Muslim scholars no longer banned from US

WASHINGTON -- The State Department announced Jan. 20 that two prominent Muslim intellectuals will no longer be barred from traveling to the U.S. based on past accusations that they had supported terrorism.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed orders allowing Tariq Ramadan and Adam Habib to re-apply for U.S. visas, said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.

Ramadan, a Swiss citizen who teaches at Oxford University in England, had been barred from entering the U.S. since 2004 for allegedly endorsing terrorism. At the time, he had planned to take a tenured position at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

Ramadan had donated about $1,000 to a Swiss-based charity that gave funds to Hamas, the militant Palestinian group, according to The New York Times, but denied knowledge of the charity's ties to Hamas.

Habib is a scholar at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.

Ramadan's denial had been a cause celebre for civil rights activists, who accused the Bush administration of using the Patriot Act to silence critics of its anti-terrorism policies and the war in Iraq.

We say: Charlottesville reveals the weeping wound of racism. What do we, the American Catholic faith community, do next? Read the editorial.

“As we look at it, we do not think that either one of them represents a threat to the United States,” Crowley said at a press briefing on Wednesday, adding that both men will have to re-apply for visas.

Crowley said lifting the ban is “consistent with President Obama's outreach” to Muslims. “We want to have the opportunity potentially to have Islamic scholars come to the United States and have dialogue with other faith communities and people here in our country,” he said.

In statement published by Reuters, Ramadan said the move “brings to an end a dark period in American politics that saw security considerations invoked to block critical debate through a policy of exclusion and baseless allegation.”

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg

Show comments

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.