The Edmond Sun

Opinion

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.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • RedBlueAmerica: What should the U.S. do about illegal immigrant children?

    The crisis along the southern U.S. border has politicians and immigration officials scrambling. More than 52,000 children, mostly from Central American nations, have arrived so far this year. The Department of Homeland Security is running out of space to hold them all.
    President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in borrowed money from taxpayers to cover the growing “care, feeding and transportation costs of unaccompanied children and family groups” when our own veterans are not taken care of. Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized the president’s plan, saying more money should go toward securing the border.

    July 17, 2014

  • VA scandal highlights the need to change Pentagon spending priorities

    The ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs scandal raises an important question: When our veterans are being denied access to basic health care, why is the Pentagon squandering billions of dollars on programs that do not benefit our military forces? Is there a link in organization attitudes?

    July 16, 2014

  • For better politics, it’s time for some raging moderates

    Like more than 20 percent of my fellow Californians, I am now classified as a no-party-preference voter, registered to vote but with no affiliation to any of the state’s political parties.
    I am for lower taxes and for marriage equality. I am tough on crime and I am anti-abortion. I believe that a pathway to citizenship is a necessary part of immigration reform and that student test scores should be a critical component of teacher evaluations.

    July 15, 2014

  • Father on mission to stop gun violence

    Since his son died six weeks ago as collateral damage to a troubled young man’s wish for vengeance, Richard Martinez has been asked whom he holds responsible.
    “I’m responsible,” the California lawyer answers, referring to most Americans’ failure to push harder to change gun laws after earlier mass shootings. “All those kids died and none of us did anything.”

    July 14, 2014

  • The Kansas City Star: Obama must end the public information barriers

    Mr. President, you have a public information problem. Again. Several months ago, journalism organizations complained about a lack of access for news photographers to pertinent presidential events.

    July 14, 2014

Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
     View Results