Violence Is Disproportionate in the Muslim World

(Wall Street Journal) Ayaan Hirsi Ali - On Tuesday, Brandeis University revoked its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree in May after protesters accused her of being "Islamophobic." Here is a version of the remarks she planned to deliver: In Syria, at least 120,000 people have been killed, not simply in battle, but in wholesale massacres. Violence is escalating in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Libya, in Egypt. Organized violence in the world today is disproportionately concentrated in the Muslim world. Another striking feature of the countries I have just named, and of the Middle East generally, is that violence against women is also increasing. In Saudi Arabia, there has been a noticeable rise in the practice of female genital mutilation. In Egypt, 99% of women report being sexually harassed and up to 80 sexual assaults occur in a single day. The connection between violence, particularly violence against women, and Islam is too clear to be ignored. We do no favors when we shut our eyes to this link, when we excuse rather than reflect. So I ask: Is the concept of holy war compatible with our ideal of religious toleration? Is it blasphemy - punishable by death - to question the applicability of certain seventh-century doctrines to our own era? It is only through truth, unsparing truth, that your generation can hope to do better than mine in the struggle for peace, freedom and equality of the sexes. The writer is a fellow at the Belfer Center of Harvard's Kennedy School and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

2014-04-11 00:00:00

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