READ  THIS ……

WHY  AYAAN ALI  WROTE  THIS  BOOK……


PICKING  IT  UP  ON  PAGE  346

ALL  BLACK  LETTERING  ARE  MINE  -  Keith Hunt





…….Whatever your feelings on the subject, the United States is the leader of the free world. By taking my ideas to the United States, I don't feel in any way that I am selling out. At the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, I will have more time to think than when I was a member of Parliament in The Hague, trying to wheel and deal programs in the legislative process. At the risk of repeating myself, I am not leaving Holland because of the issue of my Dutch citizenship: it is an entirely personal decision, made long before the citizenship saga came about.


Years ago, fresh out of Leiden, I thought that politics was a truly noble pursuit, and that the institutions of democracy were humanity's means to better the world. I still think that's true. 


But I have learned that, like every other kind of human pursuit, politics can be an ugly game: clan against clan, party against party, candidate against candidate, with governments falling over trivial issues. Watching power will, I hope, be more agreeable than practicing it.


The freedom of expression that I found in Holland—the freedom to think—is unknown where I come from. It is a right and practice that I always dreamed of having as I was growing up. 


Whatever its flaws, no nation understands the principle of free expression better than the Dutch. It runs so deep in Dutch culture that Holland has chosen to protect me against death threats, even though members of the government constantly tell me how much they disagree with my ideas. I must say how grateful I am: I am lucky and privileged to be Dutch.


Muhammad Bouyeri, Theo's murderer, and others like him don't realize how deeply people in the West are committed to the idea of an open society. Even though the open society is vulnerable, it is also stubborn. It is the place I ran to for safety and freedom. I would like to keep it that way: safe and free.


People are always asking me what it's like to live with death threats. It's like being diagnosed with a chronic disease. It may flare up and kill you, but it may not. It could happen in a week, or not for decades.


The people who ask me this usually have grown up in rich countries, Western Europe and America, after the Second World War. They take life for granted. Where I grew up, death is a constant visitor. A virus, bacteria, a parasite; drought and famine; soldiers, and torturers; could bring it to anyone, any time. Death comes riding on raindrops that turned to floods. It catches the imagination of men in positions of authority who order their subordinates to hunt, torture, and kill people they imagine to be enemies. 


Death lures many others to take their own lives in order to escape a dismal reality. 


For many women, because of the perception of lost honor, death comes at the hands of a father, brother, or husband. Death comes to young women giving birth to new life, leaving the newborn orphaned in the hands of strangers.


For those who live in anarchy and civil war, as in the country of my birth, Somalia, death is everywhere.


When I was born, my mother initially thought death had taken me away. But it didn't. When I got malaria and pneumonia, I recovered. When my genitals were cut, the wound healed. When a bandit held a knife to my throat, he decided not to slit it. When my Quran teacher fractured my skull, the doctor who treated me kept death at bay.


Even with bodyguards and death threats I feel privileged to be alive and free. 


When I took the train to Amsterdam thirteen years ago, I took a chance at a life in freedom, a life in which I would be free from bondage to someone I had not chosen, and in which my mind, too, could be free.


I first encountered the full strength of Islam as a young child in Saudi Arabia. It was very different from the diluted religion of my grandmother, which was mixed with magical practices and pre-Islamie beliefs. 


Saudi Arabia is the source of Islam and its quintessence. It is the place where the Muslim religion is practiced in its purest form, and it is the origin of much of the fundamentalist vision that has, in my lifetime, spread far beyond its borders.


In Saudi Arabia, every breath, every step we took, was infused with concepts of purity or sinning, and with fear. Wishful thinking about the peaceful tolerance of Islam cannot interpret away this reality: hands are still cut off, women still stoned and enslaved, just as the Prophet Muhammad decided centuries ago.


The kind of thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia, and among the Muslim Brotherhood in Kenya and Somalia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves a feudal mind-set based on tribal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hypocrisy, and double standards. It relies on the technological advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam.


It is always difficult to make the transition to a modern world. It was difficult for my grandmother, and for all my relatives from the miye. It was difficult for me, too. I moved from the world of faith to the world of reason—from the world of excision and forced marriage to the world of sexual emancipation. Having made that journey I know that one of those worlds is simply better than the other. Not because of its flashy gadgets, but fundamentally, because of its values.


