He may be the “muslim Martin Luther” but author and activist Tariq Ramadan has been the object of controversy in the post 9-11 climate. In 2004, his visa was revoked by the department of homeland security because of the fear that he would use his
“position of prominence…to endorse or espouse terrorist activity.”
Despite all the suspicion, most evidence pointed to Ramadan being a scholar, not a terrorist. Furthermore, Ramadan is a Swiss citizen, and taught all over Europe, including at Oxford, with no mishaps or accidental bombings. So why the stall on the visa? Obviously, the feds didn’t enjoy Ramadan’s vocal criticism of the war against terrorism.
Recently, however, federal Judge Paul A. Crotty ordered the government to stop stalling on Ramadan’s visa for teaching at the University of Notre Dame. I went to school with Judge Crotty’s daughter and vaguely remember hearing him speak at a conference, but my respect for him doubled with this decision, but he is clearly not immune from the dreaded Legalese Virus.
Allowing the government to wait for Â‘possible future discovery of statementsÂ’ would mean that the government could delay final adjudication indefinitely, evading constitutional review by its own failure to render a decision on RamadanÂ’s application. The Court will not allow this…
crikey. basically, the decision also slaps the knuckles of the DHS for assuming that there would be no judicial review of the visa denial. translate, if you will:
While the Executive may exclude an alien for almost any reason, it cannot do so solely because the Executive disagrees with the content of the alienÂ’s speech and therefore wants to prevent the alien from sharing this speech with a willing American audience.
Take that, Patriot Act! And Professor–welcome to Indiana. Enjoy the football.
More about the decision can be read at PEN American Center, an organization which works to preserve the freedom to write and be read all over the world. For the hardy, here is Judge Crotty’s full decision in its technical, DHS-bashing splendor.