A model of real courage, strength and determination
One woman’s inspiring pursuit of intellectual freedom, religious and gender autonomy, and truth
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Technion’s Spokesperson’s Office
Distinguished guests, members of the Technion Board of Governors, faculty, and students gathered in a packed auditorium in the Henry and Marilyn Taub and Family Science and Technology Center, at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology on Sunday, June 14. They came to listen to a one-on-one dialogue with Technion President, Prof. Peretz Lavie, and special guest – 2015 Technion Honorary Fellow, Dr. Qanta Ahmed.
Dr. Ahmed is an accomplished physician of 24 years, human rights activist, outspoken opponent of radical Islam and anti-Semitism, and an inspirational female role model for people everywhere. Born to Pakistani immigrants, Ahmed is a British doctor practicing sleep disorders medicine in the State of New York and a devout Muslim. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the State University of New York (Stony Brook), an Honorary Professor at the School of Public Health at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland, and recipient of several prestigious awards and honors. Dr. Ahmed is also a non-fiction author and opinion journalist. Her first book, “In the Land of Invisible Women” has been translated into numerous languages and her articles on political and religious issues pertaining to Islam, the Middle East, medicine and global health diplomacy, have been published in major news sources in the United States, the UK and Israel. She is also a noted speaker and radio and television commentator on major networks including the BBC World Service, CNN, Fox News, and others.
Dr. Qanta Ahmed is a stout defender of Israel, specifically speaking out against academic and scientific boycotts. In June 2013, she visited Israel for the first time, speaking at universities and research institutes around the country. In her own words she describes Israel as a ‘compelling country that keeps drawing her back here.’ Her connection to Israel and political views turned her into a pariah in many parts of the Muslim world.
For Dr. Ahmed, the pursuit of intellectual freedom and the truth is the best defense against the mounting movement to delegitimizing Israel academically. “Nothing beats visiting the place for oneself, even if one’s mind is closed.” In her view, “The movement for boycott is a marker of extreme bias and ignorance and the complete opposite of academic inquiry.”
“The interview with Dr. Ahmad was really inspirational,” commented Leor Klainerman, an international graduate student who is currently pursuing her MSc at Technion’s Faculty of Computer Science after recently earning her bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Princeton University. “She is an amazing person and a role model for women everywhere, in her successful career, her eloquence, and her courage voicing her controversial views on radical Islam and defending Israel.” As a Jewish-American college student, Klainerman witnessed first-hand the corruptive and dangerous influences of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) campaigns and propaganda in US campuses aimed at the delegitimization of Israel. A need to curtail these attitudes is what drove her to join an advocacy group called Tigers for Israel.
On this, her seventh visit to the country, Dr. Qanta Ahmed will be accepting an Honorary Fellowship from Technion, “In tribute to [her] tireless and courageous battle for human rights in the Muslim world and for [her] vigorous opposition to radical Islam and to ant-Semitism; and with gratitude for [her] friendship with the State of Israel.”