A federal appeals court in Manhattan on Friday reversed a lower court ruling that had allowed the government to bar a prominent Muslim scholar from entering the United States in 2004 on grounds he had contributed to a charity that had connections to terrorism.
The scholar, Tariq Ramadan, 46, a Swiss academic, had lined up a position to be a tenured professor at the University of Notre Dame, but the Bush administration revoked his visa. The government cited evidence that from 1998 to 2002, he donated about $1,300 to a Swiss-based charity which the Treasury Department later categorized as a terrorist organization.
Professor Ramadan had said in an affidavit that he was not aware of any connections between the charity, Association de Secours Palestinien, and terrorism, and that he believed the organization was involved in legitimate humanitarian projects.
In its ruling on Friday, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held unanimously that the government was required to “confront Ramadan with the allegation against him and afford him the subsequent 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.”
The record was unclear whether a consular officer who had denied the visa had done so, the panel said in its 52-page ruling, written by Judge Jon O. Newman and joined by Judges Wilfred Feinberg and Reena Raggi. The appeals court ordered the lower court to give Professor Ramadan an opportunity to demonstrate the claims in his affidavit.
Originally published by The New York Times