From  the  book  “A  CAGED  VIRGIN”  by  Ayaan  Hirsi  Ali


All  black  lettering  and  capitals  are  mine  -  Keith Hunt



The Need for Self-Reflection Within Islam



[This is Ayaan's answer to a critical reaction to Submission: Part I, that was published in De Volkskrant.]



My parents brought me up with the idea that Islam is the most beautiful way of life—morally, socially, and spiritually. Years later I realized that there are ugly blemishes that spoil the beauty of Islam. These imperfections, however, are invisible to those who share my parents' religious convictions and who justify the wrongs of Islam by repeating over and over that it is not that the religion is at fault, but the faithful who have made a mess of things.


Islamic morality demands that the individual subject himself completely to the will of Allah through the Shari'a, the code of law derived from the Koran, and to the religious community. 


The Muslim as an individual can do nothing individually: he even has to sit, eat, sleep, and travel according to strict rules; he cannot freely choose his own friends and is expected to have (and avoid) certain thoughts and feelings. Anything that has not been covered by Allah and His Prophet becomes the domain of the religious community, which comprises the immediate family to the worldwide Muslim community For example: if a Moroccan Muslim were to behave improperly after a few beers, it would be fine for a person from, say, Sudan or Afghanistan to call him to order—in the absence of other Moroccans—for no other reason than that this bystander happened to be a fellow Muslim.


Nowhere is the denial of Muslim individuality felt more strongly than in the relationship between the sexes. 


Islamic sexual morality places a heavy emphasis on chastity. Sex is only allowed in a marital context. In practice this puts more of a restriction on women than on men. It is all right for men, for example, to marry four wives, but not the other way around. The position of Muslim women, compared to that of many of their non-Islamic sisters, is, frankly, bad— they are powerless, subjugated, unequal.


THE  CHRISTIAN  BIBLE  ALSO  TEACHES  THAT  SEXUAL  INTERCOURSE  IS  FOR  MARRIAGE  AND  NOT  BEFORE.  THE  CHRISTIAN  BIBLE  ALLOWED  POLYGAMY [MORE  THAN  ONE  WIFE]  IN  THE  OLD  TESTAMENT  AGE;  IT  DOES  NOT  ALLOW  POLYGAMY  UNDER  ITS  NEW  TESTAMENT  [A  FULL  INDEPTH  STUDY  ON  THIS  QUESTION  CAN  BE  FOUND  ON  THIS  WEBSITE]  -  Keith Hunt


Like the rest of the world, however, Muslims take advantage of modern scientific progress. Those who can afford to do so make extensive use of technological developments, such as cars and airplanes. They live in modern buildings and work with machines and computers. However, the moral framework of Islam, unlike that of Christianity and Judaism, has not changed with the times. Every Muslim, from the beginnings of Islam to the present day, is raised in the belief that all knowledge can be found in the Koran, that it is wrong to ask critical questions, and that every Muslim (even in 2004 as Ayaan wrote) should strive to imitate the life of Islam's founder Muhammad. In practice, of course, few manage to organize their lives in perfect agreement with the principles of the seventh-century prophet.


As a result of this restrictive upbringing, basic human curiosity in Muslims has been seriously curtailed. Any new step a Muslim dares to take will be rejected by the rest of the community on the grounds that it is unfamiliar and not in line with the Koran. Islam is a static faith.


After the events of 9/11, people who deny this characterization of the stagnant state of Islam were challenged by critical outsiders to name a single Muslim who had made a discovery in science or technology, or changed the world through artistic achievement. There is none. 


In a community of over 1.2 billion faithful, knowledge, progress, and prosperity are not primary aspirations. Poverty, violence, and decline are widespread. To reverse this situation, we need to change the moral framework of Muslim upbringing.


It is in the interests of Muslims themselves to open a critical discussion about Islam, but it is also crucial to the rest of the world. 


