Ayaan Hirsi Ali was offered an honorary degree from Brandeis which then rescinded the offer under pressure from students, staff, and CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations). They were offended at Ali’s past comments that Islam will not reform, mutate, until it is defeated, and that there is a war on Islam.
Brandeis claims they didn’t know of her remarks. One can only wonder how anyone could ever have missed her antiIslamic remarks since all of her writings echo that sentiment. Indeed most of her remarks are anti religion as well. She is willing to rate religions in order of their abuses; Christianity is less abusive than Islam, at least right now. And best yet would be a secular public where religions are tolerated so long as they do not publicly practice terrorism, violence, xenophobia, and female-male abuse.
CAIR by pulling the holocaust card certainly fires up a lot of fear in Jews (Brandeis is nonsectarian Jewish) who are looking at a growing distaste for orthodoxy in their own ranks as are most religions.
<One need only consider how apostasy is handled within the Abrahamic religions to understand their intolerance of difference–right now, Islam being the least, Judaism the most, and Christianity somewhere in between. But then what of those who claim moderation?
The sad distraction that a few or more do not represent the whole invites a rating of percentages. Just how many before one no longer excuses the whole? If all of a country(s) present an extremist, fundamentalist, orthodox, or literal view of their ideology do we say Ali is antiSomalia, antYemen, antiPakistan? Hiding behind “we are not all like that” says little to resolve the deep problems within. It avoids entirely the ideology in question that motivates the action. Certainly it excludes discussion of the material reasons one might choose an ideology or solutions to it. But even if Muslim men do bad because they are young and unemployed doesn’t deny the easy access to ideology that supports conquest and exclusion.
When those who are “like that” use their ideology to support their violence it does little good to negate the violence as isolated from the ideology. It must be discussed on the level of the ideology or there is no reason to change and stop it. We simply must examine the ideology and deal with it directly or we condone the reasons and beliefs supporting the bad behavior.
CAIR certainly promotes Islamic extremism as well as Hamas which openly demands the wanton destruction of all Jews and Westerners–engaging in their dialog is doing it their way. They are not moderate or pushing Islam as a movement of Peace. They are what the war against Islam is about–to meet the negative energy of those Islamists who would do nonIslamists harm. Ali would certainly tone down her anitpathy if more Muslims, and other religions, acted moderation.
The real issue for Brandeis and most people supporting their final decision is atheistphobia. They fear her criticism of religions and her evaluating of the harm religions have done in respect to each other and in respect to secular and nontheistic ideologies. It is hard not to agree that religious ideologies can be graded in respect to their inherent violence espoused or eschewed, whether direct or indirect, implied or stated, allegorical or literal. Islam is one of the most violent and xenophobic and Buddhism is one of the least–in spite of a few peaceful Islamic sections, eg stating education is good ( as long as its Islamic education) and Buddhism’s antipathy to women. Most if not all big religions fail when it comes to xenotolerance, female rights, minority rights, adherence to egalitarian evidence, and collapse of hierarchy.
One wonders if Brandeis would honor Luther, who began the Reformation by being antiCatholic (and antisemitic), or Maimonides who was antinonJudaic, antigentile, though somewhat comfortably ensconced as an exile from within both Christian and Muslim persecution. Both these men softened their founding faiths while insisting you can’t belong to another religion without sacrificing salvation (goodness) and personal resurrection. Belong or have nothing.
Jim Newman, bright and well