Skip to comments.Academic Dishonors
Posted on 04/17/2014 11:41:17 AM PDT by Kaslin
Remember when colleges prided themselves on the diligence and depth of their research? Frederick Lawrence, president of Brandeis University, apparently does not. He offered an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Then, at the last minute, he rescinded the offer because, he claims, he became aware of past statements by her inconsistent with Brandeis Universitys core values. Hey Scholar-in-Chief, ever hear of Google?
Ms. Hirsi Ali, of course, is an intrepid womens rights advocate who has focused on Muslim women, raising questions, as she has phrased it, on the role of Islam in legitimizing female genital mutilation, honor killings, forced marriages, wife beating and other abuses.
At Brandeis and, sad to say, on most campuses nowadays -- such inquiry is denounced as "Islamophobic" and suppressed. If more Muslim women are victimized as a result, thats a price our elite educators are willing to pay or, more precisely, to let Muslim women pay.
Eighty-five faculty members signed what the distinguished historian, Jeffrey Herf, who earned his doctorate from Brandeis in 1981, called a document of intolerance toward Ms. Hirsi Ali. But she places most of the blame for Brandeis volte-face on her usual critics, notably the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Spokesmen for CAIR -- an unindicted co-conspirator in a case involving Hamas, a federally designated terrorist organization -- have responded by saying that while they vehemently oppose honoring Ms. Ali, they nevertheless support her right to free speech.
That claim is blatantly contradicted by CAIRs persistent attempts to block screenings of The Honor Diaries, a powerful, new film about gross violations of womens human rights in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other corners of the Muslim world, and the uphill battle of Muslim reformers against Muslim fundamentalists. Ms. Hirsi Ali is the films executive producer, and among the women -- several of whom are devout Muslims -- prominently featured in it. My strong recommendation: Defy CAIR; see the movie.
Groups and individuals determined to silence critics of Islamic law and culture have long targeted Ms. Hirsi Ali. In 2004, she was the screenwriter for Submission, a documentary by Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh about the plight of women in Islamic societies. Van Gogh was subsequently stabbed to death in the streets of Amsterdam by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch Muslim. The knife Bouyeri left in Van Goghs body pinned in place a note threatening Ms. Hirsi Ali with the same punishment.
Born and raised a Muslim, Ms. Hirsi Ali spent her formative years in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya. As a child, she was herself the victim of genital mutilation, and as a young woman her parents attempted to marry her off to a cousin in Canada. But during a stopover in Europe, she fled to the Netherlands where she was granted asylum, took citizenship and became a Member of Parliament. As she recounts in two riveting autobiographical books, Nomad and Infidel, she eventually decided to leave Europe for the U.S., proudly becoming an American citizen last year.
Ms. Hirsi Ali charges that her detractors have long specialized in selective quotation lines from interviews taken out of context designed to misrepresent me and my work. While that is no doubt the case, she has rendered some tough judgments on the religion she renounced 14 years ago. For example, in a 2007 interview with the libertarian magazine, Reason, she said that at this point in history, we are at war with Islam, and that there is no middle ground in wars. She added that once Islam is defeated it can mutate into something peaceful.
Should such remarks disqualify her from being honored on an American campus? Brandeis has given an honorary degree to South African Bishop Desmond Tutu who, Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz noted, has a long history of ugly hatred toward the Jewish people. Brandeis also has honored screenwriter Tony Kushner who expressed the wish that modern Israel hadn't been born. Are those views consistent with Brandeis core values?
In 2006, then-Brandeis president Jehuda Rinharz said the school non-sectarian but named for Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Supreme Court justice, and founded at a time when many American colleges discriminated against Jews -- "does not select honorary degree recipients on the basis of their political beliefs or opinions." Evidently, thats true for those who criticize Jews and the Jewish state but not for those who criticize Muslims and the Islamic faith.
In the Wall Street Journal last week, Ms. Hirsi Ali published the remarks she had hoped to deliver to Brandeis graduates next month. Among the points she would have made:
I'm used to being shouted down on campuses, so I am grateful for the opportunity to address you today. I do not expect all of you to agree with me, but I very much appreciate your willingness to listen. I stand before you as someone who is fighting for women's and girls' basic rights globally. ...
Is it blasphemypunishable by deathto question the applicability of certain seventh-century doctrines to our own era? Both Christianity and Judaism have had their eras of reform. I would argue that the time has come for a Muslim Reformation.
The motto of Brandeis University is "Truth even unto its innermost parts." That is my motto too. For it is only through truth, unsparing truth, that your generation can hope to do better than mine in the struggle for peace, freedom and equality of the sexes.
Perhaps Brandeis should change its motto to something more in line with its current core values spineless and intolerant as those may be. Alternatively, the university could initiate some diligent and in-depth research on why Americas Founders believed in free speech, and why so many academics today betray that heritage.
Islam: The greatest threat to Western Civilization and Christianity
by Amil Imani
01 August, 2006
Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims
Nearly 1400 years ago, a group of nomads from across the scorching Arabian Desert conquered Iran (Persia), the greatest empire known to the history of man. With that, they almost destroyed one of the most benevolent and beautiful religions of all humanity, Zoroastrianism, often called the mother of all revealed religions. Due to its antiquity and subsequent influences on later Judaic beliefs, Judaism as we know it has endearingly been dubbed by some scholars as “Moses through Zoroastrian eyes”. It is no coincidence that the Old Testament was put into written form during the height of Persian predominance, when Zoroastrian ideas, such as the triumph of Good over Evil, and concepts related to an after-life, such as Heaven, Hell, Resurrection, and Paradise (itself a Persian word) found their way into ancient Judaism, especially in the post-exilic period.
