Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Professor of Arabic barred from returning to U.S. from Canada:
Mohammad Ramadan Hassan Salama's troubles began in June, when he arrived in Canada for what he thought was a two-day stay to change his temporary scholar visa, which was due to expire. He planned to exchange it at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto for the more coveted O-1 visa, granted only to those with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. By law, he had to go outside the country to get the visa.

But the Egyptian-born academic got a rude awakening June 20 when a consular official, without explanation, stamped "canceled'' on his temporary visa and refused to issue another visa. Instead, Salama said, he was fingerprinted, questioned and told he could not return to the United States until he received security clearance.

"It was just a shock for me,'' he said by phone on Monday. "It is very Kafkaesque. They just say, 'We will contact you.' I am Egyptian, and Egypt is a very hot country right now that has produced terrorists. They disregarded my Ph.D., my scholarship. My marriage, my kids were blindly disregarded, and I was told I could not come back."

1:23 PM