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She’s down, kick her some more

Another piece of annoying waffle about Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Brandeis, this one in The New Republic. Isaac Chotiner muddles it from the beginning:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the outspoken (this is almost a euphemism) Somali-Dutch opponent of Islam, was recently offered an honorary degree by Brandeis University. The school, which apparently only recently became acquainted with some of her comments about the Islamic faith, decided to revoke the offer of the honorary degree and instead invite her to campus for a dialogue.

No. It wasn’t “we want to switch the honorary degree to a dialogue.” Brandeis revoked the award (it wasn’t an offer at that point, because Hirsi Ali had accepted), period. It also said she was welcome to come along and have a discussion, but that was just a face-saving bit of bullshit. It was not an exchange or an alteration or anything else “normal”; it was an insult followed by an insulting sop. Imagine a friend inviting you to dinner and after you’ve accepted with thanks, calling up to say “I’ve changed my mind, you can’t come to dinner. You’re welcome to drop in sometime for coffee though.” See? The sop doesn’t make the insult less insulting; it actually makes it that little bit more so. It also isn’t any kind of normal substitution.

…the real question is why so many people are coming to the defense of a person who has voiced views as misguided as Hirsi Ali’s. (Various conservative—and even moderate—outlets have expressed dismay and anger at the decision.)

Note that “even moderate” – as if it were only conservatives and a very few “moderates” who saw any value in Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that there is a double standard at work—and that making nasty comments about Islam is somehow more acceptable than making them about other faiths.

One, what if it were? What if Islam were in fact worse than other “faiths”? Then why would it be unacceptable to say so? Chotiner doesn’t bother to say, he just takes it for granted. Two, bullshit, plenty of us make “nasty comments” about other religions too.

But this controversy isn’t about shunning someone from polite society. It is about giving a person an honorary degree. I certainly don’t think she was deserving of a degree in the first place, so, as Gharib argues, once the university realized its mistake, correcting it was reasonable. The counter argument, which isn’t entirely misguided either, would state that colleges should try to set a certain tone about these issues—even if it really isn’t a “freedom of speech” issue—and thus letting her get the award (after inviting her) would have been fine too. The world wasn’t going to come tumbling down either way, and some of the lessons Hirsi Ali has preached seem valuable.

So it turns out he doesn’t care either way; so why did he write this piece? I don’t know. On the other hand, no, it’s not “about giving a person an honorary degree.” It’s about giving a person an honorary degree and then taking it back. Brandeis had zero duty to give her an honorary degree. Once it did announce it was giving it to her, though, it should not have taken it back without a really compelling reason. No, “once the university realized its mistake,” correcting it was not reasonable.

But the strangest response has been from Tablet, which is by no means a right-wing publication, and which has given Hirsi Ali a “Moses Award” and castigated Brandeis for its decision. According to Tablet‘s editors, the Brandeis revocation is a reminder of “how threatened we’ve all become by a public conversation that permits the expression of nuanced, complicated, even at times offensive ideas—meaning, any ideas at all worth their salt.” Right—because Hirsi Ali’s quotes above are “nuanced, complicated.”

But the only quote he gave “above” was that familiar one from the Reason interview. It was from an interview.  As I’ve said, I disagree with much of what she’s said in interviews recently, but I think it’s ridiculous that people keep citing things she said in interviews while ignoring all her books and articles. Which is the more likely to be her considered opinion?

Comments

  1. RJW says

    “…the real question is why so many people are coming to the defense of a person who has voiced views as misguided as Hirsi Ali’s. (Various conservative—and even moderate—outlets have expressed dismay and anger at the decision.)”

    What a very sly insinuation, that criticism of Islam is necessarily motived by right-wing politics, no, it isn’t. How can the term ‘misguided’ apply to someone who was born and raised as a Moslem? Yes, he certainly muddles it, probably out of desperation to prove his anti-Islamophobe credentials.

