision.

Ramadan said he was encouraged to reapply in early October but had not
heard from U.S. authorities since then.

"I sent a letter of resignation ... This has been extremely difficult for
my family," Ramadan told Reuters in Geneva, where he has lived in limbo
with his wife and four children since their furniture was sent to South
Bend, site of the university.

"The U.S. administration does not want my voice heard. I consider this an
attack on academic freedom," he added.

Critics in the French media have portrayed Ramadan as a fundamentalist
preaching a moderate Islam in French but a radical Islam in Arabic.

Ramadan said Tuesday his aim was to promote dialogue and peace. "I expect
the U.S. authorities to clear my name because there is nothing in my file,"
he said.

 


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