Quotes of the Day: Ayaan Hirsi Ali May 23, 2010

Quotes of the Day: Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The New York Times interviewed Ayaan Hirsi Ali about her new book, Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations.

A couple parts of the exchange are below.

This is just a sampling of how horrific Islamic societies can be:

Your own life has been a case study in female subjugation. At age 5, you underwent genital mutilation under the supervision of your Somalian grandmother. Did that include stitching you shut?

Of course I had the stitch-up part. If your family is convinced that you should remain a virgin until your wedding night, they’re going to apply the approach where you get sewed.

You were expected to enter into an arranged marriage with a cousin of yours.

I just looked at him and told my father, I don’t want to marry him. He said, “My child, your presence is not required.” He went on and conducted the marriage without me.

Horrific at all levels.

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  • NewEnglandBob

    I am two-thirds through reading Nomad. She reveals many horrific practices of Islamic followers. I have not reached the section where she suggests remedies.

  • Utterly horrific, and totally offensive. Not the fake offence that muslims cry when we draw cartoons, but the true offence of the destruction of human dignity. And that is why muslims shall not be appeased and why we will never subjugate ourselves to them.

  • Kyle

    I listened to an audiobook version of her book “Infidel” (which I thoroughly loved because she has a wonderful, sweet, gentle speaking voice that I can’t get enough of!) When she told about the genital mutilation, I nearly lost my supper. So horrible. I can’t believe that any country in the world in the 20th century still does this… and in the 21st century it continues! *headdesk*

  • trixr4kids

    She was at CFI-Los Angeles today. She was interviewed, and answered a few audience questions afterwards.

    Somebody asked her about Everybody Draw Mohammad Day. She approves. She said that in Western society, all ideas belong in the public square, and are up for analysis, argument, and ridicule, and Muslims need to see that.

    I volunteer at CFI-LA, and in their bookstore I sold over 50 copies of Nomad. It was an honor to help out, and to meet Ali afterward.

  • B

    It weirds me out that there is no mention on Wikipedia of her new book.

    I’m curious- what is different about Nomad from Infidel or The Caged Virgin?

  • To get ready, here’s the excuse you’ll get from more moderate Muslims: It’s not their religion to do such abhorrent things, it’s the culture in certain areas.

    A few arguments against this:

    1) Ask those people why they do it; if it’s their religious duty. I bet they’ll say it is.

    2) Religion is culture. Culture isn’t necessarily religion, but saying something is culture doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a religious basis.

    3) Religion provides a huge resistance to change, beyond simply the normal resistance of tradition (strong as it may be). It may be traditional to do this, but it’s easier to change a pointless tradition than it is to change one that is supposedly based in unchanging, divine law.

    4) The same flaws of thinking that allow belief in unseen gods with no reality checks also allow such atrocities to occur. Anyone who treats faith as a virtue has to be held accountable for those who use their faith for atrocities. There is no No True Scotsman at play here. If you like faith, you have to be able to defend what’s done for it, even if it’s not your brand of faith.

    5) The actions of these Muslims and more “Westernized” Muslims differ in degree, not in kind. Oppression of women is rampant, rather it occurs through genital mutilation or imposed dress codes. Until your religion will treat women as full equals, including allowing them to serve in the clergy, you’re committing the same type of crime.

  • Siamang

    “It weirds me out that there is no mention on Wikipedia of her new book.”

    So fix that.

  • @infophile

    A few counter-arguments:
    1) Westboro Baptist Church members will claim that picketing funerals is their religious duty. That doesn’t mean that picketing funerals is a duty for all Christians.

    2) Indonesian Muslims will be very surprised at any suggestion that they, as Muslims, ought to be performing FGM. It’s a cultural trend mainly found in North Africa and it is performed by both Muslims and non-Muslims in that area of the world too.

    Yes cultural elements can sometimes be incorporated into religions. In this case it’s a cultural element related to prejudice against women. Similarly Christians are often arguing over cultural elements related to prejudice against homosexuals (and prejudice against women too in some cases of course). (This is not to make comparisons between Islam and Christianity, but to relate the issue to a religion you might find more familiar than Islam.)

    3 and 4) While true, these elements are criticisms of religions as a whole and are not counter-arguments to the very specific issue of FGM in relation to the religion of Islam.

    5)There are plenty of westernised Muslims who have neither FGM (heck, there are non-westernised Muslims who don’t have that) nor imposed dress codes. There are even female imams serving in some mosques. Yes reforms are still possible (and in progress), but that is true of all religions.

    What better criticism of FGM in fact (from an Islamic perspective) than “this is not true Islam”? So long as the argument is used as a reason to condemn FGM rather than simply to avoid criticisms of Islam. Muslims who make such an argument must be sure to express their condemnation of such misguided expressions of their faith.

  • Adam Tjaavk

    Local custom, they tell us, nothing to do with religion.

    Islam ‘submission’ – the faith requiring complete submission to the will of Allah and covering every aspect of life at every level of society.

    Then all those nasty un-Islamic practices so prevalent in Muslim societies – why aren’t they as rare as eating pork?


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