I have commented in the past about the heroic efforts of Ayaan Hirsi Ali to expose Islam for what it is. Here is an article about Ali.
AS A small girl, Ayaan Hirsi Ali was forcibly circumcised with a pair of scissors. She was then sewn up with a piece of twine “to keep her chaste”.
In the world in which she then lived, Ali was not alone: according to a 2000 World Health Organisation fact sheet, the number of Muslim girls and women who underwent genital mutilation was estimated to be between 100 million and 140 million.
The practice is widespread in the predominantly Islamic countries of Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia — her homeland — but does not occur universally throughout the Islamic world.
“Islam is a totalitarian doctrine that puts women in a position that no other totalitarian doctrine, not even communism, not even Nazism, did,” Ali alleges. “In Islam, women come off the worst.”
The author will give the final keynote address at the close of the Sydney Writers Festival on Sunday.
Ali’s reputation precedes her: after fleeing Somalia and arriving in the Netherlands, she studied politics at Leiden University and became a member of the Dutch parliament.
In 2004 Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who directed Submission, which depicts women living under Islam, was shot dead in daylight on an Amsterdam street by a Muslim fanatic. Ali had written the script for Submission. Pinned to van Gogh’s chest — with a knife — was a diatribe in which the killer announced that Ali would be next.
The superimposition of the text of the Koran onto the body of a naked woman (pictured above) was just one of many elements of Submission that outraged conservative Muslims.
The drama did not stop there. In the fall-out it was revealed that Ali had lied about her name and date of birth on her asylum application. The subsequent row over whether she could keep her Dutch passport culminated in the resignation of the Dutch government after the junior partner withdrew from the ruling coalition.
Ali left the Netherlands for the US, where she is a member of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington.
She is also the author of two bestsellers, a series of essays titled The Caged Virgin and Infidel, her autobiography.
In both works Ali unflinchingly attacks the Koran’s “seventh century … jihadi bullshit” and what she calls its refusal to engage with modernity and its profoundly disturbing sexism.
Tasneem Chopra, from the Islamic Women’s Welfare Council, is among the many Australian Muslims who questions Ali’s interpretation of the faith. “Genital mutilation is not an Islamically sanctioned practice, this is the majority view of Muslims — and we are 1.2 billion people across the world. Where it occurs it is an amalgam of culture in the name of religion.”
Ms Chopra said Ali had a right to freedom of speech but used her “own personal tragedy to make broad, salacious generalisations” against Islam.
Hanifa Deen, a Melbourne author and Muslim feminist, said Ali had obviously been “deeply psychologically scarred by what happened to her as a child” and was right to speak out against female circumcision.
“One has to resist these cruel, tribal customs which are performed by misguided Muslims and Christians in some East African societies. We should not allow them to continue under religious or cultural pretexts,” she said.
“Sadly, Ali is alienating many Muslim women in the West, forcing them into defensive positions. In reality, change is happening throughout the Islamic world. Who is really Ali’s audience?”