The message of this book, if it must have a message, is that we in the West would be wrong to prolong the pain of that transition unnecessarily, by elevating cultures full of bigotry and hatred toward women to the stature of respectable alternative ways of life.


People accuse me of having interiorized a feeling of racial inferiority, so that I attack my own culture out of self-hatred, because I want to be white. 


This is a tiresome argument. Tell me, is freedom then only for white people? Is it self-love to adhere to my ancestors' traditions and mutilate my daughters? To agree to be humiliated and powerless? To watch passively as my countrymen abuse women and slaughter each other in pointless disputes? When I came to a new culture, where I saw for the first time that human relations could be different, would it have been self-love to see that as a foreign cult, which Muslims are forbidden to practice?


Life is better in Europe than it is in the Muslim world because human relations are better, and one reason human relations are better is that in the West, life on earth is valued in the here and now, and individuals enjoy rights and freedoms that are recognized and protected by the state. To accept subordination and abuse because Allah willed it—that, for me, would be self-hatred.


The decision to write this book didn't come to me easily. Why would I expose such private memories to the world? I don't want my arguments to be considered sacrosanct because I have had horrible experiences; I haven't. In reality, my life has been marked by enormous good fortune. How many girls born in Digfeer Hospital in Mogadishu in November 1969 are even alive today? And how many have a real voice?


I also don't want my reasoning to be dismissed as the bizarre ranting of someone who has been somehow damaged by her experiences and who is lashing out. People often imply that I am angry because I was excised, or because my father married me off. 


They never fail to add that such things are rare in the modern Muslim world. The fact is that hundreds of millions of women around the world live in forced marriages, and six thousand small girls are excised every day. 


My excision in no way damaged my mental capacities; and I would like to be judged on the validity of my arguments, not as a victim.


My central, motivating concern is that women in Islam are oppressed.


That oppression of women causes Muslim women and Muslim men, too, to lag behind the West. It creates a culture that generates more backwardness with every generation. It would be better for everyone— for Muslims, above all—if this situation could change.


When people say that the values of Islam are compassion, tolerance, and freedom, I look at reality, at real cultures and governments, and I see that it simply isn't so. 


People in the West swallow this sort of thing because they have learned not to examine the religions or cultures of minorities too critically, for fear of being called racist. It fascinates them that I am not afraid to do so.


In March 2005, Time magazine informed me that I would be named one of its one hundred "most influential people in the world today." I went straight out to buy a copy of the magazine, of course, but I was weeks early; that issue wouldn't come out until mid-April. So the magazine I bought wasn't about me, it was about poverty in Africa. The woman on the cover was young and thin, with three small children. She was wrapped in the same kind of cloth my grandmother used to wear, and the look in her eyes was hopeless.


It threw me back to Somalia, to Kenya, to poverty and disease and fear. I thought about the woman in that photograph, and about the millions of women who must live as she does. Time had just named me to their category "Leaders and Revolutionaries." What do you do with a responsibility like that?


Perhaps I could start by telling people that values matter. The values of my parents' world generate and preserve poverty and tyranny, for example, in their oppression of women. A clear look at this would be tremendously beneficial. In simple terms, for those of us who were brought up with Islam, if we face up to the terrible reality we are in, we can change our destiny.


Why am I not in Kenya, squatting at a charcoal brazier making angellos? Why have I been instead a representative in the Dutch Parliament, making law? I have been lucky, and not many women are lucky in the places I come from. In some sense, I owe them something. Like the Galla woman I once translated for in Schalkhaar, I need to seek out the other women held captive in the compound of irrationality and superstition and persuade them to take their lives into their own hands.


Sister Aziza used to warn us of the decadence of the West: the corrupt, licentious, perverted, idolatrous, money-grubbing, soulless countries of Europe. But to me, there is far worse moral corruption in Islamic countries. In those societies, cruelty is implacable and inequality is the law of the land. Dissidents are tortured. Women are policed both by the state and by their families to whom the state gives the power to rule their lives.


In the past fifty years the Muslim world has been catapulted into modernity. From my grandmother to me is a journey of just two generations, but the reality of that voyage is millennial. Even today you can take a truck across the border into Somalia and find you have gone back thousands of years in time.


