Last remaining seats to the Jpost 2017 Annual Conference! Get your special offer now

Brandeis reneges on plan to give honorary degree to Islam critic

April 9, 2014 13:02

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women's rights activist, has called Islam “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death.”

hirsi ali brandeis

Ayaan Hirsi Ali. (photo credit:REUTERS)

After growing criticism, Brandeis University in Massachusetts canceled its plan to present an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a fierce critic of Islam.

Hirsi Ali, also a women’s rights activist, has called the religion “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death.”

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

“We cannot overlook that certain of her past statements are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values,” the university said in a statement.

The decision came eight days after the university had announced that Hirsi Ali would be honored at its commencement ceremony on May 18.

Criticism of the plan to honor Hirsi Ali grew among a handful of bloggers, and was then picked up by a Brandeis student who started an online petition on The petition garnered thousands of signatures, The New York Times reported.

The Council on American- Islamic Relations then encouraged its members to complain to the school, and sent a letter to the university president Frederick Lawrence, calling Hirsi Ali a “notorious Islamophobe.”

In its statement, Brandeis apologized for any offense caused, saying it was “not aware of” her statements on Islam.

Hirsi Ali is a is a Somali- born American woman who has spoken out against the practice of female genital mutilation – a procedure she underwent as a child – and about an arranged marriage she was almost forced into by her family. She later received political asylum in the Netherlands and was elected to the Dutch parliament. She is currently a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

She has visited Israel, made pro-Israel statements and criticized corruption in the Palestinian Authority.
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin

  • Islam
  • United States
  • university
  • religion
  • Share this article via
    from around the web
    Related Content
    SUPPORTERS OF Marine Le Pen put up a poster earlier this year. There has been a meteoric rise of rig
    April 29, 2017
    Presidential candidate Le Pen names nationalist for PM pick


    Top Stories
    Israel Weather
    • 14 - 31
      Beer Sheva
      15 - 24
      Tel Aviv - Yafo
    • 18 - 26
      15 - 24
    • 23 - 37
      17 - 32