American Atheists President: “Brandeis has Caved to Religious Intolerance Masquerading as Political Correctness”


American Atheists President David Silverman has written a letter blasting Brandeis for banning ex-Muslim feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali under pressure from Islamist groups such as CAIR and the Muslim Students Association.

Ms. Hirsi Ali is not “hateful” as some have claimed, nor does she promote violence. She is an eloquent spokesperson for the millions of women and children worldwide who live under the tyrannical thumb of Islam, as she did as a child. She speaks out in defense of justice, equality, and freedom of expression for all people. She speaks for me.

My education at Brandeis has, in no small way, allowed me to rise to the position of president of American Atheists. My job, and indeed my reason for waking up in the morning, is to fight for the rights of those whose voices too often go unheard in the forum of public debate. Those whose most basic freedoms are crushed by theocratic regimes throughout the world.

Addressing some of the most fundamental questions about human rights, particularly the rights of self-determination and free expression, is complex and difficult. When entrenched religious beliefs are used to justify cruel, immoral actions against hundreds of millions of people, we have an obligation to speak out. The criticism of religious beliefs has, in recent years, become taboo for some. This taboo, perhaps, has grown as a result of the privilege we have to live in places where diversity and the agency of individuals is paramount. Ms. Hirsi Ali’s experiences, however, are different.

Her background allows her to speak with clarity about one of the most challenging questions of our time: whether a robust commitment to equality, diversity, dialogue, and social justice is possible when we look the other way when confronted with the realities of Islamic extremism.

What you have done to Ms. Hirsi Ali is rob her of such an opportunity. You have robbed her of the opportunity to speak to Brandeis students about her lived experiences as a child in Somalia and Kenya. You have ended the “dialogue about these important issues” before it has even begun.

Silverman then adds that as a former student, he is cutting ties with his old alma mater.

Today, you have done nothing to “safeguard the safety, dignity, and well-being” of the members of our global community. You have only prevented a powerful voice for such action from being heard by your students. And you have done so in perhaps the most cowardly and dishonorable ways possible.

For the first time in my life, I am ashamed of my association with Brandeis University. Accordingly, I am withdrawing my membership in the Alumni Association, ending financial support of the University, and encouraging others to do the same.

I question whether Brandeis is still a place in which all ideas are open for discussion. No worldview, political position, and certainly no religion is above criticism. I will encourage students who value activism, diversity, and freedom of expression to choose educational opportunities other than Brandeis. Until Ms. Hirsi Ali receives an apology from the University, I will continue to question your professed commitment to these values.

American atheists have tended to be quieter than their European counterparts in defense of secularism against Islamization. At least at the organizational level. Maybe this is a sign that things are changing.

  • wileyvet

    Well articulated statement. Maybe if all alumni do the same, and instigate a Brandeis BDS movement, the administration might wake up.

  • DogmaelJones1

    Yes, that was a well-written letter to Lawrence.But I doubt he will issue an apology to Hirsi Ali. An apology to her would stir up more trouble with the Muslims and CAIR and the MSA and he knows it. He’s cast his lot with Islam, and now he must live with his throw. This is what happens with you allow Ibrahim “The Howler” Hooper of CAIR to whisper in your ear.

  • GFRF

    These intolerable hypocrites!

  • reality check

    Atheism: The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense.

    Well that’s one thing that Silverman and Ali have in common — they’re both atheists and want to impose that perspective onto society. Radically so in Ali’s case. Amazing that she fought tooth and nail in Holland against those calling for restricting Muslim immigration into Holland.

    • MukeNecca

      Amazing that she fought tooth and nail in Holland against those calling for restricting Muslim immigration into Holland.

      I would be grateful if you could refer me to your source. Thank you.

      • reality check

        You may start here:

        To read about Ms. Ali’s adulterous affair with the then married Niall Ferguson (who left his wife and three children for her) go here:

        My bottom line on the devout-Muslim-turned-devout-atheist, Ali, is that she does offer a unique and valuable perspective on Islam, but she ain’t what American conservatives think she is.

        • Michael Roberts

          Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a heroine of our time. She did her own ‘reality check’, got out, and spoke up, putting herself in enormous and lifelong danger.

          You cannot possibly have any real knowledge of her and Niall Ferguson’s private lives, and it is no business of yours nor anybody else’s.

          Atheism is lack of a belief in a deity, rather than a belief in It’s non-existence, and atheists on the whole tend to question or deny the validity of received or imposed, and in any case unevidenced dogma, rather than insist on imposing their own.

          I do not know, and I do not accept that any other bugger does either ;o)

        • MukeNecca

          Thank you, r. c.
          I never thought much of her after I had read she demanded that belgian Vlaams Belang party should be banned for its stand against abortion, homosexual “marriage”, euthanasia and mohammedan immigration. She is obviously a totalitarian freak. OK, so she is critical of Islam and afraid it may get her, but that doesn’t make her a friend of the West.

  • herb benty

    If even the atheists are seeing this Muslim infiltration and subversion of our universities, there could be hope for these institutions. However, seeing that World Communism has harnessed Islam against us, and the universities are infested with “Marxist” professors, it could be tough sledding to rid them of this disease.

  • jewdog

    I applaud his stance. Brandeis has become Blindeyes.

  • Jason P

    Yes, this is a welcomed change.

    About ten years ago I joined a yahoo group for atheists. After reading the postings for several days I cut and pasted sentences from their posts with Christianity replaced by Islam, Jesus replaced by Mohammed, etc. I went away for a few days and checked back. Apparently there was an uproar. I was attacked as a vile bigoted person–especially by the Europeans. It appeared that I had stumbled on the “atheists for Islam” group.

    I then revealed that I had just used their words to level a similar criticism of Islam. Two, only two, got it and agreed. The rest (all were leftists except one) couldn’t handle the truth. … Silverman deserves our respect–he’ll get heat for his stand.

  • Jason P

    By the way, it is worth noting that atheists and secularists have made major contributions to the fight against Islam. Consider ex-Muslims like Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, Ali Sina, etc. Worthwhile contributions from the “New Atheists” include Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins. Than there is Oriana Fallaci, in a class by herself. Occasion criticism from the Ayn Rand Institute is worthy of mention. I guess we can include secular-leaning Jews like David Horowitz and Pamela Geller.

    Of course, they’re out numbered. But let’s face it: we’re individuals … no demographic group or part of the political spectrum is in our camp. We need fighters in every quarter.

  • Shlomo Goldstein

    out of curiosity, why should normal americans prefer judeo-atheism to islam? Islam at least isn’t in open rebellion against its creator and the natural order.