People adapt. People who never sat on chairs before can learn to drive cars and operate complex machinery; they master these skills very quickly. Similarly, Muslims don't have to take six hundred years to go through a reformation in the way they think about equality and individual rights.


When I approached Theo to help me make Submission, I had three messages to get across. 


First, men, and even women, may look up and speak to Allah: it is possible for believers to have a dialogue with God and look closely at Him. 


Second, the rigid interpretation of the Quran in Islam today causes intolerable misery for women. Through globalization, more and more people who hold these ideas have traveled to Europe with the women they own and brutalize, and it is no longer possible for Europeans and other Westerners to pretend that severe violations of human rights occur only far away. 


The third message is the film's final phrase: "I may no longer submit." It is possible to free oneself—to adapt one's faith, to examine it critically, and to think about the degree to which that faith is itself at the root of oppression.


I am told that Submission is too aggressive a film. 


Its criticism of Islam is apparently too painful for Muslims to bear. Tell me, how much more painful is it to be these women, trapped in that cage?

………………..


THESE  FEW  PAGES  ARE  SHOCKING,  AND  AS  I  READ  THEM  FOR  THE  FIRST  TIME,  TEARS  FORMED  IN  MY  EYES.  WE  IN  THE  WEST  GROW  UP  TAKING  SO  MANY  THINGS  FOR  GRANTED.  WE  HAVE  FREEDOM,  BUT  WE  HAVE  ALSO  CAGED  IN  FREEDOM,  THAT  MINORITY  GROUPS  MAY  LIVE  IN  OUR  LANDS,  AND  NOT  A  NEGATIVE  WORD  MUST  BE  SPOKEN  ABOUT  THEM,  NOT  EVEN  THE  TRUTH……EVERYTHING  MUST  BE  “POLITICALLY  CORRECT.”


AYAAN  HIRSI  ALI  WAS  BORN  AND  RAISED  MUSLIM;  FROM  HER  BACKGROUND  SHE  CAN  WRITE  FREELY  AND  HAVE  HER  BOOKS  PUBLISHED.  IF  I  WAS  TO  WRITE  THE  FACTS  OF  LIFE  AS  A  MUSLIM,  AND  ESPECIALLY  A  MUSLIM  GIRL  AND  WOMAN,  I  WOULD  BE  CALLED  A  RACIST  AND  BIGOT  AND  PROBABLY  HAVE  A  VERY  DIFFICULT  TIME  GETTING  PUBLISHED.  EVEN  AYAAN  ALI   HAS  FACED  THOSE  WHO  WOULD  CLOSE  THE  DOOR  ON  HER  PUBLICATIONS  AND  LECTURING.


IF  WE  AS  WESTERN  NATIONS  HAD  REMAINED  “CHRISTIAN  NATIONS”  WE  PROBABLY  WOULD  HAVE  SAID,  MUSLIMS  REALLY  HAVE  NO  PART  IN  BEING  ALLOWED  INTO  OUR  NATIONS.  THE  TWO  RELIGIONS  JUST  DO  NOT  MIX  AT  ALL,  CHRISTIANITY  AND  ISLAM  DO  NOT  WORSHIP  THE  SAME  GOD.


BUT  WE  HAVE  NOT  KEPT  OUR  CHRISTIAN  FAITH,  SO  BECOMING  SECULAR,  WE  HAVE  SAID  ALL  RELIGIONS  CAN  BE  A  PART  OF  OUR  STRUCTURE,  AND  ALL  RELIGIONS  MUST  RESPECT  EACH  OTHER.


WE  HAVE  DONE  THIS,  NOT  EVEN  KNOWING  WHAT  SOME  OF  THE  BASIC  FUNDAMENTAL  TEACHINGS  ARE  FOR  EACH  RELIGION.


WE  HAVE  OPENED  THE  FLOOD  GATES,  AND  SO  WE  SHALL  REAP  WHAT  WE  HAVE  SOWN.


WE  HAVE  ALLOWED  THE  ISLAMIC  RELIGION  TO  COME  WITHIN  OUR  WALLS,  AND  SO  IN  TIME  WE  SHALL  REAP  THE  CONSEQUENCES,  OF  A  THEOLOGY  IN  OUR  MIDST  THAT  IS  FAR  FROM  BEING  A  PEACEFUL  RELIGION.


Keith Hunt