Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the dangerous anti-Islamic logic of the war on terror

April 20, 2014

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali lost an honorary degree from Brandeis for articulating the same twisted thinking as Dick Cheney

It’s been over a week since students at Brandeis compelled their university to refuse Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree, and the blogosphere is still roiling with grievance. Kirsten Powers laments Islam’s preferential treatment in USA Today. Mark Steyn notes the incident, as part of a eulogy to free speech in this weekend’s Spectator. Bill KristolJohn PodhoretzAndrew Sullivan and Ross Douthat have all registered their disgust at this assault on a free and open discourse. Zev Chaffets at Fox News.com describes the incident as an “honor killing.”

The Change.org petition that cost Ali her honorary degree acknowledges the legitimacy of her grievances with Islam, but condemns the “hate speech” through which she expresses them. The petition quotes her as saying:

Violence is inherent in Islam – it’s a destructive, nihilistic cult of death. It legitimates murder … the battle against terrorism will ultimately be lost unless we realize that it’s not just with extremist elements within Islam, but the ideology of Islam itself …

Ali told Reason magazine in 2007, “There are Muslims who are passive, who don’t all follow the rules of Islam, but there’s really only one Islam, defined as submission to the will of God. There’s nothing moderate about it.”

Curiously, not one of the pieces protesting Brandeis’ decision actually quotes Ali’s past rhetoric. Instead, they refer obliquely to her “stinging attacks on non-Western religions,” “provocative ideas” or, most opaquely, her “life and thought.” The simplest explanation for this chronic omission is that to actually engage with Ali’s rhetoric would be to expose the absurdity of the Judeo-Christian persecution complex that informs so much of the genre.

The backlash the students of Brandeis have incurred for asserting that Islamaphobia is in fact bigotry, reflects precisely what makes Ali’s rhetoric so dangerous. Far from being a fringe position in our discourse, the idea that Islam is a uniquely malevolent ideology is the necessary fiction behind the war on terror.

To be clear: Fundamentalist religion is a scourge. And without question, fundamentalist Islam enjoys more political salience in many countries across the Middle East, than fundamentalist Christianity does in American politics (though the influence of the latter is considerable). What is fictitious in Ali’s rhetoric, and in the logic of our public policy, is the notion that Islam is uniquely susceptible to violent interpretation, and therefore all Muslims are inherently suspect.

Salon.com: http://www.salon.com/2014/04/20/ayaan_hirsi_ali_and_the_dangerous_anti_islamic_logic_of_the_war_on_terror/

Dutch Politician on Apparent Death List

1 March 2013

 

Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders is listed in an apparent al-Qaeda death list, RTL news reports. The politician is listed fourth on a pastiche poster published online. A spokesman for the Dutch counter terrorism bureau noted that circulation of death lists is a popular al Qaeda tactic. Other names listed included Danish newspaper editor Carsten Juste and Dutch public figure Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Hirsi Ali Wins Journalism Prize

10 May 2012

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, writer and former member of the Dutch parliament, has been awarded the German Axel Singer Award, on behalf of the Axel Springer School of Journalism. She has received the award in recognition of “her uncompromising struggle for the rights of Muslim women, even at the risk of her own safety.  Hirsi Ali currently resides in the United States.

 

Dutch Mosque Suspends Radical Sheikh

31 March 2012

 

Sheikh Fawaz al-Jneid has been suspended from the Sunnah mosque in The Hague for at least three weeks after allegedly insulting board members and disturbing a meeting. In an interview Sheikh Fawaz commented that he does not intend to abide by the mosque’s injunction and accuses the board of trying to prevent him from speaking on political matters during Friday prayers. Meanwhile a lawyer acting on behalf of the mosque board has provided a letter proposing measures to curtail Sheikh Fawaz’s authority within the mosque.