  2. atheistblog says

    Haha….
    I just read Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s reason interview. Well, I had good respect for her, now she joins the club of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins. Once I liked these people, now they showed their total stupidity. They are not bad atheist, but ignorant of cultural anthropology, sociology.
    Civilization rises in different part of the world at different times. Values progress at variable times.
    Her answer, Solution for islamic fundamentalism as western military might is not just ridiculous but very dangerous. US conservative christian fundamentalist are no different than islamist jihadis, if you remove the secular protection from government, and if you let the christian fundamentalist have full power it will be just like islamic state.
    If only US not installing all those dictators and islamic kings, islamic world would have been lot better. Same goes here in US, if somebody installed christian dictator in US, there would be no different between islamic countries and US.

    Trust me this was Afghanistan in 70′s, I wonder what happened in late 80′s
    http://p.twimg.com/AyjZ35yCQAAGn5m.jpg

    Anyway I am not talking about Brandeis honorary revocation.

  3. exi5tentialist says

    @1

    What a very sly insinuation, that criticism of Islam is necessarily motived by right-wing politics

    Well it is

    no, it isn’t

    Yes, it is

    Moslem?

    Proof.

    Left wingers say muslim, right wingers say moslem.

  4. RJW says

    @3

    No comrade, the multi-cultural pseudo ‘left’ writes ‘Muslim’, the real Left uses both spellings.

  5. Maureen Brian says

    Poor old exi5tentialist – such a degree of confusion. And in so few words!

    As a socialist and as a woman I have many criticisms of Islam, the religion, and of Islamism, the extreme and militant version of that belief system, which is currently troubling us. I am also old enough to have seen how certain global actors, deluded about their authority and greedy for oil, took Wahabism – which is an extreme sect of one of the two main branches of Islam – and signal boosted it so that we now have killing wars on several fronts, no sign of an end to the fighting and several hundred thousand people of all religions and none dead. Dead to no perceptible purpose.

    As for Aayan Hirsi Ali, enough brutal and unjustifiable things were done to her simply because she is female for her to justifiably complain for her own and several more lifetimes. But she doesn’t just shout, she engages in discourse and has fallen among idiots, idiots unused to women as political actors in their own right who are now trying to pretend they didn’t really cause grave offence.

    As for the woman’s politics, I disagree with her. Surprise! But I would rather live in a world where she and I can thrash that out for as long as it takes than have the terms of the discussion set by someone who does not know what he’s talking about.

    As for the M word – both spellings work quite well and it refers only to the individual who practices the religion. I do wish that Americans would learn to pronounce it but, then, that’s a minor detail.

  6. Nick Gotts says

    What a very sly insinuation, that criticism of Islam is necessarily motived by right-wing politics, no, it isn’t – RJW@1

    Of course criticism of Islam is not necessarily motivated by right-wing politics, but the sort of imperialist and racist* crapola Ayaan Hirsi Ali comes out with is. Here’s an extract from that Reason interview – which she has never, AFAIK, repudiated.

    Hirsi Ali: I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. For starters, you stop the spread of the ideology itself; at present, there are native Westerners converting to Islam, and they’re the most fanatical sometimes. There is infiltration of Islam in the schools and universities of the West. You stop that. You stop the symbol burning and the effigy burning, and you look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, “This is a warning. We won’t accept this anymore.” There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.

    Reason: Militarily?

    Hirsi Ali: In all forms, and if you don’t do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed.

    So in some unspecfiied way, she wants to stop “native westerners” converting to Islam. How, exactly? Making it a criminal offence to convert – as it is to convert from Islam in many Muslim-majority states? Making it so uncomfortable being a Muslim that hardly anyone will dare? How? And she wants the west to wage all-out war on Islam, inevitably killing multitudes of people. She’s outright vile.

    As for Olivia Benson’s ludicrous defence of Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

    I think it’s ridiculous that people keep citing things she said in interviews while ignoring all her books and articles. Which is the more likely to be her considered opinion?

