Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ayaan Hirsi Ali comes out of hiding to speak at Harvard

Dutch Member of Parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali had gone into hiding when Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in the street in broad daylight, for making a film called "Submission", about muslim violence against women. Ayaan had collaborated with van Gogh in making the film, and a note pinned on to the dead mans body with a dagger said that she would be next.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an ex-Muslim from Somalia, and an advocate for protecting women from violence. Recently she spoke at Harvard, where some Muslim students gave her a hard time. Here are some excerpts from Michelle Malkin's site, from a reader who attended the event:

...The Q&A was marked by the number of Muslim students who objected to Hirsi Ali's criticism of Islam. One student was strident, claiming that as a Muslim from Pakistan she knew nothing about the kind of Sharia Law, strict upbringing that Hirsi Ali claims to have had. One was fairly polite, questioning why any Muslims
should now listen to Hirsi Ali, who is now an avowed atheist, rather than to those who still follow Islam. One was insistent, asking why Hirsi Ali did not criticize all violence against women (she did and referred to articles she had written about numerous cultures and the origins of repression of women in each of them).

But the questioner persisted. Why didn't she criticize Christianity and its sacred texts in the context of violence against women in America? Why only Islam in that context?

How can I capture what it felt like? Hirsi Ali said things that you or I would take as the purest of common sense. For example, her film contains a scene of a battered woman, praying to God, tattooed across her broken body with the specific verses in the Koran that advocate that brutal kind of treatment by a man for his wife. It's wrong for a man to do that to his wife. It calls for the genius of Harvard graduate students of Political Science to somehow equivocate around that simple fact.

One telling moment came when an early questioner asked about the overall issue of assimilation versus cultural isolation in Europe. Hirsi Ali answered that she did not think in terms of assimilation and isolation but rather in terms of individualism and collectivism...

...Near the end, somewhat exasperated, it seems, by the wave of denial that Harvard's Muslim community had brought to the forum, she commented offhandedly to her interviewer "what are they learning here?" or something close to that...

(bold emphasis mine) You can read the whole thing HERE.

Related Links:

LGF Reports on Ayaan Hirsi Ali At Harvard
From Tammy Bruce, with some good links.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: "I Really Wonder What You Are Doing Here at Harvard"

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's blog


Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

05 12 06

Hey there Chas:
Sometimes Ms. Hirsi Ali drives me nutso with her Ayn Randian type musings. But in the end, I respect her guts a great deal. She seems to have an infinitely thick skin and really cares about what she says and does. It is difficult to find folks like that nowadays. One thing that really sticks out from the article is that never once do these Muslims students explore her critisisms; they are always on the defensive. Well enough is enough. Mohammed was a child lover and a wife beating chauvanistic pig. Almost everything that Christ framed as acceptable behavior, he did the OPPOSITE of. I honestly think he was a demon and a false prophet, and I don't say this lightly. I had to research the story of his wife Aisha before I could say that beyond a reasonable doubt. My Lord! Good post.

Chas said...

I didn't know much about Ms. Hirsi Ali, I only started reading about her recently. I don't know anything about her Ayn Randian musings (sounds interesting!), but I do sense that she has a strong sense of self, of individual sovereignty. It's like she has had to develop that thick skin, in order to extract herself from the Islamic cult of thought control and emotional manipulation, and learn to think for herself.

The more I read about her, the more I see that she is a brave lady, with a lot of admirable qualities. In the debate about Islam, we need more voices like hers, that combine real experience of Islam with clear thinking and reasoning. I'm hoping we hear a lot more from her in the future.

khaidar said...

she is a liar and will be deported from nederland. check this out

Chas said...

As long ago as 2002, Hirsi Ali admitted publicly to lying on her asylum application, before she was elected to the Dutch Parliament. No one made a fuss about it then, but they are now. Who is objecting, and why? That is a question the article you linked to doesn't ask. It's not a bad article as far as it goes, but it asks more questions than it answers.

Will it damage her credibility as she continues to tour and lecture? Possibly. The answer to that will probably depend on her answers to these many questions.