Brandeis University said in a statement that Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali would no longer receive the honorary degree, which it had planned to award her at the May 18 commencement.
That is shocking.
Ali, a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006, has been quoted as making comments critical of Islam. That includes a 2007 interview with Reason Magazine in which she said of the religion: “Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace. I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars.”
Brandeis, outside Boston in Waltham, Massachusetts, said it was not aware of Ali’s statements earlier.
That’s it? That’s what they’ve got?
I don’t agree with everything she says, much less her relationship with the
Cato American Enterprise Institute, but that quotation seems like a very thin reason to withdraw an honorary degree a month before it was going to be awarded.
In 2007, Ali helped establish the AHA Foundation, which works to protect and defend the rights of women in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture, according to its website. The foundation also strives to protect basic rights and freedoms of women and girls. This includes control of their own bodies, access to an education and the ability to work outside the home and control their own income, the website says.
More than 85 of about 350 faculty members at Brandeis signed a letter asking for Ali to be booted off 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.
Her foundation works to protect and defend the rights of women in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture, so Brandeis first offered her the honorary degree and then snatched it back. Well shame on you, Brandeis. I don’t like that phrase, but it seems like the only one that fits here. Shame.
“This is a real slap in the face to Muslim students,” senior Sarah Fahmy, a member of the Muslim Student Association who created the petition, said of the honor before the university withdrew it.
Oh, please. It is not. Catholic students shouldn’t have a veto on critics of the Vatican and Muslim students shouldn’t have a veto on critics of Islam.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group, said, “It is unconscionable that such a prestigious university would honor someone with such openly hateful views.”
The organization sent a letter to Lawrence on Tuesday requesting that it drop its plans to honor Ali.
“This makes Muslim students feel very uneasy,” Joseph Lumbard, chairman of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, said in an earlier interview. “They feel unwelcome here.”
So Brandeis totally caved. Disgusting.