Brandeis retracts plan to honor anti-Muslim activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali. (Photo: EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET)

Ayaan Hirsi Ali. (Photo: EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET)

Brandeis University moved to tamp down a growing controversy when it withdrew its plan to give a notorious anti-Muslim writer an honorary degree.  Yesterday, the school said it would not give Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-American, a degree because her views “are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.”

The announcement came after days of criticism was aimed at the school for their plan to give a degree to a woman who has called Islam a “destructive, nihilistic cult of death” that needs to be defeated militarily.

One of the first writers to critique Brandeis was blogger Richard Silverstein, who pointed to an interview Hirsi-Ali gave to Reason magazine in which she called for the destruction of Islam.  “We are at war with Islam,” she said.  In 2007, as the New York Times reported today, Hirsi-Ali said Islam is the new “fascism” and said “violence is inherent” in the religion.

A petition criticizing Hirsi-Ali started by Brandeis students picked up steam, and by today had garnered nearly 7,000 signatures. The Council on American-Islamic Relations also joined the fray, sending out multiple e-mails calling on their supporters to e-mail Brandeis President Fred Lawrence in protest.

Hirsi-Ali has been embraced by the coterie of anti-Muslim bloggers, activists and politicians whose influence grew in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.  She left conflict-riven Somalia, where she said she underwent female genital mutilation, when she was young. Hirsi-Ali eventually obtained asylum in the Netherlands, where she was elected to Parliament but stripped of her citizenship and left the country in 2006 amidst a controversy over details of her application.  Hirsi-Ali admitted she lied about a number of details because, she said, she was fleeing a forced marriage.

She came to the U.S. after leaving the Netherlands, and joined the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute as a fellow.  Today, she is a fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Celebrated by the right for her outspoken views on how women are treated in Muslim countries, she has been praised by figures like anti-Muslim bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.

Hirsi-Ali is also an outspoken supporter of Israel, and spoke at the Israeli government-affiliated President’s Conference in Jerusalem in 2012 and 2013. She told the Sheldon Adelson-owned paper Israel Hayom that a two-state solution has not happened because Arab leaders believe it would betray the Qu’ran.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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58 Responses

  1. jenin
    April 9, 2014, 12:25 pm

    when I was in college I used to be a huge fan of Hirsi Ali and Sam Harris, mainly because I was (and am) and atheist, and I bought into their propaganda about Islam being the root of all/most problems in the modern world. I am so ashamed that I ever used to support these neocon, Islamophobic, pro-Israel, ignoramoses, who clearly know absolutely nothing about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict but continue to talk about it with authority. Glad Brandeis has seen the light on this issue!

    • Ellen
      April 9, 2014, 1:16 pm

      I admire your honesty. Thank you.

      In the late 70’s the anti Islamic, anti Arab propaganda machine started in the West. (This was also a time when military think tanks recognized that the Soviet Union was soon to be on it’s last legs and had identified the Middle East as a future conflict zone — more on that later.)

      I also fell for it and am so ashamed of some of the stupid thoughts I had. Then there were new events (invasion of Lebanon) and new information came to the fore. It all became so clear to me.

      As for Hirsi Ali. She, like Geller, has made a career out of anti-Islam demagoguery.

      • jenin
        April 9, 2014, 1:47 pm

        Thanks! I am somewhat curious if she really believes what she says (perhaps because of her unfortunate experience) or if she just finds it a convenient way to make a living. Although I’m willing to cut her more slack than Geller because of personal experience, for obvious reasons of course that still does not excuse her very ignorant and myopic views about Muslims and Arabs.

      • Woody Tanaka
        April 9, 2014, 2:24 pm

        “I also fell for it and am so ashamed of some of the stupid thoughts I had. ”

        Don’t be ashamed. Be glad you learned better, especially considering the fact that the West was lied to — with impunity and without rebuttal — about the Arab world, during the pre-Internet days.

        I remember being a stupid kid back in the 1980s, watching the Chuck Norris action movie “Delta Force,” and, not knowing any better, thinking “God, Arabs are really just evil to the core.” Of course, I look at it now and I realize that it was anti-Arab and Islamophobic propaganda produced in Israel by Menaham Golan, an Israeli producer of similar bigoted garbage, and was no better than the antisemitic garbage such as as Jud Süß and Der Ewige Jude that the Nazis released, (except neither of the latter two starred Lee Marvin.)

        I don’t look back with shame on my thoughts; I was an ignorant kid. I look back and say “Shame on Israel and shame on Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin and most of all, shame on the propaganda director of hate, Golan, for releasing such bigoted garbage.”

      • Pixel
        April 10, 2014, 12:15 am

        +1

      • DICKERSON3870
        April 10, 2014, 1:17 am

        RE: “I look at it [“Delta Force”] now and I realize that it was anti-Arab and Islamophobic propaganda . . . and was no better than the antisemitic garbage such as as Jud Süß and Der Ewige Jude that the Nazis released, (except neither of the latter two starred Lee Marvin.)” ~ Woody Tanaka

        MY COMMENT: Sadly though, if my somewhat dim recollection serves me correctly, Jud Süß and Der Ewige Jude did sort of involve the participation (in front of and behind the cameras) of that period’s German equivalents to Lee Marvin. The more significant difference is that these complicit German Lee Marvins were, to varying degrees, punished (or at least made to pay a price) for their complicity after Germany was defeated in WWII.

      • MRW
        April 10, 2014, 12:05 am

        Add Niall Ferguson into the mix too. He married Hirsi Ali.

      • Kay24
        April 10, 2014, 12:13 am

        Let’s not forget that millions of dollars are behind these anti Muslim campaigns, and that Geller and Islamaphobic Geert Wilders, are buddies.
        Geller has been refused entry into the UK for her divisive and troubling campaign to cause problems for all Muslims.

    • ToivoS
      April 9, 2014, 1:25 pm

      I went through a period where I was buying into Islamophobic propaganda. This was a reaction to the Islamic revolution in Iran after the mullahs purged their left opposition and were executing members of the Bahai faith.

