Ayaan Hirsi Ali to Brandeis University: You've Betrayed Your Founding Principles


Yesterday Nick Gillespie detailed how

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Courtesy of the Daily Beast

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken critic of how women and girls are treated under Islamic law, was offered an honorary degree from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, only to have the offer abruptly withdrawn. This was likely due, in part, to some comments she made to Reason magazine about there being no such thing as "moderate Islam." Gillespie noted that, clearly, Brandeis knew very little about Hirsi Ali's background or her book, Infidel, when it extended the honorary degree offer (or the school's just playing dumb).

Hirsi Ali has responded Brandeis' statement withdrawing its offer, and she is fairly appalled:

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.

Read her full statement here. Read her 2007 interview with Reason magazine here.

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  1. Classy.


  2. She’s got more balls than anybody at Brandeis. And anybody who pisses off CAIR is a hero in my boodk.

    1. If that’s the principle, CAIR can issue a statement in favor of soap and showers, and neocons will have to go unwashed just to show them.

      1. I’m guessing they sent you here.

        1. You raise some interesting points, have you considered fucking yourself, you pathetic liar?

          1. Tsk Tsk, Eddie. Language.

            1. Sorry, I meant that Drake indulged in a terminological inexactitude.


              And he’s a piece of shit.

              1. Do we have a new troll?

                Irresistible urge to silence the non-PC – Check.

                Name-calling and personal attacks – Check.

                1. Do we have a new troll?

                  Just a new name.

  3. “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.””

    I’m sure someone in the PR dept thought that was extremely clever. And anyone with a modicum of intelligence can see it for the face-saving lie it is.

    1. “Hey, come visit us and we’ll tell you how bigoted you are in the spirit of useful dialogue!”

      1. Maybe we’ll organize an debate (ambush) where you can be shouted down and assaulted.

        I grew up near Brandeis – they had such a reputation for their commitment to academic freedom and truth.

        1. “Maybe we’ll organize an debate (ambush) where you can be shouted down and assaulted.”

          Or maybe we’ll hold it in the lavatory so there won’t be any coverage.
          But we can still brag we ‘had a dialogue’!

      2. “You can trust us. It’s been close to a minute since we fucked you over unapologetically.”

  4. Brandeis has invited me “to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.”

    “Repent ye of your thoughtcrimes. Beg forgiveness, and embrace the One Truth.”

    If I had a kid, I’d rather see him go to work at a truck stop than enroll in an elite institution of higher learning.

    1. And your kid would be providing a service that people both need and want. A truly noble calling.

      1. I fucking love truckstops. Beef jerky, audio books, and shelves of consumer electronics.

  5. Ali wants to close down Muslim schools. She is a modern Robespierre.

    But Brandeis and CAIR are against her so she must be right!

    1. Or people are saying that, in this instance, she is right and Brandeis is wrong.

      But it looks like if Hitler believed there was no greatest prime, you’d think there was because [fallacy].

      1. Wait…Hitler?

        albo (above) said “anybody who pisses off CAIR is a hero in my boodk [sic].”

        1. So, yeah, if CAIR denounced Hitler albo would be in a bit of a bind…

          1. He did produce the Volkswagon, which is pretty cool.

            Hirsi Ali’s left cheekbone is 100 times you.

            1. I guess if I knew what that meant, I’d be offended. Or not. It’s hard to tell.

    2. So let’s blackball and shame her because she says something we don’t agree with. And, most importantly, completely ignore what she experienced under Sharia Law.

      Wouldn’t want to hurt any Muslim feelings.

      1. “blackball and shame”

        Consider awarding her an honorary doctorate…then reconsidering the decision.

        I didn’t get an honorary doctorate, and they need to give me one to alleviate the shame. What makes it worse is that, unlike Ali, I wasn’t even *considered* for a doctorate, and I don’t even want to close schools because of their religion!

      2. Blackballing and shaming because of different beliefs is the only strategy in the modern progressive’s playbook.

        I think she’s a little extreme in wanting to “kill Islam”, though I can certainly understand why she feels that way.

        I think she’d get more mileage to just say “I want to render Islam irrelevant”. Which would be the current state of Judaism and Christianity. Equality, doncha know.

        1. “Which would be the current state of Judaism and Christianity.”

          She *does* think Christianity is irrelevant. She glides over the facts that it was Christian activism in the UK which not only got the government to abolish slavery, but to fight slavery throughout the world, including in Somalia.

          1. No one is saying that it was irrelevant in the 19th century. I don’t think it is completely irrelevant now, but it is certainly a lot less so than it used to be.

            1. Then why are so many people trying to kill Christians?

              1. She also *approves* the alleged irrelevance of Christianity and how it allegedly doesn’t impose its will on the state. So her critique *does* ignore the 19th century.

              2. Technically, they just want to kill non-Muslims.

              3. Certainly the Muslims are busy killing Christians, Ms Hirsi might have something to say about why this is so.

    3. I have to agree to some extent with VanHaalen. If she had just been coming to speak and got cancelled, I’d agree completely that Brandeis was shutting down free and open discourse on complicated issues. But declining to give her an honorary degree is a bit different as that is sort of an endorsement of a person’s views and work. She wants governments to use force to control people’s religious beliefs. That’s really not someone an institution that claims to be for free and open debate should honor.

