It is beginning to look like Tariq Ramadan will eventually get a visa to visit if not to take up residence here in the US. A federal judge has ordered the State Department to make a final decision on Professor Ramadan’s visa application by 21 September.
Source: Staten Island Advance
Govt doesn’t appeal NY judge’s decision on Muslim scholar’s visit
|8/24/2006, 5:35 p.m. ET
The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — The federal government did not appeal a judge’s ruling forcing it to decide within three months whether a prominent Muslim scholar can enter the United States to appear before organizations that have invited him, a civil rights group said Thursday.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the government on behalf of Tariq Ramadan, said the government let the appeal deadline pass Wednesday, meaning it must decide by Sept. 21 whether he can visit the United States.
In June, U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty said the government’s shifting explanations for failing to act on Ramadan’s visa application were frustrating.
The judge said its assertion that national security concerns have caused the delay are inadequate without further explanation.
He said the government may exclude Ramadan if he poses a legitimate threat to national security but may not “invoke national security as a protective shroud to justify the exclusion of aliens on the basis of their political beliefs.”
Ramadan, a visiting fellow in Oxford, England, has opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq and said he sympathizes with the resistance there and in the Palestinian territories. He also has said he has no connections to terrorism, opposes Islamic extremism and promotes peaceful solutions.
On Sept. 16, 2005, Ramadan requested a nonimmigrant visa that would permit him to attend speaking engagements. His earlier visa was revoked in August 2004.
ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer said the civil rights group was pleased with the government’s decision not to appeal. He called it significant, saying the government “had until now done everything they could to avoid” deciding on the visa application.
“We are hopeful the government will grant the visa they should have granted many, many months ago,” he said.
A government spokeswoman declined to comment Thursday.