    • Justpassingby
      April 9, 2014, 3:06 pm

      Jenin

      Good for you, great courage!

    • Walid
      April 9, 2014, 3:52 pm

      “Glad Brandeis has seen the light on this issue!”

      Brandeis didn’t see anything; it was an exercise in damage control after Silverstein blew the whistle on them. Brandeis was already in Silverstein’s crosshairs since last November after its shameful dissociation with al-Quds University under some absurd pretext. In his current post about this incident, Silverstein says:

      “… Note all, that Lawrence invited Hirsi Ali back to campus. Undoubtedly, they’ll pick the most distinguished academic lecture series on campus and invite her to keynote it. The trustees will throw a big party and fete her. Fred Lawrence will even introduce her just as he did Alan Dershowitz, when he spoke on campus. Neither Jimmy Carter nor Max Blumenthal got the same treatment! The president will talk about Hirsi Ali as a beacon of courage and hope and bulwark against Islamist extremism. He’ll endorse just about her entire world view. If this incident is mentioned, it will be but a brief footnote.”

      So no bouquets are due to Brandeis that were trying to pass a “fast one” with Hirsi and got exposed for it by Silverstein.

      http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2014/04/09/brandeis-rescinds-hirsi-ali-honorary-degree/

      • jenin
        April 9, 2014, 4:17 pm

        yeah, you’re right. I realized that wasn’t quite the right thing to say after I wrote it. At the very least, though, I guess it is a somewhat positive thing that there was enough pressure on the university to not give her the award.

  2. Ellen
    April 9, 2014, 1:09 pm

    Yesterday, the school said it would not give Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-American, a degree because her views ”are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.”

    Brandeis did not know that BEFORE they invited her? Not possible.

    Face it, she was invited exactly because of her anti-Islam propaganda value. The Administration was called out and is now pretending they did not know. When in fact, they got caught and are backing down. Makes ’em look even worse.

    • jenin
      April 9, 2014, 1:12 pm

      it is impossible they didn’t know. I guess I should say shame on them for intending to give her an honorary degree in the first place, rather than applauding them now.

    • tree
      April 9, 2014, 1:52 pm

      I’d be curious as to who at Brandeis made the recommendation to honor her in the first place

    • bilal a
      April 9, 2014, 2:05 pm

      Why do so many self congratulatory liberals celebrate violent hatred, even murder, of Muslims, based on lies and blood libel ?

      Maybe the same reason an Orthodox Jew, Christian, or Muslim can’t work at Mozilla?

      http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/04/06/the-quality-of-mercy/

  3. hophmi
    April 9, 2014, 1:10 pm

    Not a big fan of Hirst-Ali, but man, are you people hypocrites.

    Ayaan Hirst-Ali is definitely quite an angry critic of Islam, and certainly uses some awful rhetoric, but she had to go into hiding for years because of death threats, and still has round-the-clock security.

    Moreover, there is no evidence that she lied about being subjected to FGM (and no call for the “she said” language), and the only people to dispute her claim that she was fleeing an arranged marriage are, predictably, the men in her family.

    You’ve frequently published the work of Israel Shahak (among others) here many times. He is exactly the same thing as Hirst Ali – a atheist who devoted a substantial part of his life to smearing the faith into which he was born because he lost his faith along the way. I cannot understand how you square stuff like that with your position on stuff like this.

    It’s also very curious that rather than address what she says about the way women are treated in Muslim societies (which I’m sure you know is true), the only thing you have to say is how Islamophobic bloggers have republished her. That’s exactly the same argument as saying that everything Shahak says is incredible because neo-Nazis republish him all the time.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      April 9, 2014, 2:30 pm

      ”she had to go into hiding for years because of death threats, and still has round-the-clock security. ”

      I always find it amusing when ‘death threats’ are perceived as giving someone credibility or hero status. Tons of people have had death threats, among them many who have incurred the wrath of Zion. Vanessa Redgrave had death threats. Judge Goldstone had death threats. So did Edward Said, who took them seriously enough that he had a panic button installed under his desk. Yet I’ve never seen you revere any of these people.

      ” the only people to dispute her claim that she was fleeing an arranged marriage are, predictably, the men in her family.”

      Yes, and who would trust a Muslim man, eh?

      Anyway, you’re wrong. If you can find the documentary I mentioned below, you’ll see that her brother, mother and aunt all deny – interviewed seperately – that she was forced into marriage. In fact, apparently Ayaan’s mother didn’t want her to marry at all as she thought she was too young (she was 22) and should finish her studies first. However, because this man was living in Canada and could get a visa for Ayaan to join him there, she was happy to marry him. Now, I suppose you could say it’s their words against hers, but we’re talking about 3 people interviewed separately, with one of them on a different continent. You’d also have to acknowledge that Magan also has a VERY good reason to create a ‘victim’ persona for herself, since she has made an excellent living out of it.

      ”what she says about the way women are treated in Muslim societies (which I’m sure you know is true),”

      Or rather, what someone like yourself wants to believe is true.

      Tell me, what makes Magan such an expert on Islam? She has spent most of her life in Christian countries, is not an Arabic scholar, and has no academic background in Islamic studies. Tell me what – other than being a beautiful African woman with a knack her PR – distinguishes her from any of the other ranting loonies on DanielPipes.org?

      • Kay24
        April 10, 2014, 12:18 am

        Excellent points. I am sure certain journalists who had the courage to speak out against Israel, and were viciously labelled “anti semtic” got death threats too. This woman has been caught lying too many times, even her own family contradicting her tall tales, I am glad that she was not honored in any way by Brandeis, for whatever reasons.

    • American
      April 9, 2014, 11:37 pm

      ” You’ve frequently published the work of Israel Shahak (among others) here many times.”’….hoppie

      I have read Shahak’s criticisms but no where did I see him call Judaism a ‘inherently violent’ religion. He talks about the violent fundamentalist within it…not the ‘entire’ religion.
      So it isn’t the same thing.

