April 11, 2014

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Brandeis Speech: ‘The Time Has Come for a Muslim Reformation’ (See Additional Items)

Filed under: Activism,Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:32 pm

Reproduced in full to shame a cowardly, reactionary university:

Here’s What I Would Have Said at Brandeis
We need to make our universities temples not of dogmatic orthodoxy, but of truly critical thinking.

By AYAAN HIRSI ALI
April 10, 2014 6:38 p.m. ET

On Tuesday, after protests by students, faculty and outside groups, Brandeis University revoked its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its commencement ceremonies in May. The protesters accused Ms. Hirsi Ali, an advocate for the rights of women and girls, of being “Islamophobic.” Here is an abridged version of the remarks she planned to deliver.

One year ago, the city and suburbs of Boston were still in mourning. Families who only weeks earlier had children and siblings to hug were left with only photographs and memories. Still others were hovering over bedsides, watching as young men, women, and children endured painful surgeries and permanent disfiguration. All because two brothers, radicalized by jihadist websites, decided to place homemade bombs in backpacks near the finish line of one of the most prominent events in American sports, the Boston Marathon.

All of you in the Class of 2014 will never forget that day and the days that followed. You will never forget when you heard the news, where you were, or what you were doing. And when you return here, 10, 15 or 25 years from now, you will be reminded of it. The bombs exploded just 10 miles from this campus.

Associate books editor Bari Weiss on Brandeis University’s decision to withdraw its offer of an honorary degree to women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Photo credit: Associated Press.
I read an article recently that said many adults don’t remember much from before the age of 8. That means some of your earliest childhood memories may well be of that September morning simply known as “9/11.”

You deserve better memories than 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing. And you are not the only ones. In Syria, at least 120,000 people have been killed, not simply in battle, but in wholesale massacres, in a civil war that is increasingly waged across a sectarian divide. Violence is escalating in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Libya, in Egypt. And far more than was the case when you were born, organized violence in the world today is disproportionately concentrated in the Muslim world.

Another striking feature of the countries I have just named, and of the Middle East generally, is that violence against women is also increasing. In Saudi Arabia, there has been a noticeable rise in the practice of female genital mutilation. In Egypt, 99% of women report being sexually harassed and up to 80 sexual assaults occur in a single day.

Especially troubling is the way the status of women as second-class citizens is being cemented in legislation. In Iraq, a law is being proposed that lowers to 9 the legal age at which a girl can be forced into marriage. That same law would give a husband the right to deny his wife permission to leave the house.

Sadly, the list could go on. I hope I speak for many when I say that this is not the world that my generation meant to bequeath yours. When you were born, the West was jubilant, having defeated Soviet communism. An international coalition had forced Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. The next mission for American armed forces would be famine relief in my homeland of Somalia. There was no Department of Homeland Security, and few Americans talked about terrorism.

Two decades ago, not even the bleakest pessimist would have anticipated all that has gone wrong in the part of world where I grew up. After so many victories for feminism in the West, no one would have predicted that women’s basic human rights would actually be reduced in so many countries as the 20th century gave way to the 21st.

Today, however, I am going to predict a better future, because I believe that the pendulum has swung almost as far as it possibly can in the wrong direction.

When I see millions of women in Afghanistan defying threats from the Taliban and lining up to vote; when I see women in Saudi Arabia defying an absurd ban on female driving; and when I see Tunisian women celebrating the conviction of a group of policemen for a heinous gang rape, I feel more optimistic than I did a few years ago. The misnamed Arab Spring has been a revolution full of disappointments. But I believe it has created an opportunity for traditional forms of authority—including patriarchal authority—to be challenged, and even for the religious justifications for the oppression of women to be questioned.

Yet for that opportunity to be fulfilled, we in the West must provide the right kind of encouragement. Just as the city of Boston was once the cradle of a new ideal of liberty, we need to return to our roots by becoming once again a beacon of free thought and civility for the 21st century. When there is injustice, we need to speak out, not simply with condemnation, but with concrete actions.

One of the best places to do that is in our institutions of higher learning. We need to make our universities temples not of dogmatic orthodoxy, but of truly critical thinking, where all ideas are welcome and where civil debate is encouraged. I’m used to being shouted down on campuses, so I am grateful for the opportunity to address you today. I do not expect all of you to agree with me, but I very much appreciate your willingness to listen.

I stand before you as someone who is fighting for women’s and girls’ basic rights globally. And I stand before you as someone who is not afraid to ask difficult questions about the role of religion in that fight.

The connection between violence, particularly violence against women, and Islam is too clear to be ignored. We do no favors to students, faculty, nonbelievers and people of faith when we shut our eyes to this link, when we excuse rather than reflect.

So I ask: Is the concept of holy war compatible with our ideal of religious toleration? Is it blasphemy—punishable by death—to question the applicability of certain seventh-century doctrines to our own era? Both Christianity and Judaism have had their eras of reform. I would argue that the time has come for a Muslim Reformation.

Is such an argument inadmissible? It surely should not be at a university that was founded in the wake of the Holocaust, at a time when many American universities still imposed quotas on Jews.

