Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss native and currently a Visiting Fellow at St. Antony’s College at the University of Oxford, is a leading scholar of the Muslim world. Ramadan has published 20 books, more than 700 articles and approximately 170 audio tapes on subjects including Muslim identity, democracy and Islam, human rights and Islam, the practice of Islam in Europe and Islamic law. His books include Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, Islam, the West, and the Challenges of Modernity and To Be a European Muslim. Ramadan’s recent lectures include a discussion on “Why Islam Needs a Feminist Movement” and “Muslim Democrats in the West and Democratization in the Muslim World: Prospects for Engagement.”
Time magazine recently predicted Professor Ramadan would be one of the most influential people of the 21st century, labeling him “the leading Islamic thinker among Europe’s second- and third-generation Muslim immigrants.” In August 2005, at the invitation of Prime Minister Tony Blair, Professor Ramadan accepted an invitation to join a U.K. government taskforce to examine the roots of extremism in Britain. In September 2004, Jonathan Laurence wrote in The Forward that Professor Ramadan “has used his prominence to urge young Muslims in the West to choose integration over disaffection.”
Professor Ramadan has been a consistent critic of terrorism and those who use it. In October 2001, Professor Ramadan publicly deplored the September 11 attacks, saying to fellow Muslims, “Now more than ever we need to criticize some of our brothers . . . You are unjustified if you use the Koran to justify murder.” Professor Ramadan publicly condemned the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq in August 2004; the attacks on Jewish synagogues in Istanbul in November 2003; and the terrorist bombing in London in July 2005.
In January 2004, Professor Ramadan was offered a tenured position as the Henry R. Luce Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Professor Ramadan was granted a specialized nonimmigrant visa on May 5, 2004, but on July 28, just nine days before Professor Ramadan and his family were to move to Indiana, he was informed by the United States Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, that his visa had been revoked. Professor Ramadan was not provided a verbal explanation for the revocation and neither Professor Ramadan nor the University of Notre Dame has ever received a written explanation. At a press conference on August 25, 2004, however, Russ Knocke, a spokesman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security, cited the ideological exclusion provision as the basis for the revocation.