National Institute on Aging

Brandeis University Decides Not to Award an Honorary Degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali

ayaan-hirsi-ali-2Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, has rescinded its decision to award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ali is a Somalian-born women’s rights activist who once held a seat in the Dutch parliament. In 2005, she was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. She is now a U.S. citizen.

The university said that after it decided to give Ali the honorary award, statements made by Ali were brought to the attention of the administration by students and faculty. In 2007, Ali had stated “we are at war with Islam.”

The university issued a statement which read in part, “Ali is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world. That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.”

In response, Ali issued a statement saying, “The slur on my reputation is not the worst aspect of this episode. More deplorable is that an institution set up on the basis of religious freedom should today so deeply betray its own founding principles.”


Comments (2)

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  1. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein says:

    She’s a conservative who encourages bigotry. She’s not a real women’s rights activist. She’s an anti-Islam activist. Planning to give her an honorary degree was a terrible idea.

    • EddieValiant says:

      Dear Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, your comment about Ayaan Hirsi Ali that she is a racist sounds rather hypocritical given the fact that you yourself seem to have racist opinions about white people (you want “to burn the tent of whiteness down.” in a recent tweet).

      Furthermore, Ayaan Hirsi Ali criticizes muslim fundamentalists who treat women like dirt. Strange that you don’t understand that. In addition, religion is not a race. Therefore, Ayaan Hirsi Ali cannot be accused of being a racist.

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