Opinion: "A Closed Door" by Tariq Ramadan

September 25, 2006

Source: TariqRamadan.com


On September 25, 2006 TariqRamadan.com released a statement by Tariq Ramadan concerning the ban on his visa to the United States. "In January 2004, I was offered a double-tenured position at the University of Notre Dame. I was honoured and pleased to accept the position, and I very much looked forward to becoming part of the academic community in the United States... The U.S. government granted me a work visa... Then, in July 2004, the U.S. government notified me that my visa had been revoked. It did not offer any specific explanation for the revocation, but it pointed to a provision of the Patriot Act that applies to people who have 'endorsed or espoused' terrorist activity... On September 21, 2006, after two years of waiting, an explanation at last arrived. The letter I received from the American embassy, though it refuses my visa application, puts an end to the rumours and baseless allegations that have circulated since my original visa was revoked. After two years of investigation, the State Department cites no evidence of 'suspicious relationships', of meetings with terrorists, of encouraging or advocating terrorism, or of so-called 'doublespeak'. Instead, the State Department cites my having donated about 600 Euros to two humanitarian organizations (in fact a French organisation and its Swiss chapter) serving the Palestinian people... After two years of intense investigation, this is the explanation offered for the denial of my visa. I am of course disappointed in the government’s decision. At the same, time, however, I am glad that the State Department has abandoned its allegation that I endorse terrorism. While the State Department has found a new reason to deny my visa application, I think it clear from the history of this case that the U.S. government’s real fear is of my ideas."