4/10/2005

Ayaan Hirsi Ali profiled in The New York Times Magazine

Link to the article.If you are not able to read everything, here is a short short summary from the article,(do read the article though in order to get the full gist of what she is about).
She is an outspoken critic of Islam's treatment of women. She is currently a Dutch legislator. She was born in Somalia to educated parents who had to go into exile. She attended Muslim girls secondary school on Park Road Nairobi, Kenya. (During this time her name was Ayaan Hirsi Magan.In case you remember her from school)She attended University of Leiden where she studied political science and political philosophy.She has written a book 'The Cage of Virgins'(doesnt seem to be on BN or Amazon).Ms Ali Wrote Submission Part I, Theo Van Gogh directed it. Mr.Van Gogh was murdered November 2nd 2004 by an Islamic Extremist in opposition to the film. There is a 3min clip of the film called Submission available on ifilm, here is the link.Some quotes from the article: Ms Ali "I may polarise on television and on the op-ed pages, but in parliament, i always get my majority"
Caldwell Campbell the author of the article:"Hirsi Ali has been dealt a full house of the royal virtues: courage, intelligence, compassion. She has needed them. Hers is a big, heroic life that moves her fellow citizens but now gets lived mostly in locked rooms and bulletproof cars. She leads that life partly above other Dutch people, as a national symbol -- and partly below them, as a prisoner. She is a democracy campaigner for whom the role of an ordinary democratic citizen is off-limits, an egalitarian for whom equal treatment is turning out to be an elusive and maybe impossible thing."
I am completely in awe of what she is doing, despite the danger to her life. What courage, what conviction.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Irene said...

Thanks for talking about this brave woman on your blog. Her plight epitomizes the dangerous situations most European countries now face with the cultural collisons of the western way of life and that of large numbers of people of the islamic faith migrating to these countries. It is a horrible, tenous situation. My beef with these islamic extremists is that they just won't live and let live. They have to impose their extremist views on the host countries! How sick!!

Miss Ali is a true hero for standing up to these extremists. My hat off to her.

4/11/2005 5:10 PM  
Blogger Afromusing said...

@Irene:She is definitely a trailblazer, i hope she still gets to do it, and have a personal life free from threat.

4/12/2005 5:56 PM  
Anonymous erik said...

hi afromusing, i happen to be dutch and stumble upon your blog by the "next blog" link...

much as i agree personally with her views on islam, i still think it is dangerous to take it to a polictical level as ms. hirsi ali does. she is so stubborn in fighting islam that she's setting up the muslim population against her - you can't force them into modernization, it's a gradual process. i'm afraid that politicians like ms. hirsi ali are widening the gap between muslims and autochtonous dutchmen - and since we all have to live together i would much rather see a politician who tries to understand the muslims' point of views too.

so basically she's fighting for a good purpose but does it in the wrongest way possible and i'm afraid she'll only achieve the oppposite of what she wants to achieve.

4/12/2005 6:33 PM  
Blogger Afromusing said...

great to hear from you erik, especially since u are dutch and probably have more of a first hand experience. Interesting take on this.

4/12/2005 10:34 PM  
Blogger jjray said...

Beg to disagree with Erik.

>>she is so stubborn in fighting islam that she's setting up the muslim population against her - you can't force them into modernization.<<

This is basically what Dr. Martin Luther King was told by white US politicians in power during the early 1960s. African Americans had been waiting for equality under the law since emancipation 100 years earlier yet they were told to wait and be patient.

As long as resistence is non-violent, I cheer Ms. Ali on. We are to tolerate the ignorance and injustice that the muslim world inflicts upon women why? Because it is their culture? Because they have carried on this way since the time of the prophet? No excuse. Speak out and shed light upon the evil. This is what she is doing. Yes, the film she made with Theo Van Gogh was quite provocative ( link) but the crime is large so I believe the style she chose is warranted. It was designed to call attention to the problem. Ms. Ali's audience isn't the muslim world. Narrow minded conservatives in the Muslim world are not going to change their minds. We are the target audience. The more people who become aware of the problem and speak out against it, then the better the chance for change to occur.

4/17/2005 3:17 PM  
Blogger Afromusing said...

