Saturday, July 25, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
from pg. 330 in Grewal, Zareena A.(2009) 'Marriage in colour: race, religion and spouse selection in four American mosques', Ethnic and Racial Studies, 32:2, 323 — 345
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Federal Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of U.S. Organizations That Challenged Exclusion Of Prominent Muslim Scholar (7/17/2009)
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NEW YORK – A federal appeals court today found that the U.S. government had not adequately justified its denial of a visa to a Swiss professor and leading scholar of the Muslim world. The decision, which reverses a ruling of a lower federal court, comes in a case in which the American Civil Liberties Union contended that the government's exclusion from the U.S. of Professor Tariq Ramadan violated the First Amendment rights of organizations inside the United States that had invited Ramadan to meet with and speak to their members.
In today's ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found the First Amendment rights of U.S. organizations are at stake when foreign scholars, artists, politicians and others are excluded, quoting from a 1972 Supreme Court ruling in Kleindienst v. Mandel that the organizations have a First Amendment right to "'hear, speak, and debate with' a visa applicant." The appeals court also found that the government cannot exclude an individual from the U.S. on the basis of "material support" for terrorism without affording him the "opportunity to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that he did not know, and reasonably should not have known, that the recipient of his contributions was a terrorist organization."
"We're very pleased with the appeals court's decision. The court properly found that the exclusion of foreign scholars like Ramadan implicates the First Amendment rights of Americans, that the judiciary has a role in policing the government's exclusion of foreign scholars, and that in this case the government simply has not offered a constitutionally adequate justification for its actions," said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project, who argued the case before the appeals court. "As we've been emphasizing from the outset of this case, the exclusion of foreign scholars on ideological grounds skews and impoverishes academic and political debate inside the United States. The government should not be using the immigration laws as instruments of censorship."
Ramadan was invited to teach at the University of Notre Dame in 2004 but the U.S. government revoked his visa, citing a statute that applies to those who have "endorsed or espoused" terrorism. In January 2006, the ACLU and the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging Professor Ramadan's exclusion on behalf of the American Academy of Religion, the American Association of University Professors and the PEN American Center. After the ACLU filed suit, the government abandoned its claim that Ramadan had endorsed terrorism, but it continued to defend his exclusion on the grounds that he had made small donations to a Swiss charity that the government alleged had given money to Hamas.
"I am very gratified with the court's decision," said Ramadan. "I am eager to engage once again with Americans in the kinds of face-to-face discussions that are central to academic exchange and crucial to bridging cultural divides."
The case will now be sent back to the lower court for further proceedings, but the ACLU expressed hope that the Obama administration would end Professor Ramadan's exclusion without further litigation.
"Given today's decision, we hope that the Obama administration will immediately end Professor Ramadan's exclusion," said Melissa Goodman, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. "We also encourage the new administration to reconsider the exclusion of other foreign scholars, writers and artists who were barred from the country by the Bush administration on ideological grounds."
Attorneys on the case, now called Academy of Religion v. Napolitano, are Jaffer, Goodman, Lucas Guttentag and Judy Rabinovitz of the ACLU, Arthur Eisenberg of the NYCLU, and New York immigration lawyer Claudia Slovinsky. The lawsuit was originally brought against then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
More information about the Ramadan case and the ACLU's separate lawsuit concerning the exclusion of South African scholar Adam Habib is available online at: www.aclu.org/exclusionE-baad-e News
Tariq Ramadan's homepage
By Reem Nasr, Staff Writer
Now at 28, he is the first full-time Muslim life coordinator and chaplain serving at Princeton University.
The past academic year was Mr. Sultan’s first as a full-time chaplain. Two years ago, the university launched a pilot program to evaluate the Muslim community’s response to having a Muslim chaplain on campus. It was a part-time position for one year filled by Khalid Latif, the Muslim chaplain at New York University.
”I think that university Muslim chaplains are critical to the development of vibrant, ethical and intellectual Muslims and non-Muslims in this country,” said Mr. Sultan. “Muslim chaplains play a very critical role in shaping Islam in America.”
Mr. Sultan did not always know that he would become a chaplain. Born in North Carolina, he went to Indiana University where he majored in political science and journalism. While working as a journalist he received a contract to write “The Koran for Dummies,” published in 2004. It was then that he discovered his passion for Islamic studies.
”I found myself in the position of being a resource for young Muslims and I really enjoyed it,” said Mr. Sultan. “I decided that I wanted to work with the youth to fulfill a need in the community.”
There are about 15 official Muslim university chaplains in the country, most of whom are on the East Coast. Georgetown University was the first to hire a full-time Muslim chaplain.
Mr. Sultan is sure the number of Muslim chaplains will grow in the near future. He would like to see the phenomenon grow out of the East Coast to the rest of the nation.
”The Muslim community has dramatically increased in its presence over the past few years,” said Mr. Sultan. “Just about three to four years ago there were only five to 10 people who would come together for the Friday prayer.”
Princeton University is one of many universities to have a Muslim Students Association (MSA) on campus. It is a non-political, faith-based organization that aims at uniting Muslims on college campuses. Princeton established its chapter in 1995.
Mr. Sultan works with the MSA and other groups to facilitate programming. He explained that their programming is centered around four core ideas: spiritual and religious enrichment, service, engagement and dialogue, and community building.
For religious enrichment they offer Nights of Devotion and a Qur’anic Study Circle. For community service the students participate in Project Downtown, delivering food and supplies to the homeless in Trenton. They also host humanitarian fundraisers for regions like Gaza and Darfur.
To engage with the greater society Mr. Sultan began the Islam in Conversation lecture series, in which each month a scholar or artist or thinker visits campus. Community-building events aim to bring the Muslim student community closer together by hosting daily iftars, breaking of the fast, in the month of Ramadan and other events. Mr. Sultan hopes to increase that kind of programming next year.
He explained that most Muslim students approach him with questions about relationships and issues of identity.
”They want to know how to be a confident Muslim while preserving their values and being an active part of society,” said Mr. Sultan.
Two of the biggest misconceptions about Muslims involve violence and the subjugation of women, he said. Mr. Sultan referred to the Gallup polls about the Muslim American community by Dalia Mogahed. Ms. Mogahed is the first Muslim scarf-wearing woman to be appointed to President Obama’s administration. Mr. Sultan said that Muslims are the only faith-based community in America whose women are slightly better educated than their men. Another poll showed that Muslim attitudes toward indiscriminate violence are very similar to those of other faith communities.
”I think that these myths and misconceptions are eroding with the rise of the younger generation,” said Mr. Sultan. “They are more open-minded.”
Mr. Sultan is looking forward to a greater number of Muslim female chaplains. Among female chaplains are Al-Hajjah Khalilah Karim-Rushdan at Smith College and Mumina Kowalski at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy, Pa. One of his long-term goals is to have a female Muslim chaplain as an assistant.
Mr. Sultan has enjoyed his stay at Princeton University and hopes to continue working there in the future.
”The Muslim students have responded very well and the Muslim community here has been very hospitable and warm in their greeting of a Muslim chaplain,” said Mr. Sultan. “The students really seek me out and use me as a resource.”