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Mr. Pipes, a little clarification on a few of your points?

Reader comment on item: Why Revoke Tariq Ramadan's U.S. Visa?

Submitted by Saqib Hussain (Pakistan), Jun 24, 2007 at 23:42

Mr. Pipes,

Although I do not expect a response from you based on the date of this article I feel obligated to address skewed, subjective, and xenphobic reporting in order to help others recognize that simply absorbing what is given to them creates a state in which basic unalienable rights are relinquished for a sense of false security. With this in mind, Mr. Pipes, I offer you a few points in regards to your article, which hopefully you can clarify.

1. While it is true that "It's not every day that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security revokes a visa issued to a Swiss-national scholar…", it is also true that it's not everyday that a highly respected conservative, Catholic institution hires a "suspected terrorist". It is safe to say that the student body at the University of Notre Dame (not Notre Dame) is fairly conservative, deeply Catholic, and mostly Caucasian. If you doubt me on this, I can refer you to any number of close friends who currently attend the university as undergraduates or simply visit princetonreview.com for a profile of the school.

Furthermore, it follows logically that like its student body, Notre Dame as an institution has a reputation for maintaining a conservative, devotedly Catholic outlook. Now accordingly, one might think that an institution (particularly one held in such high academic regard) responsible for hiring a certain professor would scrupulously research, interview, check, and double-check the candidate. With this in mind, it is intriguing that Mr. Pipes and the DHS would have us believe such a vague, ambiguous, and contradictory statement claiming the individual in question has "terrorist ties" or is sympathetic for their cause, or even more absurdly is the "enemy" . I say contradictory because..

2. …if you have ever read Ramadan's works or heard him speak, or listened to someone (respected tenure professors at Notre Dame) who has done either of the above, you would realize that there is a very large gap between what this DHS report claims, and what the man has written and spoken about.

I invite Mr. Pipes and everyone else who has not, to research Ramadan via primary source. While it is very easy to look at the allegations bullet pointed by Mr. Pipes and then dismiss Ramadan as a terrorist sympathizer and Islamic radical, it is much more difficult (but infinitely more just) to research and read what Ramadan actually says about terrorism, the West, Islam and the individual.

3. Here are a few quotes about Tariq Ramadan from respected US media sources (who are actually acquainted with his work)…

"Tariq Ramadan is a Muslim Martin Luther King."

- Paul Donnelly, Washington Post

"As a scholar who looks for progressive voices that tackle the challenges of religious pluralism, there are few whose voice is clearer and more important than Ramadan's."

- The Boston Globe

"A voice or moral clarity and devout faith rooted in a sophisticated appreciation for what is good in Western society and for the contributions Muslims might make to Europe and the US, as well as to spurring change in the Muslim World."

- Christian Science Monitor

Now, Mr. Pipes, who would you have us believe, the above-mentioned media sources that are familiar with the man's work? Or you and the DHS who have a record of intolerance and doublespeak?

4. I use doublespeak because if you look at some of the reasons given by Mr. Pipes you can see how shallow they really are. To spare you from wasting anymore of your time reading an inexcusably long response I will only touch on a few of the arguments. This does not mean however, that most of them are flawed and emit a stench of xenophobia.

    1. "Mr. Ramadan was banned from entering France in 1996 on suspicion of having links with an Algerian Islamist who had recently initiated a terrorist campaign in Paris."

i. First of all, in this statement, there is absolutely no indication that he is actually involved in anything related to terrorism. "suspicion of having links"…I was unaware Mr. Pipe that such strong, definitive, and factual evidence was out there.

ii. Secondly, this allegation is coming from a country whose government has clearly stated that the influx of Muslims in France is a threat to the French identity. While I do not argue with that, it is clear that if you do subscribe to that belief, you obviously would not want Tariq Ramadan coming into your country to urge tolerance, cooperation, and progressivism among Europeans and Muslims, which consequently is exactly what he preaches.

    1. "He has praised the brutal Islamist policies of the Sudanese politician Hassan Al-Turabi. Mr. Turabi in turn called Mr. Ramadan the "future of Islam."

i. If anything, this only strengthens Mr. Ramadan's case. First of all, Mr. Pipes conveniently forgets to mention or provide a source which cites these praises (great journalism) so we have no idea what Ramadan's praises actually were.

ii. Secondly, an apparent radical Islamic extremist, Hassan Al-Turabi, called him the "future of Islam". Hold on one second, read those praises of Ramadan I quoted above. Do you see any similarities? Amazing isn't it, various American media sources and a radical Islamic fundamentalist agree on something: Ramadan's message calls for cooperation and moderation from both side, and magically, both sides agree with this. Intriguing indeed Mr. Pipes.

Once again, for anyone that actually made it this far I apologize for a response longer than the original article itself. I am not a journalist, I am not a scholar, I am not an intellectual, nor do I consider myself an intelligent human being, but it is clear to me that if Americans continue to accept what the media would like us to believe without question, than we will truly be worse for it. I am an American and I have seen what we can do when we learn the truth. We are caring, honest, and compassionate people.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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