By Matthew Rothschild on September 26, 2006
Tariq Ramadan Barred Again
By Matthew Rothschild

September 27, 2006

I wrote about the case of Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan on June 26 (“Tariq Ramadan Wins One”), who had been offered a tenured professorship at Notre Dame only to be denied entry into the United States. At that point, it looked like the government might have to grant him a visa, since Federal Judge Paul Crotty said the Bush Administration could not exclude people “solely because the Executive disagrees with the content of the alien’s speech.”

But the Bush Administration squashed his visa anyway.

On September 21, Ramadan received a letter from the U.S. government with the bad news.

“The U.S. government’s real fear is of my ideas,” says the Muslim scholar, who now teaches at Oxford but is not allowed into the United States.

“The State Department cites my having donated about 600 Euros to two humanitarian organizations (in fact, a French organization and its Swiss chapter) serving the Palestinian people,” Ramadan said in a statement.

“I donated to these organizations for the same reason that countless Europeans—and Americans, for that matter—donate to Palestinian causes: not to provide funding for terrorism, but because I wanted to provide humanitarian aid to people who are desperately in need of it.”

Ramadan, who notified the State Department of his donations, believes they are a pretext. “The U.S. government’s real fear is of my ideas,” he writes, citing his criticism of U.S. policy in the Middle East, the Iraq War, and Bush’s hostility to civil liberties. “I am saddened to be excluded from the United States. I am saddened, too, however, that the United States government has become afraid of ideas and that it reacts to its critics not by engaging them but by suppressing, stigmatizing, and excluding them.”

Jameel Jaffer, who was lead counsel for the ACLU on this case, agrees: “The government is using the immigration laws to silence an articulate critic and to censor political debate inside the United States.”

Ramadan did find a silver lining, however. “After two years of investigation, the State Department cites no evidence of ‘suspicious relationships,’ of meetings with terrorists, or encouraging or advocating terrorism, of so-called ‘doublespeak,” he writes. This “puts an end to the rumors and baseless allegations that have circulated since my original visa was revoked. . . . I am glad that the State Department has abandoned its allegation that I endorse terrorism.”

Ramadan currently teaches at Oxford.

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Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.

On November 20 every year for the last fifteen years, transgender people gather for vigil ceremonies to acknowledge...

Yesterday the U.S. Senate narrowly defeated a bill that would approve construction on the Keystone XL pipeline.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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