An Egyptian-born woman named Nonie Darwish was scheduled to speak at Brown University last week, at the invitation of Jewish group Hillel, about the appalling treatment of women in Islamic societies. Sadly, that event was cancelled because of pressure by the Muslim Student Association:
Muslim students had complained that Darwish was “too controversial.” They insisted she be denied a platform at Brown, and after contentious debate Hillel agreed.
Weird: No one had said boo about such Brown events as a patently anti-Israel “Palestinian Solidarity Week.” But Hillel said her “offensive” statements about Islam “alarmed” the Muslim Student Association, and Hillel didn’t want to upset its “beautiful relationship” with the Muslim community.
The paper also notes that the Brown Women’s Center back out of co-sponsoring the debate as well. I think that was a very big mistake, and I think that Darwish’s message needs to be heard far and wide. As the daughter of an Egyptian commando who was assassinated by the Israeli Defense Forces, but who nonetheless founded a group called Arabs for Israel, she brings more than the usual share of historical and moral credibility to the table.
I find it inexplicably absurd that a women’s center would not want to sponsor an address about the treatment of women in Islamic nations. If radical Islam is not a major issue for women’s groups, what on earth could be? There is no more malevolent force for the oppression of women in the world than this twisted ideology. Millions of women are denied the most basic human rights all over the world as a result. If they cannot speak out against that, they have lost their voice and it’s their own fault.
I’ve written about this many times before, but I firmly believe that we must make the voices of women heard around the world on this issue. Many brave women have spoken out on this issue and it is our duty to listen to them and spread the word. Irshad Manji, Azar Nafisi, Asma Jehangir, Aayan Hirsi Ali, Asra Nomani and Taslima Nasrin are just a few of the women who have led the way in demanding humanistic reform in Islam. In the long run, their efforts will do more than all the wars we can fight to bring Islam into the modern world.