January 24, 2006
The American Academy of Religion (AAR) joined this lawsuit to support the ability of scholars to meet together for intellectual exchange without government interference.
With more than 10,000 members based at some 2,000 colleges, universities, and seminaries, the AAR is the world’s largest association of scholars of religion. The study of religion, perhaps more than any other academic discipline, is an international study and requires engagement with scholars from other cultures and nations. In a world where religion plays so central a role in social, political, and economic events, as well as in the lives of communities and individuals, the AAR’s mission is to meet the critical need for ongoing reflection upon and understanding of religious traditions, issues, questions, and values. The AAR promotes such reflection through excellence in scholarship and teaching in the field of religion. Pursuant to this mission, the AAR organizes conferences, which it has invited Tariq Ramadan to address.
Professor Ramadan, a Swiss national and consistent critic of terrorism, has written more than twenty books and several hundred articles on topics such as democracy and Islam, the practice of Islam in Europe, and Islamic law. He is one of the leading scholars of the Muslim world, and religion scholars convening in the U.S. need the opportunity to meet and talk with him.
The U.S. government’s denial of a visa to Ramadan thwarts this aspect of scholarly exchange that for centuries has, and continues to be, a vital way that scholars enhance their knowledge, and thus a vital way that students, journalists, public policy makers, and other members of the public drawing on scholars’ work acquire a better understanding of critical current issues involving religion.
Learn more about the American Academy of Religion