In 2004, the Bush administration barred prominent Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan from entering the United States, accusing him of giving money to a charity that funds terrorists. For the last six years, Ramadan has been fighting the ban, saying the charity was not on any terrorist watch lists at the time and he was unaware of any ties to terrorists.
The Obama administration lifted the restrictions against Ramadan in January, and last week he made his first visit to the US since the ban was reversed. Watch excerpts from his April 12 address at Georgetown University and his conversation with journalists, including Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly managing editor Kim Lawton. Ramadan discusses fear of the religious “other” and the need for policies that foster a better understanding of Islam, US relations with the Islamic world in the wake of President Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo, and the new visibility of Islam in the West and current debates in Europe over whether to ban the burqa, the niqab, and other Islamic garments.