Tag: Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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Americans continue to reel at the speed of the Taliban’s largely unmolested march through most of Afghanistan (but not all). We recoil at the beheadings, rapes, murders, child sex trade, and other atrocities committed by Taliban fighters. Americans remain shell-shocked at the sheer incompetence of the Biden Administration’s handling of the entire matter since taking […]

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Ali and Weiss: Two More Podcasts Worth Trying

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is something rare and beautiful, a truly heroic figure who has faced life-threatening adversity without flinching, and without surrendering an ounce of dignity or resolve. I recently listened to her June 3 podcast with Megyn Kelly, hosted on Ricochet, about Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, and appreciated the common sense expressed both by Ms. Ali and Ms. Kelly. As one of the few conservatives who has never heard Megyn Kelly speak, I was impressed by her thoughtfulness and intelligence — and, in particular, by her willingness to bluntly reject the absurd claims of the gender identity movement. And Ms. Ali’s is a voice I hope is never silenced; I applaud Ricochet for providing her a platform and hope she does well.

I also listened to a June 16 Podcast by Bari Weiss and her guest Martin Gurri. This podcast appears not to be hosted on Ricochet, so I found it here: Revolt of the Public. What particularly struck me about this interview was Ms. Weiss’s professionalism: she asks intelligent questions, follows up when appropriate, and comes across as a serious woman and a serious interviewer. Mr. Gurri, an ex-CIA employee who left Cuba as a child and has, as he put it, witnessed both right-wing and left-wing totalitarianism, speaks sensibly and optimistically (albeit with some caution) about America. His views on the Internet — that it is transformative and destructive — in many ways comport with my own. I found his rejection of the popular notion that America is a racist country refreshing. I’ll probably read his book, The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a research fellow, former member of the Dutch parliament, and author of the new book Prey: Immigration, Islam and the Erosion of Women’s Rights. She shares her story with Bridget and discusses fleeing an arranged marriage, seeking asylum in the Netherlands, the methods women in oppressive countries have developed to cope with or avoid being harassed, and the failure that occurs in our society when women don’t feel safe. She and Bridget have a fascinating conversation ranging from the homelessness problem in the US, to the effect the failure to assimilate the refugees in European countries is having on public safety – especially for women, and the fact that any conversation about these topics is considered taboo and likely to get you slapped with the label of classist, racist, or Islamophobic. They cover why critical race theory is a toxic ideology, how individuals are no longer being held responsible for their own actions, “white flight,” how men don’t have the same experience of feeling like prey, where feminists have gone wrong, and why America has done more things right than wrong.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, founder of the AHA Foundation, and author of the books Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights, Infidel: My Lifeand Nomad: From Islam to America – A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations. Ms. Hirsi Ali shares insights from her upbringing and early education in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, as well as her courageous immigration to the West, where she experienced an intellectual awakening that led to human rights activism and a seat in the Dutch Parliament. They discuss why all human rights and free speech advocates should be concerned about the rise and growing militancy of political correctness and “cancel culture” in the West, its impact on reasoned public debate, and what educators need to teach young people about the importance of open mindedness and the free exchange of ideas. Lastly, Ms. Hirsi Ali reviews the central theme of her latest book, Prey, which explores the long-term ramifications of mass migration from Islamic-majority countries on the rights of women in Europe, given the different value systems between these countries and the West, with its commitment to the rule of law, rights-centered constitutionalism, science, and religious liberty. She concludes with a reading from the book.

Stories of the Week: The Biden administration is ordering states to continue federally required standardized tests this year, though there is flexibility on the exam format and accountability standards. Is this an opportunity for innovation in student testing? All members of a San Francisco-area school board resigned after mocking parents at a virtual meeting that they didn’t realize was already being broadcast live. Was this an isolated incident or a window into their general outlook toward families?

The Heroine and the Pissant

 

The heroine is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whom Peter Robinson featured along with Peter Berkowitz on his latest Uncommon Knowledge program. It was a pleasure listening to these three thoughtful, serious people discussing timeless ideas of overwhelming and immediate importance. It was also a stark reminder that in this hyper-political moment, but also in our general age of facile discourse and ceaseless sensationalism, not everyone is obsessed with the shallow hyperbole of contrived identitarianism and manufactured grievance: there remain enduring and worthy ideas, and people of substance continue to engage them.

