Thursday, February 08, 2007

More on Ayaan Hirsi Ali

More from Ayaan Hirsi Ali - this time on US TV. One of the bravest women in the world. The price for her outspoken views on radical Islam is a permanent bodyguard due to persistent death threats.

"I wonder why my critics are not addressing those who are doing the threats."

One for her critics to ponder.

The MLK of the 21st Century?

via Hot Air

Former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote the film, Submission:Part 1,that led a Muslim extremist to shoot its producer,Theo van Gogh. Ali was born in Somalia and claimed refugee status in Holland in the early 1990's.

You were brought up a devout Muslim. What made you turn against the religion?

I knew no better than to follow the path my parents had laid out for me. I didn't question it seriously until after 9/11. Bin Laden defined the world into Muslims and non-Muslims, and these had to either be converted or killed. I asked myself where I stood after I saw the pictures of people jumping out of the World Trade Center. As a Muslim I had to ask if I agreed with that. I was saddened to see Bin Laden's citations were from the Koran and were consistent with the Islam I grew up with. It is just that we were passive until then. Now we had to take sides. I had completed a political science degree and could no longer use ignorance as an excuse. I had to make my own path.

The 9/11 attacks made you renounce your faith but radicalised other Muslims. Why?

The 74 per cent of Muslims under 24 who said in a survey that women should wear the veil and want Sharia law to be introduced have gone for the consistency that Bin Laden offers. Others have taken my path. Liberal society hasn't paid any attention to what has been happening. Radical Islam was dismissed as a fringe movement but what starts small can grow. When you look at some Arab Islamic countries, radical Islamists are in the majority. Why do we kid ourselves it can't happen in Europe?

Do you think multiculturism has failed?

Yes, we can put it in the history books and be glad we've realised that now rather than in years ahead. We need to understand radical Islam's ideology, its agents, the strategies it uses and the groups it targets. European and American leaders desperately want to disconnect the ideaology from the religion of Islam, which is a mistake. Islam is a set of beliefs on which the ideology of Bin Laden is based. We need to appeal to Muslims and show them their faith has traits that aren't reconcilable with human progress and liberal society. In the United States,agents of radical Islam are targeting prison populations. In Europe, it's universities:the kind of people who once flirted with communism. The biggest mistake we've made is regarding Islam as an ethnic thing. It's not. It's a set of beliefs that can be scrutinised. Instead of exposing the fallacies in those beliefs, we've told ourselves that every criticism of Islam is some sort of racism-but Islam is not a race.

Are you playing into the hands of Right-wing extremists?

If there is Right-wing extremism in Europe today, it's radical Islamic extremism. It's the agents of radical Islam who propose a future for women that is truly horrifying-as we saw with the Taliban in Afghanistan and in Somalia today.

Do you see any positive sides to Islam?

That's like asking if I see positive sides to Nazism, Communism,Catholicism. Of course Islam preaches generosity and kindness and taking care of the poor and elderly and so on-but these values aren't limited to Islam. If you weigh what is provided in terms of kindness and humanity against the evil that can come from a society built on radial Islam,you will see that liberals must stand up to this like they've stood up to other ideologies.

Your inundated with death threats. Don't you worry about it?

Not any more. It's something you become used to because you can't do anything about it. I have permanent protection from the Dutch government so I can do my work.

Do you have any regrets about the work you've done?

I regret that Theo van Gogh was killed but I don't regret making the film. I would do it again, only be more careful. I'm working on the follow-up to Submission Part1. One of the individuals in the film will be a gay man. I currently live in the US and work at a think-tank, and have all the intellectual freedom I need. Things are alright for me.