Brandeis University decides to not honor Ayaan Hirsi Ali after learning of anti-Islam comments

By Kyle Johnson,

Brandeis University was set to present an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali in May, but has instead opted to withdraw the honor after learning about anti-Islam comments she previously made.

The Somali-born former Dutch MP said the school's decision turned the original honor into "a moment of shaming," reports The Associated Press.

The Waltham, Mass. school decided against presenting the honorary degree to Ali after some students and faculty complained about previous comments she made that targeted Islam.

Brandeis claims not to have know about the comments, some of which were made about seven years ago. Ali has been critical of Islam's treatment of women, telling Reason Magazine in 2007, "Once it's defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It's very difficult to even talk about peace now. They're not interested in peace."

According to the Boston Globe, the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government fellow's comments were brought to the university's attention through an online petition claiming Ali has "extreme Islamophobic beliefs."

"She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women's rights, and we respect and appreciate her work," Brandeis officials said in a statement. But "we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University's core values."

Ali was a Dutch MP from 2003 to 2006 and penned the screenplay about Islamic oppression of women called Submission. The director was later killed by an Islamic extremist in 2004.



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