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Russ Knocke, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman, said the work visa was revoked because of a section in federal law applying to aliens who have used a "position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity."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.

* NEW YORK -- Antiwar activists planning a demonstration on the eve of the Republican National Convention said they will march past Madison Square Garden but will cancel the rally if they are denied permission to hold it in Central Park. The group, United for Peace and Justice, and city lawyers met for a hearing before state Supreme Court Justice Jacqueline Silbermann, who is considering whether the expected crowd of 250,000 can assemble in the park for a rally that the city argues would ruin the grass.

* DENVER -- A grand jury investigating whether alcohol and sex were used to entice University of Colorado football recruits indicted Nathan Maxcey, 28, a former low-level recruiting aide, for allegedly soliciting a prostitute for himself.

* 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.

* LAS VEGAS -- Cab driver Pairoj Chitprasart, 51, died three days after being set on fire during a robbery attempt. Police said James Scholl, 33, will be charged with murder.

* LITTLE ROCK -- A school district may not offer prayers at mandatory staff meetings, regardless of whether the teacher who complained about them is present, an appeals court ruled. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit said the DeValls Bluff School District's use of prayer at mandatory teacher meetings was unconstitutional.

* PHILADELPHIA -- Gun dealer Jon K. Sauers agreed to pay $850,000 to Tennille Jefferson, whose son, Nafis, 7, was killed with a revolver Sauers sold to a middleman who illegally resold the gun on the street. The settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit, approved by a judge Friday, has implications for gun shop owners who sell to "straw" buyers who purchase arms for gun traffickers, experts said.

-- From News Services