SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Acting at the request of the Department of Homeland Security, the US government has 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 who has been criticized for links to Islamic militants and for remarks branded anti-Semitic, was supposed to begin teaching yesterday, the first day of the fall semester.
A State Department spokeswoman, Kelly Shannon, cited the Immigration and Nationality Act, part of which deals with undocumented immigrants who have used a ''position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity." Another section bars undocumented immigrants whose entry may have ''potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States."
Both sections were amended under the USA Patriot Act, passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Shannon did not immediately say whether either section applied to Ramadan's case.
''We don't know a reason why either of those should apply to Tariq Ramadan," said Matt Storin, a Notre Dame spokesman and formerly editor of The Boston Globe. ''He's a voice for moderation in the Muslim world." Shannon said the move came at the request of the Homeland Security Department.
Notre Dame appointed Ramadan earlier this year to be its Henry B. Luce professor of religion, conflict, and peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Ramadan remained in Switzerland, and Storin said he would relay to him a message seeking comment.
Ramadan has been teaching at the College of Geneva and the University of Fribourg, both in Switzerland, and has gained a popular following among European Muslims in showing how Islamic values are compatible with those of secular European society.