    • AbigailOK
      April 13, 2014, 4:13 pm

      You have to always be against anything anyone writes here, don’t you? Re: Ali. The fact that she lied when she did not have to (she got help and is not to be put on the same level as other asylum seekers although she would like to portray it that way, makes her untrustworthy. She flip-flopped from a social-democratic party overnight to an arch-conservative one. And apparently keeps inciting hatred against a religion. That is very telling. She was still working in the Dutch Parliament when she already made plans (was hired) by the American Enterprise Institute the neocon thinktank of Cheney, Feith, Kogan, Wolfowitz etc. I wonder on whose payroll she is besides first AEI and now Harvard.

      Re: treatment of women in Judaism. Veils (yes, in Mea Shearim copied from er…muslims). Forced marriages at a young age without any say for the girl (or boy often), forced wearing of wigs (sheitls) after marriage, forced upon dress code, woman is property of her husband, no formal education, no library books, no nothing. Beating up of women who want a divorce also in cases of domestic violence. No right to initiate a divorce. If husband bolts she is an agunah or someone who stays married but cannot have a boy friend nor obviously remarry since that would make her an adultress. Call a spade a spade. Fundamentalists are the same in any religion, Jewish, Muslim, Christian. Of course, I stress here the word fundamentalist. since in modern orthodox judaism or other denominations these things do not occur. (Although I am not so sure about the get or bill of divorce in modern orthodox circles. Jewish law should have been changed eons ago but hey, it’s a male dominant patriarchical thing…..

  4. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    April 9, 2014, 1:39 pm

    I saw a documentary from Dutch TV (subtitled in English) which completely blew a hole threw Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s (real name: Ayan Hirsi Magan) persona of an innocent woman victimised by evil Muslims. Seems she lived in relative luxury in Kenya, where her brother attended a Christian school (that’s how fanatic her family were) and there are serious doubts as to whether she was forced into marriage at all. Her former flatmate in Holland said that she never spoke of being on the run from her family – in fact she regularly received mail from them. She also appeared on Dutch TV in a programme about immigrants, which is hardly the way you’d expect a woman in hiding from the Muslim hordes to behave. BTW Magan was interviewed on the programme, and given a chance to respond to their findings – something she did not do at all convincingly.

    In short, Magan is a fraud. She has essentially created her persona. And this really matters because at the end of the day her ‘brave victim of Islam’ persona is all she’s got. She has no academic background in Islamic studies. Other than the trip to Israel which someone bought her, and a few years spent in Riyadh as a child, she has little experience of the Middle East. Her ‘thoughts’ are about as original, sophisticated and erudite as the spittle-flecked rants of some mad old dude on a far-right march.

    Magan is essentially an unrestrained bigot and preacher of hate – just the fact that a) she’s a beautiful, ‘exotic’, female ‘native informant’ and b) she fits in with the far-right agenda in the USA, means she is taken seriously rather than mocked as she deserves. I am often dismayed by the number of otherwise reasonable people who believe Magan is an authority on Islam, when in reality she hasn’t got a clue.

    • jenin
      April 9, 2014, 2:33 pm

      Thanks for this info. I honestly had no idea about this–I always took her at her word regarding her experiences (imo, that still wouldn’t justify her views/opinions, but this is shocking and good to know)

    • hophmi
      April 9, 2014, 2:40 pm

      “Seems she lived in relative luxury in Kenya”

      And as you can see from articles on this topic, she admitted all of this (including her name change) when she ran for Parliament in 2002. She still maintains that she was running from a forced marriage, and there’s an obvious question of why she would flee this comfortable Kenyan life if there was nothing wrong.

      “In short, Magan is a fraud. She has essentially created her persona.”

      Whatever her background, what she says about the plight of women in the Muslim world is most certainly not a fraud, and I suggest that you ask yourself whether you’re willing to be this harsh with immigrants from poorer countries who lie on asylum applications, because it happens all the time.

      “I am often dismayed by the number of otherwise reasonable people who believe Magan is an authority on Islam, when in reality she hasn’t got a clue.”

      Well, again, do you apply this standard to everyone? You celebrate the work of people like Shlomo Sand, who is not a geneticist, for his polemic on genetics. You celebrate Israel Shahak’s polemical work on Judaism; he was a chemist.

      You don’t have to be an authority on Islam, nor an Islamophobe, for that matter, to talk about the plight of women in the Muslim world, which is clear and obvious.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 9, 2014, 3:45 pm

        ”And as you can see from articles on this topic, she admitted all of this (including her name change) when she ran for Parliament in 2002. ”

        She ‘admitted’ this when she was caught out as a liar and fraud.

        ”there’s an obvious question of why she would flee this comfortable Kenyan life if there was nothing wrong. ”

        It’s only obvious if you refuse to apply any critical thinking to the Magan sobstory. Living in relative luxury in a third-world country like Kenya doesn’t mean that you might not want to live in a first-world country like Canada or Holland. People who are not ‘fleeing’ arranged marriages or anything else risk their lives trying to get into Europe every day of the week. Thousands of them.

        You do know the meaning of the word ‘relative’ don’t you?

        ”I suggest that you ask yourself whether you’re willing to be this harsh with immigrants from poorer countries who lie on asylum applications, because it happens all the time. ”

        Why don’t you suggest Magan ask herself that question? SHE is the one who made a career out of opposing immigration from Muslim countries – except for herself. So she was quite simply hoisted by her own petard when she was exposed as a liar. I have no sympathy for her whatsoever.

        ”You celebrate the work of people like Shlomo Sand, who is not a geneticist, for his polemic on genetics. You celebrate Israel Shahak’s polemical work on Judaism; he was a chemist. ”

        Could you please remind me where I have ‘celebrated’ either of these people? Exact quotes, please. Don’t make stuff up. It makes you look foolish.

