Daniel Mael, a senior at Brandeis University, blasted the administration’s decision to withdraw an honorary doctorate from feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali due to her past criticisms of Islam. “I am appalled by the hypocrisy of the University administration and their inability to distinguish between her view on Islam and her efforts in this world highlights the narrow view and shallow commitment to ‘justice’ at Brandeis,” he told Breitbart News.
Ali was born in Somalia and fled an arranged marriage, arriving in the Netherlands in the 1990s. She made her way through Dutch politics as a feminist and a critic of the oppression of women in Islamic society, including the immigrant communities of Europe. She fled Europe for the U.S. after her colleague, filmmaker Theo van Gogh, was murdered and the Dutch government was no longer willing or able to provide her protection.
Muslim student groups at Brandeis, a historically Jewish university, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group that sides with radical Islamic causes, protested the university’s decision to honor Ali, whose criticism of Islam has been harsh at times. “It is unconscionable that such a prestigious university would honor someone with such openly hateful views” toward Islam, said CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper, the AP reports.
Brandeis University said in a statement explaining its decision that “we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.”
Mael responded: “I am appalled by the hypocrisy of the University administration and their inability to distinguish between her view on Islam and her efforts in this world. This highlights their shallow commitment to “Truth, even unto it’s inner most parts” which has been replaced with the empty buzzword ‘social justice.’
“It is shocking that ‘social justice’ was invoked in the attempt to block the honorary degree of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali is a champion of human rights who should be lauded for her devotion to stopping honor killings, forced marriage and female genital mutilation. “
In addition, Mael–who is a pro-Israel activist on campus, and a contributor to Truth Revolt–accused Brandeis of having a double standard, noting that it had excused anti-Israel remarks by playwright Tony Kushner when granting him an honorary doctorate in 2006.
“The decision is a blatant contradiction of past president Jehuda Reinhartz’s defense of the same award being given to Tony Kushner,” Mael told Breitbart News. “When the anti-Israel Kushner was given an honorary degree, Reinhartz said, ‘Mr. Kushner is not being honored because he is a Jew, and he is not being honored for his political opinions. Brandeis is honoring him for his extraordinary achievements as one of this generation’s foremost playwrights, whose work is recognized in the arts and also addresses Brandeis’s commitment to social justice.’
“Hirsi Ali was not being honored for her views on Islam. She was being honored for her commitment to women’s rights and real justice,” Mael said.