Det har vakt en del opsigt at Brandeis University trak en ærespris tilbage da de pludselig opdagede at den somalisk fødte Ayaan Hirsi Ali ikke blot kæmpede imod kvinders undertrykkelse, men også havde luftet negative holdninger til undertrykkelsens væsen, nemlig islam. Rex Murphy begræder i National Post den generelle indskrænkning af den akademiske verden
Why in Aristotle’s name do institutions dedicated to higher learning tolerate these rags of verbal flannel — uncomfortable, unwelcome — from putative adults? Damn it, a university exists to unsettle, to throw down established attitudes, to shine the searchlight of reason on all ideas. Universities are supposed to be bold, confident, courageous institutions, whose biggest duty to their students is to expand the range and depth of their ideas, not confirm their prejudices.
Brandeis, on this account, is a failure. It cringed at the first criticism. It suggested Ali somehow offended its “core values” — and what would those be? Surrender at first fire, perhaps, and gaudy specious rationalizations afterwards? — and had the gall to talk of respecting debate. I agree absolutely with the American writer and editor of Commentary, John Podhoretz, who called the decision the act of a “gutless, spineless, simpering coward.”
Universities are losing their halo. They are now factories for reinforcing received opinions, what the market holds as right and true — so-called “progressive” ideas. They have a deep hostility to ideas and opinions that wander outside their small circle of acceptability. They choose which protests they endorse and which they deplore. Oprah can get 10 honourary degrees and a winsome reception for her third-rate psuedo-therapies. But a real warrior in the cause for woman’s rights — a woman who truly rose by virtue of her courage, intelligence and industry — must walk, shamed, away from the platform she was invited to.
Og Mark Steyn håner Brandeis rektor Frederick Lawrence
As for Brandeis president Frederick Lawrence and the others who took this decision, nobody’s asking them to be as brave as Ayaan Hirsi Ali. They will never know what it’s like to have their associates murdered and to be forced into living under armed guard. They will never have to “share the risk” that Ms Hirsi Ali faces every day of her life. All that was required of President Lawrence & Co was that they not be total craven, jelly-spined squishes who fold like a cheap Bedouin tent at the first hint of pressure.
But Lawrence couldn’t even do that. Ayaan Hirsi Ali campaigns against female genital mutilation - that’s to say, the barbarous practice by which Muslim men deny women sexual pleasure by having their clitorises cut off. Lawrence and the other fellows who run Brandeis are in no danger of any equivalent procedure since it seems clear they’ve nothing down there to chop off anyway. The eunuchs of the American academy are the beneficiaries of western liberty, of the spirit of openness and inquiry that is the principal difference between us and the intellectually stagnant Muslim world. But they will not lift a finger to defend that tradition.
So getting an honorary degree at Brandeis, like serving on the board at Mozilla, is open only to those who make sure they never cross the Conformity Enforcers. And apostates to Islam, as Ayaan is regarded, must accept that they are apostates to American campus conformity, too, and be prepared to lead a life without the consolations of honorary degrees. Accepting the loss of A-list commencement gigs doesn’t take a lot of courage, but it still takes more than Frederick Lawrence has displayed. And ultimately, as I said re Brandon Eich, such a land will be bloody boring - and a society in decline.
Men det har ikke blot været onde højrefløjsere der har været ude med riven. Det ellers venstredrejede Daily Beast skriver indigneret på Hirsi Ali’s vegne
Unsurprisingly, it was Hirsi Ali’s former co-religionists who raised a stink about her. Upon the announcement that the school would honor Hirsi Ali, Brandeis’s Muslim Students Association announced on its Facebook page that she was guilty of “hate speech.” Like clockwork, an op-ed in the Brandeis student newspaper by two leaders of the organization accused her of “Islamophobia,” a catch-all term employed to smear any criticism of Islam as akin to racism, without regard for the fact that the former is a freely chosen belief system while the latter is an innate trait. Refusing to engage her arguments about Islam on the merits, the Brandeis students dismissed her views as purely the result of personal experience. They acknowledged that Hirsi Ali had undergone “terrible things in her life,” the likes of which they could never imagine, their idea of a rough time being “minorities at a predominately white, Jewish university, [where] many of us feel isolated and unwelcomed.”
Today, “no platform” has gone from being a consensual means of expressing disapproval to an all-out assault intended to castigate and muzzle unpopular opinions.
Well, they certainly can’t complain about that any more. “We will not tolerate an attack at our faith,” the MSA declared, in a thinly veiled ultimatum to the school (a tip for Muslim students angry at alleged Muslim stereotypes: Stop acting like Muslim stereotypes). The MSA persuaded the school to rescind its honor (so much for the all-powerful, right-wing “Jewish Lobby,” which can’t even get its way at Brandeis). Lawrence, sounding like a re-education camp functionary, maintained that Hirsi Ali was still welcome at Brandeis, where, presumably, she could be lectured to by aggrieved Muslims and their left-wing sympathizers. “In the spirit of free expression that has defined Brandeis University throughout its history,” Lawrence patronized, in a line that must have Louis Brandeis rolling over in his grave, “Ms. Hirsi Ali is welcome to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.”
