Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Intolerance on College Campuses

Brandeis University had planned to award an honorary degree to scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali last spring. But when students and faculty protested, the University changed its mind and reneged on the offer. Both students and professors took offense at Hirsi Ali’s criticism of Islam. Hirsi Ali says that violence is inherent in Islam; she called it “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death.” She especially criticized its treatment of women, which she says is not compatible with liberal democracy.

Hirsi Ali grew up a Muslim in Somalia and was subjected to genital mutilation and forced marriage. She eventually immigrated to the Netherlands where she served in the Dutch Parliament and wrote the script for a film about women under Islamic regimes. She’s received many death threats, and the film’s director was murdered. Hirsi Ali is a brave and accomplished woman, but faculty and students whined about that her presence would make the Muslim students on the Brandeis campus feel they were not welcome. The university caved in. That’s ironic, given that the school was named for Louis Brandeis, one of America’s most important First Amendment jurists. He was known for his strong defense of free speech.

This is only the latest episode in intolerance on college campuses. In 2014, Condoleezza Rice, Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund, a state senator, and a former University of California chancellor all canceled their commencement speeches because of student protests. Maybe these protests merely indicate the immaturity of some college students. But the protests are also a disturbing sign of the intolerance of young people who have been taught they shouldn’t have to listen to anyone who disagrees with them. We wonder if America is becoming a place where any dissent from the liberal line will have unpleasant consequences.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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