Published on Friday, April 2, 2010 by The
A Once-Unwelcome Scholar Speaks in US
State Dept. lifts ban on his entry
by James F. Smith
CAMBRIDGE — More than three years after he was barred from entering the United States, South African political science professor Adam Habib finally got to speak to audiences around
Adam Habib, a South African scholar and opponent of the Iraq war who was denied entry to the United States under a provision of the Patriot Act, spoke at
In January, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton withdrew the ban on a visa for Habib, without explaining why. Several
Addressing a small group at
He sounded more like a man making a sentimental homecoming to a country where he lived for three years and earned his doctoral degree.
“For me, the
Melissa Goodman, an ACLU attorney who argued Habib’s case, said Habib is among dozens of academics, artists, and activists excluded from the United States with no explanation after Sept. 11, 2001, under a provision of the Patriot Act.
She said she examined the writings of Habib, who had come to the United States in 2006 on behalf of a South African research council to meet with groups including the World Bank and the Brookings Institution, and looked through his record, but found nothing to justify his exclusion.
“I very confidently decided that the government was crazy, that there was no legitimate reason to bar him on terrorism grounds,’’ she said.
The American interest at stake, Goodman said, goes beyond protecting Habib’s civil rights.
“We see this as a form of censorship,’’ she said. “It actually prevents people like you from hearing diverse views. It is imposing an ideological litmus test at the border.’’
State Department spokesman Darby Holladay said yesterday in an e-mail that while the government would not disclose the reasons for the original ban, “Both the president and the secretary of state have made it clear that the US government is pursuing a new relationship with Muslim communities based on mutual interest and mutual respect.’’
Habib said that when he arrived in Washington last week, his treatment was decidedly different from the night in 2006 when two armed guards escorted him back onto a plane to
“So I went from one extreme to the other,’’ Habib said. “I felt like a rock star.’’
Habib, deputy vice chancellor at the University of Johannesburg, met with academic groups yesterday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and
He told the Harvard audience that he suspected he was barred entry because of his very public opposition to the
Habib said the cost of
With human rights violations becoming more transnational, civil rights defenders such as the ACLU, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have to work together more closely against them, Habib said.
“When Iranian scholars are detained, all of us have to be heard. In
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URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/04/02-1
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