Ayaan Hirsi Ali Replies to Brandeis University – Peter Robinson

 

From a statement that appeared late yesterday:

Yesterday Brandeis University decided to withdraw an honorary degree they were to confer upon me next month during their Commencement exercises. 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.

When Brandeis approached me with the offer of an honorary degree, I accepted partly because of the institution’s distinguished history; it was founded in 1948, in the wake of World War II and the Holocaust, as a co-educational, nonsectarian university at a time when many American universities still imposed rigid admission quotas on Jewish students. I assumed that Brandeis intended to honor me for my work as a defender of the rights of women against abuses that are often religious in origin. For over a decade, I have spoken out against such practices as female genital mutilation, so-called “honor killings,” and applications of Sharia Law that justify such forms of domestic abuse as wife beating or child beating. Part of my work has been to question the role of Islam in legitimizing such abhorrent practices. So I was not surprised when my usual critics, notably the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), protested against my being honored in this way.

What did surprise me was the behavior of Brandeis. Having spent many months planning for me to speak to its students at Commencement, the university yesterday announced that it could not “overlook certain of my past statements,” which it had not previously been aware of. Yet my critics have long specialized in selective quotation – lines from interviews taken out of context – designed to misrepresent me and my work. It is scarcely credible that Brandeis did not know this when they initially offered me the degree.

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.

Forceful and principled, but gracious.  

Brandeis just deprived its graduating class of the opportunity to hear from a brilliant and important woman.

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  1. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Let’s take the cowardice of large segments of academe as a given. What Brandeis did was shameful.

    That brings us to an interesting question. Ayaan Hirsi Ali past statements and actions are not secret by any means. The furor from the usual suspects was entirely predictable. The question then is “Why didn’t the Brandeis powers that be have the wit to predict it and not invite her to begin with?”

    • #1
  2. The Mugwump Inactive
    The Mugwump
    @TheMugwump

    Nick Stuart:  The question then is “Why didn’t the Brandeis powers that be have the wit to predict it and not invite her to begin with?”

    The bureaucrat mind is shackled by rules and regulations rather than open to insight.  Such people are as mentally dull as they are morally spineless.  They are more ashamed of being politically incorrect than displaying moral cowardice in public.  Righteousness is in short supply these days, especially in academia. 

     

    • #2
  3. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    “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 . . “

    If the university’s president was honest he would  have said,”We wanted to honor her, but the Muslim Brotherhood said ‘No’.”

    • #3
  4. user_241697 Member
    user_241697
    @FlaggTaylor

    Does anyone know what the statements were to which Brandeis objected?

    • #4
  5. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Political correctness 1

    American freedom -1

    Yes -1 instead of zero, because it is a zero-sum game.

    • #5
  6. Steve in Richmond Member
    Steve in Richmond
    @SteveinRichmond

    Between Mozilla and Brandeis the lack of moral courage is stunning.  And depressing.

    • #6
  7. Arthur Herman Contributor
    Arthur Herman
    @ArthurHerman

    Brandeis just deprived its graduating class of the opportunity to hear from a brilliant and important woman.

     I know Ayaan well,  we’ve done panels together at the Center for Independent Studies in Australia.   This is more than an act of cowardice on the part of Brandeis and its president Fred Lawrence, and fascist bullying by CAIR and other related groups.   It’s another example of liberalism’s war on women, and liberals’ implicit endorsement of genital mutilation,  honor killings, etc as long as it’s done to non-white women by non-whites. What’s next?  Brandeis giving the honorary degree to KSM instead? The lights are going out in the universities and colleges around this country.    It’s up to alumni at these once-distinguished schools to turn them back on again, by calling them to account and fighting to restore genuine freedom of thought and inquiry–and some moral backbone.

    • #7
  8. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Brandeis can’t use google?

    • #8
  9. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    Especially ironic, given that the university is named for a SCOTUS justice famous for two things: Defending freedom of speech, and defending the “little guy” against the crushing power of big institutions.

    • #9
  10. Group Captain Mandrake Inactive
    Group Captain Mandrake
    @GroupCaptainMandrake

    Nick Stuart:The question then is “Why didn’t the Brandeis powers that be have the wit to predict it and not invite her to begin with?”

     Jim Geraghty made the same point on yesterday’s Three-martini Lunch podcast.  I really don’t believe that Brandeis’ administration was not aware of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s views and had quite rightly determined that this was a person upon whom it would be entirely proper to confer an honorary degree.  The response to the various whiners who petitioned against the degree should have been “sod off” (or the US equivalent).

