The Edmond Sun


April 11, 2014

HEY HINK: Hateful bullies attempt to muffle free speech

EDMOND — Hopefully we agree it should be a fundamental right to voice criticism of any religion you wish. And you should have the right to sing the praises of any religion you choose. If criticism of religion is unjust, feel free to make your best argument to prove it. If criticism is just, don’t be afraid to acknowledge and embrace it. If songs of praise are merited, feel free to join in. If not, feel free to ignore them. But no American should participate in curbing free speech just because expression of religious views makes someone uncomfortable.

This week, Brandeis University canceled plans to award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an internationally esteemed activist for the rights of women and children. In doing so, Brandeis was caving to pressure from those offended by Ms. Ali’s vocal criticisms of Islam. Her detractors label her a “promoter of religious prejudice” and accuse her of holding “extreme Islamophobic beliefs.”

In announcing its decision, Brandeis acknowledged, “She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world. That said, we cannot overlook some of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values. For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of the statements earlier.”

In researching this column, I couldn’t discover precisely which core values to which Brandeis was referring. And, I couldn’t determine exactly which of Ms. Ali’s comments were in violation of these values.

But here’s what I did find out. Ms. Ali is indeed, a vocal critic of Islam. She has a unique perspective which gives her some credibility on the subject. Born in Somalia, she was raised to be a strict Muslim in a strictly Muslim home. As a girl, she was forced to endure the pain and humiliation of genital mutilation.

When Ms. Ali was ordered, by her family, to marry one of her cousins, she fled. After some period of contemplation and study, she departed from Islam and became an atheist. In time, she became a Dutch citizen and collaborated with Theo van Gogh to produce a film called “Submission,” dealing with the treatment of women in Islamic society. Van Gogh was murdered by an Islamic extremist and a note pinned to his body with a knife threatened Ms. Ali with death.

As a result of her outspoken criticisms concerning the treatment of Muslim women and children, Ms. Ali has been the target of numerous death threats and has had to live undercover to avoid assassination.

This column isn’t long enough to list all her achievements nor is there room to summarize the large body of her statements about the cruelty suffered by women and children in Islamic societies. By way of highlight, Ms. Ali served in the Dutch legislature. When she came to the United States, she took a position at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C. In 2007, she was invited to give a lecture at the University of Pittsburgh. The local Muslim community organized a protest in which one of the protesters, Imam Fouad El Bayly, proclaimed that Ms. Ali deserved the death penalty and should be tried and executed in an Islamic country.

Though Ms. Ali has often stated she has no hate for Muslims but rather hates Islamic practices that harm women and children and deprive practitioners of their free will, she is repeatedly attacked and labeled an “Islamophobe.”

In 2005, she was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2006, she was voted European of the Year by the European editors of Reader’s Digest. She received a coveted civilian prize in Germany for her courageous criticism of Islam in 2006. That same year, she received the Moral Courage Award from the American Jewish Committee.

Without question, Ali is an intelligent courageous woman who fights bravely, throughout the Western world, on behalf of women and children. She has fearlessly pointed out examples, in Islamic societies, where women and children are subjected to cruel treatment and harsh punishments.

No doubt, Brandeis has a plausible explanation for why they failed to discover that Ms. Ali was a vocal critic of certain aspects of Islamic society. No doubt Brandeis will deny its decision to withdraw its invitation was a cowardly betrayal.

Just the same, Ms. Ali will be no worse off for missing the Brandeis ceremony. Let’s hope, we’re not reaching a point in America, where aggressive hateful bullies are capable of smothering free-speech.

I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.

MIKE HINKLE is a retired attorney and Edmond resident.

Text Only
  • Is English getting dissed?

    Is the English language being massacred by the young, the linguistically untidy and anyone who uses the Internet? Absolutely.
    Is that anything new? Hardly.
    Many words and expressions in common parlance today would have raised the hackles of language scolds in the not-so-distant past. For evidence, let’s look at some examples from recent newspaper articles.

    July 31, 2014

  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014


The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
     View Results