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Feb 04, 2011 11:03 # 46997
This woman may just be the most hated woman in the world. She has called Muhammad a pedophile by Western standards and has compared Islam to "the new fascism." In a controversial film produced by a Theo van Gogh, she openly criticized the treatment of Islamic women. Theo van Gogh was brutally assassinated with a death threat pinned to the corpse saying the same would happen to her, no conditions. In response to the death threat, she said although she deeply regrets the murder of van Gogh, she is proud of the film and does not regret having made it. Van Gogh's mother not only agreed with the sentiment, but encouraged her to continue the work she started with him. Despite the continued death threats, she did not stop. It was only after the courts decided that she was "endangering her neighbours" given the constant death-threats and increasing criticism of her "trenchant statements" that she was obliged to take refuge in the United States.
She is a recognized author and publicist, in which a common topic is the oppression of Islam. Having been a Muslim herself, she was becoming increasingly disenchanted with Islam during her studies. Her identification as a Muslim suffered a strong blow after 9/11. In an interview with the Swiss magazine Das Magazin in September 2006, she said she lost her faith while sitting in an Italian restaurant in May 2002, drinking a glass of wine: "...I asked myself: Why should I burn in hell just because I'm drinking this? But what prompted me even more was the fact that the killers of 9/11 all believed in the same God I believed in." Despite that, in the television program Rondom Tien of 12 September 2002 she called it "my religion". She has described Islam as a "backward religion", incompatible with democracy.
She renounced Islam and became an atheist in 2002 where she then joined the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy. She became a political figure at the age of 33 and in her campaigns pushed her message: the Dutch welfare state had overlooked abuse of Muslim women and girls, contributing to their isolation and oppression. She won the Reader's Digest "European of the Year" award and in her acceptance speech, she urged action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and to say that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad must be taken at his word in wanting to organize a conference to investigate objective evidence of the Holocaust. "Before I came to Europe, I'd never heard of the Holocaust. That is the case with millions of people in the Middle East. Such a conference should be able to convince many people away from their denial of the genocide against the Jews." She also stated that "so-called Western values" of freedom and justice are universal; that Europe has done far better than most areas of the world at providing justice, because it has guaranteed the freedom of thought and debate that are required for critical self-examination; and that communities cannot reform themselves unless "scrupulous investigation of every former and current doctrine is possible."
Regarding Muhammad and Islamic rule she had this to say: "Measured by our western standards, Muhammad is a pervert. He is against freedom of expression. If you don't do as he says, you will be punished. It makes me think of all those megalomaniacs in the Middle East: Bin Laden, Khomeini, Saddam. Do you think it strange that there is a Saddam Hussein? Muhammad is his example. Muhammad is an example for all Muslim men. Do you think it strange that so many Muslim men are violent?" In a 2003 interview with the Danish magazine Sappho, she explains parallels she sees between the personality of Yasser Arafat and that of Muhammad.
During the controvery regarding political cartoons against Islam, she praised publishers all over Europe for showing the cartoons and not being afraid of what she called the "hard-line Islamist movement", and stated "I do not seek to offend religious sentiment, but I will not submit to tyranny. Demanding that people who do not accept Muhammad’s teachings should refrain from drawing him is not a request for respect but a demand for submission."
To this day, she continues to work for the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank with the mission "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and responsibility, vigilant and effective defense and foreign policies, political accountability, and open debate." At the Sydney Writers' Festival in June 2007, she balanced her arguments, saying "I am a Muslim" because she understood why Muslims were silent when the Qur'an was "invoked to behead captured aid workers, journalists and other Western wanderers," as silence is "better than an argument with the author of the Holy Book who has given the command to behead infidels." Hirsi Ali stated that she was also "not a Muslim" as she had lost the fear of the Qur'an and of Hell and lost respect for "its author" and messenger; and that she felt a "common humanity" with those she once "shunned", such as Jews, Christians, atheists, gays, and sinners "of all stripes and colours."
Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you perhaps the most hated woman in the world and probably one of the most keen thinkers of our time, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
If the world should blow itself up,the last audible voice would be an expert saying it can't be done
Feb 08, 2011 21:00 # 46999
..and you bet, given the chance she'd repudiate in the strongest terms to be used for the ways of this article.
I spent some time reading this. Leaving, coming back again, reading it again, doing some more reading about that woman elsewhere, coming back, and all these times when I came back, this article had a strange pull on me. I forget about it, came back again and still not a single soul felt the need for a reply here.
This post made me feel uncomfortable like few others here on this site. I simply cannot let this be hovering in the depths of my mind like it does. I have to do what I have to do: I have to shoot it down!
