Most Americans, including most American Christians, are woefully ill-informed about Islam. It would seem like a good idea, then, to invite one of Europe’s leading Muslim intellectuals to teach in the heartland of America at an institute devoted to peacemaking and to understanding the religious dimension of conflict. That’s what Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies thought when it named Swiss scholar Tariq Ramadan to its faculty.
The Department of Homeland Security had other ideas. It revoked Ramadan’s visa to teach in the U.S. No specific reason has been given other than a mention of a provision in the Patriot Act that bars foreigners who use a “position of prominence . . . to endorse or espouse terrorist activity.”