Professor Adam Habib has been barred from speaking at US universities, presumably for his critique of the US and Middle East foreign policies. Today, After the government moved to dismiss the case, Judge George O’Toole of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ruled that the case will proceed. A South African scholar, Habib has written at the Huffington Post:
Am I [a] critic of the U.S. government? Absolutely. …But I have also been equally critical of other governments — including my own. Is that a rationale for excluding me? I would hope not. Can you imagine if suddenly American academics and citizens were deported from South Africa because they criticized the government’s policies on HIV/AIDS? If our governments get in the habit of excluding academics, intellectuals, journalists, and citizens of other countries for ideological reasons, then we are on a slippery slope to the abrogation of all kinds of freedoms. …
Good news on the free speech front …In June, the government argued that it didn’t have to explain or justify its decision to bar Professor Habib from attending speaking events in the United States based on vague national security grounds. … Judge O’Toole agreed with the ACLU that the government has to supply a valid justification for barring Professor Habib because his exclusion harms our clients’ First Amendment rights. Specifically, their right to hear Professor Habib’s ideas and engage him in face-to-face debate (our clients are the American Sociological Association, the American Association of University Professors, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Massachusetts, and the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights – all of whom have invited Professor Habib to speak in the United States).
Read about more First Amendment cases and incidents that impact college students in NCAC’s While You Were Out: Censorship Over Summer Vacation.