For quite a while I tried to word my counter arguments to prove how there is a tiny misinterpretation of that woman's personality, how timed events are connected that never occurred at the same time, which would pull me right into an argument of who's right and who's wrong. Gets us, better, gets ME nowhere.
My point is something totally different:
Forget about that woman in that article, she is - as wrong or right as her life and work may have been interpreted here - not hurt by this (if so, she, or anyone close to her, will find it someday and take the appropriate steps against it herself), in fact she is not even the key message of this article.
Actually she's just the carrier for a far more important message: to teach us all about the deep, deep canyon that devides the world in two parts: The West and the Rest, Good and Evil, White and Black..and..in the end, the urgent need for a final decision, to choose your side, just like she did!
We all have read more articles than we can bear by hard-liner conservatives, who would arm their grannies, put them on trucks and ship them out all over the world to fight the greatest war since the Holy Crusade for sake of War Against Terror, WOMDs, Oil or simply - just like the old tradition taught us - to draw faster than the other one. It began in the 50ies of the last century with the rising mistrust vs. the Russians and never stopped ever since. You name the foe, once one has gone, we'll immediately find the next and always will. I do not want to discuss here, why that is the case, or who actually has an interest in it, or why we're all this paranoid flock of sheep to belief in that nonsense.
For a while I tried to find the answer to the why I felt so uncomfortable with it in the woman's history or the mistakes and flawed conclusions the article states. But the true reason for it is the following: This article is constructed, very carefully and with high skills to transport the underlying important message on a loud distraction carrier wave. We read about the woman and her personal decisions, quotes and different situations of her life, that tell us finally, "Look, she has made the right decision. And cause she did, all our arguments are correct. Even she says so, a former enemy, someone who got enlightened". Besides the fact this article draws false conclusions and exaggerates the pure facts are more like a from-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire-decision.
Anyway, the really interesting stuff though, is the almost accidental transported message that there IS actually a need to make a decision!
Not a single word tells us about the "enemy" as a lecture, most interstingly only within her own quotes, while the none-quotes try to polish her personality as one of intellectual brilliance and liberalism, so to say "beyond any doubt", and that is even from the liberal view.
My point is: somebody seriously defending liberalism, free speech, individual liberty and freedom of faith will not EVER take part in a propaganda raid against the rest of the world, who does not follow the same believes. See, believing in these values means, to do so as well, even if the other one does not! The "Free"-part in freedom does not end at borders, color of skin, faith, place of birth or name of god. So, anyone, who sees this world as a place of Black and White, Good and Evil, as a place where you have to choose your side to stay alive, has no right whatsoever to call himself a defender of "freedom of whatever". You're doing exactly the opposite, which is annihilating, enslaving or at least proselyting to your own believes! And this counts OF COURSE for both, all sides. For me..really..I don't see which side is worse. I see the same extremists on both sides, who keep the fires burning, I see moderate people on both sides, who keep hoping the extremists will never gain the power of decision-making. And I see people standing in between, just shaking their heads about so much stupidity on display, about not being able to learn from history.
This article tries to imply a reality that - THANK WHATEVER GOD - does not yet exist. There is brutality and death on both sides, yes, but the world is not yet on fire and there is no need whatsoever to chose a side. But in implying so the author actually is guilty of trying to push the public opinion further into that direction. I find it strange, nobody feels the need to disagree, at least showing the possibility of existence of another reality, not to speak of the HOPE for something totally different. I wonder what would actually happen, if a similar extremist from the other side came here and posted a speech of a converted French-born-Muslim now living in Afghanistan?
To say it loud and clear: to cut ones own way of living above someone else's is arrogant, the original meaning of hubris and called "pride" as the Deadly Sin. Trying to hide it under the banner of liberalism and freedom for all (who choose so) makes it dangerous, because the argument about it is just pulled away from the hot spot to the safe ground of a replacement battle field, while the original flawed approach actually never gets touched, trying to reach the readers mind only as an imaginary fact.
Feb 16, 2011 16:33 # 47012
I believe in protecting the rights of individuals, not the rights of groups of individuals. I could care less what you believe or what color your skin is, so long as you do not breach the rights of other individuals. This applies to the justice system in general. If you steal from a fruit vendor, you're breaching the rights of the fruit vendor to be able to sell that fruit and make profit from it.
Sharia Law is not compatible with this philosophy. If Sharia Law states that a woman must be humiliated and disfigured for cheating on her husband, that breaches the rights of that woman. Did she do something wrong? Perhaps, though the law is not left for individuals or even groups to determine without due process. Those who decide to take matters into their own hands, may very well break the law and therefore breach the rights of other individuals.
