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American Sociological Association: 2007 Press Release
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August 10, 2007
Political Ideology May Be the Cause of the
U.S. Government’s Failure to Admit
World-Renowned Scholar Adam Habib
to Participate in the 2007 ASA Annual Meeting
NEW YORK, NY—The United States Government has declined to act on the visa
application of world-renowned South African scholar Adam Habib, thereby
preventing him from entering the United States to participate in the American
Sociological Association’s (ASA) 102nd Annual Meeting in New York City. Dr.
Habib was scheduled to speak on Saturday, August 11, on an invited presidential
panel titled “Globalization and Resistance.”
Adam Habib is an
American-trained PhD, renowned scholar, internationally sought-after analyst,
and Executive Director of South Africa’s Human Science Research Council’s
Program on Democracy and Governance. He is also a Muslim of Indian descent who
has been a vocal critic of the U.S. war in Iraq and certain U.S.
Months ago, Professor Habib accepted an
invitation from the President of the ASA to participate in the ASA Annual
Meeting. Although, Dr. Habib has been a frequent visitor to the United States
and held a valid visa, he was turned away by U.S. officials last October after
arriving at JFK International Airport. He was coming to the United States for a
series of meetings with private research and academic organizations and U.S.
government agencies including the National Institutes of Health.
with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ASA has pressed the U.S.
State Department on Dr. Habib’s behalf to gain permission for him to enter the
United States to address the Association’s Annual Meeting which attracts over
6,000 national and international scholars. Because the U.S. government has
previously excluded other intellectuals from entry into the United States
apparently on ideological grounds, the ASA is concerned that the State
Department’s denial of a visa by its failure to act in a timely manner may also
be ideological exclusion. If so, this raises significant concerns for the
Association’s leaders and its more than 14,000 members about the fate of
Academic freedom is absolutely fundamental to the
mission of the ASA, which rests upon the ability of scholars from wide-ranging
perspectives to engage in dialog that nurtures scientific development to the
benefit of the larger society. Academic freedom is the hallmark of American
democratic culture. It has allowed scientists, intellectuals, and their
scholarly societies to flourish and create one of the world’s most dynamic
educational systems and robust knowledge-based economies. ASA opposes the use of
visa denials or de facto denials on ideological grounds, because such action
suppresses free intellectual exchange. The United States has a long and enviable
history as the world’s foremost host to scholars and supporter of intellectual
exchange with its many social and economic benefits.
The ASA expresses
its deepest disappointment and profound concern about the Department of State’s
de facto denial of a visa, which has barred Professor Adam Habib from
participating in the Association’s Annual Meeting. Such actions undermine the
willingness of numerous scientists and academics from many nations to visit the
United States and collaborate with their American colleagues. The ASA believes
this limitation on scholarly exchange erodes our nation’s reputation as a
defender of the free and open search for knowledge.
To request an
interview with ASA President Frances Fox Piven, contact Sujata Sinha, Johanna
Olexy, or Lee Herring at the ASA Annual Meeting Press Office at (212)
About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (www.asanet.org),
founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to
serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science
and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.