I have followed the career of Ayaan Hirsi Ali since the English-language publication of Infidel, her autobiography, in 2007. This is a woman who has experienced the oppressive and crushing ideology of political Islam; lived it, escaped it, and then risked her life to expose it. As people are murdered in France this week for the crime of insulting the barbaric doctrines of an intolerant faith, Ms. Ali and a handful of people like her accept the very real risks of being prominent and outspoken critics of sharia law and Islamic supremacism.

FIRE’s Worst for Free Speech Spotlight: Brandeis University

 

And now for the final installment of my Ricochet-exclusive spotlight on FIRE’s “worst” list for campus free speech in 2014. For my third and final spotlight, I want to introduce readers to the single college that has made the worst list more than any other college (finally edging out Syracuse University, which is a twotime recipient of this dubious honor). Here’s the entry for Brandeis:

Brandeis University

An Evening at Yale with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

 

Last evening I attended a lecture at Yale sponsored by the William F. Buckley Program (its goal being to promote intellectual diversity at the school) and delivered by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, currently a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. I’d been unaware of the scheduled lecture until reading about a controversy triggered by an open letter from Yale’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) which denounced the invitation to Hirsi Ali because of her alleged history of hate speech and intolerance. The letter backfired on the MSA when a number of the 35 other Yale student groups it claimed had endorsed the letter stated that they had done no such thing.

Although the MSA action received both local media and political blog coverage, there were no protestors outside the lecture hall tonight (though there was a Fox News Channel truck) and the audience, which contained Muslim students, was orderly.

Left-Wing McCarthyism at the University of Hawaii

 

HawaiiAs a graduate student at Texas A&M, and later at Princeton, I studied how unfair allegations and unfair investigative practices had chilled freedom of speech in the United States during the McCarthy era in the 1950s. Having suffered from the political repression of China’s Cultural Revolution, I can testify to the collective madness that destroyed the lives of millions. I consider McCarthyism a similar political horror, though generated by the American Right and less destructive than the Chinese nightmare.

Yet today, more than half a century after the death of McCarthy (and, we had thought, his method of waging politics) Left-wing McCarthyism dominates the discourse of too many college campuses, supposedly the home of learning. Unfortunately, the campus where I teach, the University of Hawaii, is among them.  With collective identities of gender, race, and class dominating practically every discussion, both in and out of classes, professors seek to protect themselves from attack from the politically correct through ritual obeisance. Liberal arts education is no longer even slightly “liberal,” (a word derived from the Latin “libertas,” or liberty, subsequently resurrected by the civic culture of early modern Europe). Students are systematically discouraged from questioning the new orthodoxy, sometimes through bullying and sometimes through the threat of ostracism, enforced by “speech codes.” Administrators have at best become apathetic in promoting a free exchange of ideas and have signed on as sensitivity police.

 Consider Rutgers, “The State University of New Jersey.” Condoleezza Rice had been scheduled to give the commencement address this spring. An African-American success story, Dr. Rice has served the academy as a professor of Political Science and Provost at Stanford University and has served America as both National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. Who can doubt that, having risen from modest beginnings in the hothouse environment of the 1960s South, she would have much of value to impart to the graduating class at Rutgers? And yet, the faculty approved a resolution calling for the university to disinvite her.  Dr. Rice gracefully withdrew from the graduation ceremony in order to preserve the harmony of the celebration. It should have never come to that.

Brandeis, Hirsi Ali, and the Echo Chamber Generation

 

Last week, I wrote, once again, about “disinvitation season” on campus, the time of year when students and faculty join together to demand some voices not be heard on their campuses.

Shortly after that, however, the biggest controversy this season erupted at Brandeis University when the university decided to revoke the honorary degree it was planning to give to feminist and atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. 

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.

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Brandeis University issued the following press release, which HotAir linked to: 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 […]

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