Brandeis University Shuns Black Women’s Rights Activist: “Feminists” are Silent

Last week, Brandeis University reversed its decision to award Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree for her women’s rights work, and withdrew her commencement speaking invitation.

Reason given: some of her past statements are “inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.” True reason: an online petition signed by 6,000 that declared that Hirsi Ali had engaged in “hate speech” because she denies that Islam is a religion of peace.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a world-renowned leader and crusader in the cause to enlighten the world about the suffering inflicted on Muslim women by their husbands and other male family members, in accord with the Islamic practices of honor killings, female genital mutilation and other religiously sanctioned violence.

She is the author of Infidel, and also Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations. Her accounts of women suffering under Muslim practices are authentically first hand: she lived it, and watched it.

Hirsi Ali was raised in an African Muslim family, endured forced genital mutilation, rebelled against forced arranged marriage, and fled to the Netherlands, where she made a cinematic protest with Theo Van Gogh against the treatment women receive in Muslim society, called “Submission.” Van Gogh was murdered for his involvement; the note pinned to his body contained a death threat toward Hirsi Ali.

Instead of submitting to the murderers’ demand that she cease criticizing Islam’s treatment of women, Hirsi Ali came to America in 2007, and continues to write and speak, persistently and eloquently.

Forces at work sharing the Van Gogh murderers’ mission of silencing Hirsi Ali’s message include almost a quarter of Brandeis’ professors (clearly uncommitted to genuine academic freedom), students trendily willing to denounce “hate speech” while clearly clueless of what they are talking about, and those who do not wish to challenge the Islamic intimidation that rules out any criticism.

If in America the refusal to support free birth control can be labeled a “war on women,” what is the strong enough label for silencing a woman who is speaking truth against horrific and ongoing violence against millions of women worldwide?

In my talks and workshops around America for my book Ladies, Can We Talk?, I consistently say that we need to speak up for America more. Six thousand truth and speech silencers signed Brandeis’ anti-Ali petition. Shouldn’t the advocates of women’s rights and free speech be helping Brandeis see those silencers as a vocal, strident minority, and that the rest of us view their withdrawing of Ali’s honorary degree as an insult to women’s rights and free speech?

 

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