By Yasmin Nouh
A small group of about a dozen protesters gathered outside the Embassy Suites in Anaheim where a prominent Muslim theologian was scheduled to deliver a lecture on Shariah – the Islamic legal code akin to canon law in Christianity or Judaic law in Judaism. The Islamic Shura Council of Southern California invited Dr. Tariq Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University and a man who was once banned from entering the United States.
Many audience members welcomed his words, with frequent head nods and smiles when he delivered punchy points, but Dr. Ramadan is not welcomed everywhere. He is banned from six countries including Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. In 2004, the Bush administration invoked the Patriot Act to ban the Muslim academic from entering the United States. The State Department lifted that ban in January, 2010. Since then, Ramadan has honored multiple speaking engagements in the United States, including this year’s spring tour where he has delivered speeches in Washington D.C., New York and Massachusetts, and will end at Berkeley.
The Swiss-born, Egyptian academic is the grandson of Hassan El-Banna, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; the once outlawed group now leads the Egyptian parliament. Ramadan’s father, Said Ramadan, is attributed with bringing the Brotherhood to Germany where it spread throughout the rest of Europe.