Fresh off her honorary degree rejection from Brandeis University, critic of Islam and author of Infidel Ayaan Hirsi Ali will be the keynote speaker at American Atheists’ 2015 convention, the group officially announced yesterday:
Incidentally, Silverman is a graduate of Brandeis and wrote a strong letter to the university’s president after they offered, then revoked, an honorary degree to Hirsi Ali. He said “I am ashamed of my association with Brandeis University” and vowed to end his financial support of the school.
“Ayaan Hirsi Ali is champion of atheist thought, but even more to the point, she is a champion of atheism activism,” said Silverman. “Ms. Hirsi Ali is a strong voice of reason and a passionate voice against the cruelties and irrationalities inherent in religion. Islam, like all other religions, silences and blinds people under a banner of ‘tolerance’ to the real atrocities it encourages and excuses. Ms. Hirsi Ali continues to be one of the most powerful voices in the world in this fight, and we can’t imagine a better keynote speaker for our 2015 National Convention. We’re proud to have her.”
(Side note: When Hirsi Ali attended the 2007 Atheist Alliance International convention, there was security everywhere, including bomb-sniffing dogs. I suspect there will be no difference this time around. For what it’s worth, attendees didn’t seem to mind the necessary inconvenience.)
AA’s convention takes place April 3–5 in Memphis, Tennessee. No other speakers have been announced yet.