Therefore anyone who attempts to uphold Sharia Law should be promptly set right before a crime is even committed and not a moment later. It would be no different than rehabilitating a psychotic mental patient before he attacks someone. And like a psychotic mental patient, if you know that the patient is psychotic, you do not let him roam free and treat him only after someone has been murdered. In this sense, so must someone who attempts to apply Sharia Law must be corrected.
Freedom of religion, while lovely on paper, does not exist in a non-anarchic democracy despite what you may think to the contrary. Suppose my religion states I must kill 10 people before I die, I cannot freely worship my religion and rightfully so. And rather than pretend that I can worship my religion until the day in which I kill my first victim, it would make more sense to prevent such things from even happening. However of course I realize Islam is not so black and white, however I think that if a little vigilence would prevent crimes with no loss in freedom other than the freedom of such people to commit crimes, that's more than acceptable. If you disagree with this sentiment, ask yourself if you'd feel the same if your daughter fell victim to rape by a Muslamic man who thought it was in his power.
And while you may not agree with this woman, that doesn't make her any less intelligent. The mere fact that she doesn't share your opinion doesn't make her less intelligent and unless you have other reasons to think so, I don't think that's a fair evaluation for you to make.
Whatever message you take from this article, please do not attempt to generalize it into some "hard-liner" conservative conspiracy to trick you into sending your sons and daughters to fight war for you. I think that's incredibly conceited.
And, I should add, if you do find an article from a French-born immigrant of Afghanistan about the ruins of the Western world, I'd very much like to read it.
If the world should blow itself up,the last audible voice would be an expert saying it can't be done
This post was edited by Hawkeye on Feb 16, 2011.
Mar 26, 2011 03:27 # 47038
When I first started reading I wondered what woman you were writing about. It kind of struck me like a set of pedigree papers so that it will give who ever is being introduced some kind of credibility so that people will pay attention to the person.
As I read further on, it read like a documentry and was a bit thrown off by the name of the director of the film, as this was also the name of Vincent Van Goghs brother. For a minuet there I wondered how someone who has to be well over a 100 if he were still alive today, could deal with the riggors of filming in a land that is prone to heavy violence.
From what I know of the Islamic culture it is indeed very opressive to women in almost every aspect of life.
Unless I miss read it, the blood line of islam goes back to Abraham and Hagar, who was the servant of Sarah who was Abrahams wife.
It all centered around the fact that Abraham had no children with Sarah who was by the way, his sister as well as being his wife according to the text in the bible. Since I've never read a translation of the Tora, I can't say if it says that Sarah was Abrahams sister or not.
At any rate, the line of Islam goes back to what happened.
If Sarah had not had Issac, there would be no difference between Islam and Judisim because Hagar would have been the one to continue the blood line of the hebrews.
That aside, women in many cultures are treated badly. They all have stories too. When they stand up and say no, all of them are hated by that culture. So to say that this one woman is the most hated in all the world, is being a bit over simplifcation of a much larger problem, there are lots of women who have said no and rebelled in cultures that treat the women the way they do and have gone through terrible things that no one outside of that culture ever hears about.
According to western law and thought, the part about Muhammad is right, but then Muhammad was not doing according to western law or thought, he was doing what was normal for the time he lived in.
To take a historical figure and put the standard of their activity up against another very different culture and say how bad the person is based on the new culture, is taking the person out of context in which they lived.
I don't agree with how the historical culture of the time was carried out, but that's what it was.
The historical killing of enemies because they weren't blood related and had different gods than you was practiced by the hebrews and other cultures of the time.
To bring in an outsider threatened the purity of the culture.
If an outside was to be accepted in they had to go through ritual stuff and had to adopt the way of life and the belief system as well.
Another thing to remember about what would have most definately been a blood war between two brothers over their father's choice of who would lead the isrealites, when Ismale grew up he would have done everything to out do his hebrew brother.
All the writings, all the ritual, everything would have been done to prove that he was the chosen one and not Isaac.
As with any relion and cultural practices that support that religion, time has a way of altering the orginal intent.
If the holy book of Islam is like all the other holy books of other religions, it has been changed and interpreted to suit the currant leadership.
To blame someone who lived a long time ago for the terrible treatment in currant day, is to say that that person who lived a long time ago is responsible for all the actions of all the people who are living now who practice that one persons belief.
I highly doubt that female curcumcision was a common practice of the very early Islamic people.
I think that was an add on somewhere along the way by some ruler who took the book and twisted it to their will.
That aside, it's good that she got out of a society she no longer supported and has spent her time speaking out against the terrible things still going on in the land where she grew up.