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Two Visitors Who Should Not be Allowed Through the Door
There is disturbing news on several fronts regarding how the administration is handling the competing pressures as it seeks to promote democracy and fight Islamist extemism at the same time. The first is a state visit by the president of Kazakhstan. The second is the possible visit of the new leading light of the Muslim Brotherhood, Tariq Ramadan, something of a rock star in European Muslim communities but still a radical Islamist who poses as a moderate.

President Bush's decision, as outlined in the Washington Post is to not only invite Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev for a state visit but to have him to Camp David. Here we have one of the most corrupt agents of the former Soviet Union, accused of stealing tens of millions of dollars while jailing opponents and stifling all manner of civil liberties, now a treated as a great friend.

It is important that Nazabayev helped secure an atomic arsenal, no doubt. But is he really the type of leader one wants to legitimize as a "good friend" when he represents nothing the U.S. should stand for? Like Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, without his oil Nazarbayev would be just one more odious dictator that one would ignore, or at least certainly not fete at the president's private residence. The fact that Kazakhstan is now a base of operations for Viktor Bout, who is arming radical the radical Islamist regime in Somalia, also seems to be forgotten.

With regard to Ramdan, the U.S. government must decide by Sept. 21 whether to grant him a non-immigrant visa to visit the United States for a speaking tour. The government failed to appeal a New York district court ruling that it had to formally make a decision on the visa application, rather than simply failing to act on the request. According to press reportsthe ACLU supported Ramadan's request for a ruling.

It is true that Ramadan is charismatic, articulate and a media star. He is also the most visible face of the new generation of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded by his grandfather. The Brotherhood is skilled in the double games of moderate political discourse while aiding and abetting radical Islamists, and Ramandan is one of the best.

Allowing him in would be a mistake for several reasons. Primarily, it would be a victory for the Brotherhood and its front groups operating in the United States. It would also give a platform for Ramadan's now-famous ability to use come across as moderate where needed and radical in closed sessions. Giving the enemy the opportunity to radicalize cadres here seems unwise, at the least.

As is consistently the case, the classified information on Ramadan's activities that could help explain his exclusion are not made part of the record in this debate, limiting the public reasons that can be given. But at a time when we are facing an external threat, allowing a spokesperson for radical Islamists to travel and speak is foolish.

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