This is shameful.
After growing criticism, Brandeis University cancelled its plan to present an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a fierce critic of Islam, reported The New York Times.
Hirsi Ali, also a women’s rights activist, has called the religion “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death” in the past.
“We cannot overlook that certain of her past statements are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values,” the university said in a statement.
The decision came eight days after the university had announced that Hirsi Ali would be honored at its commencement ceremony on May 18.
Unlike inviting a speaker with provocative views to lecture for the sake of diversity, awarding an honorary degree implies endorsement of the recipients views and work.
Criticism of the plan to honor Hirsi Ali grew among a handful of bloggers, and was then picked up by a Brandeis student who started an online petition on Change.org. The petition garnered thousands of signatures, reported the Times.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations then encouraged its members to complain to the school, and sent a letter to the university president Frederick Lawrence, calling Hirsi Ali a “notorious Islamophobe.”
In its statement Brandeis apologized for any offense caused, saying they “were not aware of” her statements on Islam.
Hirsi Ali is a Somali native who has spoken out against the practice of female genital mutilation – a procedure she underwent as a child – and about an arranged marriage she was almost forced into by her family.
She later received political asylum in the Netherlands and was elected to the Dutch Parliament. She is currently a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote her autobiography, Infidel, in which she describes growing up in Somalia and later in Mecca, the genital mutilation she suffered as a little girl at the hands of her grandmother, the life she lead as a refugee in Europe and her eventual ascension to the level of Parliament in The Netherlands. She worked on the movie, Submission, with Theo Van Gogh, you remember, the one that got him butchered in broad daylight on the streets of Amsterdam by an Islamic lunatic. He was nearly decapitated. After that, she underwent 24 hour security. But her lovely Dutch neighbors complained about the disruption the security forces were causing, and the Dutch government responded by revoking her citizenship. I kid you not.
This is her latest venture:
Brandeis, I have never been so disappointed in you.