        ”You don’t have to be an authority on Islam, nor an Islamophobe, for that matter, to talk about the plight of women in the Muslim world, which is clear and obvious.”

        There’s something pathetic about how an anti-Arab extremist like yourself suddenly gets so very concerned over the ‘plight’ of poor Muslim women – everywhere expect Palestine. And if ”You don’t have to be an authority on Islam” to spout such talk, why should anyone listen to Magan – who has no relevant credentials – when any ranting street corner neanderthal can do the job just as well?

      • hophmi
        April 10, 2014, 1:11 pm

        “Could you please remind me where I have ‘celebrated’ either of these people? Exact quotes, please. Don’t make stuff up. It makes you look foolish.”

        I’m not speaking about you in general. I’m speaking about the site as a whole.

        “There’s something pathetic about how an anti-Arab extremist like yourself ”

        Please show with quotes how I am an “anti-Arab extremist.” Exact quotes, please. Don’t make stuff up. It makes you look foolish.

        “suddenly gets so very concerned over the ‘plight’ of poor Muslim women – everywhere expect Palestine.”

        Please show with quotes how I am not concerned about the plight of Muslim women in Palestine. Exact quotes, please. Don’t make stuff up. It makes you look foolish.

        “nd if ”You don’t have to be an authority on Islam” to spout such talk, why should anyone listen to Magan – who has no relevant credentials – when any ranting street corner neanderthal can do the job just as well?”

        I’m, again, asking whether you’d be okay if a person who was not an expert on Judaism was brought to campus to criticize the Jewish faith. The list of these people celebrated by pro-Palestinian activists is fairly long, and they include Sand, Shahak, Lenni Brenner, Norton Mezhvinsky, Max Blumenthal, and many more.

        I think what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

        “No one (including Professor Sand himself) tried to claim Shlomo Sand was a geneticist. ”

        Sand is not an expert on the subject matter he wrote about “The Invention of the Jewish People.” And I think you know that.

        ‘As for Ayaan Hirsi Magan, the point is she was exposed as a liar and a shameless fraud.”

        Uh-huh. And you’re still not going to engage on what she says about the plight of women in Islamic society. You’re going to focus on her asylum application, just as a white European racist would.

        “tell us hop! about this plight.”

        Ellen: Do you or do you not agree that women in the Muslim world face a good deal of repression and violence? Yes or no, please.

        “Is a plight specific to the so-called Muslim world? Tell us, is it only Muslim women who are bartered from Moldova for trafficking like chattel Tel Aviv and Hamburg and Moscow?”

        It is particularly bad. We had a discussion about human trafficking here a couple of weeks ago. Israel is in the first-tier of countries in terms of combatting human-trafficking. Arab countries are among the worst on the list.

        http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/fakultaeten/wiso/awi/humantrafficking/index.html

        Many women around the world face gender discrimination, including those in ultra-orthodox sects of Judaism. The difference is that there are way more Muslim women than there are Jewish women, and the other difference is that the vast majority of the Jewish world is engaged on gender issues and quite vocal on the challenges women in the ultra-orthodox world face, without facing the death threats people like Ali and Salman Rushdie did.

        So, again, can you tell me, unequivocally, if Brandeis University invited a Jewish apostate to talk about gender violence in the Jewish world, someone who was fond of saying that all Jews should be secular and that the Jewish religion was a violent religion, would you protest? I highly doubt it.

        And once again, I have no trouble telling right-wingers in the Jewish community up in arms that Ali’s degree was rescinded that Ali is a bigot who should not have been invited in the first place. You’re exactly like them. You’re complete hypocrites.

      • Abdul-Rahman
        April 9, 2014, 5:45 pm

        No one (including Professor Sand himself) tried to claim Shlomo Sand was a geneticist. On that specific topic Sand himself noted he merely pointed out the manipulation and clear biases of those who “hunt” for what they themselves absurdly claim is a supposed “Jewish gene”.

        Sand “It is a bitter irony to see the descendants of Holocaust survivors set out to find a biological Jewish identity: Hitler would certainly have been very pleased! And it is all the more repulsive that this kind of research should be conducted in a state that has waged for years a declared policy of ‘Judaization of the country’ in which even today a Jew is not allowed to marry a non-Jew.”

        And Sand also mentions, he critiques specific “special” individuals from “Yeshiva University” and those who own just slightly shady (lol) for-profit businesses based on selling “Jewish DNA kits” to race-hungry Zionist sycophants http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5s_trEBcbU

        As for the genetics, Professor Sand leaves that to others to debate:

        http://www.eranelhaiklab.org/

        http://eelhaik.aravindachakravartilab.org/Challenge.html

        https://www.facebook.com/KhazarDnaProject

        http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2013/131008/ncomms3543/full/ncomms3543.html

        http://www.biologydirect.com/content/5/1/57

        etc. etc.

        As for Ayaan Hirsi Magan, the point is she was exposed as a liar and a shameless fraud. Oh and also she is no supposed “advocate” for anyone (other than her own publicity and ego). This was self-evident by the fact of her lying to get into the Netherlands and then serving as a tool and pathetic puppet and mouthpiece of right wing fascistic groups trying to block “non-white” immigration into the Netherlands (for purely racist reasons of course).

      • Ellen
        April 9, 2014, 7:22 pm

        what she says about the plight of women in the Muslim world is most certainly not a fraud,… tell us hop! about this plight.

        Is a plight specific to the so-called Muslim world? Tell us, is it only Muslim women who are bartered from Moldova for trafficking like chattel Tel Aviv and Hamburg and Moscow?

        How is a Muslim woman’s life in Sarajevo or Topeka different from her non-Muslim neighbor?

        Is it only Muslim women in the traditional Arab countries who are expected to show modesty while in public? (And after all is that a plight or cultural understanding of modesty and self respect?)

      • Elisabeth
        April 10, 2014, 6:35 am

        She does not really care about the situation of Muslim women. She supported the cutting of funds for safe houses for women who flee domestic violence in the Netherlands, and many Muslim women have found their way to these houses.

