“Tariq Ramadan, a professor at the college of Geneva and the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, is the author of a book that is the most hopeful work of Muslim theology in the past thousand years. This month he was to come to America to take the position of Luce professor of religion, conflict and peacebuilding at Notre Dame’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, when suddenly his visa was revoked.
The official reason for revoking Ramadan’s visa is the USA Patriot Act’s provisions for those who have prominently espoused or endorsed terrorist activity. Ramadan has been dogged by rumors for years–that he knew bin Laden as a boy (“No”), that terrorists attend his classes (“I don’t know who is listening to me when I give a lecture in front of thousands of people”), and that he arranged a meeting with al Qaeda deputy Ayman Zawahiri and convicted terrorist Omar Abdel Rahman in Geneva in 1991 (when, Ramadan notes, he was not even in Switzerland.)
Tariq Ramadan is a Muslim Martin Luther. That’s why Notre Dame,…, hired him. Winning the war on terrorism requires theology the way defeating Communism required ideology. The Bush administration (which wouldn’t do the necessary visa checks to keep real terrorists out of fake flight schools) risks a kind of unilateral disarmament.”
This story is, for me, yet another example of how the Bush administration has reacted to the threat of terrorism. Before 9/11, the administration made every effort to ignore terrorism completely, and with smashing success. Since 9/11, it has abused any number of innocent Muslims in the name of the War on Terra (witness the release of the majority of Muslims held, ostensibly as suspected terrorists, in both Afghanistan and Abu Ghraib in Iraq.) In short, the Bush administration has done a bang-up job of doing all the wrong things. Are we feeling safer yet?