Almost all current political conflicts involve Muslims. The majority of Muslims live in dire circumstances: starvation, disease, overpopulation, and unemployment are widespread. In their native countries, Muslims are the victims of oppressive regimes, which are usually based on the Shari'a. Most Muslims have no access to any education of reasonable quality; many are illiterate. It can no longer be denied that Muslims themselves are often (without meaning to) responsible for this misery. 


A thorough analysis of Islam and the amendment of a great many Islamic dogmas, which presently keep the faithful trapped in a cycle of violence and poverty, would give Muslims the chance to end individual oppression and to achieve a sexual morality in which men, women, and homosexuals are treated as equals.


THE  READER  SHOULD  NOTE  THAT  AYAAN  ALI  IS  AN  ADMITTED  ATHEIST,  SO  BEING  TREATED  EQUAL  IN  HER  MIND  WOULD  NOT  BE  EXACTLY  THE  SAME  AS  IN  THE  MIND  OF  A  CHRISTIAN.  LET  ME  EXPLAIN.  IN  OUR  EVERY  DAY  LIFE,  MEETING  PEOPLE,  TALKING  TO  PEOPLE,  WORKING  WITH  PEOPLE,  MOST  OF  THE  TIME,  WE  CHRISTIANS  WOULD  NOT  KNOW [UNLESS  THEY  FREELY  TELL  US]  THAT  THEY  ARE  PRACTICING  “GAY” PEOPLE,  OR  IN  A  SAME  SEX  UNION OR  MARRIAGE. THE  APOSTLE  PAUL  SAID,  “AS  MUCH  AS  LIES  IN  YOU,  LIVE  PEACEABLY  WITH  ALL  MEN.”  WE  CHRISTIANS  IN  OUR  DAILY  LIFE  SHOULD  BE  TREATING  ALL  PEOPLE  ALIKE,  WITH  FRIENDLINESS,  POLITENESS,  KINDNESS,  AND  LOVE.  WITHIN  THE  CHRISTIAN  CHURCH  THERE  ARE  BASIC  STANDARDS,  AND  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  CHURCH  DOES  HAVE  A  “DISFELLOWSHIPPING  DOCTRINE” [WHICH  I’VE  ALSO  WRITTEN  ABOUT  IN  AN  INDEPTH  ARTICLE  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  UNDER  “CHURCH  GOVERNMENT”].  CAN  THE  CHRISTIAN  CHURCH  ALLOW  SAY  A  PERSON  IN  ITS  FELLOWSHIP,  WHO  USES  FOUL  LANGUAGE,  AND  PROFANITY  IN  THEIR  TALKING,  AS  IF  “WELL  THIS  IS  NOTHING  REALLY,  IT’S  JUST  A  WAY  OF  TALKING  TODAY,  YOU  HEAR  IT  ALL  THE  TIME.”  I  DO  NOT  THINK  A  CHRISTIAN  CHURCH  CAN  ALLOW  THAT,  IT’S  BREAKING  A  COMMANDMENT  OF  GOD,  IT  IS  SIN!  THE  CHRISTIAN  CHURCH  HAS  THE  RIGHT  TO  KNOW  WHAT  GOD  CALLS  SIN.  HE  HAS  REVEALED  IT  IN  THE  CHRISTIAN  BIBLE.  PRACTICING  HOMOSEXUALS  AND  LESBIANS,  SAME  SEX  MARRIAGE  PEOPLE,  ARE  PRACTICING  SIN.  SUCH  OPEN  SINS  CANNOT  BE  ALLOWED  IN  THE  CHRISTIAN  CHURCH  FELLOWSHIP.  IN  THE  “CHRISTIAN  CHURCH”  CONTEXT,  THERE  IS  A  CONTEXT  WHERE  PEOPLE  PRACTICING  CERTAIN  THINGS  CANNOT  BE  TREATED  AS  EQUALS  IN  CHRISTIAN  FELLOWSHIP.  I  THINK  THE  WAY  AYAAN  ALI  USES  “TREATED  AS  EQUALS”  IS  IN  THE  CONTEXT  OF  THE  GENERAL  WORLD,  THE  ATHEISTIC  WORLD,  BUT  IT  IS  TRUE  THAT  SOME  CHRISTIANS,  AND  SOME  CHRISTIAN  ORGANIZATIONS  DO  ACCEPT  ALL  PEOPLE  IN  THEIR  FELLOWSHIP  REGARDLESS  OF  THEIR  LIFE-STYLE  -  Keith Hunt