    • Justpassingby
      April 9, 2014, 3:08 pm

      Interesting, any idea if its available for free on the internet?

    • Kay24
      April 10, 2014, 12:20 am

      Some people have taken advantage of a liar, and most probably groomed her, and supported her campaign of hate, for their convenience and devious plans. It is interesting she had a junket trip to Israel, like our Congress people.

    • AbigailOK
      April 13, 2014, 4:16 pm

      @Maximimus DM Hear hear! Spot on. I forgot about the “Magan” scam!

  5. MHughes976
    April 9, 2014, 2:41 pm

    Well, I always have some regret about disinvitations, which should in themselves conflict with the core values of a university. I wouldn’t have wanted them to disinvite a Jewish writer who claimed that Christianity was an odious, imperialist death/crucifixion cult or a militant Catholic who regarded Anglicanism as a detestable heresy that has made England a moral cesspit. Much as those opinions would hurt me.

    • jenin
      April 9, 2014, 2:50 pm

      it wasn’t a disinvitation, it was a retraction of a decision to award an honorary degree. as the NYT article explains, it’s different because an honorary degree implies some support of the person’s positions on the part of the university. So this seems like an acceptable move by Brandeis. Of course it would have been better if they had never decided to give her the degree in the first place

      • MHughes976
        April 9, 2014, 4:07 pm

        Is there really a distinction of any moral significance between a disinvitation and a retraction of a known decision to invite? I would think that an honorary degree – or any honouring action – for a controversial writer need not express corporate agreement with her controversial opinions – that idea would have disturbing consequences of its own, surely? – but in some cases only admiration, at least by some members of the institution, for style and vigour of expression.
        Alice Walker was to be honoured by an invitation to give a special lecture which was withdrawn because of the content of her opinions and many of us didn’t like that and furthermore hoped that people who disagreed with her anti-Zionist opinions would still not approve of the way she was treated.
        I agree that HA’s opinions verge on incitement to violence, which gives me pause. On the other hand I think we gain more if we not only permit people with odious opinions to speak out but also don’t even stand in the way of those who want to say admiring things about the speaker. Then we can demand parity.

      • jenin
        April 9, 2014, 4:22 pm

        I am no expert on this subject. according to the NYT article, there is a distinction, in that an honorary degree implies an endorsement of the views, whereas simply allowing someone to speak does (or should) not. From what I heard, Brandeis is still allowing her to speak but is just not giving her the honorary degree. I could be wrong about this though.

        in any event, I am a big first amendment supporter/free speech advocate and tend to think that suppression of views is almost always a bad thing and doesn’t get the result the suppressor wants anyway, but as you acknowledge HA’s opinions verge on incitement to violence, and I would argue that they verge on the equivalent of anti-Semitism or racism. I have a hard time believing that any university in this country would permit someone to articulate similar views about Jews or Christians, and so even if Brandeis was deciding not to have her speak, I am not entirely sure I would find that an unacceptable free speech restriction. I understand your point and don’t think it is unreasonable…it’s a gray area.

      • MHughes976
        April 10, 2014, 12:11 pm

        I completely agree with your second para, particularly about the different standard that would be set for remarks about non-Islamic religions.

  6. Abdul-Rahman
    April 9, 2014, 6:06 pm

    Everything about this Ayaan Hirsi Magan character was exposed to be a lie! Nothing in the entire fake story she crafted for herself even happened as she alleged. It is hard to decide who is a bigger liar and hack; her or someone like Walid Shoebat!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJN00dBhZVk

    These Islamophobic clowns, who often front for various right wing Zionist groups as well, all turn out to be frauds and weavers of tall tales.

    As for Ayaan, the Dutch program TV Zembla issued the authoritative debunking and exposure of her (which is why she had to go crawling out of the Netherlands and seek “support” from right wing neocons in the US, to be able to take her schtick to American shores).

    Among other things Zembla showed Magan lied about her name, did not grow up in war-torn Somalia but rather in an upscale Nairobi villa, there was no “forced marriage”, etc. etc. Basically, once again, her whole “backstory” (which she used to “sell herself” to various right wing groups and such) was purely fictitious.

  7. dbroncos
    April 9, 2014, 8:27 pm

    What’s the basis for Hirsi Ali’s Harvard fellowship and how, in the first place, did Brandeis U arrive at the decision to give her an honarary degree before deciding against it? I’d love to know how it was decided that she was worthy of this honorific booty.

    • a blah chick
      April 9, 2014, 9:11 pm

      “What’s the basis for Hirsi Ali’s Harvard fellowship..?”

      Two words: Niall Ferguson. He’s a professor of history at Havard and I’m sure had a lot to do with it. He left his wife to get jiggly with Hirsi and I’m sure having him around greased her path into the corridors of power and influence in the States. I used to feel sorry for her because I thought she had had a difficult life, even if she was wrong to blame an entire religion for her difficulties. But as the years went on and her lies multiplied she comes off to me as that most awful of persons, someone who is perfectly comfortable to get a seat at the table of power at the expense of her own people. And to put herself forward as a fake “champion” of them.

  8. Shuki
    April 10, 2014, 12:17 am

    Proving once again what a pretextual façade it is when you claim to care about human rights. This brave woman has endured genital mutilation, abuse and oppression to come out and speak the truth. If she were pro-Palestinian she would be considered a hero and her critics would be labeled as racists. If you actually possessed any honor and integrity in your views, you would be appalled by the decision of Brandeis University to cave into CAIR and their extortionist tactics. But, as we all know and as this proves, You don’t care about human rights, you don’t care about woman’s rights, you care about sticking your thumb in the eyes of Israel and delegitimizing it at every turn. Your bogus claims of concern for human rights and Palestinians is nothing more than a vehicle for you to achieve your anti-Jewish agenda.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 10, 2014, 12:27 am

      bla bla bla bla This brave woman has endured genital mutilation

      allegedly. she’s lied about so much else how would you know? how would anyone know?

      buse and oppression to come out and speak the truth.

      did you even read the article? or the embeds?

