When critique of Islam goes too far

Regarding “An honor rescinded at Brandeis” (Letters,April 15): Brandeis University rescinded an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree not because she was critical of Islam, but because some of her views on Islam are virulently hateful.

Hate speech is still free speech and is thus protected. The issue is whether hate speech should be rewarded.


In rescinding its award Brandeis did invite Ali to engage in a forum where she could freely expound her views. She declined.

Ali has positioned herself as a champion of women’s rights. She is to be commended for that, especially if she exposes the abominable practice of female genital mutilation, which more often than not has a cultural rather than an exclusively religious background.

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As Muslims, while we also agree with Ali that mindless terrorist heretics should be eradicated from society, we believe that anyone who advocates that Islam itself needs to be deracinated to achieve this demonstrates a cataclysmic fault line in her thought processes.

Brandeis arrived at the correct decision in rescinding her award. There would be no such sanctimonious outcry if a spokesperson of the Ku Klux Klan were dealt with in like fashion.

Abdul Cader Asmal

Chairman of communications

Islamic Council of New England


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