This critical appreciation will have to come from within, from the very people who were raised in the Islamic tradition but who were not blinded to the flaws that undermine the beauty of their culture—people who have had a decent education and the chance to meet people outside the Muslim community. These people have pursued their individual happiness and know how difficult it is to combine being a good Muslim with following the human inner need for freedom. They live in free countries and can openly declare their views without immediately feeling their lives are in danger. Nonetheless, these critics of Islam will have to understand that a culture that dates back many centuries and has never been through a period of self-reflection is not going to welcome their insights. They will be regarded, as other dissenters have been, as traitors and deserters who foul their own nests.


How exactly should this Muslim self-reflection be expressed? I believe that every form of self-expression should be allowed, except for physical and verbal abuse. 


Use words (novels, nonfiction, poetry, cartoons), images (film, animations, paintings, and other art forms), and sound. Submission: Part 1 the short film I made with Theo van Gogh, expresses my aspiration to question the morality central to my upbringing. 


I do not aim to transform Muslims into atheists, but I do want to expose the blemishes of the culture, particularly its cruel treatment of women. 


I have observed firsthand the undeniable connection between the rules of the Koran, which state that a disobedient wife should be beaten, and the violent practice of wife beating. The account of this practice is in the hadiths (sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad), and violent Muslim men quote from the Koran whenever anyone confronts them about their behavior in everyday life. Even the victims of physical abuse themselves cite the Koran to justify the violent actions of the men, and often return to their husbands, promising they will be more obedient and improve their behavior in the future. So, on top of their physical suffering, these victims are so brainwashed that they "willingly" subject themselves to the very doctrine that is at the root of their deplorable circumstances.


When Submission: Part I was shown as part of the television series Zomergasten [Summer Guests] it sparked many critical reactions. 


Many people were pleased to see the oppression of Muslim women confronted, although they questioned the effectiveness of the strategy I had chosen. 


One group, which includes the Amsterdam historian Lucassen, thinks that criticism of the shadowy aspects of Islam is unnecessary doom mongering. They believe critics of Islam are unnecessarily pessimistic and give the example of third-generation Muslims who no longer spend most of their day in the mosques and whose daughters happily combine headscarves with cropped tops. They believe that this evolution will continue without the need for criticism.


I am not a defeatist. I am an optimist. But a critical approach will humanize Islam, and it is necessary. Lucassen and his cronies confuse those who follow the faith with the faith itself. Islam is a way of life, a system of ideas, Every believer is taught to accept the system as immutable, unshakeable. 


By pointing out that a merciful God who authorizes the abuse of women is inconsistent, I force Muslims to face a shortcoming in their faith and to discover the meaning and importance of secular morality, which will enable them to adapt their faith to the real world. 


Criticism of Islam does not mean that the faithful reject it. But it does mean that the faithful examine particular ideas and teaching that, when applied in real life, lead to brutal behavior with unacceptable consequences.


Others warned me, after seeing Submission, that my criticism of Islam was counterproductive, that Islamophobes would be eager to use my views to discriminate against Muslims and to place Islam in an evil light. This may be true, but it was never my intention to play into the hands of Islamophobes. My intention was to challenge Muslims, through thought-provoking texts and images, to think carefully about the extent of their own responsibility for their deprived circumstances. The risk that Islamophobes or racists will misuse my work will not stop me from making Submission: Part II. A journalist who rightly demands openness of affairs in a liberal democracy (think of Guantanamo Bay), is not going to let himself be stopped by the government's fear that providing that information could be used by the enemies of the free world. I have to make the same type of decision as journalists and champions of civil rights. Exposing the wrongs of the world (including religious wrongs) outweighs the possible risk of misuse by third parties. 