    Pfft. When is she more likely to be expressing her real views: in an interview, or in a book or article where editors will have had the opportunity to advise her to tone it down? And as for saying a rich, famous darling of the right like Ayaan Hirsi Ali is “down” because Brandeis took their prezzie back when 80 members of the faculty wrote to the President protesting against the honorary degree award – spare me. She is making the absurd and dishonest claim that Brandeis (who certainly screwed up badly) are trying to “silence” her. Quite apart from the fact that they have invited her to speak, which while you may think it insulting**, is hardly compatible with trying to silence her, this is a woman who has more opportunity to air her views than 99.99% of the population – and Brandeis has, in fact, provided her with further free publicity.

    *Yes, I’m using “racist” in the sense it is used by most experts on racism: actions or speech with the predictable effect of reinforcing existing racial inequalities.

    **Really, though, the comparison with an individual inviting you to lunch and then withdrawing the invitation and substituting one for coffee is beyond stupid.

  7. jimboforreason says

    I heard Ayaan Hirsi Ali speak at Ohio University in 2010. This discussion reminds me of the conclusion of her lecture. She took questions from the audience after her speech. The Muslim students were upset. “All of Islam is not as you say.” “Islam is changing but it takes time.” But the best comment came from an older man…possibly a professor…”We treat our women well.” This guy says this after listening to Ali’s story of cliterotomies, child brides (rape), slavery, etc. As other commenters noted, she went through enough hardship and horrific abuse as a kid and teenager that for her just to be alive, let alone produce all that she has in her writing and political careers, is remarkable. She is fearless. Brandeis is gutless.

  8. Anthony K says

    Let’s not forget her comments about poor, persecuted Anders Breivik:

    That one man who killed 77 people in Norway, because he fears that Europe will be overrun by Islam, may have cited the work of those who speak and write against political Islam in Europe and America – myself among them – but he does not say in his 1500 page manifesto that it was these people who inspired him to kill. He says very clearly that it was the advocates of silence. Because all outlets to express his views were censored, he says, he had no other choice but to use violence.

    Get that? It’s all that politically correct censorship that left him with no option but to shoot up some teenagers.

    She’s not down and being kicked, Ophelia. Brandeis just wrote her a blank wingnut welfare check and told her to fill in whatever amount she wants. She’ll be fêted by the right for even more years now, coasting on stories of her narrow escape from the jackboots of the left.

    Brandeis fucked up, it’s true. They should never, ever, ever have extended the offer to this right wing nut job in the first place.

  9. says

    When is she more likely to be expressing her real views: in an interview, or in a book or article where editors will have had the opportunity to advise her to tone it down?

    Speaking as someone who has done both, I say it’s the second.

    Interviews happen in real time, which means you’re not able to revise yourself. Don’t assume that what you say first is automatically what you really mean. It often isn’t. It very often isn’t. That’s why people write drafts, and write slowly and carefully, and re-read, and think again.

    Editors can advise, and writers can ignore their advice. Don’t assume that AHA just automatically does what editors advise her to do.

    I do disagree with much of what she’s said in interviews lately, and with her joining the AEI and so on, but that doesn’t mean I disagree with everything she’s ever done or with everything she says now. The condensed version of her talk that the WSJ published for instance – I thought that was an excellent article.

    And as for saying a rich, famous darling of the right like Ayaan Hirsi Ali

    Hey, fuck you. She has a fucking target on her back. Her colleague Theo Van Gogh was stabbed to death on an Amsterdam street. She was kicked out of the apartment block she was living in because her neighbors were afraid. She’s “famous” because of all that – do you think that’s really enviable? And I don’t know that she’s “rich”; do you? There was a time when her situation was desperate, because the NL government had stopped paying for her security and she had no salary and no recourse.

  10. johnthedrunkard says

    You can’t oppose Hitler without finding yourself standing with Stalin. (at least, after Barbarossa)
    You can’t oppose Islamism without finding yourself standing withe Xian fundies, who have a separate agenda which just HAPPENS to include opposition to Islam.

