Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Controversial Muslim Scholars Unbanned from US

The Obama administration, in the person of Hillary Clinton, has lifted the travel ban on Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University, and Adam Habib of Johannesburg University. Although they were banned for alleged ties to terrorism, a state department spokesman said that neither of them "represent a threat" to the U.S. The ACLU, which has been advocating a removal of the ban, is overjoyed.
"The orders ending the exclusion of Adam Habib and Tariq Ramadan are long overdue and tremendously important," said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project, saying this was "a major victory for civil liberties."

"For several years, the United States government was more interested in stigmatizing and silencing its foreign critics than in engaging them. The decision ... is a welcome sign the Obama administration is committed to facilitating rather than obstructing the exchange of ideas across international borders."

I have no problem with removing the ban. It's unlikely that a couple of academics pose any sort of threat, and the FBI can always keep them under surveillance and arrest them if necessary. If they do have ties to terrorists, watching them might actually provide some leads. Having said that, I find the ACLU's position pretty laughable. 

There's nothing "tremendously important" about whether or not we allow a couple of foreign academics into the country. As for the "exchange of ideas across international borders," we've got plenty of people making excuses for terrorists, and spreading anti-American propaganda right here in the U.S. It's not like we need to import any of those ideas. It's highly unlikely that these two professors have anything in particular to add that hasn't been covered by others. Even if they did, it's ridiculous to pretend that they have to be physically present in the U.S. for their ideas to be heard. And finally, this decision has nothing whatsoever to do with "civil liberties." Neither academic is a U.S. citizen, and the U.S. has every right to determine which aliens it lets into the country. This is just another example of the ACLU losing sight of its core mission of protecting the rights of Americans. 

1 comment:

  1. I recommend reading Paul Berman's article 'Who's Afraid of Tariq Ramadan' from The New Republic. It appears Mr. Ramadan speaks different themes in different tongues.