Omer M. Mozaffar: SILENCING THINKERS
- TARIQ RAMADAN MAY VIDEOCONFERENCE WITH ND STUDENTS
Janelle Hall, WNDU, 9/1/04
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-
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...
Omer M. Mozaffar, Chicago Tribune, 9/2/04
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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