U.S media has been reporting on the Obama administration decision to continue the Bush-era decision to bar Muslim Brotherhood leader Tariq Ramadan from entering the U.S. According to a Reuters report:
A lawyer arguing on behalf of the Obama administration on Tuesday echoed Bush administration policies to back a decision to deny one of Europe’s leading Muslim intellectuals entry to the United States. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jones told a U.S. federal appeals court panel that they should uphold a decision to bar Swiss Muslim Tariq Ramadan, an Oxford University professor and a vocal critic of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, from entering the United States. Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, had hoped Tuesday’s arguments would see a reversal of Bush administration policies that they argue exclude foreign scholars from visiting the United States due to their political beliefs. Consular decisions are not subject to litigation,” Jones told the three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, broadly arguing the courts have no power to examine visa denials. The ACLU argued against a judge’s ruling in late 2007 that upheld Ramadan’s ban….” During arguments, Jones said if the courts questioned a consular officer’s decision to bar Ramadan, then that would leave the U.S. government in a “quagmire” with others seeking such reversals.When questioned how high up the chain of command Ramadan’s case had been considered by the new Obama administration, Jones only said it was “upwards in the State Department.”
As a previous post reported, the U.S. revoked Ramadan’s visas several times since 2004, initially giving no reasons but later saying it was based on a provision of the Patriot Act, and eventually stating that he supported terrorism based on 1,670 Swiss Francs ($1,946) the gave to the Swiss Association de Secours Palestinien (ASP) , an organization designated as terrorist by U.S for its support of Hamas. Although Ramadan made the donations before the group was designated. a U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the government had shown that it excluded Ramadan for legitimate reasons, stating that the law requires Ramadan to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that he no knowledge of ASP’s illegal activities.
Ramadan is an extremely important figure within the Global Muslim Brotherhood network, perhaps best described as an independent power base with sufficient stature as the son of Said Ramadan, and the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood to challenge positions taken by important Brotherhood leaders. His statements and writings have been extensively analyzed and he has been accused by critics of promoting anti-Semitism and fundamentalism, albeit by subtle means. On the other hand, his supporters promote him as as example of an Islamic reformer who is in the forefront of developing a “Euro Islam.”