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Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman  

April 2014

“The Religion of Peace” gets Brandeis Support

On just one day, and appearing on just one page of the San Francisco Chronicle (April 10), three articles appeared about bomb blasts perpetrated by Muslim extremists murdering other Muslims.

• Pakistan. The first was in Pakistan (22 killed, 83 grievously wounded by nuts and bolts packed in a carton of fruit). These fanatics particularly like exploding in open marketplaces where they can maximize killing the most women and children. This attack took place in Islamabad, Pakistan’s very well-fortified capital.

• Iraq. Another attack was in Baghdad, Iraq, this time carried out by Sunni fanatics against Shiites. They murdered 34 and wounded “dozens” more. The same day, another bomb went off in the busy commercial area of Numaniyah, Iraq, followed by a car bomb that exploded as people gathered to help the victims of the first blast. Still earlier in that day, a car bomb exploded in central Baghdad killing four and wounding 11. In yet another district, 13 were killed and 42 wounded. Why all the mayhem: Iraq is heading toward a crucial election on April 30. The bombers have succeeded in making at least one district too dangerous for the election to take place.

• Syria. Syria was the third site of two car bombs exploding in a government-held district of Homs, killing at least 25 people and wounding more than 100. This time, the bombers were going after the Alawite sect of Islam.

There is no end to this mayhem. The great historian Samuel Huntington noted in the 1990s that Islam had “bloody borders” with every nation adjacent to Muslim states (Muslims-Hindus, Muslims-Buddhists, Muslims-Israelis, Muslims-Christians) but he had not noted that the worst blood is in conflict within Muslim states themselves. There seems no end to conflict between variants of Islam and then, to make it worse, tribal differences.

Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria, have governments that are responsible for the violence themselves. Pakistan has long supported Al Qaeda and Taliban in their quest to dominate Afghanistan and frighten India. This policy has come back to bite them when their clients go after Pakistanis.
Iraq elected a Shiite president who has chosen to exercise his power to crush the Sunni minority (who formerly ruled the country). The Sunnis are not taking this kindly.

Syria’s Alawite dictator, Bashir Assad, who once kept the peace among the many ethnicities and religious sects of Syria, overstepped his power and let loose a bloodbath of resistance that grows uglier by the day. It is difficult to ascertain which of these factions is the worst.

It is essential to understand that Islam is not the “Religion of Peace” that its apologists like to claim. However, this truth is lost on, of all people, academics who ought to know better. Anyone with a university education should be able to recognize that Islam is not an underdog needing defending. How can one account for what that most liberal of institutions, Brandeis University, has done on the same day that all that mayhem was going on? The university had invited Ayaan Hirsi Ali to accept an honorary doctorate for her unflagging courage in defying Islamic violence. Then 85 out of 350 faculty petitioned to remove her from the honorary doctorates because she was “insulting Islam”---and the university knuckled under!

This heroic woman was born in Somalia, survived a civil war, genital mutilation, beatings, and an arranged marriage from which she fled to the Netherlands. There she went to college, was elected to Parliament, and then had to flee to America because her statements on Islam’s treatment of women “offended” Islamists. She once noted that Islam is in the midst of a war, and that until they are defeated, Islam cannot become a peaceful and modern religion. For such analysis, professors at Brandeis said that her statements are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.

Would they have also condemned a holocaust survivor who criticized the Nazis? I fail to see the difference. Shame on Brandeis.

Centuries ago, Judaism and Christianity stopped stoning people or burning them at the stake for being “unbelievers.” Islam shows no sign of making this change, or any others needed to become a modern religion.

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Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of God’s Law or Man’s Law: the Fundamentalist Challenge to Secular Rule. You may contact her at www.globalthink.net or Lfarhat102@aol.com.