US Government Lifts Ban on Tariq Ramadan

Posted on January 20, 2010



London, January 20 2010

After more than five years of waiting, the American State Department has decided, in a document signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to lift the ban that prohibited me (as well as Professor Adam Habib from South Africa) from entering the United States.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—which, along with the American Academy for Religion, the American Association of University Professors and the PEN American Center had taken legal action against the American government—has hailed the decision is “a major victory for civil liberties” in the United States. Under the Bush administration, academics and intellectuals were frequently excluded on the false pretext of security. Today’s decision reflects the Obama administration’s willingness to reopen the United States to the rest of the world, and to permit critical debate.

Coming after nearly six years of inquiry and investigation, Secretary Clinton’s order confirms what I have affirmed and reaffirmed from day one: the first accusations of terrorist connections (subsequently dropped), then donations to Palestinian solidarity groups, were nothing more than a pretense to prohibit me from speaking critically about American government policy on American soil. The decision brings to an end a dark period in American politics that saw security considerations invoked to block critical debate through a policy of exclusion and baseless allegation.

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