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/may/21/jasonburke.theobserver

      The TV programme, broadcast 10 days ago, highlighted the fact that Hirsi Ali had falsified her original asylum application in Holland, saying that she had not come from war-torn Somalia as she claimed, but from Kenya, where she had lived peacefully for 10 years. The fact that she had lied was well-known, retorted Hirsi Ali, making the point that was she was fleeing a forced marriage. Not so, said van Dongen, using testimony from her brother and husband to allege that the marriage was not made under compulsion. Nor van Dongen said, was Hirsi Ali raised in a strict Muslim family.

      sounds like her whole bio was fabricated. at 8:10 in the video she admits she fabricated a story:

      no abuse, no oppression.

      • hophmi
        April 10, 2014, 1:13 pm

        I find amazing that you would take the word of her father and brother against hers on the issue of forced marriages. I guess, when it suits you, you’re perfectly willing to be a party to the subjugation of women at the hands of patriarchy.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 11, 2014, 4:19 am

        ”I’m not speaking about you in general. I’m speaking about the site as a whole.”

        ”You in general?” Makes no sense. Could you elaborate?

        ”Please show with quotes how I am an “anti-Arab extremist.” Exact quotes, please. Don’t make stuff up. It makes you look foolish. ”

        Look at all of your posts. Just about every single one of them is concerned with preserving Jewish colonial supremacy in Palestine, at the expense of the indigenous Arab people.

        ”Please show with quotes how I am not concerned about the plight of Muslim women in Palestine. Exact quotes, please. Don’t make stuff up. It makes you look foolish. ”

        See above. Hasbarist concern trolling doesn’t work here.

        ”I’m, again, asking whether you’d be okay if a person who was not an expert on Judaism was brought to campus to criticize the Jewish faith. ”

        I’m not aware that any of these people has called for Judaism to be eradicated and said we are at war with Judaism, as Magan has done regarding Islam.

        But you’ve been on this board long enough. You must know that the ‘don’t look at that, look at this” line doesn’t work anymore. This thread isn’t about Sand or Blumenthal. It’s about Magan, a woman who – you seem to agree – has no expertise on the subject of Islam, and yet who you are praising. Your attempts to divert the topic are not working.

        ”Uh-huh.”

        Glad you agree you’re praising a liar and fraud.

        ”And you’re still not going to engage on what she says about the plight of women in Islamic society.”

        Islamic society? So there’s only one? So ‘society’ in Albania is the same as ‘society’ in Yemen which is the same as ‘society’ in Indonesia? Do you realise how stupid and bigoted you sound?

        And why should I ‘engage’ with Magan’s bigotry? Tell me one interesting or original thing she has said (other than her belief that Deuteronomy is a person). Why should I ‘engage’ with her anymore than I would ‘engage’ with bigots of any stripe?

        Unlike Magan, I have lived spent years of my life in ”Islamic society” as an adult. I’m not a particular fan of Islam, or any other religion for that matter, but I’m not dunderheaded enough to think that ”Islamic society” is one homogenous mass.

        ”You’re going to focus on her asylum application, just as a white European racist would.”

        You’re not actually playing the race card here, are you? Have you really sunk that low in your defence of a fanatic bigot? And I see you haven’t watched any of the videos or, to use your word, ‘engaged’ with any of the posts above. Magan’s lifes and fabrications seem to extend to far more than a fib on her application form. There is reason to believe that her entire persona – the one which people like you so readily believe – is a fabrication. You can choose to ignore this, but that’s going to be about as useful as your attempts to get us to talk about Sand rather than Magan.

        Oh and btw, does it make you feel proud to be shilling for a person who sympathises with Anders Behring Brevik?

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 11, 2014, 4:31 am

        ”I find amazing that you would take the word of her father and brother against hers on the issue of forced marriages.”

        Thanks for this. You’re proving what I said before. Magan’s brand of hatred works so well because of the extreme ignorance and bias against Muslisms – especially Muslim men. Who would trust a Muslim man, eh? They’re all liars whose goal in life is to subjugate their women.

        This also shows that you refuse to watch any of the videos linked above, or even read the posts. As I said in my post, her brother, mother and aunt all deny that she was forced into marriage. Two women (yes, women!) who knew Magan shortly after she arrived in the Netherlands say that she never mentioned anything about fleeing from an arranged marriage, and she seemed to have good relations with her family in Somalia. Odd behaviour for someone seeking asylum on the basis of being forced into marriage.

        What’s even odder is that one fine day Magan’s husband showed up on her doorstep in Holland. What did she do? Did she scream for help, lock the door and call the police – as you would expect from someone who had fled to another continent to escape her evil Muslim husband? No. She opened the door and let him in. Him, and several other Somali men. After a while, the men quietly left. No harm done to anyone.

        I know you’re not going to watch the Dutch documentary above because it will shatter the image of Saint Ayaan – as the programme is aptly called. But if you did, you’d see that, confronted with the above story, Magan – normally so shrill and glib in her responses – is at a loss as to how to answer. She knows that her behaviour really doesn’t fit in with her persona as a brave victim. However, she hearts Israel and pushes the worst stereotypes about Muslims – all Muslims – so as far as you’re concerned, what’s not to like eh?

      • hophmi
        April 11, 2014, 12:31 pm

        “However, she hearts Israel and pushes the worst stereotypes about Muslims – all Muslims – so as far as you’re concerned, what’s not to like eh?”

        Oh please. My record is quite strong on opposing Islamophobia. Get off your high horse.

        Again, I’m making a single point, which is that people here are opposing her based on her extreme rhetoric on Muslims, but have no trouble celebrating atheistic Jews who use the same brand of rhetoric.

        “Look at all of your posts. Just about every single one of them is concerned with preserving Jewish colonial supremacy in Palestine, at the expense of the indigenous Arab people.”

