City of Brass

City of Brass

Obama Administration to continue to deny Tariq Ramadan a visa

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I remain optimistic about Obama’s upcoming foreign policy address in Cairo – if he approaches it with the same frankness and honesty as his speech on race in Philadelphia, then I think it will be a historic event indeed. Actions and words are both required, however, and as I mentioned earlier Obama’s relationship with the American muslim community is in many ways a standard against he will be judged as he asks for the trust of the muslim world abroad.

One of the ways in which I argued Obama might cultivate credibility would be to permit European intellectual Tariq Ramadan entry to the United States. Unfortunately, it seems that Obama’s administration is on the wrong side of that issue:

WASHINGTON – Although it has made a break with many of George Bush’s controversial, self-declared war on terror policies and has promised to reach out to Muslims, the Obama administration has decided to back a Bush decision to deny one of Europe’s leading Muslim intellectuals entry.

“Consular decisions are not subject to litigation,” Assistant US Attorney David Jones told the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

He asked the court to uphold a decision to bar Tariq Ramadan, an Oxford University professor, from entering the country.

Jones argued that if the court questioned a consular officer’s decision to bar Ramadan, this would leave the administration in a “quagmire” with others seeking such reversals.

When one of the judges asked how high the review of Ramadan’s case has gone within the Obama administration, Jones said it was “upwards in the State Department.”


The Obama administration’s position came as a shock to many.

“It’s disappointing to come here and hear Obama administration lawyers argue the same sweeping executive power arguments,” Jameel Jaffer, lawyer and ACLU National Security Project director, said after the hearing.

He told the court that the government had failed to identify “legitimate and bona fide reasons for the exclusion.”

Civil rights groups had hoped for a reversal of Bush policy of excluding foreign scholars from on the basis of their political beliefs.

Many scholars and intellectuals, including Ramadan, believe that they are being targeted for their vocal criticism of the Bush administration’s Iraq war and bias towards Israel.

Ramadan was a vocal critic of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

“While the government has an interest in excluding people who present a threat to the country, it doesn’t have any legitimate interest in excluding foreign nationals simply because of their political views. The Bush administration was wrong to revive this Cold War practice, and the Obama administration should not defend it,” Jaffer insisted.


“By denying visas to prominent foreign scholars and writers simply because they were critical of US foreign policy, the Bush administration used immigration laws to skew and stifle political debate inside the US,” said Jaffar.

“US citizens and US resident are harmed by…the exclusion of people based on the content of their speech.”

Disappointing is an understatement, though it is clear from the article that the decision probably hasn’t been reviewed by Secretary Clinton, let alone the President yet, so there’s still some hope that they will do the right thing.

It is important to note that the Bush Administration’s original argument against Ramadan – that he “endorsed or espoused terrorism” – fell apart after legal challenge and then post-justified the ban to a relatively minor donation Ramadan had made to a Swiss charity that was involved in Palestinian aid. Ramadan ably defends himself on these charges at his website.

Like Rashid Khalidi, Tariq Ramadan is a muslim with inconvenient political views. As such, I do not really expect the Obama Administration to expend much energy in defending him. This is one of the key disappointments in Obama that muslim American citizens can express, and the reason why we should maintain healthy skepticism about the true degree of genuine change Obama can bring about in his interaction with the muslim world.

Related: Tariq Ramadan’s main message to European muslims is to be skeptical of the idea of an “Ummah” and be loyal citizens of their host countries. However, he argues for doing so while retaining culture and faith in teh face of assimilation – in much the way that the Jews have done. Ramadan’s response to Pope Benedict’s Regensberg lecture is also absolutely essential reading.

  • George Washington

    George Washington on Israel
    “A passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.” ~George Washington Farewell Address
    “The nation which indulges toward another habitual hatred or habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interests.” ~ George Washington
    “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

  • Angela31Briggs

    When you are in a not good position and have got no cash to move out from that, you would require to take the mortgage loans. Just because that will aid you emphatically. I take commercial loan every time I need and feel myself great just because of it.

  • Tag Heuer Women

    To be a noble lenient being is to be enduring a philanthropic of openness to the in the seventh heaven, an cleverness to trust undeterminable things beyond your own restrain, that can take you to be shattered in uncommonly exceptional circumstances pro which you were not to blame. That says something remarkably outstanding relating to the prerequisite of the principled compulsion: that it is based on a conviction in the unpredictable and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a shop than like a jewel, something kind of feeble, but whose very precise attractiveness is inseparable from that fragility.

  • Watch Movado

    To be a good lenient being is to be enduring a kind of openness to the far-out, an skill to guardianship uncertain things beyond your own control, that can front you to be shattered in very exceptionally circumstances pro which you were not to blame. That says something remarkably weighty relating to the prerequisite of the honest autobiography: that it is based on a trust in the unpredictable and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a shop than like a sparkler, something rather fragile, but whose acutely item handsomeness is inseparable from that fragility.

  • Kayla

    I don’t like the sound of all those lists he’s making – it’s like intriguing too multitudinous notes at school; you feel you’ve achieved something when you haven’t.

  • Alice

    In everyone’s existence, at some pass‚, our inner foment goes out. It is then break asunder into zeal beside an be faced with with another human being. We should all be glad quest of those people who rekindle the inner inspiration

  • Aisha

    In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then blow up into flame beside an be faced with with another magnanimous being. We should all be glad for those people who rekindle the inner spirit

  • Aisha

    In everyone’s sustenance, at some occasion, our inner foment goes out. It is then blow up into zeal at hand an face with another benign being. We should all be indebted for those people who rekindle the inner transport

  • Alice

    In the whole world’s time, at some time, our inner pep goes out. It is then burst into passion at hand an be faced with with another hominoid being. We should all be indebted for those people who rekindle the inner spirit

  • Alice

    In harry’s existence, at some occasion, our inner fire goes out. It is then break asunder into enthusiasm at hand an contend with with another benign being. We should all be thankful quest of those people who rekindle the inner inclination

Previous Posts

Muslims en masse for Modi at Madison Square
Newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to a huge crowd of Indian expats in New York City on Monday night, outlining his vision of India's future and mak

posted 4:29:29pm Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Hussein Abdullah gets a penalty for doing sajda in the endzone on Monday Night Football As a (very) recent convert to the joy of American Football, I am fascinated by the penalty issued to Kansas City Chiefs' safety Hussein Abdullah for performing a sajda (prayer prostration) of thanks after an epic 39-yard pick-six on Patriots

posted 11:04:12am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »

the NFL, concussions, and domestic abuse #WhyIStayed #WhyILeft
A lot of my friends who aren't into football have remarked upon my newfound interest in football as being somewhat out-of-character (true, at first glance, but i'll address that later) and also critiqued the sport for all its attendant social problems. Of those, the two main ones are domestic abuse

posted 5:47:02pm Sep. 12, 2014 | read full post »

13 years after 9-11
I honestly don't have much left to say that I have not said already. But it is worth at least remarking on this, the anniversary of the attacks, that the global challenges facing the world today have almost nothing to do with terrorism or Islamic fanaticism. Yes, we have threats like ISIS to grapple

posted 8:44:01am Sep. 11, 2014 | read full post »

Saudis propose to relocate the Prophet's (saw) tomb from Masjid al-Nabawi
The above photo of the Mecca clock tower, or as I like to call it, "Big Bin", was during my hajj a few years ago. It is part of my general observations of the "Meccahattan"-ization of the holiest place in Islam, the way that the Saudi religious authorities are utterly obliterating the historical wea

posted 10:13:58am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.