Verify sources before making accusations
Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, September 7, 2004
I am enrolled in the seminar to be taught by Tariq Ramadan, and I have been closely following the coverage of this case. Upon reading Kathleen Sappey’s letter, I noticed that many of her arguments are those that appeared in an Aug. 29 editorial by Daniel Pipes in The Chicago Tribune. Ramadan refuted each of these arguments two days later. Even if you do care to read Ramadan’s response, some of you might still be swayed by the insidious libel and slander that has haunted Ramadan. I can only hope that you might be moved to investigate some of his works before passively accepting others’ interpretations as your own.
I encourage Sappey to carefully check her sources before “quoting” Ramadan. She claims that he wrote, “And into the spiritual void left by Judaism and Christianity, Islam can enter and overcome, no longer enduring modernity, but islamicizing it.” Upon investigation, one will easily discover that this quote is attributed to Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, attempting to characterize Ramadan’s viewpoint. To follow such a gross misquotation with a horridly disrespectful comment such as “I guess we should all get our prayer rugs out now” is nothing more than yet another instance of slander against Ramadan and his faith.
Is it so wrong for Ramadan to present to us an alternate viewpoint? I find it hard to believe that he planned to come here under the guise of professorship so that he could convert the entire campus, as Sappey seems to fear. He came here knowing that his religion would place him into a tiny minority, yet this did not stop him. Perhaps our student body needs some of this courage in order to step outside our comfort zones. I would feel cheated out of tens of thousands of dollars if I did not learn something at Notre Dame that challenged my own beliefs.
If Ramadan’s visa was revoked for a legitimate reason, of which the Department of Homeland Security can present concrete proof, then, and only then, Sappey, will I accept this case as protection of national security. Until then, it is merely evidence of rampant, unfounded fear and silencing of differing ideas. I wasn’t aware that this was in the job description of the Department of Homeland Security.