        Being pro-Israel is not the same as being anti-Arab. Give me a break. That is the same thing as saying being pro-Palestinian is being anti-Jewish.

        “Islamic society? So there’s only one? So ‘society’ in Albania is the same as ‘society’ in Yemen which is the same as ‘society’ in Indonesia? Do you realise how stupid and bigoted you sound?”

        You’re right; I forgot for a moment that there are 57 Islamic countries. Maybe you can point me to ten that have a good record on gender issues, including five in Middle East and North Africa.

        “Oh and btw, does it make you feel proud to be shilling for a person who sympathises with Anders Behring Brevik?”

        As I said, I’m not shilling for her. I’ve argued in favor of her disinvitation elsewhere. I’m simply asking a simple question: If you’re against her, why aren’t you against Jewish apostates who say nasty things about Jews?

      • Woody Tanaka
        April 11, 2014, 1:20 pm

        “My record is quite strong on opposing Islamophobia. ”

        Bull. When you had the opportunity to denouce Foxman’s anti-Muslim stance in connection with Park 51, where he gave aid and comfort to rabid Islamophobes like Gellar, you ran away so fast you left a hophmi-shaped hole in the door. Such is your “strong” record on opposing Islamophobia that you couldn’t bring yourself to denounce an Islamophobe like Foxman as he was expressing Islamophobia.

        But I’m sure if we looked hard, we’d see that strong record… I don’t know, maybe you gave someone a stern look when they said they didn’t like the color green, or something.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        April 11, 2014, 1:35 pm

        ”Oh please. My record is quite strong on opposing Islamophobia. Get off your high horse. ”

        You have repeatedly defended an extreme Islamophobe on this page.

        ”Again, I’m making a single point, which is that people here are opposing her based on her extreme rhetoric on Muslims, but have no trouble celebrating atheistic Jews who use the same brand of rhetoric. ”

        Please name the people who have said we are at war with Judaism and called for it to be eradicated by all means – including miltary means. That is an example of Magan’s rhetoric. I’m not aware of anyone whose made the same calls with regards to Jews. Please name these people, and say who has praised them on this board.

        ”Being pro-Israel is not the same as being anti-Arab. Give me a break. That is the same thing as saying being pro-Palestinian is being anti-Jewish. ”

        Nice try, but not good enough. You would think you’ve been on this board long enough to get with the programme. Just as diversion tactics dont’ work here, neither does conflating Israel with ‘Jews’.

        ”You’re right; I forgot for a moment that there are 57 Islamic countries. Maybe you can point me to ten that have a good record on gender issues, including five in Middle East and North Africa. ”

        What’s that got to do with the price of eggs? If you take ‘a good record on gender issues’ to mean Western style standards on such issues, you’ll find very few such countries outside of Europe and North America. But you and Magan want to concern troll for ‘oppressed Muslim women’ (in Turkey? Albania? Lebanon? Indonesia?) and ignore the genuinely brave women – and men – who have worked hard to help Muslim women on the ground, without any of the wealth and glory Magan has got. If you know of any Muslim women who have been helped by Magan, let us know.

        ”As I said, I’m not shilling for her.”

        If so, you’ll have to admit you’re doing a pretty good impression of doing just that.

        ” I’m simply asking a simple question: If you’re against her, why aren’t you against Jewish apostates who say nasty things about Jews?”

        Are you being completely obtuse? This diversionary tactic has been addressed by myself and others already. You haven’t been able to name ONE person who speaks of Jews in the vicious, hateful manner in which Magan speaks of Muslims – all Muslims.

        Divert, deny, distort might work elsewhere, but it doesn’t cut the mustard here. I would have thought you’d know that by now, but apparently not.

    • Woody Tanaka
      April 10, 2014, 10:12 am

      “This brave woman has endured genital mutilation…”

      I trust, then, that you are working to end the male genital mutilation inflicted on non-consenting male infants??

  9. yonah fredman
    April 10, 2014, 2:29 am

    There are topics about which I have a lot of information and others that I don’t. I have very little information about Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I can only tell you the general impression that I have and I assume that this general impression is something that reflects the general impression of some percentage of the general public. (I state these things as facts, but if you must: imagine quotation marks. These are impressions and not facts.) She is courageous and has been battling the more intolerant side of Islam.

    Obviously when granting a special honor, one should do research about an individual and not judge based upon general impressions. But I think those who consider her an enemy based upon her anti Islamic stance, should realize that whereas Pamela Geller gives off an aura of superficiality and bigotry, the same cannot be said about Ali.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      April 10, 2014, 11:32 am

      ”But I think those who consider her an enemy based upon her anti Islamic stance, should realize that whereas Pamela Geller gives off an aura of superficiality and bigotry, the same cannot be said about Ali.”

      Firstly, nobody considers ”her an enemy based upon her anti Islamic stance”. People hold her in contempt because she is a proven liar and bigot.

      Secondly, in what way is Ali (not her real name) in a different league to the likes of Geller? What gives her credibility and authority? To repeat: she has no academic background in Islamic studies. She is not a Qoronic scholar. She never even lived in a Muslim country for more than a few years. Her own family appear to have been fairly moderate in their faith. Her only ‘selling point’ (and it’s all about the selling) is her – highly dubious – sobstory of being a hapless victim of baaaad Muslim men. Take that away, and all you’ve got is another bigot consumed by hatred.

      It’s debatable whether or not Magan is truly ‘courageous’ (it depends on whether you uncritically accept her story, as you do, despite the fact that there is reason to be highly sceptical) but even if she is, so what? ”Courage” does not in itself make one admirable or credible.

      So what, precisely, makes Magan an expert on anything other than self-promotion? I have asked this question at least once before, but I’m yet to receive an answer.

  10. Walid
    April 10, 2014, 2:38 am

    There’s no doubt that Hirsi is making hay with the prevailing Islamophobia and with encouragement by the Zionists. Zionist social groups just love to have people like Hirsi, Shoebat, Sultan and Gabriel visiting their chapters to bad-mouth Arabs and Muslims and they pay them handsomely to do it. There are big bucks for those that make a living out of speaking against Muslims.

