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Ayaan Hirsi Ali says complacency is problem on campuses

Lesley University professor Dr. Kimberly Lowe (left) and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.Mark Teiwes/Lesley University

Author/activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali sold out Symphony Hall for her appearance as part of Lesley University's Boston Speakers Series. Ali, whose latest book is called "Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now," said academic freedom on US college campuses is "thoroughly threatened" by a culture of complacency that makes people are afraid to question different points of view. "Answers do not lie in stifling speech or protecting people from facts and reality," she said. "The answer does not lie in protecting college kids from ideas that disturb them. The point is to expose them to ideas that disturb them." The 46-year-old Harvard Kennedy School fellow collaborated on a 2004 documentary, "Submission," about the oppression of women in Islamic societies. The film's director, Theo van Gogh, was later assassinated by a Dutch Muslim.

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