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Omer M. Mozaffar: SILENCING THINKERS

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    TARIQ RAMADAN MAY VIDEOCONFERENCE WITH ND STUDENTS Janelle Hall, WNDU, 9/1/04 http://www.wndu.com/news/092004/news_37173.php Notre Dame, IN - After the
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 4, 2004
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      TARIQ RAMADAN MAY VIDEOCONFERENCE WITH ND STUDENTS
      Janelle Hall, WNDU, 9/1/04
      http://www.wndu.com/news/092004/news_37173.php

      Notre Dame, IN - After the Department of Homeland Security revoked
      the visa of a future Notre Dame professor, the university is
      considering finding an alternative way to bring the Muslim scholar
      into a campus classroom.

      A staff member in the communications department of the Joan B. Kroc
      Institute for International Peace Studies on the campus of Notre Dame
      says they department is exploring the option of using a video
      conferencing classroom. Therefore, Professor Tariq Ramadan can still
      connect with Notre Dame students while awaiting word from the United
      States government at his home in Switzerland.

      Scott Appleby of the Kroc Institute and the Director of Notre Dame's
      Peace Studies said, "We're still trying to determine the rational
      behind revoking the visa in the first place."

      The Muslim scholar planned to move from Switzerland to America to
      teach at Notre Dame, but the Department of Homeland Security stepped-
      in.

      Appleby says of the situation, "This person is one of the most
      scrutinized people on the planet today and we're still waiting for
      some kind of credible proof that he has ties to terrorism."

      Bradley Schrager, a Jewish law student on campus said, "It's hard for
      me to understand the danger represented by a scholar." Schrager
      welcomes Ramadan's diversity on campus even though he says some
      Jewish Jobby groups attacked the Muslim scholar with accusations of
      anti-Semitism. Schrager however believes the accusations are
      false. "I didn't get that impression from my reading of his works or
      his career so far. Anti-Semitism is a charge one should be very
      careful of lodging in almost any context," said Schrager...

      Ramadan's grandfather founded a militant Muslim group, but Notre Dame
      says it has no proof Ramadan was involved with the group. "If we
      thought Ramadan was anti-Semitic, or condoned violence or moved
      outside the bounds of respectable free speech, we would have nothing
      to do with him," said Appleby.

      Appleby says scholars of different cultures and faiths would be a
      good thing for the campus. "I think the other kinds of scholars of
      Islam and Judaism and other faiths that we can bring to campus, the
      better," said Appleby.

      Students are still looking forward to Professor Ramadan coming to the
      Notre Dame campus. "My hope is that professor Ramadan will join us
      on campus as we all expected," said Schrager.

      Notre Dame views Ramadan as a 'controversialist', not a terrorist and
      looks forward to welcoming him to campus someday, even if it is
      possibly through a videoconference on the Internet...

      ALSO SEE:

      SILENCING THINKERS
      Omer M. Mozaffar, Chicago Tribune, 9/2/04
      http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/letters/chi-
      0409020109sep02,1,2388063.story

      Naperville - Kudos to the Chicago Tribune and Tribune religion
      reporter Geneive Abdo for informing us about the plight of Tariq
      Ramadan ("Muslims support scholar on visa; Revocation is blamed on
      Bush policy," News, Aug. 26).

      Anyone familiar with Ramadan knows the high quality of his
      scholarship and the moderate content of his views.

      He has almost single-handedly brought the discussion of Islam's
      reform to the mosque and to Europe's elite.

      Thanks to an intense recruiting competition among America's top
      universities, he is now bringing this vitally important discussion to
      our own top thinkers.

      Unfortunately those who choose to silence scholars resort to
      backhanded techniques to achieve their aims.

      The accusations against him of anti-Semitism are almost as outlandish
      as the charges of terrorism. A criticism of Israel or Saudi Arabia is
      not a criticism of Judaism or Islam.

      As an academic, I am greatly troubled that the Department of Homeland
      Security has now become a party to this un-American silencing of
      thinkers and their ideas.

      (Omer M. Mozaffar, Adjunct professor of Islam, St. Xavier University,
      Doctoral candidate, Islamic Studies, University of Chicago.)

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