A Muslim scholar who had accepted a position at the University of Notre Dame had his visa revoked earlier this month at the request of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Tariq Ramadan had been scheduled to begin teaching Monday, but he learned earlier this month that his previously approved work visa had been taken away, according to Matthew V. Storin, a Notre Dame spokesman. Mr. Ramadan, a Swiss citizen who had been teaching in Geneva, had planned to arrive with his family in South Bend, Ind., last week. His furniture is already there and his children are registered for school, Mr. Storin said.
Kelly G. Shannon, a spokeswoman for the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, told the Associated Press that the visa had been revoked at the request of the Department of Homeland Security. She cited a section of immigration law that was changed by the USA Patriot Act, but she did not clarify how the law applied to Mr. Ramadan.
Mr. Ramadan has been accused by some Jewish groups of being an anti-Semite and possibly connected to terrorist groups. He has denied such allegations. He is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative Islamist political organization that was created in Egypt in 1928.
Earlier this year Time magazine named Mr. Ramadan one of the world's 100 most influential people. The author of several books, he encourages Muslims to integrate into Europe without betraying their religious values. In February, Notre Dame announced it had hired him for a full-time, tenured post at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.
As a Swiss citizen, Mr. Ramadan had been able to travel freely to the United States in the past without a visa. But to work in the country, he needed the approval of the U.S. State Department.
Mr. Storin said university officials learned a few weeks ago that the visa had been revoked. At first, they thought it might have been a bureaucratic mix-up. But after checking into the matter, they realized it was not. "This was something that was done with a certain deliberateness," Mr. Storin said.
"We're very disappointed and we're very concerned, both for him and for the Kroc Institute," Mr. Storin said. "It also raises broader issues regarding academic freedom."
Scott Appleby, the director of the Kroc Institute, said the university is asking federal officials to reconsider, or at least explain the reasons behind their decision.
In the spring, Mr. Ramadan went through a thorough security clearance and was granted a visa, Mr. Appleby said.
"We're not the CIA at this university, but we had also done our own vetting and found him free of any of the charges that have been made against him," Mr. Appleby said.
Mr. Appleby said Mr. Ramadan remains in Geneva and is not commenting to the media at the moment.