Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Note on "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

David Morgan has a brief review of Ali’s book in the TLS for April 6, 2007.
He thinks it deserves to be read just for her life story. Born in Somalia (1969) Ali was subjected to genital mutilation [Morgan calls it “female circumcision”], ended up living with her family in exile in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Kenya where she was, for a short time, a militant Islamicist. Eventually she fled to Holland to escape an arranged marriage, became politically active and ended up in the Dutch parliament. She is now in the US.

She has abandoned religion and is actively hostile to Islam as she experienced it. Morgan, and others, point out, however, that in her books (earlier she wrote “The Caged Virgin”) she over generalizes her experiences and applies them to the entire Muslim world. It would be as if one were to judge all Christians by how such nominal Christians as Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell act.

She thinks 9/11 was caused “by Islam” and by Islam she means the Wahhabi sect in Saudi Arabia, which the vast majority of the Islamic world rejects as extremist, even if President Bush holds hands with it. Morgan concludes that Ali's book “is so simplistic” that it “will contribute less than it could have towards” educating people about Islam.

Morgan fails to mention that Ali is now a fellow at the discredited American Enterprise Institute which is less a “think tank” (very little real thinking goes on there) than a propaganda tool funded by the most reactionary corporations and political forces in the country.

As long as she is associated with this neocon outfit she will, in my view, lack any moral or political credibility.

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