    Ibn Warraq has written about the eerie moment of discovering that his ‘supporter’ is actually another deadly opponent. No matter how clear anyone’s opposition to tyranny and superstition is, the Multi-Cultis will attack them as ‘right wingers’ if they dare to criticize Muslim reactionaries.

    I know Ali has put herself in the vicinity of SOME western right-wing types. It may not be possible to avoid this as so much of the Left is completely hypnotized by pro-islamist, anit-Israel horseshit.

  11. Decker says

    @11 She really doesn’t have anywhere else to go, does she? Liberals really don’t like her.

    She did an interview with a very liberal chap on Canada’s CBC network named Avi Lewis back around 2007. He made fun of her, literally laughed at her occasionally and goaded her with loaded questions in the hope she’d stumble and say something incriminating that he could then use against her.

    It was awful.

    AHA remained stoic throughout. She carried herself with great dignity and maturity, skillfully avoiding every trap her liberal ‘host’ laid out.

    I really wish I could find that interview because it is a real eye-opener into the way liberals throw grenuine reformers off the train.

    And Avi Lewis, who sometimes freelances for Al Jazeera, came out of the exchange looking quite the jackass.

  12. exi5tentialist says

    @4

    No comrade, the multi-cultural pseudo ‘left’ writes ‘Muslim’, the real Left uses both spellings.

    The “real” Left?

    Wow it looks like there is more than one Left. The Left according to me and the left according to you. Both are real. But which one is The Left?

    That’s easy. It’s my version.

    And we’re only two people!

    So, let’s say there are 1.6 billion muslims. How many versions of islam are there?

    1.6 billion.

    Of course, reductionists like Maureen Brian are so wise and experienced they have managed to acknowledge just two versions of islam, i.e. islam and islamism. One is bad, and the other is very, very bad. It’s a faithful formula, one for the insecure to cling to and that has many advantages. For example it means you don’t have to bother understanding what someone’s religion actually is, you can just slot them in to one of your two bad pigeonholes and carry on oblivious.

    But the right wing thrives on simplistic messages. An example is “criticising islam” – it’s a ridiculous generalisation. Always. Every single time. And every single time it’s motivated by right-wing politics, and no amount of pretending you are “on the left” will make it any different.

    Not in my book.

  13. Maureen Brian says

    Three out of ten for reading comprehension, exi5tentialist!

    At one point I mention Islam and set it against Islamism. Later on I speak of two main divisions of the religion thinking, as I wrote, surely I don’t have to spell out Sunni and Shia (as I’d anyway already mentioned one variant of one of those) because anyone reading this blog already knows of that split – the one that the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld team refused to be told about by Colin Powell and his staff.

    Clearly, I overestimated at least you!

  14. says

    Another thing – Anthony @ 9 – that’s a distortion. She didn’t say anything about “poor, persecuted Anders Breivik.” She wasn’t defending him. She was attempting to clarify one of his (according to him) motivations.

    It’s startling the way people resort to distortions and smears when talking about her.

  15. says

    Decker @ 12 here’s that interview.

    I just watched it, and it wasn’t as bad as I expected (Avi Lewis wasn’t as bad as I expected). She did say some things that sound glib to North American ears…but as she pointed out and I think Avi Lewis was quite clueless to, he sounded glib to her. He had the luxury of growing up in a working democracy, and he doesn’t know what it’s like to grow up without that.

    He was too dismissive of that, and she was too dismissive of for instance the pressure felt by Muslims in North America. They were both too dismissive of each other. On the other hand she was having to work a lot harder than he was, because they were talking in a language foreign to her.

  16. Anthony K says

    @Ophelia #15:

    It’s startling the way people resort to distortions and smears when talking about her.