I  UNDERSTAND  WHAT  SHE  IS  SAYING,  BUT  THE  BOTTOM  LINE  IS:  EXPOSING  THE  THEOLOGICAL  ERRORS [SOME  BLATANTLY  VIOLENT,  OTHERS  NOT  SO,  BUT  DIVIDE  MUSLIMS  FROM  HAVING  FRIENDS  OF  JEWS,  CHRISTIANS,  AND  UNBELIEVERS.  SO  SHOWING  THIS  TRUTH  FROM  THE  KORAN,  WILL  PUT  YOU  IN  THE  EYES  OF  SOME,  AS  “ISLAMOPHOBIA”  -  Keith Hunt

  

Some of my critics said that Muslims would be offended and troubled by a film like Submission and would only dig their heels deeper into the sand, resisting change. 


They also believed that my confrontational methods would be counterproductive, and that I should modify my strategy. 


Typically, this group of critics, which includes the Muslim Labor Representatives Arib and Al-Bayrak, fails to offer a more effective, alternate strategy. They concentrate too much on the pain felt by smooth talkers such as the Arab-European League leaders and people like Mr. Ayhan Tonca, chairman of the Contact Group for Muslims and Government, but ignore the extreme, continuing, daily pain of the victims of violence. Yet these Islamic "social democrats" would rather defend and preserve a doctrine that subjugates women than attempt to enlighten people.


They do not want change—and they do not want a light shone on the ugly results of their "faith." 


They turn their eyes away from a Muslim woman who, at the age of twenty-three, cannot read or write and spends her days curled up in the corner of a shelter for abused women. Less than three years ago this woman was snatched from her family in the remote countryside of a Muslim state and found herself living in an apartment in a squalid housing development in a big city, sharing her life with a stranger she had been forced to marry. When this man began to beat her regularly, the police moved her to the women's shelter. There, she sits listlessly in a corner, passively watching her baby crawl around restlessly. She barely responds to the irritated looks of the other women or the repeated reminders from members of staff that she must take care of her child. This woman is homeless. She can no longer return to her family in her native country because she has become the property of her husband. When I question her about her own and her child's future, she answers that her faith is in Allah: "Through Allah I ended up in these circumstances, and if I am patient He will get me out of this misery. I only have to obey Him." 


In Submission: Part I, I try to show how this kind of submission to Allah works out in real life.


Yet the Al-Nisa organization of Muslim women believes that since 9/11 Muslims have come under heavy pressure. They feel pushed into a corner, unfairly held responsible for the actions of people who are up to nasty things in faraway countries and call themselves Muslims. The organization's chair thinks that criticism of the position of Muslim women is in itself a good thing, but that my timing in making the movie was unfortunate and that Muslims must not be hurt.


This argument is incorrect. Muslims in the Netherlands are not cornered. On the contrary, they fully enjoy the freedom of religion that prevails in this Western secular country and its enormous prosperity. The fact is: as long as Muslims here are not in charge of the country, they will go on feeling hurt.


Many Muslims react with outrage when flaws in their religion are pointed out to them. 


Some threaten physical violence, or become verbally abusive. 


Here are comments about Submission; Part I, from some official spokespeople for Dutch Muslim organizations (although nobody knows exactly who they represent):


"Hirsi Ali's film defeats the object. Discussing the position of women in Islam is a good thing. But this is a terrible shock for devout Muslims, many of whom will immediately feel the need to become defensive. This spoils the debate in the Netherlands. Right now it would be better if we focused on restoring a normal relationship. I have no idea what her motives were, but I regard it as pure provocation.”


These are the words of Mohamed Sini, chairman of the Trust for Islam and Citizenship, who says he respects, above all, the freedom of speech.


The chairman of the Netherlands branch of the Arab-European League (AEL) says: 


"The discussion about the position of Islam is weakened by Hirsi Ali's confrontation. It comes as no surprise that Theo van Gogh does this sort of thing; he never has a constructive thought about anything. But she is a member of the Dutch House of Representatives. I cannot think why she wants to offend millions of Muslims in the Netherlands." He says that—except for some extreme cases—there is little wrong with the position of women in the Islamic world. "Dutch people who would like to find out a little more about this should not listen to Hirsi Ali only. She projects her own bizarre experiences onto the whole group."


