U.S. Revokes Work Visa
Of Muslim Scholar
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The State Department revoked the work visa of a Muslim scholar who had been scheduled to teach at the University of Notre Dame this fall. Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss citizen, called the revocation unjustified and "coming from political pressure."
Russ Knocke, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman, said the work visa was revoked because of a section in federal law applying to aliens who have used a "position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity."
"We absolutely don't agree with that," Notre Dame spokesman Matt Storin said. "If we did, we would not have hired him."
Storin described Ramadan as a distinguished scholar and a voice for moderation in the Muslim world.
Ramadan said he opposes all forms of violence. "What I'm saying as a Muslim is that when I criticize a policy, for example the Saudi policy or the Egyptian policy, I am not Islamophobic," he said. "And when I am criticizing the policy of the state of Israel, of [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon, I'm not an anti-Semite. It's just a political criticism."
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the revocation indicates an unwillingness of Americans to listen to Muslims.
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* ATHENS, Ga. -- University of Georgia cheerleading coach Marilou Braswell was fired after a Jewish cheerleader complained her chances of making the football squad were hurt because she did not participate in Bible studies and pregame prayers. Jaclyn Steele, 22, was on the football squad as a freshman but was moved to the basketball squad, a perceived demotion.
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-- From News Services