Why Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s tale provides cover for US-led wars in the Muslim world (COMMENTARY)

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Somali-born Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali looks on as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels on February 14, 2008. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-SIDDIQUI-COLUMN, originally transmitted on April 16, 2015.

Somali-born Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali looks on as she arrives at the European Parliament in Brussels on February 14, 2008. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Francois Lenoir *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-SIDDIQUI-COLUMN, originally transmitted on April 16, 2015.

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(RNS) Media personalities, especially neoconservatives, have rushed to Hirsi Ali’s defense to legitimize their own anti-Islam bias and imperialist ambitions.

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  • opheliart

    Thanks for this article, Usaid.

    “The situation of women in Afghanistan was used as an excuse for the U.S. and NATO to occupy our country,” Joya said. “But it is clear they were not fighting on behalf of women, because they have put into power the reactionary warlords who are sworn enemies of women.”

    🙁

  • Bonaparte

    Ayaan is wrong. Islam does not need reformation. Non-Muslims need reformation.

  • Ivy Tru

    Yes, it must be the fault of those damn crusaders. 😉 Did you even bother to read Ayaan’s 5 point theses to see if there is any validity to her claims.

  • Lamont Cranston

    Why, if Islam is the perfect system of governance, do Muslims violate every law and flock illegally into dar-es-harb, the lands of the infidels? And why, after being graciously allowed in as guests, do they insist on making their new lands into the failed states that they risked so much to flee?

  • Ivy Tru

    For your edification here are two of her points, can you provide counter arguments as to which of these two statements is wrong.
    ‘that Shariah, Islamic law, be regarded as “subordinate to the laws of the nation-states where Muslims live,” and that “the concept of jihad as a literal call to arms against non-Muslims and those Muslims they deem apostates or heretics” be disavowed’

  • She is a devil worshipper

  • This commentary is shrill, conflationary and ridiculous.

    “Hirsi Ali, regardless of her dangerous assertions…”

    Hirsi Ali bravely and in a very lonely, heroic way arrived at an awareness that there probably is no ALLAH.
    Furthermore, she realized that her Islamic religion was complicit in her ignorance – subjugating women and spreading violent injunctions.

    She is angry about it.
    Religion is totalitarian – it wants everybody to agree, or else!

    The only danger she brings is the threat to religious blow hards and their baseless claims about Mohamed and Allah.

    “Infidels are those who declare: “God is the Christ, the son of Mary.” (Sura 5:17)
    “Infidels are those who say ‘God is one of three in a Trinity.” (Sura 5:73)
    “Make war on the infidels who dwell around you.” (Sura 9:123)

    This bloviating bigotry must stop.
    Siddiqui should be grateful someone is brave enough to insist on sanity among Muslims!

  • WRONG.

    AYAN HIRSI ALI is a great and extraordinarily brave woman.
    She stands up for freedom of speech, women’s rights an end to genital mutilation of girls and increased secularism in the Arab World!

    If you had ever been to the Middle East you would know how badly that place needs EVERYTHING she is selling!

  • Bonaparte,

    THIS bigoted, primitive, filthy garbage doesn’t need reform??

    “Infidels are those who declare: “God is the Christ, the son of Mary.” (Sura 5:17)
    “Make war on the infidels who dwell around you.” (Sura 9:123)

  • Re: “Hirsi Ali once famously called Islam a ‘nihilistic cult of death,’ and she has advocated for a war with Islam.”

    Why, this insolent woman absolutely must be SILENCED utterly! How dare she say anything so horrific!? Everyone knows Islam is a perfect religion, above reproach, and its adherents are also perfect. Anything bad one might say about it can only be a vicious fabrication designed to malign all these perfect people and make their unassailably-virtuous religion look bad.

    How dare she have opinions about a religion she grew up in? How dare she be allowed to disclose those opinions to others? It’s intolerable!

    I wonder if a more mature response to her, rather than whine and bellyache that the woman dares speak her mind, is either to refute what she says with fact-based information, or repair the things that are wrong with Islam, and with Muslims, which led her to the conclusions she reached.

    But what could I — cynical, godless agnostic heathen that I am –…

  • Larry

    In all fairness when they are brought in as “guests” in Europe it is usually only for cheap labor. Continental Europe doesn’t do immigration in a sane way.

    When they get to this country, they are usually fairly sedate. Muslim neighborhoods in the US are a far cry from their counterparts in Europe. If we treated our Muslim population here like they do in France of Germany, well off neighborhoods like Deerborn Michigan, West LA and Downtown Brooklyn would look like war zones.

  • Larry

    “It has provided justification for the U.S. to invade Afghanistan and Iraq that has negatively impacted the lives of Muslim women through war.””

    Iraq was a semi-failed attempt at trying to democratize a country by force and scare its neighbors. (That was a fustercluck from its very conception) But Afghanistan had a lot more justification than Ms. Hirshi Ali’s rhetoric. I seem to recall a time back in 2001 when a bunch of Islamicists tried forcibly rezoning lower Manhattan and outer Washington DC using commercial airliners.

  • Myrna

    As someone who read her book “Infidel” I can sympathize with her plight and road to personal freedom. However, I think that there is a slight fault in her argument and fight against Islam.
    It seems that the Islam she was raised in, was mixed with the culture (clan culture and mentality) that was and may still play a huge part in her native country, Somalia.
    To place all those who follow Islam in the same category, I believe is unfair to all the muslims outside of Somalia or even Africa.
    I know many muslims here in the U.S who have followed and experienced a different Islam from Ayaan. For example, none of my muslims friends have been circumcised. None of my muslims friends are forced to wear the hijab… it is their choice. The list can go on and on.
    The saddest thing about her story in my opinion is how a legalistic religion beat God (Allah) out of her.

