Court Reverses Decision to Bar Swiss Muslim Scholar


Tariq RamadanBy Benjamin Weiser

A federal appeals court in Manhattan on Friday reversed a lower court ruling that had allowed the government to bar a prominent Muslim scholar from entering the United States in 2004 on grounds he had contributed to a charity that had connections to terrorism.

Court Ruling

The scholar, Tariq Ramadan, 46, a Swiss academic, had lined up a position to be a tenured professor at the University of Notre Dame, but the Bush administration revoked his visa. The government cited evidence that from 1998 to 2002, he donated about $1,300 to a Swiss-based charity which the Treasury Department later categorized as a terrorist organization.

Professor Ramadan had said in an affidavit that he was not aware of any connections between the charity, Association de Secours Palestinien, and terrorism, and that he believed the organization was involved in legitimate humanitarian projects.

In its ruling on Friday, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held unanimously that the government was required to “confront Ramadan with the allegation against him and afford him the subsequent opportunity to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that he did not know, and reasonably should not have known, that the recipient of his contributions was a terrorist organization.”

The record was unclear whether a consular officer who had denied the visa had done so, the panel said in its 52-page ruling, written by Judge Jon O. Newman and joined by Judges Wilfred Feinberg and Reena Raggi. The appeals court ordered the lower court to give Professor Ramadan an opportunity to demonstrate the claims in his affidavit.

Originally published by The New York Times

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2 Comments

  1. shakib says:

    the politics of charity had been subtly put forth by Moazzam Begg in his book Enemy Combatant (2006) where he prepares his defense with his lawyers for the military tribunal (kangaroo court which is set to try Omar the canadian juvenile) against accusations he hasn't been formally charged with and evidences his lawyers has no access to. Moazzem found himself in a captive of the Pakistani govt and subsequently the US for doing charity work in Afghanistan, a profession that may have severe consequences for anybody who is not western and white. his defence against working/abetting taliban was similar to a hypothetical swiss grandma who donated money online with the good intentions of helping some poor children on the other side of the globe. can anybody blame a poor swiss lady for aiding global terrorism, even if there were inadmissible proof in the US hands of charitable networks running a global jihad? if you go by the logic of US courts the way they are treating aafia's mental health as fit to stand trial, when the media is questioning if Michael could have been fit to write his own will after many years of drug abuse, you can rest assure that Ramadan can very well be found malingering (wilfully faking) his knowledge about the money he donated could have been going to pay an egyptian blackmarketeer for smuggling the projectiles into Gaza that has a 1:400 chance of hitting an israeli kid in Sderot.

  2. Fatima says:

    Prof. Ramadan was here with us in South Africa when he received this news, and needless to say, he was inundated with feedback.
    Obviously there was more to it than supporting a charity…he is very upfront and non-compromising about his political views.
    It’s also sad that he isn’t allowed to enter three ‘Muslim’ countries, especially considering that one of these bans means Muslims denying a fellow Muslim the right to perform an act of Ibaadah, viz Hajj and Umrah…SubhaanAllah what is this world coming to?
    Anyway Alhamdulillah for this news…what an amazingly profound, selfless and humble individual…you would think considering current trends in the commercialising of Shuyookh and Da’wah, someone of his prominence and status would be unapproachable and difficult. But Subhaanallah, he is far from it. May Allah Preserve him, and cause him to be a lesson in humility for us all. Aameen.

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