It is deeply disappointing that this week a U.S. District Attorney, David Jones, arguing now on behalf of the Obama administration, repeated the frightening logic of the Bush administration in continuing to deny a visa to Tariq Ramadan, one of Europe's deepest and most articulate Muslim thinkers. The case, which was taken up in 2006 by the ACLU on behalf of the American Academy of Religion and other scholarly organizations, is now called Academy of Religion v. Napolitano and is being heard by a panel of three judges in New York.
Four years ago, the Department of Homeland Security declared Ramadan had "endorsed" or "espoused" terrorism. Thus, he could not be permitted to take up a professorship of Peace Studies at Notre Dame and his visa was revoked. This astonished those of us in the academy that have actually read Ramadan's work and see his voice as consistently engaged with the project of western Islam and democracy, reformulating a contextual interpretation of Islam for our time and our western societies.