JJR, i was thinking along the same lines towards the end of the week, and also thought of MLK. Thanks for your comment. Sometimes trailblazers have to ruffle people's feathers to get through to them. I remember our neighbors in Kenya who were quite respectful of their women, and we got along great. We heard some horrific stories about other women around the country though.Tough issue.

4/17/2005 6:56 PM  
Blogger jjray said...

I didn't mean to slur all muslims as abusers of women and am sorry if I left that impression. The problem I have with it is the instutionalized inferiority of women in these societies, especially Saudi Arabia. Women are practically prisoners of the head male of the home in SA.

4/17/2005 7:38 PM  
Blogger Afromusing said...

great discussion...btw, i thought of the relationship between muslims and africans in the coast of Kenya, it seems we may have a great sociological case study on relationships with Islam. The coast of Kenya has a mixed population of Africans, Arabs, Indians, Italians, portuguese, with different religions. After the tumultous history (1800's and back...)of wars, the 19th century saw a coexisting in peace(relatively speaking ofcourse). This may need to be examined further, as it may point to something that might even be relevant to America's WOT (War on Terror). I only visited the coast sporadically, if there is someone who can elucidate, please do!Back to Ms Ali, open question..do you think part of the outrage that resulted in the threats to ms Ali is that culturally speaking, some muslims do not understand that film is an art, and essentially a form of expression. An opinion, an idea. The challenge of democracy is being able to hear other people out...Quote from JJR's link to CBS article
...As he lay dying, Van Gogh was reported to have begged for mercy, and said, “Can’t we talk about this?” But the man shot him again, slit his throat and stabbed him, pinning a letter to his body.

Agree or not about Ms Ali, her purpose and courage is inspirational.

4/18/2005 1:46 PM  
Blogger jjray said...

We should discuss some time how all the different religions get along on the coast of Kenya. I know Irene went to boarding school in Mombassa and had muslim friends but the impression she gave me is that generally the different groups in Kenya stay with their own people, especially the Somalis (as they do in the US).

The type of people who killed Theo Van Gogh are, IMHO, unconstituted reactionaries living in the middle ages or earlier. They won't change and shall claim the Quoran as moral authority for their position--honor killings of women, genital mutilation, and all the lesser indignities that go on in some countries. Obviously Ms. Ali is not going to change these types of people. Question: what about the muslim moderates? Do her activities drive them into the camp of the conservatives? Is she building a bridge to western societies? I think what she has done is bring world-wide attention to the problem and that is a huge step. Actually, it the was the death of Van Gogh (her colaberator) that brought all the attention. The film, as I understand it, was pretty much a dutch phenomena. But that's just the way it was with the US Civil Rights movement. If one saw the movie Mississippi Burning, many blacks had died fighting for civil rights but it was when the whites would went down there with the NAACP and got killed (Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner) that the national and international media finally jumped on the story. It was the media pressure that really started the ball rolling and gave Dr. Martin Luther King the national platform from which to effect change.

Can this attention be capitalized upon to effect change in the Muslim community? The chances look grim to me but applaud those who have undertaken the task.

4/19/2005 12:45 AM  
Anonymous Irene said...

I agree with jjray's observation that the crime is so large as to warrant Ms. Ali's choice of expression. She was oppressed as a Muslim woman, undergoing genital mutilation and fleeing from an arranged marriage. She recognized the fact that she was being treated as a second rate human and chose to do something about it. In my opinion, more women who are oppressed in this manner need to speak out against their oppressors. Yes, the risk would be great, but I just don't see any hope for change unless it is gradually initiated from within. The world community can get outraged all it wants, but muslim women (or any other oppressed groups of women) must eventually bear the burden of speaking out and saying enough is enough.

4/19/2005 1:12 PM  
Blogger Afromusing said...

Hey Irene! :)True, and if the govt can accord them refuge, wouldnt that be great... (they face such dire situations and grave threat as this story shows)I am curious on the type of bills that Ms Ali has been able to get passed in the netherlands. It may be an idea to think of if ever we get the Kenyan constitional review back on. Atleast i think FGM is now outlawed in Kenya, though there are some tribes that still do it undercover (I have some cousins who are 1/2 samburu,they were almost forced into it.)

4/19/2005 10:51 PM  

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