Thursday, March 24, 2011

Good news for a change

The Obama administration has reversed itself and will allow a prominent critic of the Afghanistan war into the country.

A prominent Afghan feminist and war critic was granted a visa to enter the United States on Thursday - by the same State Department office that turned her down last week - and belatedly started on a speaking tour that is scheduled to wind up in San Francisco.

The case of Malalai Joya is the latest of several in which the Obama administration, after at first refusing entry, has allowed a visit by a foreigner who has criticized policies of the United States or its allies.

The administration "does not engage in the practice of ideological exclusion," the State Department's legal adviser, Harold Koh, said in a letter in December to the American Civil Liberties.

President George W. Bush's administration "repeatedly used immigration laws as a means of censoring political and academic debate inside the United States," Jaffer said. "There certainly has been a very positive shift on this set of issues."

This principled woman will speak in San Francisco both Sunday evening April 9 (details here) and the following Tuesday at the University of San Francisco, 5:00 pm, Fromm, Maraschi Room.

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