    You’re right and I’m sorry; I was wrong to post that without first checking the source. As far as I can tell, it’s from here. The paragraphs preceding and following the one I quoted makes her intention clearer:

    Thirdly, and perhaps most seriously, silence empowers the Islamists, the radical agents of hatred. The young Muslim dropout, who is morally confused, is approached by a confident Islamist with a not so hidden agenda. The Islamist’s potential rivals in the struggle of hearts and minds – the Christians and the humanists – have been silenced by the kind of inhibitions I have already described. Muslim ghettoes in Europe today are exposed without censorship to the siren song of jihad, of martyrdom, of Sharia law, of hatred and self-exclusion. Here is an extreme ideology just as abhorrent as the neo-fascism of a Breivik. Yet to speak out against radical Islamism is to be condemned as an Islamophobe.

    Fourthly and finally, that one man who killed 77 people in Norway, because he fears that Europe will be overrun by Islam, may have cited the work of those who speak and write against political Islam in Europe and America – myself among them – but he does not say in his 1500 page manifesto that it was these people who inspired him to kill. He says very clearly that it was the advocates of silence. Because all outlets to express his views were censored, he says, he had no other choice but to use violence.

    Decades of informal censorship in Europe have led not to the promised integration of Muslim immigrants but to a culture of evasion and avoidance which has allowed extremism – both Jihadism and neo-Nazism – to flourish amid a general impotence of the established parties.

    I should not have posted that quote without going to the source to see if it had been taken it out of context, and it was. She was not defending neo-Nazism: she was denouncing it along with Islamic extremism.

    I apologize for that.

  17. exi5tentialist says

    Three out of ten for reading comprehension, exi5tentialist!

    At one point I mention Islam and set it against Islamism. Later on I speak of two main divisions of the religion thinking, as I wrote, surely I don’t have to spell out Sunni and Shia (as I’d anyway already mentioned one variant of one of those) because anyone reading this blog already knows of that split – the one that the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld team refused to be told about by Colin Powell and his staff.

    Clearly, I overestimated at least you!

    At “one point” you mention the boring old meaningless false dichotomy chestnut of islam/islamism? Oh, right at the very start of your post just after the bit where you call me “poor” and “old” (another false dualism. Watch it), where you divide the entirity of islam into the “religion” and the “extreme and militant version”. Call me uncomprehending but it seems to me that those are your the two versions of islam, into which your huge knowledge of sunni and shia muslims gets squashed like a peeled banana onto a closed mouth. Oh yeah, I see. Ten out of ten reading comprehension for me then.

    “Islam-Islamism Sunni-Shia” is about the level of comprehension of islam that George W Bush had when he left office. So no, I don’t think your little summary of the many splits in islam shows a great deal of understanding of the diversity in a religion of 1.6 billion people.

    And… you’re a socialist? This place is crawling with Lefties!!! I never would have known it! (I still don’t)

  18. Fury says

    Ophelia, take a look around. This is what the left is. It is what it always has been. You think that it would ever stand up for justice, principle, liberty? Get real.

    Of course lefties are smearing one of the greatest heroes of our age. It is what they do. The left that once defended Dr King is completely extinct. If he were fighting his fight today you’d have lefties saying he was offending southern Christians.

    You’re surprised that people assume it is rightists defending Ayaan? Why? We’re the only ones with the guts to do so.

  19. RJW says

    @7

    My reading of the text you referenced is that’s she’s criticising Islam, the ideology, and as to the ‘war with Islam’, what’s the difficulty here? Liberal democratic states must defend themselves from oppressive totalitarian ideologies.

    “There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.

    Reason: Militarily?

    Hirsi Ali: In all forms, and if you don’t do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed.”

    This could be interpreted as a contingency i.e. military action might be necessary as a last resort.

    Considering the brutality Ali was subjected to in her early life in Moslem societies it’s hardly surprising that she has some emotional ‘baggage’, anyone who doesn’t have any compassion for Ali is, in my opinion, denying her humanity.

    *Yes, I’m using “racist” in the sense it is used by most experts on racism: actions or speech with the predictable effect of reinforcing existing racial inequalities.”

    To which ‘race’ are you referring, Moslems aren’t members of a race.

    @11

    Yes, there’s Churchill’s famous quote on the subject.