    • #10
  11. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    Flagg Taylor:Does anyone know what the statements were to which Brandeis objected?

     As I understand it, Brandeis’s statement was not specific.  More shame on its president.

    • #11
  12. user_124695 Inactive
    user_124695
    @DavidWilliamson

    Ms Ali should accept this as a badge of honor, to add to her collection.

    I was struck last nite in her interview with Megan Kelly at how gracious she was, compared with the sniveling CAIR representative – the contrast couldn’t have been greater.

    It’s hard to sink lower when you are already on the floor – such is the state of American academia that an honorary degree is of dubious value, anyway.

    • #12
  13. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    For over a decade, I have spoken out against such practices as female genital mutilation, so-called “honor killings,” and applications of Sharia Law that justify such forms of domestic abuse as wife beating or child beating.

    The only reason anyone ever heard of her is because she speaks out against the role Islam plays in abusing women. That is why she is famous and that is why CAIR wants to silence her. If you did not know that she says things that CAIR doesn’t want exposed, then you probably do not know who she is and certainly would not be inviting her to speak at your Commencement.

    • #13
  14. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    That was a great statement.  Hopefully, enough people will hear it.  Ideally, some other university would give her an opportunity to set up a contrast.  I don’t think that will happen.

    • #14
  15. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Son of Spengler:Especially ironic, given that the university is named for a SCOTUS justice famous for two things: Defending freedom of speech, and defending the “little guy” against the crushing power of big institutions.

     Also, Justice Brandeis was active in the Zionist movement. That makes me wonder, were he alive today would CAIR protest Justice Brandeis speaking at Brandeis University? Probably, and the university would most likely give in to those protests as well.

    • #15
  16. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Vance Richards:

    Son of Spengler:Especially ironic, given that the university is named for a SCOTUS justice famous for two things: Defending freedom of speech, and defending the “little guy” against the crushing power of big institutions.

    Also, Justice Brandeis was active in the Zionist movement. That makes me wonder, were he alive today would CAIR protest Justice Brandeis speaking at Brandeis University? Probably, and the university would most likely give in to those protests as well.

     Vance,

    Very good point.  I don’t think this thing is over.  I don’t know what’s to be but Brandeis can’t just slip out from under this.  Maybe David Horowitz and Freedom Center would be the ideal people to jump up and down on Brandeis.

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing President Lawrence resign.  Mindless, Spineless, and Vain is no way to go through life.  Maybe he needs some time to think about it.

    Regards,

    Jim 

    • #16
  17. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    CAIR is a terrorist front organization and you can read about it here:

    http://www.danielpipes.org/2811/cair-founded-by-islamic-terrorists

    Of course you might chose to deny any honor to a critic of Islam, than to have your university burned to the ground. Or have your non-Islamic students slaughtered.  Dismissing the Islamist from the campus and arranging for security is beyond the imagination of administration of Brandeis. Whole lot of them are sniveling craven cowards.

    • #17
  18. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Flagg Taylor: Does anyone know what the statements were to which Brandeis objected?

    Likely, it’s some of those quoted in the change.org petition that got started.One of the quotes is from a 2007 interview Ali did with Reason, in which she said — admittedly — some very harsh things about Islam (that violence is inherent to it, that there’s no such thing as a moderate Muslim, only a passive one, etc).

    To be clear, I don’t think Brandeis should have uninvited her and that the decision — whether based on cowardice, poor research, or some combination of the two — reflects very badly on the school.

    • #18
  19. Group Captain Mandrake Inactive
    Group Captain Mandrake
    @GroupCaptainMandrake

    Ryan M:Ideally, some other university would give her an opportunity to set up a contrast.

     Hillsdale?  Seriously, who else would have the backbone?

    • #19
  20. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    There are a mere handful of people I would put on my list of personal heroes and so would say to Hirsi Ali that in no way do I perceive a slur has been made upon her reputation.

    • #20
  21. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    David Williamson: I was struck last nite in her interview with Megan Kelly at how gracious she was, compared with the sniveling CAIR representative – the contrast couldn’t have been greater.

     I’m watching the Kelly interview (the CAIR guy isn’t in the video, so I can’t compare) and I can’t help but notice that one of the things she wanted to say was to tell the women in the audience how priveleged they are; how good they have it.

    Something else the average academic probably doesn’t want them to hear.