  • Michael Glass

    There is something wrong with the logic of this article. It goes like this:

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali is scathing about Islam.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s account provides cover for US-led wars in the Muslim world.

    US-led wars in the Muslim world are wrong.

    Therefore Ayaan Hirsi Ali is wrong about Islam.

    The belief that Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s attitudes provide cover for US-led wars in the Muslim world is a species of guilt by association.

    Even if Ms Ali’s comments are sometimes inflammatory or even wrong, it does not mean that all her statements about Islam are wrong.

    Even though Ms Ali’s comments are taken up and used by Western bigots it does not mean that all her statements about Islam are wrong.

  • Myrna,

    “None of my muslims friends are forced to wear the hijab… it is their choice.”

    Genital mutilation was not their choice. Hirsi Ali wants people to be free to think for themselves. You know as well as anyone there is no freedom to be honest and to disbelieve the Allah stories in these cultures.

    When a Muslim says he ‘Believes’ in Allah the claim cannot be trusted. Because the penalty for disbelief in Allah is death. Who would admit the truth under such a situation? Who wishes to willingly crawl into an execution chamber for honesty? Who dares not call this totalitarianism and clerical bullying?

  • Larry

    “Because the penalty for disbelief in Allah is death.”

    The penalty for disbelief in theocratic craphole nations is death.

    “Who dares not call this totalitarianism and clerical bullying?”

    Do you see that kind of behavior in the US?

    Myrna makes an important point here. Her Islamic belief is seen through the lens of being in a country where religious beliefs are not given color of law (or at least not supposed to be). Where adherence to Sharia is more of a suggestion between consenting parties than something hanging over their heads.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali has a right and I would even say a duty, to criticize how Islamic faith is used so heinously. She speaks from her own experiences, but her own experiences are not the totality of the situation. The Somali take on the faith is much different than what is seen in places like Bosnia, Bangledesh, or Turkey. It certainly is different from how it is practiced in this country by the majority of its adherents.

  • Larry,

    “The penalty for disbelief in theocratic craphole nations is death.”

    France and Denmark are not craphole nations.
    As the Islamist bigots have demonstrated, civil laws have no effect on this faction.

    That is exactly Ayan Hirsi’s point.
    She sees Religion is the problem – not just the craphole countries who enforce it for their own Totalitarian barbarity.

    She seeks liberation for Atheists and secularists everywhere. She has extraordinary courage.

    Ayan Hirsi Ali is under 24 hour death threat regardless of what country she goes to – craphole or otherwise.

    Fatwas have no borders.

  • PeterVN

    What Max said. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a hero.

  • Ken

    Ayaan is right, Usaid is wrong. Period. Islam needs a reformation, just as Christianity needed a reformation. An Islamic reformation is is going to be much more difficult, however, because Muhammad was much more explicit and left a large body of text for followers to study. Nevertheless, a reformation is essential for the Islamic faith to continue. Before the Internet and online media, “what was said in Islam stayed in Islam”. But today, all of Islam is exposed to the world, and the good aspects of Islam are lost in the noise. Unless Islam changes, I see a hugh bloodbath coming, and Muslims will be the loosers – big time loosers. To all my Muslim friends – how you choose your leaders should be up to you – how you live your lives, etc. But do not think that the rest of the world will sit by while you try to spread your way of life through violence-the world is already well-aquiainted with violence. The Quran teaches expansion through violence – do not deny this. This needs…

  • Larry

    Even in France and Denmark, Sharia law is not given the kind of credence it is in places like Saudi Arabia. I mentioned earlier that Continental Europen nations have a nasty habit of treating its Muslim immigrants poorly in general.

    People may try to advocate such garbage, but they are not given force of law or even represent the way the religion is largely practiced in those countries.

    “She seeks liberation for Atheists and secularists everywhere. She has extraordinary courage.”

    The problem is she is casting such a wide net it makes it easy to disregard her message. It doesn’t help to antagonize people who might actually help accomplish your goals. The goal is to rid the world of this vile politicized fundamentalist nonsense. You aren’t going to ever achieve that by lumping everyone of that faith into the same group.

  • Larry

    Of course the easiest way to change the religion is to do what was done with Christianity. Change the governments from dictatorship to democracy. When religion is no longer directly entangled with political power, it becomes limited in the mayhem they can cause.

    Christianity did not mellow out because of movements within the faith. It became far less murderous because it got locked out of the halls of power and had to adapt.

  • Larry,

    “It doesn’t help to antagonize people who might actually help accomplish your goals.”

    Two things: Her existence as a public Atheist alone is the antagonizing factor. She breaks all laws by thinking for herself. Second there is no sign of anyone in Islam who will help her accomplish her goals.
    That is how far outside, and how lonely her journey is.

    I think her message is about as urgent and as considerate and carefully defined as it can be. I can’t imagine how it could be improved. It is directed at Muslims.

    I think I do no injustice by summarizing it:
    “Muslims, you are victims of an ongoing international mass hypnosis conducted by clerics and enforced by Muslim states who themselves are lost in a religious zeal. There is no evidence of any truth in this affliction and there is every evidence it will lead to your ruin – please find the courage to ask questions about your religion”

    Fatwas have no borders. Islam respects no laws.