Keeping America safe from foreign poets


Washington Post: “Poetry can be dangerous,” Rumi said, and U.S. Homeland Security isn’t taking any chances.

The Jordanian-British poet Amjad Nasser had been invited to speak at New York University this fall, but on Sept. 27, he was questioned for two hours at London’s Heathrow airport and then prevented from flying to the United States.

Sinan Antoon, the NYU professor who had invited Mr. Nasser to deliver the inaugural address at the Gallatin Global Writers series … said the notion that Nasser might pose a threat to the United States is “ridiculous — unless poetry poses a threat to U.S. interests. He is an internationally recognized poet and a highly respected cultural figure in the Arab world.”

About 25 years ago Nasser …   applied for a visa to participate in a conference at Harvard University, but his application was denied. He said he was told by a press officer in the American embassy in London that his name resembled the name of someone forbidden from entering the United States.

Your Comment