Within ten days of offering Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree for her humanitarian work to protect African girls from genital mutilation and slavery, Brandeis University is rescinding that offer. They caved into pressure from a few vocal students and Islamic sympathizers who said Ali was an “Islamophobe.”
Today, Brandeis University released a cryptic statement on why they chose to change their decision:
Following a discussion today between President Frederick Lawrence and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ms. Hirsi Ali’s name has been withdrawn as an honorary degree recipient at this year’s commencement. She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world. That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values. For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of these statements earlier.
First off, how could they not be “aware of these statements earlier”? Ali has been an outspoken critic of Islam her entire public life. In fact, her work as an “advocate for women’s rights” is almost entirely composed of acts and statements against Islam. They “respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls”? From whom do they think she is protecting and defending those rights? Islam.
Second, Brandeis University has given Honorary Degrees to all sorts of people. From the Dalai Lama to Steven Speilberg to Nancy Pelosi. The likelihood that someone in that group holds a few radical or unpopular ideas is inevitable. I guarantee that the majority of their honorary degree holders are “Christianophobes,” but that doesn’t bother anyone in the tolerance community.
Third, Ali may hate Islam, but she has very good reason to. She grew up in Somalia where Islamic tradition there required that she undergo female circumcision (genital mutilation). Then her Muslim father tried to force her into marrying some man she barely knew. Islamic radicals assassinated a colleague (Theo Van Gogh) with whom she co-wrote a movie, and they used his dead body as a bulletin board to post death threats to Ali. She has received numerous other death threats as a Dutch politician, and has undergone almost continual persecution from the Muslim community. She became a naturalized citizen of the United States in April of 2013, and she speaks approvingly and lovingly of the freedom and liberty allowed her in the “West.” Here is just one example of Ali’s “Islamophobic” comments:
Measured by our western standards, Muhammad is a pervert. He is against freedom of expression. If you don’t do as he says, you will be punished. It makes me think of all those megalomaniacs in the Middle East: Bin Laden, Khomeini, Saddam. Do you think it strange that there is a Saddam Hussein? Muhammad is his example. Muhammad is an example for all Muslim men. Do you think it strange that so many Muslim men are violent?
Hmmm. I love how Islam responds to its critics. Critics say, “Islam is a violent and destructive religion.” And then Islam responds, “No, we’re not. And if you say so again, we’ll strangle you with your own intestines.” Brandeis shouldn’t have caved.
Ali is an atheist, so of course I don’t agree with everything she does or says. But that’s the beauty of not being Muslim. Everyone doesn’t have to agree with me in order to receive fair treatment.