Ali is but the latest victim of a newfangled version of the “no platform” phenomenon. Initiated by British anti-racist groups in the 1970s to dissuade mainstream figures from debating fascists, “no platform” started out as an attempt to avoid the conferral of respectability upon the far right, not to abridge their freedom of speech. The aim was to send a message about the illegitimacy of certain anti-democratic political movements by refusing to engage with them. Writing in the New Statesman, Sarah Ditum explains that the tactic “was traditionally about rejecting the rhetoric of violence—especially when that rhetoric was liable to inspire leagues of smash-happy skinheads.”
Today, “no platform” has gone from being a consensual means of expressing disapproval to an all-out assault intended to castigate and muzzle unpopular opinions. A growing, ecumenical constituency composed of the religiously devout, perpetually outraged Twitter activists, and eager-to-please university administrators operate under the belief that there exists a “right” not to be offended. When their bullying tactics to silence opponents doesn’t work, the no-platformers shout down their ideological adversaries, which is what would have happened to Hirsi Ali had she been allowed to participate in Brandeis’ commencement ceremony. One sees this silencing impulse in everything from Twitter busybody Suey Park (who launched the “#cancelcolbert” campaign over a joke she was either too stupid, or too cynical, to understand), to gay activists who say that opponents of marriage equality, like former Mozilla CEO Brandon Eich, should lose their jobs.
Den sudanesiske journalist Nesrine Malik indvender i New York Times derimod dobbeltmoral når der ikke er samme støtte til antisemitter og homofober, som til islamkritikere
Hysterics aside, broad generalizations like this suggest that there is no Muslim mainstream made up of people who have the right to object to, and fear, language that stigmatizes them; there are only terrorists and their victims. The implication is that because some Muslims have a record of violence toward critics and apostates, that all Muslims have it coming to them. It’s an argument that boils down not to, “because of freedom of speech” but “because they deserve it.”
Swapping races and religions to gauge if the response to a particular incident would have been different is an imperfect counterfactual game, but in this instance it is instructive. Had Ms. Hirsi Ali been a widely acknowledged homophobe, or white supremacist, would free speech supporters have rushed so readily to their lecterns to defend her? Probably not, which is why the right to offend should be extended to all. Otherwise, our personal preferences will always dictate that there be exceptions.
Europe, and Britain in particular, are less covetous of the principles embodied in the American Constitution’s First Amendment. And their experiences in recent years demonstrate the dangers of a more limited allowance of expression, and how going down this slippery slope always ends in inconsistency and the selective justification of offensive speech based on its target and the national mood.
Earlier this year, a prospective British parliamentary candidate, who happened to be a Muslim, tweeted a cartoon of Jesus and Mohammed, part of “Jesus and Mo,” an irreverent series depicting the two religious figures in everyday situations. Some Muslims saw this as deliberately provocative and there was a backlash, including death threats. When mainstream British media outlets such as the BBC did not show the cartoon, the British press branded them cowards, traitors and free-speech equivocators.
Unfortunately for these critics, a few days later, the infamous French comedian Dieudonné Mbala-Mbala was banned from entering Britain because of his anti-Semitic rants. From those who had penned thousands of words warning of the danger of muzzling our voices when it comes to criticism of Islam, I counted one tweet. In the British broadsheets, there was only one article criticizing Mr. Dieudonné’s banning.
It is clearly far more palatable, even popular, to muscularly stand up for the right to offend Muslims than it is to back those who offend any other minority in Europe today. Indeed, when the notorious American Islamophobe Pamela Geller was banned from Britain on account of her vitriol toward Muslims, her exclusion was met with a chorus of objections. This selective attitude toward freedom of speech allows such disparities to become entrenched.
The reaction to the Brandeis affair is a troubling harbinger. It suggests that America, like Europe, might also begin to pick and choose who deserves to be protected from offensive speech. Once that door is open, the Trojan horse of libertarianism will smuggle in intolerance.
Nu er islam netop også både antismitisk og homofobisk, for ikke at nævne kvindefjendsk, pædofil-fil, anti-intellektuel og anti-videnskabelig. Alt sammen noget der sikkert, i hvert fald i teorien, strider imod Brandeis’ værdier. Og så handler det ikke blot om værdier som ren æstetik, men om den reelle trussel der altid følger islam og muslimers krav. Counsil on American-Islamic Relations Cair (CAIR), der ikke tilskynder til dialog, beskytter civiles rettigheder eller fremmer gensidig forståelse, som de påstår, da deres mission er at styrke amerikanske muslimer, lagde nemlig pres på Brandeis. Og CAIr er ikke til at spøge med
In 1994, less than a year after the Philadelphia Hamas meeting, the Islamists unleashed their new organization: the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Just as the Palestine Committee by-laws had foretold, CAIR sprang from the womb of IAP and set up its headquarters in the nation’s capital.
