(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/21/16) – The Council on American Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today joined 17 Maryland-based groups in calling on Stevenson University to dropÂ anti-Muslim activist Ayaan HirsiÂ Ali as a speaker at an upcoming Baltimore Speakers Series event or to at least offer a balancing perspective to her Islamophobic rhetoric.
The interfaith coalitionâ€™s letter states in part:
â€œMs. Ali is by all means free to believe as she chooses. We uphold First Amendment rights for all – including those with inflammatory, misguided views. However, our concern is that granting her this unchallenged platform to peddle misinformation would legitimize such falsehoods, perpetuate intolerance toward and hatred of Muslims, and risk jeopardizing the safety of local Muslims – including students on your campus.”Â Â
According to the coalition:Â â€œAli has a long history of making factually inaccurate and misleading statements regarding Islam and Muslims. She has referred to Islam as a â€˜nihilistic cult of deathâ€™ and the new â€˜face of fascism.â€™ In a 2007 article in Reason magazine, Hirsi Ali stated that Islam must be defeated and that â€˜we are at warâ€™ with it.â€™â€ In the past, she has said that the U.S. Constitution should be altered to allow for discrimination against Muslims and that Islamic schools should be closed.Â
CAIR Islamophobia Monitor: Ayaan Hirsi Ali Islamophobia Profile
The coalition – which includesÂ Interfaith Action for Human Rights, Progressive Maryland, Casa De Maryland, and a number of prominent mosques in the stateÂ – made its request as a result of community concerns and of an unprecedented rise in anti-Muslim sentiment and hate incidents nationwide in recent months.
Suggestions offered to Stevenson University include allowing an actual expert on Islam to attend the event to respond to any of Aliâ€™s Islamophobic remarks or to schedule another speaker recommended by the Maryland Muslim community to speak at a later date to â€œdispel misunderstandings created by Ms. Aliâ€™s appearance at the university.â€
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Dr. Zainab Chaudry, 410-971-6062, firstname.lastname@example.org