Having ranted on like this, he then admits that he never even saw the film: "I'm not going to waste my time on this madness."


Just before the film was broadcast on television, a spokesperson for the Contact Group for Muslims and Government commented, "I am not in the least bit interested in that little film, and I don't want to see it. It will be a distortion of the facts, anyway. I find it absurd that Hirsi Ali does nothing but provoke. It's time for her to keep her mouth shut." 


He chooses to "ignore" Hirsi Ali and Van Gogh completely: "That is the best strategy; sooner or later they'll stop. They simply don't deserve a reaction."


The chairman of the Turkish Muslim organization Milli Gorus said, in the Rotterdam daily, "If Hirsi Ali wants to wage a religious war, that is her business; I have decided not to comment on it [the film]."


The chairman of the Netherlands Muslim Council responded to Submission: "For the Islamic community this is one step too far. The more orthodox Muslims will certainly not accept this."


Driss El Boujoufi of the Union of Moroccan Muslim Organizations in the Netherlands (UMMON) had the following to say: “Ayaan Hirsi Ali wants it to be a competition, and she is looking for opponents. But we're not playing her game, because as soon as it becomes a contest, you attract spectators, and that is the last thing we want."


YES  OF  COURSE  THEY  DO  NOT  WANT  ANY  KIND  OF  PUBLICITY,  THAT  WOULD  BRING  OUT  THE  FACTS  ON  THE  NITTY-GRITTY  TEACHING  OF  THE  KORAN  OR  MUHAMMAD  -  THE  WORLD  WOULD  SEE  THE  CULTIC  MIND-SET  OF  THE  ISLAM  RELIGION  -  Keith Hunt


A spokesperson for the Netherlands Muslim Broadcasting Network says: "Hirsi Ali has a problem with these verses from the Koran. But it is not the Koran that incites men to abuse women, it is the men themselves. She should address them directly and invite them to discuss the matter. Emancipation begins from within. If you attack what people value, you will lose their trust."


All these reactions were fairly predictable. 


It does not matter whether the person commenting has actually seen Submission. It does not matter whether the critical reflections on Islam are expressed in the form of a short film, a text, or something else. These people just want to deny Islam's biggest weakness: the way in which women are regarded and treated. 


Leaders of Muslim organizations warn that the Muslim community will not accept the images of women whose bodies have been painted with verses from the Koran. But the fact is that Muslim organizations, and Muslims in general, have for centuries gone along with what actually happens when the message contained in these verses is applied to the bodies of the actresses in Submission: 


the lashing of "unchaste" women, the systematic mistreatment of "disobedient" women, the rape of married women by permission of Allah, and the ostracizing, or even murder, of girls and women who have become the victims of incest. All this is followed slavishly, thoughtlessly to clear the family name of shame.


Representatives of Muslim organizations deny the message contained in Submission and also deny the fact that large groups of Muslim women are forced to take refuge in women's shelters, that many are dumped by their husbands in their country of origin, with all their children and no money. 


The Department of Justice has actually been stopped from keeping a systematic record of the number of honor killings that occur each year, because sophistic spokespeople for Muslim organizations warn that this would upset the people whose interests they protect. 


Yet the regional institutes for mental welfare and other mental health care services are aware that many Muslim girls become the victims of incest and forced marriages and are taken away by their fathers to be murdered in the family's country of origin. Whose interests are being protected by the government here? Murderers are being protected.


The hidden agenda of the conservative spokespeople of Muslim organizations is the same as the agenda of Muslim schools: 


Western Muslims want to be free to decide how they treat the female members of their family. These are organized enemies of women, and they endorse the unspoken consensus that prevails in Islamic countries: how women and girls are treated is a private family matter. If any female behavior seems remotely threatening to the family honor, then fathers, brothers, and any other male relatives may intervene as they think fit. Verses in the Koran are used to justify male violence against women, and also to appease the perpetrator's conscience and that of any witnesses. By exempting the holy text from all criticism, the leaders of Muslim organizations everywhere successfully preserve the system that underlies the oppression of women. And so they perpetuate its practice.


