Tariq Ramadan's bid to gain a visa to come to the United States received a new hearing today before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. In 2004, Notre Dame University offered a job to the grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, but the Bush administration refused to grant him entry.
A contribution from Ramadan to an alleged Hamas front was part of the administration's justification. A judge's 2007 order upholding that decision is the subject of today's argument.
Meanwhile, a group of U.S. academics and civil libertarians is lobbying the Obama administration to reverse course. They wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano protesting what they called "ideological exclusion" of Ramadan and others, saying it "compromises the vitality of academic and political debate in the United States at a time when that debate is exceptionally important."
But in the Netherlands, where Ramadan lives, Rotterdam city officials are reportedly investigating statements he has made that are considered anti-gay and anti-woman.
Gay Krant magazine has excerpts from recordings of Ramadan in which he calls homosexuality "a disturbance, a faulty functioning and an imbalance" and said women should not attract attention based on their looks. "On the street, thus says the law, women must keep their eyes fixed on the pavement."
Ramadan acts as an integration advisor to Rotterdam officials.