The kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian girls by the radical terrorist organization known as Boko Haram has aroused the outrage of all civilized people and has become a particular cause for the cultural elite in the U. S. My first reaction was, where have they been? This behavior is consistent with that of radical Islam at every flash point where it clashes with civilized states around the globe, and it is not coincidental that it most often attacks Christians. Why does the West ignore this reality? And why do we constantly hear that the average Muslim wholeheartedly rejects terror and holy war, while we hear nothing from these “average Muslims” and their leaders when confronted with these outrages?
As a refugee from radical Islamic oppression, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has written and spoken courageously and forcefully about this issue. In the first place, she translates the name Boko Haram in terms more revealing about the group’s mission–“The Fellowship of the People of the Tradition for Preaching and Holy War”–and explains that the mission is no different from that of the Taliban and other jihadists–the oppression of women. They sincerely believe that girls are better off enslaved than educated. Ali has been carrying the message to anyone who will listen.
Incredibly, not everyone in the West wants to hear her message and her wake up call. This spring, she was to have received an honorary degree from Brandeis University, but last month, after protests by students, faculty, and some outside groups, the University revoked its invitation. Those who protested accused her of being “Islamophobic” in her advocacy for the rights of women and girls. Folks, this is what passes for liberalism in many of our elite institutions of higher education.
To her credit, she wrote an essay for The Wall Street Journal entitled “Here’s What I Would Have Said at Brandeis”. It represents the best of what classical liberalism, properly understood, should be about. I hope the Brandeis trustees read it and were duly ashamed. They should have been. As for the rest of us, there are two messages here. The first is that we had better get very serious about the continuing threat of Islamic radicalism and, in particular, the complicity of “average Muslims” in its mission. The second is that we need to take a hard look at the upper reaches of American higher education and its mission and how this mission is being corrupted in far too many instances among our so-called elite institutions.