In a major victory for civil liberties, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has signed orders that effectively end the exclusion of two prominent scholars who were barred from the United States by the Bush administration. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the denial of visas to Professors Adam Habib of the University of Johannesburg and Tariq Ramadan of St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, in separate lawsuits filed on behalf of American organizations that had invited the scholars to speak to audiences inside the United States.
“The orders ending the exclusion of Adam Habib and Tariq Ramadan are long overdue and tremendously important,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. “For several years, the United States government was more interested in stigmatizing and silencing its foreign critics than in engaging them. The decision to end the exclusion of Professors Habib and Ramadan is a welcome sign that the Obama administration is committed to facilitating, rather than obstructing, the exchange of ideas across international borders.”
See also New York Times, 20 January 2010