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Infidel Hardcover – February 6, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Readers with an eye on European politics will recognize Ali as the Somali-born member of the Dutch parliament who faced death threats after collaborating on a film about domestic violence against Muslim women with controversial director Theo van Gogh (who was himself assassinated). Even before then, her attacks on Islamic culture as "brutal, bigoted, [and] fixated on controlling women" had generated much controversy. In this suspenseful account of her life and her internal struggle with her Muslim faith, she discusses how these views were shaped by her experiences amid the political chaos of Somalia and other African nations, where she was subjected to genital mutilation and later forced into an unwanted marriage. While in transit to her husband in Canada, she decided to seek asylum in the Netherlands, where she marveled at the polite policemen and government bureaucrats. Ali is up-front about having lied about her background in order to obtain her citizenship, which led to further controversy in early 2006, when an immigration official sought to deport her and triggered the collapse of the Dutch coalition government. Apart from feelings of guilt over van Gogh's death, her voice is forceful and unbowed—like Irshad Manji, she delivers a powerful feminist critique of Islam informed by a genuine understanding of the religion. 8-page photo insert. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Although Ayaan Hirsi Ali remains Public Enemy #1 for radical Muslims, she refuses to be silenced. In this captivating memoiran act of courage itselfshe shares the evolution of her values, beliefs, and identity, all propelled by an urgent mission to educate Western countries about the bigotries of other nations. Set against a terrifying geopolitical landscape of African wars and Muslim fundamentalism, Hirsi Ali addresses timely topics: the plight of refugees and women; the Muslim clan system; forced marriage; political asylum; and, perhaps most significantly, her own personal religious crisis. Written in descriptive, clear prose, Infidel, with its radical feminist criticism of Islam, offers a disturbing view of the modern worldand inspired every critic who read it.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
Top customer reviews
I particularly found this analogy very powerful:
"When I was asked for my opinion, I explained that Islam was like a mental cage. At first, when you open the door, the caged bird stays inside; it is frightened. It has internalized its imprisonment. It takes time for the bird to escape, even after someone has opened the doors to its cage" (p. 285).
She also draws thought-provoking conclusions based on her observations of how religion affects government and modernization, declaring, "Every society that is still in the rigid grip of Islam oppresses women and also lags behind in development. Most of these societies are poor; many are full of conflict and war. Societies that respect the rights of women and their freedom are wealthy and peaceful" (p. 296).
Of course, these are just excerpts from a very well-written chronicle of Ali's life. I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. If religion isn't your thing, there is still MUCH to take away from this book, no doubt.
She got as far as Frankfurt on her way to Canada, decided, “screw this,” and got on a train for Holland, where she finagled her way into refugee status, and eventually obtained Dutch citizenship, got a university degree, and was elected to Parliament.
During the course of all this, her eyes gradually opened to the b.s. that is islam, and she became an outspoken apostate. She wrote the short film that Theo van Gogh produced and directed that got him killed by a Moroccan muslim. Her view is that western liberal democracies have completely the wrong attitude to muslims—the “we subscribe to religious freedom, so we should let them have their madrassahs and separate communities in our countries and eventually they will assimilate” attitude. She makes the point that there is no separation between religion and society in the muslim world, and their entire upbringing, even the ‘liberal’ ones teaches them that they are morally and intellectually superior to decadent westerners, who are responsible for all the bad things that befall the Islamic world.
What I find most interesting is that she is dead-on when she describes the muslim mindset. Even in todays news where a taliban commander wrote a letter to the young child they almost killed by shooting her in the head, you'll appreciate Ali's book even more, Phrases like "whether it is right or wrong islamically to have done this, let's let Allah be the judge" becomes that much more understandable after reading Ali's book. A very fast read. She has a wonderful writing style.
Most recent customer reviews
A must-read for everyone. Ayan Hirsi Ali is an amazing woman.Read more