ACLU Files Suit Against Patriot Act Clause on Behalf of Ramadan, Academic Organizations

January 26, 2006

Source: The New York Times

On January 26, 2006 The New York Times reported, "Citing the case of a prominent Muslim scholar barred from the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday seeking to strike down a clause of the USA Patriot Act that bars foreigners who endorse terrorism from entering this country. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on behalf of the scholar, Tariq Ramadan, and three national organizations of academics or writers who have invited him to speak to their members. The groups, including the American Academy of Religion, say Ramadan has never expressed support for terrorism. Ramadan, a Swiss citizen, has been denied a U.S. visa since July 2004, when he was about to move his family to Indiana to take up a tenured professor's position at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame... Speaking to reporters in August 2004, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, Russ Knocke, cited the Patriot Act clause as the reason Ramadan's visa was canceled. The clause, adopted when the act was passed in 2001 and amended in May, bars foreigners who 'endorse or espouse terrorist activity or persuade others' to support terrorism... The ACLU, joined by the New York Civil Liberties Union, brought the suit against Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, asserting that the Patriot Act clause is unconstitutional and that the ban on Ramadan violates the 1st Amendment rights of American thinkers who want to meet with him. The American Association of University Professors and the PEN American Center are also plaintiffs."