    But among Hirsi’s various declarations, she mentioned that she had been subjected to FGM and we can’t necessarily group this declaration among her bogus statements because coming from Somalia, it’s most probably true since according to the UN, 98% of girls in Somalia suffer FGM at a very young age, where she was born and lived until aged 9 (and equally horribly 91% in Egypt even though it’s illegal there).

    And before Shuki and the gang get any false ideas and start running to the bank with them, FGM is a mostly African custom predating the Pharaohs that has nothing to do with Islam.

    • gamal
      April 10, 2014, 6:27 am

      It is important to distinguish between infibulation and “pharaonic” female circumcision, which involves a trimming of the labia, no more. My family, as one of their peculiarities, do not practice female circumcision at all, its the scholars in the family who denounce it. In Egypt it is often done in the manner of an African rite of passage, ie at just post puberty, and is very common, I guess 80 to 90%, Coptic women also (and Coptic men of course), since it predates Islam in Egypt, the Hebrews learned it in Egypt, so they say

      Scholars: some support it, with frankly stupid and revolting arguments, as to infibulation, which involves removal of the clitoris and the sewing up of the vaginal opening, I would guess pretty much all Somali women have under gone it, it causes a lot of problems for them.

      While female circumcision is technically rejected in Islam its one of the oldest human operations and no one knows when it started or what its purpose was, I have heard Somali’s explain that without it women would be unable to control themselves, and that Somali men prefer “dry” sex, I never pursued them for a full explanation of what that is.

      It is practiced across a large swathe of Africa by Christians, Animists and Muslims, and in fact has been carried by some Arabs all the way out to the Far East, not sure of the figures but I know it is has been adopted by some Malays, for example, but is not that widespread in the Far East, India or Pakistan.

      Egyptian women I have spoken too explained to my blushing face that they didnt want to be like a man with stuff swinging between their legs, but that they wished to be smooth like silk, Egyptian women can very forthright on matters of sex and sexual hygiene and demand satisfaction and admiration.

      Where i lived in Africa almost everyone had facial scarification, everyone from the poorest to the lords of the land,

      http://cecilimages.photoshelter.com/image/I0000_PjaFW9IhWw

      Africans living in the UK were prosecuted when they took their kids home and returned with them scarred, i lived in mainly Maguzawa Hausa areas, but the Fulani, nomadic herders, practiced male circumcision in the manner of an African rite of passage, meaning large groups of boys between 14-18, form a line and guy seizes their penis and cuts off the foreskin with a rusty piece of a razor with no anesthetic and heaven help the boy who shows the merest sign of discomfort or the slightest flinch, people have been doing it for the last several thousand years, it is very deeply entrenched.

      In 1928 Al-Azhar formally ‘outlawed’ it, to no effect whatsoever, there are Somali groups campaigning against infibulation as it often leads to post partum problems and many other deleterious effects for the women, people do it because they always have. MS Tantawi reiterated the condemnation during his tenure and also banned the niqab at Al-Azhar.

      I was circumcised at 8 days but have seen Egyptian boys done at 7 years of age, when it is quite traumatic, I was present during one performed in the late ’70’s, under general anesthetic at the University Hospital Cairo on a 7 year old, it was not easy for the little boy after putting him out the surgeon used a pair of bone cutters to drive blood out of the tissue before he removed the foreskin, its pretty rough.

      The medical stuff about lower rates of cervical and penile cancer amongst Muslims and Jews may be true, as a support for the use the knife on men, it doesnt impress me, i know of no proposed medical benefits from the female operation.

      Both my sons were circumcised at a few days, my daughters are intact. Its not an easy position to be in as the parent of a Muslim boy, the pressure is intense, thats not a problem for me, but in the end I felt that, one son born in the 80’s and one in the ’90’s, since white society accepts male circ: should they wish to be Muslims later in life or marry a Muslim woman not being done could very difficult for them, other than that i am ok with the guilt, and one wouldn’t want to be mistaken for a Kafir obviously.

      • Walid
        April 11, 2014, 8:08 am

        I read somewhere, probably in al- Ahram online, that the Brothers before their fall from grace had started sending out into the countryside doctors to revive FGM among the villagers. The article discussed the fearsome probability that the Brothers would be legalizing the outlawed FGM practice.

        But now that the Brothers are history, there’s nothing to worry about this law but the practice is still there all over Egypt, especially among the poor.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      April 10, 2014, 11:45 am

      Magan may very well have been subject to FGM but….. not to sound heartless, so what? So have millions of other women and girls, sadly. Why does the mere fact of being a victim of FGM make her some sort of authority on Islam? (I know you are not claiming this, but many are) Lots of women in Africa itself are leading grassroots campaigns against the practice – it is them, not Magan, who doesn’t give a toss about real ”Muslim women” except as a propaganda tool against all Muslims – who deserve our support.

  11. a blah chick
    April 10, 2014, 8:31 am

    Hirsi has spoken!

    Richard Silverstein has her response on his blog and let me tell you, she’s in full “You offend me, suh!” mode. The low points: Her statements were taken out of context; Brandeis caved into pressure from CAIR (that would be a first). Last but not least: there will never be peace between Israel and the Arab and/or Muslim world until the Muslims stop their Jew-hating, women-hating ways!

    In other words “I’m the real victim here!”

    I know that you cannot always explain personal attraction but what does Niall see in this hateful, self-righteous woman?

  12. bilal a
    April 10, 2014, 9:36 am

    Bigotry, Ridicule, Defamation also extends to Christians, totally mainstream white gentile minstrel at ‘the forward’:

    http://video.forward.com/video/Private-Video-on-Vimeo;Videos-From-The-Forward

    Bigots don’t perceive their own bigotry? or they ignore it for the warm fuzzies it gives them.

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