"She is one of the worst of the worst of the Islam haters in America, not only in America but worldwide," Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the group, said in an interview with the New York Times.
In addition, a Muslim student at Brandeis started a petition at change.orgaccusing Hirsi Ali of "hate speech". By way of evidence, the petition cited an interview she gave to the Evening Standard in 2007 in which she described Islam as "a destructive, nihilistic cult of death". In the same interview, she also said that "violence is inherent in Islam" and that "Islam is the new fascism".
This is an act of extraordinary cowardice on Brandeis's part. To accuse Hirsi Ali of "hate speech", which is defined as "any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which... may incite violence or prejudicial action against... a protected individual or group", is almost comically ironic. She was raised as a Muslim in Somalia, underwent circumcision at the age of five and was later forced into an arranged marriage with her cousin. She only escaped this fate by running away to Holland where she subsequently became a member of the Dutch Parliament.
As an MP, she highlighted the hypocrisy of the European Left for aggressively defending the rights of Muslims while, at the same time, turning a blind eye to the disregard for women's rights within Muslim communities. She started to receive death threats for her outspoken views from 2002, culminating in a note pinned to the corpse of murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh saying she would be next. "Ayaan Hirsi Ali, you will break yourself to pieces on Islam," the letter said. "You, oh America, will go down. You, oh Europe, will go down ... You, oh Netherlands, will go down ... You, oh Hirsi Ali, will go down."
Defenders of Brandeis's decision will say that Hirsi Ali is guilty of tarring all Muslims with the same brush and that there's nothing inherently violent about Islam. Needless to say, she has often answered that charge. "People who ask me that question assume that geography is more important for Muslims than what is contained in the holy Quran," she says.
Of course the circumstances in which people live in Turkey are different from those in Morocco or Somalia. But when it comes to the relationship between men and women, in all these countries there is a red line of the woman being subordinate to the male. And most Muslim men justify this subordinacy with the Quran. There are so many meanings Europeans miss. We Muslims are brought up with the idea that there is just one relationship possible with God - submission. That's Islam: submission to the will of Allah.
Whether you agree with Hirsi Ali's Manichean view of Islam, she's entitled to express it without being bombarded with death threats or accused of "Islamophobia" which, in this context, amounts to "hate speech" since it's precisely that charge that has led to threats on her life. You would think that an American university would be a staunch defender of Hirsi Ali's right to free speech and wouldn't capitulate to a mob of politically correct Muslims at the first sign of trouble. If the same institution had offered an honorary degree to Richard Dawkins, it's simply inconceivable that it would change its mind after being attacked by Christians.
Everyone involved in this cowardly decision should be ashamed of themselves. As a liberal arts college, it should be a beacon of light. Instead, it has sent a clear message to everyone in the academic community that vigorous criticism of Islam won't be tolerated.