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Sheikh Fawaz Jneid (1963) was born in Syria, trained in Saudi Arabia and became an imam in the United Arab Emirates. He left the UAE after protesting the presence of American troops in 1991, and arrived in the Netherlands where he became one of the primary figures in the Dutch salafist movement. Jneid is affiliated with the As-Soennah mosque in The Hague and is prominent at a national level for his political activity, but is not linked to violence. He has been at the center of several controversies which have received considerable attention in the national press, including his condemnation of Theo van Gogh and Hirsi Ali.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Publishes on Threat to Christians in Muslim Majority Countries

6 Feb 2012

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalian refugee who served as a Member of the Dutch Parliament, has published an article in Newsweek detailing the threat which Christians face in Muslim countries. Hirsi Ali asserts that “the conspiracy of silence about the violent expression of religious intolerance must stop”, condemning Western governments and media for ‘forgetting’ the about the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries in the wake of the Arab spring.

Although Hirsi Ali is no longer a politician in the Netherlands, media in the country addressed the Newsweek article ad considered Hirsi Ali’s position with respect to recent comments by Dutch politician Frits Bolkestein and political scientist Hala Naoum Nehme, as well as considering the Dutch Foreign Ministry’s human rights policy with respect to religious minorities.

Islam and the West Through the Eyes of Two Women

Very few of the heroes and villains made famous in the wars of the past decade are women. Of the scant exceptions, two of the most fascinating are the subjects of Deborah Scroggins’s thoughtful double biography, “Wanted Women.”
One is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born thinker and neoconservative darling; the other is Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who, in 2010, was sentenced to 86 years in prison for her assault on American personnel in Afghanistan. She is known as Al Qaeda’s highest-ranking female associate.

In “Wanted Women,” Scroggins traces the lives of Hirsi Ali and Siddiqui from their earliest childhoods down to the present. Hirsi Ali continues to live in the United States; Siddiqui now resides in Fort Worth, Tex., where she is incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center Carswell and receiving psychiatric treatment.

Alternating between the two women, Scroggins explores what she calls “their weird symmetry,” examining how the forces of contemporary history — war, poverty, colonialism and politics — have forged these “icons of the war on terror.” She writes: “When it came to dealing with the crises of Islam, they were mirror opposites, but there were hints in their complicated backgrounds that each woman might have gone in a very different direction, perhaps even to the extent of Aafia Siddiqui becoming a Westernizing feminist and Ayaan Hirsi Ali becoming a militant Islamist.”

Hirsi Ali Announces Submission II Is Too Risky

In an interview on Dutch television Ayaan Hirsi Ali announced that she will not make sequals to her controversial 2004 film Submission. Although the script is written, Hirsi Ali claims that making the film causes too great a risk to the cast and crew. Currently living in the United States, Hirsi Ali released Submission with director Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands in 2004, alleging to illustrate violence towards women in Islam. Van Gogh was subsequently murdered by a Muslim extremist. Hirsi Ali’s sequal was to depict the oppression of homosexuals in Islam.

Hirsi Ali receives newspaper honor

Ayaan Hirsri Ali, the former Dutch politician born in Somalia, has received a free speech award from Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper which published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005. The paper named Hirsi Ali, well known for writing Theo Van Gogh’s film “Submission”, as winner of its Prize for Freedom of Expression. She is now lives in the United States

Ayaan Hirsi Ali returns to Netherlands

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is in the Netherlands this week to promote the release of her book Nomad. This marks her first substantive vision to the country since leaving Dutch parliament four years ago. During her visit, Ali commented on controversial politician Geert Wilders, suggesting that he is preventing violence by allowing a segment of the population to channel their anger through voting as opposed to rioting, though she also criticized him for raising false expectations with proposals that “cannot be translated into policy.”

Ayaan Hirsi-Ali writes on the Swiss minaret ban

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The recent Swiss referendum that bans construction of minarets has caused controversy across the world. There are two ways to interpret the vote. First, as a rejection of political Islam, not a rejection of Muslims. In this sense it was a vote for tolerance and inclusion, which political Islam rejects. Second, the vote was a revelation of the big gap between how the Swiss people and the Swiss elite judge political Islam.