In fact, the majority of Muslim men do not regard the way they treat women as "oppressive," "abusive," or "murderous"; they feel that violence is a fair response to the way women behave. 


As one Muslim spokesperson said, "Muslim women know the rules. If they choose to overstep the mark, they will be punished," and "with the exception of some extreme cases, there is little wrong with the position of women in the Islamic world." 


Doesn't that speak volumes?


Yet Muslims think I place too much emphasis on the negative aspects of Islam. They ask why I do not make a fuss about the intolerance among Christians or Jews and believe that I am more interested in putting Islam in a bad light than in improving the position of women……..


THE  ARGUMENT  IS:  THERE  ARE  CHRISTIANS  AND  JEWS  INTOLERANT  OF  OTHER  CHRISTIANS.  IT’S  AN  ARGUMENT  OF  “LOOK  OVER  HERE,  THERE  ARE  OTHERS  INTOLERANT  OF  EACH  OTHER  AMONG  JEWS  AND  CHRISTIANS.”  IT’S  AN  ARGUMENT  OF  “WHY  PICK  ON  US?”  OR  “YOU  ARE  AGAINST  OUR  RELIGION,  AND  YOU  DON’T  REALLY  CARE  ABOUT  OUR  WOMEN.”  THE  TRUTH  OF  THE  MATTER  IS,  MANY  CHRISTIANS  WRITE  BOOKS  AND  ARTICLES  THAT  HAVE  A  PURPOSE  IN  EXPOSING  THE  ERRORS  OF  VARIOUS  TEACHINGS  BY  OTHER  CHRISTIANS;  I  HAVE  DONE  IT  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  MANY  MANY  TIMES, WITH  A  CHRISTIANITY  I  GREW  UP  WITH,  EXPOSING  ITS  ERRORS  AND  FALSE  TEACHINGS. WHY  SHOULD  NOT  A  BORN  AND  RAISED  ISLAM  PERSON,  TAKE  THE  TIME,  AND  HAVE  THE  RIGHT,  TO  EXPOSE  THE  FALSE  AND  SOMETIMES  BRUTAL  TEACHINGS  OF  THE  KORAN  AND  THE  HORRID  CULTURAL  PRACTICES  OF  ISLAM,  SUCH  AS  FEMALE  CIRCUMCISION.  AYAAN  ALI  HAS  ALL  THE  RIGHT  TO  EXPOSE  THE  FALSEHOODS  OF  ISLAM  AS  I  DO  TO  EXPOSE  THE  FALSEHOODS  OF  CHRISTIANITY  -  IT  IS  CALLED  FREEDOM  OF  SPEECH  -  Keith Hunt



But if these critical Muslims took their comparative analysis a little further, they would discover that the number of "word nazis" in the Christian and Jewish worlds is far smaller than in the Islamic world. The God of the Christians and Jews has been tamed by reasonable people and largely moved to the believer's private conscience. Nowadays, God is referred to as "love" or as "energy," and those who believe in Him have done away with the concept of hell. 


IT  IS  TRUE  THAT  TODAY  MOST  CHURCHES  DO  NOT  TALK  ABOUT  “HELL”  AS  WAS  DONE  50,  100,  200  YEARS  AGO,  TO  FRIGHTEN  PEOPLE  INTO  CONVERTING  TO  CHRISTIANITY,  AND  SO  BEING  SAVED  FROM  HELL-FIRE [WHICH  WAS  TAUGHT  TO  BE  EVERLASTING  PHYSICAL  AND  MENTAL  PAIN]  -  Keith Hunt


Christianity and Judaism have lost their grip on the individual, although the priests, ministers, and rabbis have not allowed this to happen of their own free will. The prevalence of freedom of conscience, the search for knowledge, and the individual control over human nature in the West were hard-won conquests, all of which began as a battle of words.


