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CNN: Why is Harvard honoring bigotry?

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Washington, D.C. (CNN) — At a time when our nation’s top university is more diverse than ever before, Harvard’s recent decision to honor its former professor Marty Peretz on Friday for setting up an undergraduate research fund in his name comes as a big, disappointing surprise.

The spotlight is finally shining on Peretz, editor-in-chief of The New Republic, and his history of racist comments against Muslims, Latinos, blacks and others.

Here is the latest blog-post calumny: “Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims” and “I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment, which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.”

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I and other Muslim-Americans are accustomed to Peretz’s outlandish statements. But I felt betrayed that my alma mater would choose to honor someone with such views. I studied the U.S. Constitution and the civil rights movement in Harvard’s libraries. I learned about morality and tolerance from its professors. I felt accepted in its cosmopolitan student body.

This decision to honor Peretz harks back to a chapter of Harvard’s and America’s history that we as a nation have wisely chosen to move past.

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Muslim American born in Brooklyn, NY with Guyanese parents currently living in Virginia working full-time as a web developer.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. julie

    September 26, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    CAIR is set to honor Helen Thomas. We know CAIR would not be honoring someone who said Arabs or Muslims should go back to where they come from. Is Ms Syed taking them to task for this? They said they are judging her from her whole career nor from a few comments. .
    Harvard is doing the same. Ms Syed has a lot of nerve to turn a blind eye to the huge amount of people-from Helen Thomas to Jesse Jackson- who are honored despite their despicable remarks. Columbia invited PResident Ahmadejad to speak- did Ms Syed protest that and claim that “Columbia wasw honoring anti-semitism?” If not, she really has nothing to complain about now. Just self serving censorship.

  2. April

    September 27, 2010 at 5:09 AM

    Welcome to the world Julie.
    Groups should advocate for their own protection, interest, and rights; and that has to be defined in light of principles we can, in all our diversity, hold in common.
    I’d much rather we transcend bickering and define those principles that serve everyone, so that no one group is able to repress another, degrade those principals, or use the law as bodyguard for their own, personal, fiat.
    Who can any more afford the luxury of any group considering itself the ONLY one, in such a complex and dangerous world.
    Isn’t that what you’re saying? Does this include your group, as you so define it?

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