According to Stephen Van Eck, the influence of the prophet Zarathushtra (or Zoroaster in English) upon Judeo-Christian beliefs and all of Western Civilization is little told, but should not be underestimated. Zoroaster’s life and words changed the course of Western Civilization, as attested by prolific Greek writers and philosophers, setting it on a course that departed from the static cultures of the ancient Middle East. Without his impact, Judaism would be hard to recognize, and Christianity would probably never have gained momentum to become a world religion.
Dr. W.Y. Evans-Wentz, an Oxford professor who was one of the world’s leading authorities on Eastern mysticism and religion, was quoted in the book, “In Search of the Birth of Jesus: The Real Journey of the Magi”, by Paul William Roberts, as saying: “Without Zarathushtra there would be no Christ”. He was essentially making a strong statement about the immense stature and profound influence of Zoroastrianism at the time, since the religion of Zoroaster had been in existence for at least 2000 years before the birth of Christ.
Ironically, though, the acknowledgment of the birth of Jesus by the Three Magi or the “Wise Men of the East”, who were Zoroastrian priests, has been celebrated in the setting of the Nativity scene during Christmas celebrations by believers all around the globe, yet little or no attention is given to the fact that the three men bearing gifts for the infant in the manger made their journey from Iran (or ancient Persia) and were in fact Zoroastrians who welcomed the birth of a new religion.
Although enumerating the influences of Zoroastrianism and Iranian Civilization on the world cultures is not the primary objective of this author and is out of the scope of the present article, it is important to demonstrate the salient point of how Islam has been on a collision course with great civilizations from its inception. Just as it brutally conquered and bitterly stifled one of the fountainheads of progress in ancient Iran, Islam still remains a very real threat to Western Civilization and to any progressive civil society in the 21st century. It is virulently capable of great destruction and retardation of minds, as we have seen in the past two decades, and the clear and present danger should be taken very seriously by any open-minded citizen of this planet who cares about freedom, human rights and progress.
It is noteworthy that Zoroastrianism was the official religion of all Persian kings, yet it was never forced onto the non-Zoroastrian subjects of the Persian Empire. Of all the great Aryan Kings of Iran (Iran means “Land of the Aryans”), Cyrus the Great, more than 2500 years ago, represented the true embodiment of Zoroastrian beliefs. Cyrus attributed his conquests to Ahuramazda, the Creator of Life and Wisdom, the One and only God of the Universe. This Zoroastrian King and his descendants, who called themselves Aryans (not to be associated with the false and negative connotations during WWII), which literally means “Nobles”, freed the Jews from the captivity in Babylon (present-day Iraq) and assisted them in re-building their Temple in Jerusalem. For his noble act, Cyrus is praised in the Hebrew Old Testament as the “Anointed of the Lord”, a title never before given to any gentile, past or present. “Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden” (Isaiah 45:1). Thus Cyrus, an Iranian of Persian lineage and a follower of Zoroastrianism was immortalized in history.
This benevolent deed, in fact, was the action of a true Iranian. The protection of the weak and the down-trodden is a fundamental belief, which is incorporated into the daily prayers of Zoroastrians to this very day. Indeed, tolerance and understanding toward peoples of different cultures, races, and religions, was the hallmark of Zoroastrian teachings, unlike in Islamic teachings, and were codified in the famous Cyrus Cylinder that laid down the principles of human rights as we know them today. Even though a replica of the Cyrus Cylinder adorns the lobby of the United Nations building in New York City, alas, very few visitors truly appreciate its Iranian and Zoroastrian origin.
Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, tragedy reigns in the “Land of the Nobles”. The remnants of the great Persian Empire were swallowed up by the Muslim conquerors storming out of Arabia, and a tyrannical version of Islam eviscerated the spiritual life of tolerant old Persia. Regrettably, Zoroastrianism, the original Iranian religion, was not an effective barrier against the radical and backward religion from the Arabian Desert, and to this day, despite renewed waves of Iranian nationalism, neither Zoroastrianism nor Iranian culture have fully rebounded from this tragedy. In fact, the Islamic regime in Iran has actively down-played the ancient Iranian and Persian cultures and continues to suppress any sense of nationalism that may be perceived as a “threat” to Islam or the Islamic regime.
The prophet of Islam motivated his rapidly growing body of followers to rally around him by proclaiming: if they are victorious they will have the treasures of the infidels as well as their women and children as slave to hold or sell; if the faithful kill the infidels in doing the work of Allah, further reward awaits them in paradise; and, in the unlikely event that they are killed, they find themselves in Allah’s glorious paradise for eternal life of joy and bliss.
The outlandish, frequently confused and often contradictory incoherent rhetoric of Muhammad made the less gullible few question his sanity. They dismissed him as an “Insane Poet”. Yet, the generality of the savages found in him their savior — the one who would lead them to all the good in this world and the next. It was a win-win proposition for them: win and you are rewarded handsomely; lose your life, and you go directly to heaven. How could they refuse?
Muhammad preached that earthly life is a small price to pay for eternal life; it is the next life that the faithful should seek. Hence, Islam can rightfully be considered a cult of death, not life; it will never run out of volunteers to sacrifice their lives until Islam itself expires.
THE REST OF THE HISTORY
Frederick Lawrence will respond as soon as his masters allow him.
Brandeis skeered of islamists.