Brandeis University withdrew its offer of an honorary degree to women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali this month, sparking criticism for bowing to anti-American pressure brought against the university by Muslim groups.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a well known women’s rights advocate who has been fighting against the excesses of radical Islam were its constant violation concerns women’s rights and specifically against the brutal, inhuman practice of ritual female mutilation.
These are very worthy activities to celebrate and apparently Brandeis thought so, too… at least for a while. That is, until Muslims who celebrate the mutilation and oppression of women objected to the offer of the honorary degree to Miss Ali and demanded that the university withdraw its offer.
Sadly, 85 of the universities ignorant “professors” agreed with the mutilators and signed a petition demanding that their employers remove Ali from the honorary list.
In its reversal, the university said of Ali, “She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world. That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.”
So, it is clear that Brandeis University supports the mutilation of a woman’s vagina as supplication to the barbaric, backwards, oppressive, male-dominated ideology we call Islam. It is clear that Brandeis is now officially supporting the concept that women have no rights after a rape. Clear that Brandeis supports the sentencing of women to wearing those suffocating burkhas. Supports the beating of women. Agrees that women should not be allowed to drive or move about freely.
Brandeis University made the right decision the first time. That a woman who has lived through ritual beating, the mutilation of her genitals, a Muslim civil war, constant threat of assassination, became a member of the Dutch Parliament and ultimately a powerful advocate for women’s rights should be offered an honorary degree at a prestigious American university is certainly exactly the sort of thing that one should expect from the United States of America.
But that Brandeis bowed to pressure from oppressive Muslims and withdrew that honorary degree, well, that is a thoroughly un-American and disgusting example of where this nation has gotten.
If you are a Brandeis graduate you have been disgraced and should hang your head in shame.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s statement about Brandies’ war against women has been posted at The Weekly Standard.
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.
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.
I take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me and my work on behalf of oppressed woman and girls everywhere.