The Swiss Islamist Tariq Ramadan was about to take up a position at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in 2004 when the U.S. government prevented him from entering the country on the grounds that he had funded two Hamas-related groups. For five years, his exclusion has been debated and tried. Finally, it was reversed today. The Associated Press explains:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has signed orders enabling the re-entry of professors Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University in England and Adam Habib of the University of Johannesburg in South Africa once they obtain required admittance documents, department spokesman Darby Holladay said.
Clinton "has chosen to exercise her exemption authority for the benefit of Tariq Ramadan and Adam Habib," Holladay said. "We'll let that action speak for itself." In a prepared statement, Holladay noted the change in U.S. posture since both professors, who are frequently invited to the United States to lecture, were denied admittance after making statements counter to U.S. foreign policy. Both the president and the secretary of state have made it clear that the U.S. government is pursuing a new relationship with Muslim communities based on mutual interest and mutual respect."
(1) I always expected this outcome, that Ramadan would be allowed in, because so many forces were aligned in his favor. That the exclusion lasted over five years was impressive.
(2) Note that this change was ordered from the very top, specifically invoking Obama.
(3) Note also the sleaziness of the State Department spokesman, ascribing Ramadan's exclusion to his "making statements counter to U.S. foreign policy." No, the reason was explicitly his having provided funds to a terrorist-related organization. Why the gratuitous lie, State Department?
(4) The Obama administration puts this case into the context of "pursuing a new relationship with Muslim communities based on mutual interest and mutual respect." But it's always been a terrorism case, with no connection to issues of Islam. What amateurs.
(5) Note the term "mutual respect," the hackneyed phrase repeatedly applied to the U.S. government and Muslims - so much so that I have devoted a whole blog to Obama's use of these words.
(6) So, fellow Americans, how many of you feel safer with the prospect of Tariq Ramadan present in person to talk to our Islamists?