The Tribune-Review reports that Dutch feminist author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who has lived under the threat of death for denouncing her Muslim upbringing, recently spoke at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
Islamic leaders tried to prevent her appearance, arguing that Hirsi Ali’s stands against the Muslim faith in her book, “Infidel,” and movie, “Submission,” are “poisonous and unjustified” and foment dissension in their community.
Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Johnstown Islamic Center and one of those who objected to Hirsi Ali’s appearance, wants to see her dead: “She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death.”
Although university officials listened to Islamic leaders’ hateful views, Ali’s lecture proceeded under tight security, without incident.
Good for the university for not having been intimidated, and good for First Amendment scholar Charles C. Haynes, who defended Hirsi Ali’s rights, saying, “The key in the U.S. from the beginning has been to make sure all religious groups not only understand freedoms, but connect them to their own commitment.”