AYAAN  ALI  IS  LOOKING  AT  THE  POPULAR  CHRISTIANITY  OF  CENTURIES,  WHERE  IT  WAS  A   BATTLE  FOUGHT  AMONG  THE  ROMAN  CATHOLICS  AND  PROTESTANT  CHURCHES,  WHERE  PRIESTS  AND  MINISTERS  WOULD  RULE  WITH  AN  IRON  HAND  OVER  THE  PEOPLE.  THE  TRUE  CHURCH  OF  GOD  WAS  NEVER  A  PART  OF  THE  FALSE  TEACHINGS  AND  IRON  HAND  OF  CATHOLIC  AND  PROTESTANT  CHURCHES.  TRUE  ALSO  IS  THE  FACT  THAT  THE  TRUE  CHURCH  OF  GOD,  HAD  TO  BE  CORRECT  AT  TIMES  AND  PURGED  OF  WRONG  TEACHINGS,  WRONG  TRADITIONS,  AND  EVEN  SOME  IRON  HAND  MINISTERS, THAT  DID  AT  TIMES  FIND  ITS  WAY  AMONG  GOD’S  TRUE  PEOPLE.  BUT  CHRIST  AS  HEAD  OF  HIS  CHURCH,  HAS  ALWAYS  HAD  HIS  FAITHFUL  DISCIPLES  FOLLOWING  THE  TRUE  WAYS  OF  THE  HEAVENLY  FATHER  -  Keith Hunt


Most women born in what were originally Jewish-Christian states can safely go out in the streets on their own, have equal access to education, reap the rewards of their labor, and choose with whom they want to share their lives. They are in charge of their sexual needs, the decision to get pregnant, and the number of children they want, Most of the women of Jewish or Christian descent are free to travel around the world, buy a house of their own, and have their own possessions. Not all of them, but the majority. 


Only a tiny fraction of the women in Muslim families can do any of these things. They have virtually no right of self-determination.


Jews and Christians have achieved this in the West by criticizing their holy texts, by ridiculing things that are said in the Bible and Talmud, and pointing out that many of these things are wrong. The ancient texts have survived, but our ideas about how the sexes should relate to each other have moved on. When Jews and Christians discovered the power of words and images, they used them to shine a light onto their belief and culture, to find inconsistencies, to stop harmful practices, and to promote merciful, humane ones. Time after time, those who wanted to preserve the status quo complained that the texts, images, and behavior of their critics were "hurtful," "sinful," and "radical." For centuries the church encouraged the faithful to ignore its critics. It held inquisitions. It ignored priests who behaved immorally and illegally until the people would not allow it anymore. 


AGAIN  AYAAN  ALI  IS  TALKING  ABOUT  THE  POPULAR  CENTURIES  OLD  CHRISTIANITY,  THAT  BATTLED  ALONG  ITS  WAY,  OUT  OF  VARIOUS  DARKNESSES  AS  HISTORY  SHOWS  US.  A  TIME  WHEN  THE  AVERAGE  “PEOPLE”  COULD  GET  COPIES  OF  THE  BIBLE  AND  READ  IT. HENCE  LIGHT  CAME  TO  CERTAIN  ASPECTS  OF  CHRISTIANITY.  THE  TRUE  CHURCH  ALWAYS  HAD  MORE  LIGHT  AND  TRUTH,  BUT  JESUS  STILL  HAD  TO  CORRECT  ERRORS  FROM  TIME  TO  TIME,  AS  REVELATION  2  AND  3  SHOW  -  Keith Hunt


The same must happen in Islam. The people who truly love the beauty of their faith must act to stamp out the ugliness.


The history of the West is the search for enlightenment through self-reflection. This is the source of its democratic practices and its power. I have borrowed my strategy of criticizing Islam from the Jewish-Christian insurrection against the absolutism of religious faith. 


I made Submission: Part I in this context. How effective my controversial strategy can be will be known to anyone familiar with the struggle between the churches of the West. As I say, I am an optimist.

………………..