A coalition of scholarly and civil liberties groups plan to urge President Obama today to abandon the Bush administration's approach of blocking the visas of foreign scholars and writers who hold controversial views, The New York Times reported. The Times said that the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Association of University Professors, the PEN American Center and other groups will send a letter to the new administration today saying that the policy of excluding scholars like Tariq Ramadan “compromises the vitality of academic and political debate in the United States at a time when that debate is exceptionally important." The Bush administration blocked Ramadan's entry to the United States, where he was supposed to take a job at the University of Notre Dame, in 2004, saying he had contributed to a charity believed to have ties to terrorism, and the groups are pressing the Obama administration to take a stance in their lawsuit over his case, which is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit next week.
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