MSA president speaks against Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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Reid Tice, director of the distinguished lecture series, sent me the following video by Rashid Dar, president of the Muslim Student Association, in which Dar speaks against anti-Islam speaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali coming to campus. In case you don’t know, Ali is speaking tomorrow night at the Union. It should be very interesting.

It’s hard to not sympathize with Dar, who confronts prejudice and ignorance on a regular basis as an American Muslim. In the video, he talks about how Muslim students go through this process every year, usually thanks to the College Republicans, who, under the leadership of Sara Mikolajczak, made it their tradition to recognize “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.” Dar says that he thought, “due to changes in the Republican leadership,” he would be the lucky one who wouldn’t have to face implied accusations of conspiracy to commit murder, terrorism and general armageddon.

But he doesn’t explain what exactly is so hateful about Ali. She represents a very different brand than Horowitz and Spencer. From my very limited understanding of her works, she does not urge attacks on religion, she pushes for liberation from it. Any thoughts?

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7 Responses to “MSA president speaks against Ayaan Hirsi Ali”

  1. Holly Says:

    In April, The New York Times featured a very informative profile of Hirsi Ali:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/03/magazine/03ALI.html?ex=1270267200&en=7272f7f8332d2c15&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland

    She hasn’t urged attacks on Islam, but has “endorsed the view that Islam is a backward religion, condemned the way women live under it and said that by today’s standards, the prophet Muhammad would be considered a perverse tyrant.” While not condoning attacks, this viewpoint could understandably be considered hateful.

    I’m very interested to hear what she has to say!

  2. Paul A. Says:

    I know Rashid and consider him a friend. I can understand his concerns about what people might take away from Ms. Hirsi Ali, especially if they don’t know her back story, and only know her from her statements made against Islam. What we have to realize is that she had a very terrible experience with Islam; and we are the sum of our experiences. I’m sure that many people, men and women both, go through their lives with Islam as a positive factor.

    What’s important is the lessons that everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, can take from Ms. Hirsi Ali. I think everyone will likely agree that female genital mutilation is wrong, arranged marriage is an institution that is at the very least peculiar to us, and that free speech is a vital human right and no one should be threatened with death for sharing their opinion. I hope everyone takes something positive away from the talk tomorrow.

  3. anon Says:

    Some people get called to give lectures at Universities simply because they are bashing Islam and what they say need not be factual!. Most of the audience who have very little knowledge of Islam will assume what such a person is saying is factual. For example. FGM in Africa is a pre-Islamic custom performed by both Muslims and Non-Muslims but is not a part of the religion of Islam. (Wikipedia says Hirsi Ali’s father was against the practce)

    I agree that Practices and behaviours of Muslim people can and should improve, just as behaviours and practices of Athiests or Christians or all human beings can/should improve. But for that, criticism should be constructive. Rather than bashing the religion (Hirsi is an Atheist) If the University had brought in an Islamic scholar who could show how FGM is not an Islamic practice—it would make a real and constructive difference. No Muslim is going to take Hirsi seriously.

    If the University is serious about reform for women in Islam—they should get people such as Aziza Al-Hibri, Amina Wadud, or Layla Bhaktiar. (—and they don’t bash Islam to do it—and Muslims would take these scholars seriously since they do know what they are talking about)

    • Anonymous Says:

      Is any criticism of Islamic faith or practice allowed, or is it all to be dismissed and opposed as “hateful”?

  4. anon Says:

    IMO, constructive criticism is based on facts. When facts are debated in a reasonable and intelligent manner, it is easier to find solutions. When criticism is not based on fact it is useless—it would be impossible to do anything constructive with it because it does not correspond to realtiy.

    Muslim scholars do criticise —for example, one of these criticisms has been that Muslims have abandoned the practice of “Ijtihad” (an excersise of using intellectual faculties to comprehend new situations and find solutions for them)—as a result of which societies stagnate.

    The criticism leveled at Atheists for example goes—“They do not believe in God therefore they are not moral”. Clearly such a criticism is not based on fact. The audience for such criticism are those Non-Atheists who are ignorant of Atheists and will possibly believe any arguments presented.

  5. anon Says:

    if people want a “feel-good ego trip” Hirsi is fine. If people are sincerely interested in gender reforn in Islam—bring in scholars that Muslims will listen to and respect.—–It’s just common sense.

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