      1. Do we know if Brandeis has given an honorary degree to a practicing Muslim? If they have, then your argument doesn’t fly.

        1. I certainly won’t get into the position of defending Brandeis, and they have awarded an honorary degree to at least one unworthy person, the left-wing Catholic dissenter James Carroll:

          But that doesn’t mean that they should balance out the award to Carroll by giving an honorary degree to an unworthy person on the opposite extreme – say, a bishop of the Society of St. Pius X (the guys who say the Pope is so liberal he isn’t a true Catholic).

          If they gave a degree to a Muslim who wants to close socialist schools, that’s wrong, and it’s not less wrong if they balance it out by giving a degree to a secularist who wants to close Muslim schools.

        2. I’m just commenting on this incident in isolation. I’m sure Brandeis is inconsistent about all kinds of things and I don’t really care if they give her an honor or not.

      2. If she had just been coming to speak and got cancelled, I’d agree completely that Brandeis was shutting down free and open discourse on complicated issues.

        Well, that’s pretty much what happened. People who get honorary degrees are generally expected to give a speech. I don’t see how taking away the degree in addition to cancelling her speech makes it OK.

  6. Ooh, look, another cowardly appeaser, Daniel Pipes, whom some naive people consider to be a consistent and brave fighter against Islamic extremism, but we *really* know he’s just a politically correct apologist for terrorism:

    “Our killer question is “How do you propose to defeat Islamism?” Those who make all Islam their enemy not only succumb to a simplistic and essentialist illusion but they lack any mechanism to defeat it. We who focus on Islamism see World War II and the Cold War as models for subduing the third totalitarianism. We understand that radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution. We work with anti-Islamist Muslims to vanquish a common scourge. We will triumph over this new variant of barbarism so that a modern form of Islam can emerge.”

    1. Let us reject Pipes’ cowardly appeasment! Let us tell moderate Muslims that they are ignorant of their own religion and that they need to become secularists and support the HHS mandate and same-sex marriage! That should strike a death-blow against the terrorists, by showing that they are the only *true* Muslims!

      1. Citing a multiplicity of viewpoints and practices within Islam is one thing, but the foundational texts of Islam describe and advocate for a socio-political system to be implemented by believers through force of arms. Sure, someone who calls themselves Muslim may not support that, but they have to ignore essentially all of their religion’s text, history, and founder’s actions to do so.

        Not saying it’s impossible for Islam to reform en masse, but it would require a move away from Islam’s foundations and towards an equally powerful reason within the religion as impetus to reform — and right now, I don’t see that source or impetus.

        1. Of course there are problematic elements in Islamic teaching. If I thought there were no problematic elements I’d be a Muslim myself.

          But as a matter of history, there have been plenty of non-explod-ey Muslims. There have been plenty of Muslim warriors, but many of them believed in fighting honorably (more or less) rather than blowing up bombs in crowded marketplaces.

          Telling the non-explodey Muslims that they and all their historical predecessors didn’t understand their own religion, and that they have to choose between Islamic extremism or a secularism which often degenerates into libertinism (sometimes government-coerced libertinism) is a recipe for making more extremists.

        2. Islam is a religion created by government.

          1. I thought it was more that is was created by people who wanted to be the government (and succeeded).

        3. This.
          I wonder if it’s possible for a person to be a devout Muslim and a staunch libertarian.

      2. “Let us tell moderate Muslims that they are ignorant of their own religion and that they need to become secularists and support the HHS mandate and same-sex marriage!”

        Well, this worked pretty well for calming Western Christians into passivity, and still there are very few Southern Baptist suicide bombers. And if a university wants to give somebody an honorary degree and Presbyterians don’t like it the university has acquired the courage tell the Presbyterians to push off.

        So who knows?

        1. “passivity”

          I don’t think so:


  7. Free expression is like tolerance. You’re free to agree or get out.

  8. H&R would be more like Drudge if this article were placed directly before of after the one on Glenn Reynolds’ education bubble.

  9. Considering that Islam is the only religion on the face of the earth that uses government violence to disallow women from even driving cars I’m very comfortable with hard-biting criticisms of repressive religions. Not enough educated women kicking the ignorant ass of Islam so hopefully Ayaan Hirsi Ali starts a movement.

  10. “You either support Ali, or you support mass-murdering Musselman terrorists!”

    1. Projection – you’re the one with the binary thinking here.

      1. ?

  11. Ayaan did say a number of things I found rather unliberatarian with regard to how she would have muslims treated.

    I wonder if Brandeis always rejects speakers after finding that they advocate violation of people’s rights.


    Yeah, right.

    An atheist with personal experience in theocratic terror wants to limit speech rights of muslims.

    She can’t speak at Brandeis. I wonder how many muslims who believe in death for apostates, and in particular Ayaan, have spoken at Brandeis. Are on the Brandeis faculty. Are admitted as students.

  12. Ali has stated that she would like schools that teach jihad to be closed.

    Is she a school administrator? A politician? Does she have the power to close any schools? No?

    Then maybe she is making a conversational point? Maybe she is using this as a jumping off statement to delve into the idea that there are many subjects we keep from schools, and that perhaps the exhortation to mass murder should be among them?

    I am really at a loss to see where GKC’s vehemence comes from. She wasn’t advocating force, or even offering a program to eliminate Islamic schools that terach jihad–she was just talking about it.

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