Actually, CAIR was already in existence and firmly in the Brotherhood fold even before its incorporation was announced. We know that because, in preparing for a meeting held on July 30, 1994, the Palestine Committee prepared a written agenda that was later seized by the FBI. It stated that a top discussion topic would be “suggestions to develop work” for several named “organizations.” Included among these was “CAIR,” in addition to the IAP and HLF, among others. The agenda elucidated that “complete coordination” was sought among the various groups. Critically, it stressed that the effort was under Brotherhood direction: “This is not a separate movement from the mother Group.”
The principal aim of that Palestine Committee meeting was the development of a plan to counter efforts by Israel and American Jewish groups to normalize relations between Jews and Muslims. According to the Committee, such normalization would break what Edward Said, the late Islamist academic, called the “psychological barrier” — the mindset that prevents Muslims from accepting Israel’s right to exist.
The Committee was determined to fortify this barrier. The meeting agenda explains some of its plans toward that end. It would form “an internal Brotherhood committee to fight the normalization of relations and monitor brotherhood organizations.” It would activate the “MAS” [i.e., the Muslim-American Society -- the Brotherhood’s quasi-official presence in the U.S.] to conduct education programs in “all work centers, mosques, and organizations on the necessity of stopping any contacts with the Zionist organizations and the rejection of any future contacts.” And, relying on Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna’s strategy of using “Islamic Centers in major cities” as the axis of the Islamist movement, imams and administrators in these centers would “activate their role in confronting the [Jewish] infiltration of their organizations.”
The role of CAIR was already coming into focus: The last element of the Committee’s “Confrontation Work Plan” was “activating the role of the Association [IAP] . . . to take up its media role in this area.” Six weeks later, CAIR was incorporated and began appearing publicly as a new Muslim “civil rights” organization.
Numerous CAIR figures have been convicted of federal felonies, including terrorism offenses. For example, when the aforementioned Elashi, the founder of CAIR’s Texas chapter, was found guilty in theHLF case, it marked his third time around the block. He’d been convicted in 2006 for funneling money to Marzook and Hamas, and in 2005 for illegal transactions with Libya and Syria. Randall Royer, aCAIR communications specialist and civil-rights coordinator whose sideline was recruiting would-be jihadists for terrorist training in Pakistan, is now serving a 20-year prison sentence after his conviction on explosives and firearms charges in the “Virginia Jihad” case. Bassem Khafagi, CAIR’s community-affairs director (and a founder of the Saudi-subsidized, al-Qaeda-promoting Islamic Assembly of North America), also makes this dishonor roll: He was deported to Egypt after convictions for visa and bank fraud. And then there’s Rabih Haddad, a fundraiser for CAIR’s Ann Arbor chapter who was deported to Lebanon after a “charity” he founded, the Global Relief Foundation, was designated as a terrorist facilitator by the Treasury Department for providing support to al-Qaeda.
Despite its Hamas roots and terror ties, the most disturbing aspect of CAIR is its accomplishment of the Muslim Brotherhood’s precise aspiration for it. Thanks to its media savvy and the credulousness of government officials and press outlets, which have treated it as the “civil rights” group it purports to be rather than the Islamist spearhead that it is, CAIR has been a constant thorn in the side of American national defense. As Daniel Pipes has observed, CAIR’s unique role has been well summarized by lawyers for the estate of the former FBI counterterrorism official John P. O’Neill, who was killed on 9/11 — shortly after becoming security chief at the World Trade Center. In a class-action lawsuit that named CAIR and its Canadian affiliate as members of a criminal conspiracy to promote “radical Islamic terrorism,” they state:
both organizations have actively sought to hamper governmental anti-terrorism efforts by direct propaganda activities aimed at police, first-responders, and intelligence agencies through so-called sensitivity training. Their goal is to create as much self-doubt, hesitation, fear of name-calling, and litigation within police departments and intelligence agencies as possible so as to render such authorities ineffective in pursuing international and domestic terrorist entities.
The invaluable Dr. Pipes further recounts that CAIR has consistently defended indicted terrorists, including Osama bin Laden. Hooper, for example, rationalized al-Qaeda’s 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as the unfortunate result of “misunderstandings of both sides.” CAIR also refused to condemn bin Laden for 9/11 until finally embarrassed into it by bin Laden’s own public boast that he had directed the attacks. The organization called the convictions of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers “a travesty of justice”; labeled the 1995 extradition of Marzook as “anti-Islamic”; tirelessly defended al-Arian and slimed his accusers until he finally pled guilty to terror promotion; and squawked relentlessly when the government shuttered the HLF.
Fox News Megyn Kelly konfronterede CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper (måske derfor er Fox mere populært end deres venstredrejede konkurrenter?) og derpå interviewede hun Hirsi Ali selv