Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and H.R. McMaster participated in a Hoover Institution panel discussion live-streamed June 4, 2019, whose ostensible purpose was to characterize, “the identities of freedom’s adversaries, their goals and strategies, and what can be done to defeat these threats across government, the private sector, academia, and civil society.”
The just over 8-minute embedded video clip, and accompanying transcript below it, capture critical exchanges during the question and answer period. Watch/read how two audience queries, one on Islam, and the other on designating the traditionalist Islamic Muslim Brotherhood as a jihad terror organization, are “handled” by moderator Niall Ferguson, his wife Ayaan, and McMaster. Particularly alarming was the treatment afforded a very sympathetic Afghan Muslim woman exile whose poignant, and accurate observations about Islam are dismissed with a toxic brew of derisive laughter, and crude apologetics. These interactions are a sad testament to what passes for “informed, courageous center-right policymaking center discourse” on the liberty-crushing totalitarianism of Islam.
The expatriate Afghan Muslim woman questioner, was reverential of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but did not abide being “silenced” by Stanford Professors when telling the truth about Islam’s violent imperialism. It was shocking that Ayaan tacitly agreed with such silencing, telling her interlocutor—and by extension, all of us— to “stop talking about Islam.” Exceeding this moral turpitude, H.R. McMaster opposed designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, in response to another query, for “mere” advocacy of Sharia totalitarianism, without overt calls to violence. McMaster justified such a policy—acceptance of Sharia—because of what he deemed the lack of any “solution to the problem of Islamist groups that want to restrict human freedom.” Worse still, McMaster claimed more broadly—and counterfactually—“a way to think about this is to really make sure we understand that [jihad] terrorists are a perverted interpretation of Islam to justify their criminal acts.” He concluded by insisting, “What this [global jihad] is is a fight between all civilized people of all religions against those who have perverted Islam.”
In brief, witness The Hoover Institute’s contemporary trahsion des clercs on Islam, courtesy of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, H.R. McMaster, and Niall Ferguson.
[Note: “FSI” referred to by the Afghan interlocutor, questioner #1, would appear to be The “Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies”]
Audience questioner 1, a woman: “…I have lived 35 years in fear of Islam and political correctness and all of these things because I experienced the revival of Islam and what Islam can do, and is doing with these societies…I have tried to really talk about Islam but I am coming to a crashing point right now—I think that I am hitting my head to the wall because I feel that I am betrayed by the society of intellectuals that were supposed to support me. My new beautiful country of [the U.S.] that should support me, but I feel that everywhere that I go [there] is this political correctness and many other things. [It] is very easy—just come to FSI [Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies]—I can show you what is happening. Right now I am—my question is that I speak up against Islam and I am thinking that Islam is an imperialistic, violent, pedophile ideology—we should tell the truth not going with the lie of ‘peaceful religion,’ and so on. But I am crushed because people say that don’t say they [Muslims, practicing Islam] say they kill—Niall Ferguson interrupts: ‘We need a question’—[audience questioner 1 continues]—My question is that at the same time I get silenced down by the Professors at the FSI and so on, and I am crashing and I want to ask you, honestly, give me advice, what should I do” Should I stop going there [FSI] and stop…?”
On stage panel laughter.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, still laughing, initially: “I will be very short and say maybe at this stage it is better to stop talking about Islam and start talking about freedom… Again, we are talking here today about how we can use online and cyber and all that…And it has now become technologically possible to connect a lot of people and see the ideas of Afghani women—women from Afghanistan and I know a number of them attracted to the ideas of freedom and equality [Note: 99% of Afghans wasn’t strict application of the liberty-crushing Sharia in Afghanistan], and raising their children, especially their sons, to be different and embrace these ideas. And I think that’s where to go. Let’s stop talking—or let’s talk less about what it is that has driven us out of the ideology of radical Islam [Note: the Afghan Muslim woman questioner was explicit in discussing ‘Islam,’ not ‘radical Islam’] and talk about what has driven us to the principles of freedom.”
Audience questioner 2, a man: “…Why have we failed to declare [the] Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization even though [the] Saudis did.?”
Niall Ferguson: “H.R., is the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist, organization? Should we identify it as such?”
H.R. McMaster: “OK. I’ll go back to Ayaan’s point that sometimes we try too hard to disconnect the dots with these groups because these groups are overlapping and mutually reinforcing. But I think also we have to be cognizant of the fact that not all of these organizations are the same, all these groups are the same, especially within the Muslim Brotherhood, which has different chapters that have different philosophies. Some of them are actually active and useful participants in political processes. [Note: McMaster blithely ignores serious scholar Emmanuel Sivan’s timeless warning from 1995: ‘Westerners debating the question of Islam and democracy would do well to listen to these voices, representing as they do the hegemonic discourse in the Islamist movement. When Islamists talk to each other rather than for external consumption, the talk is clearly and unambiguously anti-democratic. And so would be their behavior should they seize power.’] If you for example were to make a blanket designation against all Muslim Brotherhood organizations and encourage other countries to do that, you just have to recognize that what you are going to do is drive those organizations underground in a way that set conditions for post-Mubarak Egypt. So I think there have [sic] to be a distinction made between those who advocate for violence against innocents and those who advocate to be able to determine with Sharia law the nature of the government at the exclusion of other parties. So I think that’s the way to think about it. And so there’s not going to be a solution to the problem of Islamist groups that want to restrict human freedom, but I don’t think a blank designation of the Muslim Brotherhood does it for you.”
Niall Ferguson: “Ayaan?”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: “I just want to add one—yeah—so I agree with H.R.—everything he said is absolutely true, but I think we could go one step further and designate them an adversary. Just like we are designating, just like we are confronting China, what China is doing. I think it doesn’t hurt to say ‘hey Muslim Brotherhood, with all your branches and chapters, we know what you’re up to, and here’s the answer.’ And that is, it’s not exactly a terrorist organization, but having them come to the White House, and having them come to our institutions of education, institutions of information, I think in that sense, that’s a mistake.”
H.R. McMaster: Quickly. If I could just make a point that maybe refers to the [two] questions. I think a way to think about this is to really make sure that we understand terrorists are using a perverted interpretation of Islam to justify their criminal acts. And today is Eid al-Fitr [Note: the end of the Muslim celebration of Ramadan, ironically, a month associated by traditional, mainstream Islam with jihad war campaigns; see “Egyptian Clerics, Articles: Ramadan Is The Month Of Jihad And Victories.”], [so] we outght to say ‘Eid Mubarak’ to everybody. Who are the greatest victims of these terrorist organizations? Other Muslims. So what we have to do is not play into the terrorists hands who try to [advance] the conspiracy theory that it’s really the Zionist-Crusader conspiracy against them. “What this [global jihad] is, is a fight between all civilized people of all religions against those who have perverted Islam.”
Niall Ferguson: “Well said.”