Thursday 17 April 2014

Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the BBC.

Having castigated the BBC for playing down the elephant in the peace negotiations, i.e., the PA’s officially sanctioned cradle-to-grave incitement to hate/kill/exterminate Jews whilst amplifying spurious obstacles to peace concocted by the PA, I’d like to mention that the BBC has in fact publicised Brandeis University’s unfortunate decision not to award an honorary degree to  Ayaan Hirsi Ali. They even link to this, with its sympathetic Q and A.

Brandeis's deplorable decision is worse than merely ‘deciding not to’ because having decided to award it, they were persuaded by an angry letter from a number of left-leaning objectors to retract the wretched award after it had been offered. 

This grossly insulting reversal has drawn adverse publicity, both to the university and  to the craven individual responsible, one Fred Lawrence. It has also set off a controversy over Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s views about Islam as well as everyone else’s views about Islam, everyone’s debating whether it can ever be modernised, reformed, or be compatible with the infidel world. 
“Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born woman who, after enduring ritual genital mutilation, fled an arranged marriage, renounced Islam for atheism and became a Dutch MP. Subjected to death threats after her colleague Theo van Gogh was murdered in Amsterdam in 2004 because of the film they made highlighting the plight of women under Islam, she moved to the US where she continues to campaign against Islamic extremism.Now she is at the centre of another controversy. Brandeis University, a small but well-regarded liberal arts institution in Massachusetts, has withdrawn its proposal to award her an honorary degree. The university’s president, Fred Lawrence, said: “We cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.” These included calling Islam “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death” that “legitimises murder”.The volte-face followed pressure from Islamic groups, in particular the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group accused by the FBI of being a front group for Hamas, and by members of Congress and others of having links with extremism.This has far wider significance than a spat in a small American university. It graphically illustrates, and deepens, the dangerous muddle over Islamic extremism and the charge of “Islamophobia” that has caused problems in the UK for years, and now seems to have spread to the US.”
The rest of it is behind the annoying Times paywall.  

The interesting part of the aforementioned letter objecting to an honorary degree being bestowed upon Ayaan Hirsi Ali is where they try to rationalise their opposition by glossing over the cognitive dissonance that allows the liberal left to align itself with illiberal  Islam.
  “Please know that, like Ms. Hirsi Ali, we fully recognize the harm of forced marriages; of female genital cutting, which can cause, among other public health problems, increased maternal and infant mortality; and of honor killings. These phenomena are not, however, exclusive to Islam.”
...says the letter. You see, we’re not going to get caught out approving of these terrible things. We defend Islam because.. because.. because  other cultures do them too so that’s okay goodnight.
“The selection of Ms. Hirsi Ali further suggests to the public that violence toward girls and women is particular to Islam or the Two-Thirds World, thereby obscuring such violence in our midst among non-Muslims, including on our own campus.”
What? How does the selection of someone who opposes violence, forced marriage, FGM, honour killings and the like within Islam automatically suggest that these problematic cultural traditions are exclusive to Islam, merely because they’re characteristic of, or if you like, particular to Islam, (and, good grief, if they’re rampant on the campus, root them out why don’t you) and why exactly does highlighting the existence of them within Islam obscure them outwith Islam?   Not logical at all in my opinion.
 “It also obscures the hard work on the ground by committed Muslim feminist and other progressive Muslim activists and scholars, who find support for gender and other equality within the Muslim tradition and are effective at achieving it.”
No it doesn’t.
 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.” 
Hmmph. Do we hate ourselves?
Their main objection to Hirsi Ali is that she takes an uncompromising approach to what many people think is an uncompromising religion. No half measures. 
Many liberals are desperate to prove that there is “moderate Islam”, even though people like this, and surely they should know, are adamant that there is no such thing. Abdullah al Andalusi had his knickers in a right old twist because the BBC allowed Maajid Nawaz a platform to spout his inconsistent theories about moderate Islam, and what’s more they did this in the sincere belief that he speaks for others, not just himself alone (when it is I, Abdullah al Andalusi, who I believe speaks for others, not just myself alone.) For our enlightenment, Abdullah al Andalusi summarises, with derision, a list of the devilish reforms the UK government wishes to impose upon the Muslim community. 
  • Create a ‘reformed’ (and deformed) ‘Liberal Islam’ (2) (3) that fully adopts Liberal values,
  • Detaching Muslims living in Britain intellectually and emotionally from the rest of the Ummah (global Muslim community), and set up British nationalism as the definer of their ‘main identity’  and
  • Complete mental enfranchisement of Muslims into the concept of Secularism, by encouraging active enfranchisement and confidence in the Secular democratic system, via voting (4)
The impudence of the UK government! If only they had the will.
Mr al Andalusi seems oblivious to the fact that this is Britain, and the Western World appears equally oblivious to the fact that they are The Western World. Or, if you will, “Western civilization, rooted in a core belief of the cultural backwardness of non-western peoples” and if all’s well, rooted in a core belief in their own superior humanitarian credentials.
Because Islam is the one religion that by its very nature has resisted reform and will do so for ever after because that’s an inbuilt requisite of Islam. 
No-one knows whether ‘moderate Muslims’ are “culturally Muslim” apostates, ex-Muslims who emerged, blinking, from Muslim backgrounds, or what? Without the trappings, is there anything left?
Ayaan Hirsi Ali says what others are afraid to say. If they agree, they’re ashamed to say so. All they can do is qualify everything with disclaimers. 
“I’m no supporter of the EDL, but...” “I disapprove of Geert Wilders, but..” “I agree with some of what Robert Spencer says, but..” “I admire Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s courage but...”

Mark Steyn has written extensively and forthrightly about this topic . He’s a fine writer.
“At Brandeis University, we are learning the hierarchy of the new multiculti caste system. In theory, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is everything the identity-group fetishists dig: female, atheist, black, immigrant. If conservative white males were to silence a secular women’s rights campaigner from Somalia, it would be proof of the Republican party’s ‘war on women’, or the encroaching Christian fundamentalist theocracy, or just plain old Andrew Boltian racism breaking free of its redoubt at the Herald Sun to rampage as far as the eye can see. But when the snivelling white male who purports to be president of Brandeis (one Frederick Lawrence) does it out of deference to Islam, Miss Hirsi Ali’s blackness washes off her like a bad dye job on a telly news anchor. White feminist Germaine Greer can speak at Brandeis because, in one of the more whimsical ideological evolutions even by dear old Germaine’s standards, Ms Greer feels that clitoridectomies add to the rich tapestry of ‘cultural identity’: ‘One man’s beautification is another man’s mutilation,’ as she puts it. But black feminist Hirsi Ali, who was on the receiving end of ‘one man’s mutilation’ and lives under death threats because she was boorish enough to complain about it, is too ‘hateful’ to be permitted to speak. In the internal contradictions of multiculturalism, Islam trumps all: race, gender, secularism, everything. So, in the interests of multiculti sensitivity, pampered upper-middle-class trusty-fundy children of entitlement are pronouncing a Somali refugee beyond the pale and signing up to Islamic strictures on the role of women.”
So the BBC didn’t avoid this subject altogether, which is a plus. At the risk of sounding like Amazon (People who bought one of these, also bought one of those)  if you’ve ploughed through all this, you’ll be interested that the BBC has also mentioned this.

That’s a turn up. 

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