Swiss Muslim Scholar: "What Does America Have to Fear from Me?"

September 2, 2004

Source: Herald Tribune

On September 2, 2004 the International Herald Tribune ran a column by Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss Muslim scholar whose visa to teach at the University of Notre Dame in the U.S. was recently revoked by the U.S. government. Ramadan writes, "I have written 20 books and 700 articles, and 170 audiotapes of my lectures are circulating. I ask my detractors: Have you read or listened to any of this? Can you prove the 'links' to terrorists? To repeat allegations is not to prove. Where is the evidence of my 'double talk?' Have you read the articles in which I call upon fellow Muslims to condemn unequivocally radical views and acts of extremism?... To seek the truth, one must read, listen carefully, double-check for clarity and consistency, and be willing to be objective. I often encounter individuals, even academics, who are not familiar with my writings or speeches but have formed a strong opinion of me... This simple truth is the essence of my message to Muslims throughout the world: Know who you are and who you want to be, and start working with who you are not. Find common values and build with fellow citizens a society based on diversity and equality. The moment you understand that being a Muslim and being European, or American, are not mutually exclusive, you enrich your society. My move to the University of Notre Dame was to have enabled me to share this message with Muslim communities in America and beyond. Is this a threatening contribution? Is it not a needed and urgent message in America in the post-Sept. 11 world?"