An apostate who is critical of Islam is persona non grata to the Ikhwan. via Brandeis Cancels Plan to Give Honorary Degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Critic of Islam – NYTimes.com.
Facing growing criticism, Brandeis University said Tuesday that it had reversed course and would not award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a campaigner for women’s rights and a fierce critic of Islam, who has called the religion “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death.”
“We cannot overlook that certain of her past statements are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values,” the university said in a statement released eight days after it had announced that Ms. Hirsi Ali and four other people would be honored at its commencement on May 18.
Apparently then can overlook the nearly dozen members of CAIR convicted of terrorism or deported for terror support and have no problem hosting a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood-founded MSA on campus.
The university said that the president of Brandeis, Frederick M. Lawrence, discussed the matter with Ms. Hirsi Ali on Tuesday, and that she “is welcome to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue.” Universities consider it important to make a distinction between inviting a speaker who may air unpopular or provocative views that the institution does not endorse, and awarding an honorary degree, which is more akin to affirming the body of a recipient’s work.
Attempts to reach Ms. Hirsi Ali late Tuesday by email and telephone were unsuccessful.
At first, it was bloggers who noted and criticized the plan to honor Ms. Hirsi Ali, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Within a few days, a Brandeis student started an online petition against the decision at Change.org, drawing thousands of signatures. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights and advocacy group, took note, contacting its members though email and social media, and urging them to complain to the university.
On Tuesday, a student newspaper, The Justice, reported on the controversy, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations sent a letter to Dr. Lawrence, referring to Ms. Hirsi Ali as a “notorious Islamophobe.”
“She is one of the worst of the worst of the Islam haters in America, not only in America but worldwide,” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the group, said in an interview on Tuesday. “I don’t assign any ill will to Brandeis. I think they just kind of got fooled a little bit.”
In its statement, Brandeis said, “For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of” Ms. Hirsi Ali’s record of anti-Islam statements, though those comments have been fairly widely publicized.
“You would think that someone at Brandeis would have learned to use Google,” said Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Arab studies at Columbia University, who said he thought Brandeis had arrived at the right position: not awarding a degree, but welcoming Ms. Hirsi Ali to speak.
Having drawn fire for inviting Ms. Hirsi Ali, Brandeis may now take criticism from other camps, whether for disavowing Ms. Hirsi Ali’s views, or for giving in to Muslim activists.
Even some of Ms. Hirsi Ali’s critics say they understand her hostility to Islam, given her experiences, though they think she goes too far. A native of Somalia, she has written and spoken extensively of her experience as a Muslim girl in East Africa, including undergoing genital cutting, a practice she has vigorously opposed, and her family’s attempts to force her to marry a man against her wishes.
She moved to the Netherlands as a young woman, and she was later elected to the Dutch Parliament. She wrote the screenplay for “Submission,” a 2004 film critical of the treatment of Muslim women. Shortly after its release, the director, Theo van Gogh, was murdered on an Amsterdam street by a radical Islamist, who pinned to the victim’s body a threat to kill Ms. Hirsi Ali as well.
More than 85 of about 350 faculty members at Brandeis signed a letter asking for Ali to be removed from the list of honorary degree recipients. And an online petition created Monday by students at the school of 5,800 had gathered thousands of signatures from inside and outside the university as of Tuesday afternoon.
“This is a real slap in the face to Muslim students,” said senior Sarah Fahmy, a member of the Muslim Student Association who created the petition said before the university withdrew the honor.
So there you have it. Hamas-linked CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood-founded MSA can force a university to silence any critic of Islam. And the NY Crimes gets comment from Former PLO operative Rashid Khalidi.
Hirsi Ali responds: They simply wanted me to be silenced.
I wish to dissociate myself from the university’s statement, which implies that I was in any way consulted about this decision. On the contrary, I was completely shocked when President Frederick Lawrence called me — just a few hours before issuing a public statement — to say that such a decision had been made.
What was initially intended as an honor has now devolved into a moment of shaming. Yet the slur on my reputation is not the worst aspect of this episode. More deplorable is that an institution set up on the basis of religious freedom should today so deeply betray its own founding principles. The “spirit of free expression” referred to in the Brandeis statement has been stifled here, as my critics have achieved their objective of preventing me from addressing the graduating Class of 2014. Neither Brandeis nor my critics knew or even inquired as to what I might say. They simply wanted me to be silenced. I regret that very much.
Not content with a public disavowal, Brandeis has invited me “to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.” Sadly, in words and deeds, the university has already spoken its piece. I have no wish to “engage” in such one-sided dialogue. I can only wish the Class of 2014 the best of luck — and hope that they will go forth to be better advocates for free expression and free thought than their alma mater.
More via …how to contact Brandeis:
…you can leave a message with the President, Fred Lawrence. He has a public Facebook page, on which I’ve left the following message (you have to “like” the page first)
His email address is also public: firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can find a general email contact form (a box to fill in) here.
Also at @BrandeisU on Twitter.
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