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Free Speech: A Motorway Pile-Up of Moral Confusion
by Douglas Murray
Who has the "right" to talk about Islam? The question arose thanks to the response of a Muslim student society at an American university.
Last week saw the latest in the apparently interminable efforts to make the Somali-born human-rights activist and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali into some kind of pariah. Readers will recall the atrocious treatment of Hirsi Ali by Brandeis University earlier this year, when the "liberal arts university" invited Hirsi Ali to speak and then withdrew the invitation at the behest of certain Muslim students and anti-free-speech activists among the university's faculty staff. As said at the time, the university's dropping of Hirsi Ali was a classic case of dropping a firefighter in order to appease arsonists.
The latest round has already kicked off. The William F Buckley Jr Program at Yale University actually asking Hirsi Ali to speak and did not rescind the invitation. On this occasion, an American university managed to hold firm and not bar Hirsi Ali, but the reactions of two types of students were especially intriguing.
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