(March 18, 2010) – PEN, the ACLU, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and Slate will join forces to present Tariq Ramadan’s first public appearance in the United States since he was barred from entering the country in 2004.
PEN, the ACLU, and the AAUP won a Supreme Court case against this instance of intellectual exclusionism to allow Ramadan—one of Europe’s most respected Islamic scholars and chair of Oxford University’s Islamic Department—back into the U.S.
The April 8 event will offer a unique opportunity to hear Professor Ramadan talk about issues relating to secularism, Islam, and democracy, along with author Ian Buruma, and author/Obama advisor Dalia Mogahed.
“Switzerland votes to prohibit the construction of minarets”; “France debates barring women from wearing the niqab and burqa”; “The United States seizes the assets of the largest American Muslim charities”—such headlines suggest an increasingly polarized relationship between Islam and liberal, secular democracies, especially in Europe.
Is this the full story? Is there a fundamental clash of values between secularism and Islam and between freedom of expression and freedom of religion? In what ways are Muslims living in the West contributing to democratic societies? Can Islam exist as a Western religion? Is it a Western religion already? How do we better understand the life of the Muslim community within various Western societies?
The panel which will address these questions at the Cooper Union’s Great Hall also include the journalist Ian Buruma; Dalia Mogahed, director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; and Joan Wallach Scott, a professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study and the author of “The Politics of the Veil.”
The panel will be moderated by Jacob Weisberg of Slate.
The author of more than 20 books, including Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, Islam, the West, and the Challenges of Modernity, and To Be a European Muslim, Tariq Ramadan was Professor of Islamic Studies and Luce Professor of Religion Conflict and Peacebuilding (Kroc Institute) at the University of Notre Dame.
In 2004, the Bush administration revoked his visa just days before he was scheduled to begin teaching. PEN, the American Academy of Religion, and the AAUP joined a lawsuit brought by the ACLU to challenge Professor Ramadan’s exclusion, and late last year an appeals court in New York ruled that the government had failed to provide a sufficient legal basis for its action. In the wake of that ruling, in January 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued an order that effectively ended Professor Ramadan’s exclusion.
This event is presented as part of an initiative to promote national reflection and accountability in the United States.
It also celebrates a victory of important principle—that American audiences should be able to hear directly from important figures such as Professor Ramadan.
EVENT INFO: Secularism, Islam, and Democracy: Muslims in Europe and the West
When: Thursday April 8, 2010
Where: The Great Hall at Cooper Union, 7 East 7th Street, New York City
What time: 7:30 p.m.
With Ian Buruma, Dalia Mogahed, Tariq Ramadan, Joan Wallach Scott, and Jacob Weisberg
Tickets: $15/$10 for PEN/ACLU Members and students with valid ID. Tickets available through www.smarttix.com or (212) 868-4444. They may also be purchased at the door. Seating is by general admission, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Co-sponsored by Cooper Union, AAUP, ACLU, and Slate