The Other McCain

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Shocking: Brandeis Feminist Faculty Led Petition Against Aayan Hirsi Ali

Posted on | April 17, 2014 | 52 Comments

The wretched cowardice of Brandeis University in rescinding an honorary degree for human rights activist Aayan Hirsi Ali surprised a lot of people. A victim of female genital mutilation (FGM), Ali was the target of terroristic threats in the Netherlands for speaking out against Islamic oppression of women. The question was asked, “Where’s the feminist anger at Brandeis over Ayaan Hirsi Ali?”

Brace yourself for the answer: Phyllis Chesler looked at the Brandeis faculty petition against Ali and found that 21% of the signatures came from faculty associated with the university’s Women and Gender Studies (WGS) program. As a matter of fact, it appears that the controversial petition actually originated with WGS faculty members.

The first two names on the petition are both members of the Women and Gender Studies faculty: Karen Hansen and Dian Fox. Assuming that the authors of the petition would also be the first signers, this is significant, as is the fact that four other of the first 10 signers were either core faculty or associate faculty of the Brandeis WGS program: ChaeRan Freeze, Bernadette J. Brooten, Mary Baine Campbell and Aliyyah I. Abdur-Rahman. The faculty petition claimed that, by honoring Aayan Hirsi Ali, Brandeis would suggest “to the public that violence toward girls and women is particular to Islam . . .  thereby obscuring such violence in our midst among non-Muslims, including on our own campus,” and concluded:  “We cannot accept Ms. Hirsi Ali’s triumphalist narrative of western civilization, rooted in a core belief of the cultural backwardness of non-western peoples.”

Perhaps the Brandeis University feminists could send their young female students on a field trip to Tehran, Kabul or Mogadishu to protest against this “triumphalist narrative.” Meanwhile, the Iraqi parliament is considering a law that would legalize marriage to 9-year-old girls, and a 12-year-old girl died after being gang-raped in Pakistan:

The incident took place in the village of Khushi Muhammad Arain, located in the town of Kadhan. The 12-year-old victim used to go to the seminary to learn how to read the Holy Quran, according to her bereaved father.
A teacher at the seminary, along with three young boys who are said to be in grade 10, are accused in the case.
“Three days before her death, my younger son came home shouting that he had heard my daughter screaming from a room in the madrassah whose doors were locked,” said her father . . .

Yeah, too bad she died. Otherwise she might have some day attended Brandeis University, where Aayan Hirsi Ali can’t speak, because the Women and Gender Studies faculty are fighting against “a core belief of the cultural backwardness of non-western peoples.”

 

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