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Reinstate Ramadan’s visa

Observer Viewpoint | Monday, August 30, 2004

As students and representatives of the Jewish Law Students Society at the Notre Dame Law School, we were surprised and saddened to hear of the revocation of a visa granted to Tariq Ramadan by the Department of Homeland Security, an action that effectively prevents Professor Ramadan from beginning his teaching position at the Kroc Institute of Peace Studies and becoming a part of the Notre Dame community. We were further disappointed to read media reports portraying the revocation of Professor Ramadan’s visa as an action supported and approved of by various Jewish groups.

As members of the small Jewish community at Notre Dame, we support the Kroc Institute’s hiring of Professor Ramadan and condemn the Department of Homeland Security’s action. Diversity in opinion, particularly in religious and political viewpoints, is essential to the well being of any academic community; Notre Dame is no exception. Although we understand that national security interests may have motivated the revocation of Professor Ramadan’s visa, we know of nothing in Professor Ramadan’s history indicating that he presents a threat to our country or our university. On the contrary, it is the repression of dissenting opinions and critical thought that, throughout history, has been the greatest danger to a free society.

As members of a religious minority both on campus and in this country, we wish to express our support for Professor Ramadan and our sincere hope that he will soon join us at Notre Dame. Professor Ramadan is engaged in a scholarly and political project challenging Muslims, Christians and Jews in the West to revisit deeply held notions of identity, tolerance and coexistence. Although we may not always agree with Professor Ramadan’s opinions, the free exchange of ideas is the hallmark of our system of higher education. We hope that the Department of Homeland Security will carefully consider the values our citizenry holds most dear and allow Professor Ramadan to become a part of the Notre Dame community.

Jessica E. Tannenbaum, PresidentBradley S. Schrager, TreasurerJoshua B. LockerEric D. DelaporteRachel L. WolockJewish Law Students SocietyNotre Dame Law SchoolAug. 26, 2004