    The disturbing fact is that the Right seems to doing most of the work, the modern ‘left’, such as it is, seems to be running scared. Anyone who doubts the supine nature of the modern multi-culti state in regard to Islam should review current events in Sweden, which are well publicised on those notorious right wing anti jihad sites.

    @13 exi5tentialist

    We could discussion the ‘true nature of Islam’, Sunni, Shia, we could even claim that the majority of Moslems are ‘moderate’, good luck, have fun. The fact remains that majority Moslem societies are backward, violent, chaotic and oppressive, even the apologists’ favourites, Indonesia and Turkey fail human rights standards.

  20. atheistblog says

    Hey, fuck you. She has a fucking target on her back

    Well, One thing I learned from this row in this topic here is, I shouldn’t expect civility from Ophelia Benson. May be you have anger as an excuse. What do I know, that’s the culture you grew up with, I am not.
    I don’t know, but if I am little bit known blogger, I would rather keep the civility, even how outrageous and obnoxious someone coming at me, because propriety and decorum are the values I admire and that’s the culture I grew up with. I don’t expect any propriety and etiquette from you, but don’t accuse me for valuing those.
    Let see how I get an response from a fellow atheist.

  21. brucegorton says

    Nick Gotts

    So basically you’re saying a black woman of Islamic background is racist, for her criticisms against Islam.

    I remember being told that doesn’t happen once.

  22. brucegorton says

    I think to a large extent the problem a lot of the left had with Hirsi is essentially tied to who she is.

    There seems to be this assumption that if we get leaders from a variety of backgrounds, it will lead to a ‘nicer’ movement. .

    Well, Hirsi,bins that idea.

    While I strongly disagree with her on how to handle Islam, and her belief that Islam is worse than Christianity (Take a nice hard look at Uganda to see why I feel that way) she does contribute a lot of insight, sometimes in ways that actually defeat her agenda.

    In her first autobiography, she described part of her upbringing that happened under Said Barre, who tried to crush tribalism. Looking at how successful that idea wasn’t, I don’t see why similar tactics would work on Islam.

    A far better approach I think would be simply to treat Islam the same way we do Christianity. We disagree with Christianity – but we don’t suddenly start making excuses for airports to profile Christians.

    If we want to stop Islamic radicalism, we need to treat ideas like ideas and people like people.

    While I think she is wrong, and her current association with the far right regrettable (though understandable all things considered) she is still worth listening to. She isn’t somebody one should simply write off.

  23. Nick Gotts says

    Ophelia Benson@10,

    Interviews happen in real time, which means you’re not able to revise yourself. Don’t assume that what you say first is automatically what you really mean.

    First, the interviewer gave her an opportunity to think and clarify, and she took it:

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali: …There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.
    Reason: Militarily?
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali: In all forms, and if you don’t do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed.

    Second, if she said something she didn’t mean, she has had several years to repudiate it. Point to where she has done so.

    And as for saying a rich, famous darling of the right like Ayaan Hirsi Ali

    Hey, fuck you. She has a fucking target on her back. Her colleague Theo Van Gogh was stabbed to death on an Amsterdam street. She was kicked out of the apartment block she was living in because her neighbors were afraid. She’s “famous” because of all that – do you think that’s really enviable? [Emphasis added]

    The emphasis is to draw attention to the most cogent part of your argument. The rest is entirely irrelevant to my point, which is that it’s ludicrous to say she’s “down” because an honorary degree and invitation were withdrawn.

    And I don’t know that she’s “rich”; do you?