The motto of Brandeis University is “Truth even unto its innermost parts.” That is my motto too. For it is only through truth, unsparing truth, that your generation can hope to do better than mine in the struggle for peace, freedom and equality of the sexes.

Ms. Hirsi Ali is the author of “Nomad: My Journey from Islam to America” (Free Press, 2010). She is a fellow at the Belfer Center of Harvard’s Kennedy School and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

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RELATED: Roger Simon at PJ Media — “The President of Brandeis University Should Resign”

ALSO: A reminder from Caroline Glick (“Forgetting freedom at Passover”) —

Hirsi Ali is a former Muslim who suffered genital mutilation as a child in Somalia and at age 21 fled to Holland to avoid a forced marriage.

After liberating herself, Hirsi Ali could have settled into a quiet European life. Instead, she dedicated her life to championing the rights of women and girls in Islamic societies.

For the past decade, Hirsi Ali has lived under an Islamic death sentence for her work. She can go nowhere without bodyguards.

Virtually Unreported: Mortgage Loan Market’s 2013-2014 Collapse

Associated Press stories today on the quarterly earnings releases of Wells Fargo (unbylined) and JPMorgan Chase (by Steve Rothwell) essentially mocked the nearly continuous monthly stream of reports the wire service’s economics writers, particularly Martin Crutsinger and Chris Rugaber, have generated about the “housing recovery” during at least the past year.

The Wells Fargo story disclosed that the nation’s largest mortgage lender “funded $36 billion worth of mortgages in the first quarter, down sharply from $109 billion a year earlier.” The following graphic from the bank’s detailed financial report tells the full story:

(more…)

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Regulatory Tyranny Flies Under the Radar’) Is Up (UPDATE: OSHA Targeting Non-Union Auto Industry in the South)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:56 am

It’s here.

I will post it here at BizzyBlog on Sunday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

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UPDATE: Just five hours after the column went to print, an email from NetRightDaily reported that OSHA is deliberately targeting nonunion auto products manufacturers in the Southeast … with union representatives tagging along

Is OSHA trying to unionize southern auto parts manufacturers?

… The heightened targeting in the southeast comes on the heels of a special “Regional Emphasis Program to reduce workplace exposures to safety hazards associated in the Auto Parts Supplier Industry” ordered by the agency on January 15.

These three states alone, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee, although they make up just 9.7 percent of auto parts manufacturers, already constitute 26 percent of OSHA inspections for that industry group.

… Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) is furious about the targeted discrimination in her home state of Alabama. In a letter to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, Roby wrote, “Absent a compelling rationale grounded in fact, OSHA’s targeted enforcement tactics become susceptible to charges that they are at best arbitrary, and at worst discriminatory.”

Roby also complained about a new Labor rule that allows union organizers to tag along OSHA inspections in non-union shops, raising the specter that union bosses may now be directing the agency’s targeting.

When coupled with the regional targeting in the southeast, it begins to look a lot like OSHA is attempting to unionize southern auto parts manufacturers that are beating Detroit on price by keeping labor costs low.

But regardless of the motivation of the targeting, it appears these factories have been the targets of a pattern of discrimination by the agency, raising significant constitutional due process concerns.

Due process? Little people apparently don’t get that in Tom Perez’s Department of Labor.

NewsBusted (041114)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 7:05 am

Here we go:

TOPICS:
– GOP Immigration Deal
– Republican Insiders
– Tea Party
– Congressman Jim Moran
– Drug Tunnels
– George Soros
– Dunkin’ Donuts
– Starbucks
– Common Core

Best Line: “A California mom has been banned from her kids’ school for two weeks because she opposes the Common Core curriculum. However, because the school uses Common Core, no one there is exactly sure how long two weeks is.”

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (041114)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

Positivity: Pro-life congressman, wife honored with Notre Dame award

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

From South Bend, Indiana:

Apr 9, 2014 / 02:22 am

In an April 5 ceremony, Notre Dame University honored prominent U.S. pro-life congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), and his wife, Marie, who is also a pro-life advocate, with its 2014 Evangelium Vitae Medal.

In a speech thanking the university for the recognition, Rep. Smith said that pro-life individuals have the responsibility to “speak truth to power, no matter the sacrifice or cost.”

Real change “will only be achieved by persevering prayer, fasting and hard work,” he said. “It falls to us to promote and establish a sustainable culture of life both here and overseas.”

Since 2011, the Evangelium Vitae Medal has been awarded annually by Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture. The medal was inspired by Bl. Pope John Paul II’s papal encyclical, “Evangelium Vitae.”

The award is given to those who have worked to help build a culture of life and respect for the sanctity of life from its earliest stages. Previous recipients have included the Sisters of Life, George Mason University law professor Helen M. Alvaré, and the U.S. bishops’ conference associate director of pro-life activities, Richard Doerflinger.

The 2014 award was given to the Smiths at an April 5 dinner and Mass, celebrated at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame by Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit.

“In their work and in their persons, Congressman Chris and Marie Smith are extraordinary witnesses to the inalienable dignity and matchless worth of every member of the human family, born and unborn,” said Carter Snead, director of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Thrown Overboard

Filed under: Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:46 am

Goodbye, Kathleen Sebelius.