The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) today
announced its deep concern over the abrupt, unexplained revocation of a
visa to Tariq Ramadan, the distinguished Muslim intellectual hired to teach
at Notre Dame University.
JCUA is concerned that the barring of Ramadan may represent one more
horrific example of government suspicion, intimidation, and exaggerated
allegations against Muslims and Muslim communities. JCUA deplores the
failure of the Bush Administration to explain its decision.
JCUA is troubled that the absence of credible information has led to the
proliferation of uninformed media reports and commentaries that pit Jews
against Muslims on this issue. Some of these pieces have appeared to cast
doubt on the sincerity of all Muslim reformers, while others have contained
unsupported charges that Jewish organizations are controlling government
JCUA Executive Director Jane Ramsey stated, “We refuse to allow Jewish and
Muslim communities to be turned against each other by speculation and fear.
The government should provide information that allows the public to
evaluate this situation.”
Ramsey added, “If the government cannot prove that Ramadan is a threat to
public safety, it should allow him to enter the country and to participate
in the free and open exchange of ideas.
JCUA President Sidney Hollander remarked, “Jews in this country have often
suffered from blacklisting and accusations of disloyalty, and we view with
concern the government’s behavior, which fuels innuendo and harms our
efforts to build a healthy relationship between Jews and Muslims in our
JCUA is appalled by what appears to be a widespread prejudice against
Muslims in the Chicago area and nationwide, and believes that fear of
Muslims, Arabs, and terrorism is being used to justify an erosion of civil
liberties that poses a danger to all people, and especially to minorities,
in the United States. Since 2001, JCUA has worked with representatives of
Muslim communities in Chicago to reform the USA PATRIOT Act and to build
common cause against injustice and discrimination.
CONTACT: Sara Mandell: 312-663-0960 ext. 311 or Guy Austrian: 312-663-0960 ext. 317