ON-Lion Letter

In September, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born atheist known for her harsh criticism of Islam, addressed a crowd of 300 at Yale University, in spite of the objections of several student organizations that protested her invitation to campus.

The William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale sponsored the event, entitled “Clash of Civilizations:  Islam and the West.”  Hirsi Ali spoke with no interruptions or disturbances about her own experience growing up in a Muslim family in Somalia.

She is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI).

Among other things, Hirsi Ali discussed the first militant religious teacher she encountered when she was 15, who she said represented the kind of "indoctrination" that leads to violent expressions of the religion.  She also called for reform and specifically acknowledged the Yale Muslim Students Association (MSA), one of the groups that criticized her invitation to campus.

"MSA students of Yale, you live at a time when Muslims are at a crossroads.  The Muslim world is on fire and those fanning the fire are using more creed.  With every atrocity," she said, they question "your commitment to Allah ....  Will you submit passively or actively, or will you finally stand up to Allah?”

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports both the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program and AEI.

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