The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a fantastic speaker coming to their school next week.
No, not injury lawyer Bill Marler.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
An outspoken defender of women’s rights within Islamic societies, Ayaan Hirsi Ali uses her enthralling life experience to explain her passion for equality and reform for Muslim women around the world. In her honest memoir, Infidel, Hirsi Ali recounts her disturbing experiences of abuse and intellectual and spiritual deprivation that led to her acts of defiance against cultural norms.
The event is free and details can be found here.
Sponsors for the event include the UW Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics. Good for them. It doesn’t sound very surprising, but this association does take a lot of courage. There are a lot of extremists who have no love for Hirsi Ali or any of her associates. It’s not as simple as allowing your group’s name to be put on advertisements.
Not sponsoring this event?
At the presentation, MSA President Rashid Dar showed the [Distinguished Lecture Series] committee a 15-minute video highlighting some of the issues that came along with giving Hirsi Ali a prominent stage, [DLS Director Reid] Tice said.
“If she would have her way, everyone will leave the theater thinking Islam is evil,” Dar said.
Hirsi Ali’s argument that Islam provides the means for Muslims to oppress women promotes hatred, Dar said.
Hrisi Ali isn’t saying anything except the truth of her experiences. There’s the added bonus that Hirsi Ali is right — Islam does treat women like second class citizens. If the truth hurts, so be it. That’s a weak argument from dar against her coming to campus, and thankfully, it failed.
Another non-sponsor is the Gender and Women’s Studies Department.
According to an (unverified) email, they felt she was not a positive voice for women:
“Her approach is so virulently hostile to Islam as a religion (she calls Islam “the new fascism”) that anything she says about women gets lost in this sweeping assault.”
Well, when adherents of some faith brutally kill a close friend and issue attacks on your life, you try treating them with unearned respect. They don’t deserve any.
Hirsi Ali is a woman who speaks her mind about a religion that rarely allows for dissent, even moreso when it comes from females. She’s a hero and a role model. What a shame that the Gender and Women’s Studies Department doesn’t feel the same.
If you’re in the area, go check her out and bring a friend. She tells a story about the problems with religion that everyone needs to hear.