"To become American is to accept the idea that you can have a robust debate and there is no better place to do that than on university campuses" -- Ayaan Hirsi Ali
This week, Brandeis University disappointingly reversed its decision to grant an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a victim and vocal critic of Islamism and a longtime women's rights activist. This brave woman has labored tirelessly in defense of the rights of women and girls worldwide -- usually at great risk to her own personal safety.
While the entirety of her public comments has always been readily accessible and she, no doubt, had been vetted by the university as had all other honorees, a few recent actions caused Brandeis to reverse itself: a student involved in the Muslim Student Association (MSA) on the campus started a petition on Change.org; a faculty letter opposed to Ms. Hirsi Ali was circulated; and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) began to pressure the university.
(Click HERE to watch Fox News' Megyn Kelly go toe-to-toe with CAIR's Ibrahim Hooper.)
Brandeis, in a released public statement, said they feel that Ms. Hirsi Ali is a "compelling public figure and advocate for women's rights" and that they "respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world," however, they "cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University's core values."
What exactly are Brandeis's "core values?"
They certainly are not the same core values of the man for which the university is named, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice, Louis Brandeis, who coined the phrase, "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants," and who was a staunch proponent of the "frank expression of conflicting opinions" as "the greatest promise of wisdom..."
Brandeis University's recent actions with regard to Ms. Hirsi Ali are shameful. They not only go against free speech protections afforded by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but they also send a clear message to persecuted and mistreated women and girls all across the world: Your suffering is not worth fighting for, nor is it worth discussing. This message empowers the men that mutilate and mistreat women, and the culture that condones it.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was right on the mark when she recently noted, "there's always this fear that if you insult Muslims, there's going to be some kind of violent repercussion," adding that Brandeis is "not doing their students any favors, and they're not doing their Muslim students any favors."
Over the years, Ms. Hirsi Ali has received numerous death threats for her activism. It is unfortunate that, though those threats have not stifled her voice in defense of freedom and women's rights, political correctness in the U.S. has managed to do so.
This is a time for Americans to speak up.
Our collective voice of 280,000 (ACT! for America members) can make a difference in this matter. Can we count on your help today with the simple but very important Action Item noted below?
Please take a moment today to contact Brandeis University and express your strong opposition to their recent actions against Ayaan Hirsi Ali. We have provided all the contact information you need to take this action.
We have also written a sample call and e-mail script for you, to make this as easy as possible. (NOTE: The e-mail script is modifiable if you wish to convey the message in your own words. We ask that you please be respectful at all times.)
Thank you. Together we are making a difference!
Founder & President of ACT for America