To the Editor:
Re “Brandeis Cancels Plan to Give Honorary Degree to Rights Advocate, a Critic of Islam” (news article, April 9):
The Council on American-Islamic Relations welcomes Brandeis University’s cancellation of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an activist with a long record of vicious anti-Islam statements, some of which are quoted in your article. Honoring Ms. Hirsi Ali would have been an insult to the legacy of Justice Louis D. Brandeis and his great defense of religious freedom and civil liberties.
We should all take note, however, that opposition to the honorary degree for Ms. Hirsi Ali did not come only from the Muslim community, but also from Jewish students and faculty members at Brandeis, one of America’s great Jewish-sponsored institutions of higher learning.
The lesson here is that those committed to a nation and a world of justice and peace can accomplish wonders when working together across different communities. This is in keeping with the values of pluralism, compassion and human dignity enshrined within both Islam and Judaism.
Exec. Director, Philadelphia Chapter
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Philadelphia, April 9, 2014