    • #21
  22. Elephas Americanus Member
    Elephas Americanus
    @ElephasAmericanus

    This is the endgame of Islamist terrorism:  People are terrified of mounting any opposition to the goals of Islamism.  When faced with the choice of angering 1) conservative Americans whose most severe reaction would be a strongly (but politely) worded e-mail or 2) vocal, politically militant Islamists who have the mass media’s ear – along with proven ties to Islamist groups that would not hesitate blowing up the entire Brandeis Class of 2014 for the simple fact that it is not 100% Muslim –  I am not really surprised that Brandeis chose to appease the American wing of Hamas (dba, CAIR). Conservatives are bringing a copy of Emily Post to militant Islam’s bomb-and-AK47-and-planes-through-skyscrapers fight.

    • #22
  23. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    I don’t agree with everything Ali says (for example, some of her views on religion).  Yet I have great admiration for her; and, to be fair, many of her views are the result of her own sad experiences.

    But since when has complete conformity of thought been a criterion for an honorary degree? She’s more than worthy.

    The cravenness of the modern American university is a sad sight to behold.

    • #23
  24. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” doesn’t apply when Islamic groups bully Jewish universities.

    • #24
  25. Group Captain Mandrake Inactive
    Group Captain Mandrake
    @GroupCaptainMandrake

    Umbra Fractus:

    I’m watching the Kelly interview (the CAIR guy isn’t in the video, so I can’t compare) and I can’t help but notice that one of the things she wanted to say was to tell the women in the audience how priveleged they are; how good they have it.

    Can you post a link to the interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  I was only able to find a composite of the opening and closing discussion with one of those spoof Hitler movies in the middle (you know, a version of “Downfall” where you see Hitler raving in German with non-corresponding English subtitles that fit whatever is the point of the joke).  Here is the interview with the unappetizing Ibrahim Hooper.  

    • #25
  26. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Shame shame shame on Brandeis.  Their contemptible position can be described with one damning word : Dhimmitude.  Someday soon the Left will rue the day they made this bargain with the devil.

    • #26
  27. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    Arthur Herman:

    It’s another example of liberalism’s war on women, and liberals’ implicit endorsement of genital mutilation, honor killings, etc as long as it’s done to non-white women by non-whites. 

     I would disagree slightly with that statement. Having attended a very liberal college, there was plenty of activism against genital mutilation, arranged marriages, and the general subjugation of women in many Muslim countries. However, the party line was always that these were behaviors of a few “bad apples,” not the logical consequence of an entire religion or culture.

    For modern academia, Hirsi Ali’s sin is painting with a broad brushstroke, and taking Islam as a whole to be a force for evil (or at least, not good). That is simply anathema to an academic tradition which assumes that any non-Western group or religion must be naturally good at its core, and that any bad outcomes result from the rare, exceptional malicious actor (who may himself have been pushed over the edge by the white man).

    • #27
  28. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    tabula rasa:I don’t agree with everything Ali says (for example, some of her views on religion).

    Which religion is that, of which you don’t agree with her opinion? Christian, Hindu, Taoism, Judaism, Buddhism, Wicca? There are so many religions you need to be more explicit. There is only one though that encourages the wholesale slaughter of the unbelievers. ISLAM.

    • #28
  29. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    Kay of MT:

    tabula rasa:I don’t agree with everything Ali says (for example, some of her views on religion).Which religion is that, of which you don’t agree with her opinion? Christian, Hindu, Taoism, Judaism, Buddhism, Wicca? There are so many religions you need to be more explicit. There is only one though that encourages the wholesale slaughter of the unbelievers. ISLAM.

    All I was saying is that while she is an atheist, I am not:  thus, she and I disagree on whether there is a supreme being. 

    You are certainly correct that Ali has, quite rightly, been extremely critical of Islam.

    My point is that even though Ali and I undoubtedly disagree on whether God exists, she is a worthy recipient of an honorary degree.  If I ran a university, I would give her one.

    The right is able to deal with a lack of total conformity much better than the left.

    • #29
  30. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Mendel: For modern academia, Hirsi Ali’s sin is painting with a broad brushstroke, and taking Islam as a whole to be a force for evil (or at least, not good). That is simply anathema to an academic tradition which assumes that any non-Western group or religion must be naturally good at its core, and that any bad outcomes result from the rare, exceptional malicious actor (who may himself have been pushed over the edge by the white man).

    I second this strongly.

    • #30

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