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July 15, 2005

Eminent British scholar turned away from JFK

The Guardian reports that immigration officials at New York's JFK International Airport refused to allow Professor Zaki Badawi, a world authority on Islamic theology and noted ecumenist, to enter the United States.

Dr Badawi has visited the US several times, most recently in 2003. He was given an honorary knighthood, and in 2003 was a guest of the Queen at a state banquet for the US president, George Bush. Earlier this week, Dr Badawi joined other British religious leaders, including Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, in publicly condemning the London bomb blasts, which killed at least 54 people. [...]

The US Customs and Border Protection office said Dr Badawi had been refused entry to the country based on information indicating that he was "inadmissible".

As the unofficial spiritual leader of Britain's Muslim community, the 82-year-old Bawadi enjoys a stature comparable to that of the Archbishop of Canterburry. He is also a vocal opponent of Islamic extremism:

When Bin Laden issued a fatwa on Americans, he dismissed it as being without religious authority and declared acerbically: "Fatwas have become a cheap business. Since Ayatollah Khomeini issued his against Salman Rushdie, everyone has opened a fatwa shop." It is 14 years since Bradford's Muslims publicly burned Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses. It set their community on a collision course with liberal Britain and brought Badawi to prominence as he urged Muslims to spurn the book but save the man. He broke ranks - leading him to fear for his own life - and declared on television that if Rushdie was being chased and knocked at his door, he would give him refuge.

Nevertheless, the FBI considers Professor Bawadi inadmissable. Sounds like a display of ignorance and xenophobia worthy of Tom Friedman, doesn't it?

How embarrassing: a distinguished ally in the war on terror has been turned away from the US while Karl Rove the saboteur is allowed to roam the White House.


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This is utterly self-defeating behavior on our part. Here is an honorable man, who has voiced precisely the sorts of courageous stances against fanaticism which our government and pundits such as Friedman are forever saying must be said by Muslims if "real" reform is to occur.

And you can be sure that al-Jazeera and other Arab media will be covering this. Not to mention all the English Muslims who will read this in the Guardian and see their fears confirmed.

Are there any repercussions for the dolts who do these things??

Yes, they get promoted.

It is absolutely true that there is almost no possibility of Dr. Badawi's having been involved in the London events.

His debarring, IMHO, is meant to be a reminder to the 'moderate' Muslim community that when push comes to shove, public perception won't view their hypocritical hand-wringing very leniently.

Moreover, there is a WORLD of difference between being a renowned scholar who happens to be a Muslim and a 'renowned Islamic scholar'.

For all it's posturing, the IIS is rather irrelevant to the world of Islamic theology.

Umm, badawi's head of the muslim college in london, which makes him a scholar of islam who is a muslim So Islamic scholar = Islamic scholar in most senses of the term I can think of.

anyway, can I drop off this link to a very interesting overview of why suicide bombings are theologically unsound within the context Sunnni islam?

I'ts a quite intersting read (if you find such things interesting) and deserves more attention than it seem to be getting, considering moderates muslims never denounce suicide bombings, or something.

So would the bozo responsible for this one be the same person who put Sen. Kennedy on the no-fly list?

I feel so safe . . .

My condolences to our distinguished visitor: Sadly, we are currently experiencing war hysteria, and the values for which our soldiers are supposedly fighting are on "temporary" hold.

Remember to cite this particular incident the next time you see some idiot spouting off about how "moderate Muslims need to condemn the fanatics".

It is absolutely true that there is almost no possibility of Dr. Badawi's having been involved in the London events.

What the hell does that mean?

hypocritical hand-wringing

Why hypocritical ? Explain yourself

If you ever get sacked from Macdonald's I'm sure you've got the kind of logical mind that the Immigration service is looking for.

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