    I haven’t seen her tax returns, but considering she’s a highly successful writer, and a fellow of both the American Enterprise Institute and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, it’s a pretty obvious inference.

    johnthedrunkard@11

    I know Ali has put herself in the vicinity of SOME western right-wing types. It may not be possible to avoid this as so much of the Left is completely hypnotized by pro-islamist, anit-Israel horseshit.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali has deliberately chosen to ally herself with the liars of the hardline imperialist, racist, science-denying, anti-egalitarian right. She has named Frederick Hayek as one of her favourite liberal [sic] thinkers. Her associates at the AEI include or have included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton, Lynne Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Paul Wolfowitz, Charles Murray, Richard Perle, Dinesh D’Souza, and Christina Hoff Sommers. She has accepted, in 2010, an invitation to speak from the far-right nationalist Danish Peoples’ Party. You can read some of the delightful views expressed by senior members of that party here – but probably that will just increase your enthusiasm for your heroine. It is quite possible to oppose Islamic oppression of women without associating with the far right. For example, you could give a regular donation to Southall Black Sisters, as I do.

    RJW@21,

    My reading of the text you referenced is that’s she’s criticising Islam, the ideology, and as to the ‘war with Islam’, what’s the difficulty here? Liberal democratic states must defend themselves from oppressive totalitarian ideologies.

    Your reading is blatantly dishonest. She clearly and explicitly advocates aggressive war against “Islam”. She wants to crush Islam – her word. How the fuck do you do that without military aggression against countries where Islam is predominant?

    *Yes, I’m using “racist” in the sense it is used by most experts on racism: actions or speech with the predictable effect of reinforcing existing racial inequalities.”

    To which ‘race’ are you referring, Moslems aren’t members of a race.

    Of course Muslims do not constitute a race – which is exactly why I included the footnote. Yours is exactly the line that gives racists and fascists coverage – they can hate on black and brown people without admitting they are racists. Hating on Muslims is racist because, Muslims in the west being almost entirely members of disadvantaged ethnic minorities, it reinforces existing racial inequalities. Got it yet?

    Anyone who doubts the supine nature of the modern multi-culti state in regard to Islam should review current events in Sweden, which are well publicised on those notorious right wing anti jihad sites.

    The fact that you accept the narrative of those sites as truth says a lot more about you than about what is actually happening in Sweden. Throughout Europe, the far right is on the rise, using small and powerless Muslim minorities as scapegoats rather than attacking the rich and powerful architects of “austerity” – and it is the latter that most of the established “left” parties are running scared of.

  24. Nick Gotts says

    Correction: in the last paragraph of #25, “Europe” should be “western Europe”. In the east, the scapegoats are more often Jews, Roma andor gender/sexual minorities.

  25. brucegorton says

    I haven’t seen her tax returns, but considering she’s a highly successful writer, and a fellow of both the American Enterprise Institute and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, it’s a pretty obvious inference.

    No it isn’t – given that information she could be earning anything from $30k to $70k.

    It is fairly rare that being a successful author means being very rich.

  26. says

    Oh you mean “rich” for a writer. Well you should have said that. It certainly looked as if you meant really rich, capitalist rich, soak the poor rich.

  27. RJW says

    @25

    I’ve noticed that you have resorted to ad hominem attacks, after painting yourself into a corner.

  28. Nick Gotts says

    brucegorton@23

    Are you really ignorant enough to think that a black person cannot make racist remarks? I explained exactly why those remarks are racist.

    brucegorton@27, Opelia Benson@28,
    So do neither the AEI nor Harvard pay her? According to Harvard:

    During 2014/2015 the stipend for Junior Fellows in their first year will be $70,000

    I’d be surprised if she’s not a senior fellow, or if senior fellows are not paid more, but I’m willing to be corrected on this point. Infidel is a bestseller in several languages: if she didn’t make a packet from it, she needs a better agent – and whatever she is, she’s not stupid.

    RJW@29
    I notice neither you, nor anyone else, has anything resembling a coherent response to my criticisms of Ayaan HIrsi Ali’s expressed views and chosen associates. The nearest thing to an argument is that she’s had a very hard life and been the target of death threats – as she undoubtedly has – so we ought to let her get away with calling for what would amount to a genocidal war of aggression. I don’t believe any of you would take this line if the views expressed were, for example, misogynist or homophobic. Ask yourselves why you do so when they are imperialist and racist.

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