Why Revoke Tariq Ramadan's U.S. Visa?
by Daniel Pipes
Translations of this item:
It's not every day that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security revokes a visa issued to a Swiss-national scholar scheduled to teach at one of America's premier universities. But this has just happened, and it's a good thing too.
Thanks to his pedigree and his talents, Tariq has emerged as a significant force in his own right. Symbolic of this, Time magazine in April named him one of the world's top hundred scientists and thinkers. And so, when Notre Dame University went looking for a Henry R. Luce professor of religion, conflict and peacebuilding, it unsurprisingly settled on Mr. Ramadan.
Its offer was made and accepted by the beginning of 2004; a work visa followed in February. Mr. Ramadan bought a house, found schools for his four children, and dispatched his personal effects to South Bend, Indiana. He was supposed to start teaching a few days ago.
But on July 28, just nine days before the Ramadans were to leave for America, Mr. Ramadan was informed that the Department of Homeland Security had revoked his work visa. A DHS spokesman, Russ Knocke, later explained this had been done in accord with a law that denies entry to aliens who have used a "position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity." The revocation, Mr. Knocke added, was based on "public safety or national security interests."
What's up? The DHS knows much more than I do, but it is not talking. A review of the press, however, gives an idea of what the problem is. Here are some reasons why Mr. Ramadan might have been kept out:
And here are other reasons, dug up by Jean-Charles Brisard, a former French intelligence officer doing work for some of the 9/11 families, as reported in Le Parisien:
Then there is the intriguing possibility, reported by Olivier Guitta, that Osama bin Laden studied with Tariq's father in Geneva, suggesting that the future terrorist and the future scholar might have known each other.
Ramadan denies all ties to terrorism, but the pattern is clear. As Lee Smith writes in The American Prospect, he is a cold-blooded Islamist whose "cry of death to the West is a quieter and gentler jihad, but it's still jihad."
These reasons explain why Americans should thank DHS for keeping Tariq Ramadan out of America.
But the story is not over: the State Department has in effect encouraged Ramadan to reapply for a different type of visa, making the recent developments probably just round one of a drawn-out match.
For more about Tariq Ramadan's problem with the truth and the law, see my subsequent writings on him:
Reader comments (84) on this item
Comment on this item
You can help support Daniel Pipes' work by making a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes