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Brandeis Cancels Honorary Degree for Ayaan Hirsi Ali at 2014 Commencement

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Tuesday evening Brandeis University President Fred Lawrence rescinded an honorary doctorate that was to be conferred on Somali American women human rights advocate and author, Ayaan Hirsi Ali at the June 2014 Commencement.  He succumbed to outcries of Islamophobe and Fatwas from the Waltham, Massachusetts campus Muslim Students Association chapter supported by a letter signed by 86 members of the university’s Near Eastern and Judaic studies faculty.

Ali is currently embroiled in the lambasting by CAIR of the Clarion project film, Honor Diaries.   Hirsi Ali, a former Dutch political figure was  colleague of the late Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who was murdered on the streets of Amsterdam by a Dutch Moroccan. She wrote the script for the short film, Submission about the oppression of women under Islamic Sharia doctrine.  Ali is the author of the acclaimed biographies, Infidel and Nomad.  She has been a vigorous opponent of political Islam’s totalitarian oppression of women’s human rights, and culture espousing female genital mutilation and honor shame killings.

Honor Diaries trailer:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/9WijI2U7dKY[/youtube]

Lori Lowenthal Marcus, US correspondent for The Jewish Press, herself an honored graduate of Brandeis, Class of 1980, declared in an email:  “there is no justice for Hirsi Ali” at her alma mater. In her Jewish Press article, on this latest example of dhimmitude at Brandeis, she noted the campus furor that forced the decision of President Lawrence:

The Brandeis students issued a fatwa: the invitation to Ali had to be rescinded. The school newspaper, The Justice (yes, the irony!) ran both a “news article” and an editorial denouncing the decision to give Ali an honorary degree.

Marcus noted:

The Facebook Page denouncing Ali and the decision to honor her at Brandeis’s 2014 Commencement decried her for her “hate speech.” The Muslim Students Association claimed that honoring her “is a direct violation of Brandeis University’s own moral code as well as the rights of all Brandeis students.”

Most chillingly, while the students acknowledged Ali had experienced “terrible things in her life,” their bottom line was “we will not tolerate an attack at our faith.”

And so they issued a fatwa: the invitation to Ali had to be rescinded. The school newspaper, The Justice (yes, the irony!) ran both a “news article” and an editorial denouncing the decision to give Ali an honorary degree.

Brandeis University president Fred Lawrence echoed the students (and a large number of faculty members, including the Women’s Studies professors) in his statement:

Following a discussion today between President Frederick Lawrence and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ms. Hirsi Ali’s name has been withdrawn as an honorary degree recipient at this year’s commencement. 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.  For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of these statements earlier.

Commencement is about celebrating and honoring our extraordinary students and their accomplishments, and we are committed to providing an atmosphere that allows our community’s focus to be squarely on our students. In the spirit of free expression that has defined Brandeis University throughout its history, Ms. Hirsi Ali is welcome to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.

In other words, Ali’s decades of devotion to helping women enslaved by misogynistic practitioners of the Muslim faith – who dominate the governments of Muslim countries – was neutered by the pronunciamento by students that they “would not tolerate an attack on [their] faith.” And in still other words, on American campuses criticism of religion – which has been a fixture of campus life – is no longer permitted. What words, what thoughts will be deemed unacceptable next?

This on a campus in leafy Waltham, Massachusetts established by secular Jewish interests in furtherance of one of America’s leading Supreme Court justices, Louis Brandeis. Brandeis was  a vigorous defender of free speech under the US Constitution,   He commented  in a 1913 Harper’s Weekly article saying , ”sunlight is  said  to be the best  of disinfectants”.

Marcus also noted the hypocrisy of a member of the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department, posted on the Facebook page by Prof.  Bernadette Brooten, requesting withdrawal of the honorary doctorate for Ali, “a group of 86 faculty members has signed a letter to President Lawrence, asking him to rescind the invitation.”

Marcus noted that Brandeis had conferred honorary doctorates on anti-Israel Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Tony Kushner (2006) and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2000). Tutu is an alleged anti-Semite who supporting the notorious Durban I and II UN Human Rights Conference accusing Israel of a Nazi –like occupation of the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, denying Palestinian statehood.

The withdrawal by force majeur of Muslim Students and supporting Brandeis faculty is the latest in a series demonstrating dhimmitude at the suburban Boston campus.  In a June 2006 Israpundit post, “Dhimmitude at Brandeis”, we wrote about the controversial honorary degrees conferred on Kushner and Jordan’s Crown Prince Hassan:

Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Honors graduate of the Brandeis Class of 1980,  finally got her message out in an American Thinker article about the mindless and dangerous Brandeis partnership with al Quds University: “The Strange Partner of Brandeis.“ On top of this was the cancellation of a controversial Palestinian children’s art exhibit at Brandeis.

President Reinharz on the other hand was feeling the brunt of all this accumulated criticism when he cataloged his and the Brandeis University woes reflected in a letter exchange with Brandeis faculty captured in a Ha’aretz weblog commentary:

“As you may know, the university (i.e. the president’s office) has been under a steady barrage of complaints these last months… because of my defense of (1) Dr.Khalil Shikaki, a Senior Fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, against uninformed allegations that he is a supporter of terrorists, (2) Al Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh… (3) Al Quds University itself in the face of the uninformed allegation… and (4) Mr. Tony Kushner, one of this year’s honorary degree recipients, who has been accused by some as being an enemy of Israel…”

As regards the taqiyyah in Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan’s acceptance speech at the 2006 Commencement, we wrote:

That was a backdrop to the sinuous sophistry spread by Prince Hassan of Jordan about religious universalism capsuled in his remarks about the “dear Moishe dear Ibn” correspondence of Maimonides and ibn Rushd in his Brandeis commencement address.

[…]

Prince Hassan persisted in misinforming his Brandeis commencement listeners that somehow, Maimonides, Averroes and St. Thomas Aquinas were intellectual “buddies.” A fiction. This all smacks of dhimmitude, the field of study pioneered by Bat Ye’or author of “Eurabia” concerning the subjugation of all infidels under the Islamic Shariah laws. All Brandeis trustees had to do to complete this transformation was to pay the jizya or “poll tax.”

So, if Muslim taqiyyah isn’t bad enough there is the EUrabian anti-Zionist mindset of students at the Brandeis Middle East Studies Crown Center program.

When the atrocities and barbarities of Islamofascist Ba’athist leader and monster, Saddam Hussein was discussed students said in rebuttal, “how can you chastise Saddam Hussein, when we have the monster Sharon.” This is moral equivalency of the most abysmal sort and patent pro-Palestinian propaganda.

In a controversial Brandeis student newspaper column by Matt Brown in April [2006] he complained about the university being “too Jewish.” This gave rise to accusations of “self loathing” by the Jewish community in a recent Boston Globe article entitled “A Question of Culture” by staff writer Sarah Schweitzer. I guess Brown would complain if Brandeis was a Jesuit university, right?

Our conclusion in the Israpundit 2006 post on the prior Brandeis Commencement episode seems prescient given what occurred last night with the withdrawal of the honorary doctorate for Hirsi Ali:

Perhaps the Brandeis trustees should change its name to something nondescript like Dhimmi U to complete the transformation. Then wouldn’t the late Supreme Court Justice, the iconic Louis Brandeis, whom President Reinharz referred to in his commencement exercise comments as “a Zionist and a proud Jew,” spin in his grave.

RELATED STORY: Ayaan Hirsi Ali: “They Simply Wanted Me to be Silenced”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.