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Ms. Ayan H. Ali's New Book - Nomad - Reviewed By Mr. Charles Moore Of The Torygraph.

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Oodweyne   

An exceptional woman's rejection of Islam.

 

Charles Moore reviews 'Nomad' by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and finds the author's view of Islam convincing - and depressing.

 

In a way, this book is the opposite of Barack Obama's famous memoir Dreams from My Father. The future President of the United States wrote of how he had tried to understand all of the non-American bits of his background, especially the Kenyan family of his father. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, on the other hand, is an African brought up in Africa.

 

She comes from Somalia, and has also lived in Ethiopia and Kenya. Her fame derives from the fact that she boldly and absolutely rejected the Muslim faith in which she grew up. She sought asylum in Holland and became, for a time, a politician there. She collaborated with Theo Van Gogh, who was later murdered by an Islamist fanatic, on a film called Submission, about Islam's oppression of women.

 

For her apostasy, a capital offence in the eyes of all the schools of Islamic law, she is threatened with death. She has to have personal protection at all times.

 

Now she lives in the United States, and this book, which follows her earlier account of her life, Infidel, is, among other things, an examination of the virtues of her adopted country and the Western way of life which she has enthusiastically embraced. Obama's book, though not anti-American, was a journey away from his country. Ayaan Hirsi Ali's direction of travel is the other way.

 

Since we tend to take the virtues of the West for granted, it is moving to find them so enthusiastically identified by an outsider. One thing which enrages her about her own Somali Muslim culture is its utter dependence on clan. Clan loyalties in that culture, she says, are the only social reality, and so people feel under no obligation to be honest or kind to those outside the clan, or to respect the rule of law or political institutions.

 

In the West, however, the social order – far from being "broken", as we tend to see it – is strong. People go to great efforts, says the author, to help strangers, debate with one another without violence and ensure that public and commercial services do their job properly. "The infidel," she says, "insists on honesty and trust", whereas Muslim societies are riddled with suspicion and survive by "taqqiya – pretending to be something you are not".

 

We in the West tend to envy Africa for its greater sense of family, but Ayaan Hirsi Ali launches into a paean of praise for American marriage. She thinks that its emphasis on the love between man and woman who have chosen each other freely and the focus on the children they bear is much more healthy than the web of obligations to endless useless cousins in the world from which she has escaped.

 

She argues that in our freedom, and in our more responsible and restrained attitudes to sex, money and violence, we are superior to the Islamic world. In her view, the Muslim obsession with a woman's virginity is not a mark of modesty and decency, but of ownership and the abuse of power. It helps to feed a male identity which she tellingly describes, referring to her brother, as both "fragile and grandiose".

 

It is so clear to Ayaan Hirsi Ali that Western freedom is better than the alternatives that she is evangelical about it. A feminist, she is infuriated by those Western feminists who will not take on subjects such as female circumcision, honour killing and the sale of brides in Muslim societies (and among Muslims in our own societies) because they wish to blame Western colonialism for all ills. And although she is herself an atheist, she is convinced that Christianity is superior to Islam, because it has learnt how to exist in plural societies and because it centres on love rather than anger and fear. She recommends that the churches should come together to counter radical Muslim dawa (mission) with a great push of their own to bring Christianity to immigrants. She makes short work of our own dear Archbishop of Canterbury, and his idea that a little bit of Sharia might be quite nice really.

 

The author is such a brave woman, and her way of writing so clear, that I was surprised, as I read, to find myself feeling rather depressed. One reason, I think, is that I feel most reluctant to accept her view that Islam is simply frightful. She makes a most convincing case for its faults of intolerance, over-masculinity and violence, but she does not stop to imagine what the world would be like if the faith of a quarter of its population were to be undermined.

She makes little allowance for the moral seriousness and devotion to prayer which characterises so many Muslim lives.

 

She is right, of course, that an uncritical attitude to the Koran is "a direct threat to world peace". But is it really impossible that change could take place?

 

The other reason a reader might feel sad reading this book is the appalling scale of the problem the author discusses. She, with her beauty, brains and courage, has truly made a new life for herself (though one which, as the book's title suggests, does not bring peace of mind). But, for every Ayaan Hirsi Ali, there are hundreds of thousands of Muslims trapped in the appalling politics of their own countries, or struggling to make new lives in a West which they are taught, even as they take its advantages, to detest.

 

The first half of this book describes the author's dealings with her parents, brother, sister, half-sister and extended family. It is a story of almost total misery and dislocation, and of a religious culture which manages at the same time to be both immensely powerful and yet broken. The author is exceptional, and that, perhaps, is the problem. One wants to believe her hopeful message, but the facts seem to be against her.

 

 

***********

 

 

Source:- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/charlesmoore/7789292/An-exceptional-womans-rejection-o f-Islam.html

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^not so favourable review by the New York Times's Nick Kristof which drew most of the criticism, so much so that Ayan Hirsi's friends in Academia came to her defense. NYT's Kristof calls the Nomad, "The Gadfly"

 

 

By Nicholas D. Kristof of the NYTs:

 

If there were a “Ms. Globalization” title, it might well go to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali woman who wrote the best- selling memoir “Infidel.” She has managed to outrage more people — in some cases to the point that they want to assassinate her — in more languages in more countries on more continents than almost any writer in the world today.

 

 

Questions for Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The Feminist (May 23, 2010)

Sunday Book Review: ‘Infidel’ by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (March 4, 2007)

Now Hirsi Ali is working on antagonizing even more people in yet another memoir. “Nomad” argues that Islam creates dysfunctional families — like her own — and adds that these distorted families constitute “a real threat to the very fabric of Western life.” Western countries, she says, should be less tolerant of immigrants who try to preserve their lifestyles in their new homelands. It might seem presumptuous to write another memoir so soon, but Hirsi Ali is a remarkable figure who has plenty of memories to record.

 

She was born in Somalia in 1969. Her family fled to avoid political repression, and she grew up in Kenya, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, collecting languages the way some kids collect postage stamps. For a time, she was a fervent Muslim, but when her father ordered her to marry a stranger, she struck out on her own, disgracing the family and shocking herself, and settled in the Netherlands.

 

Hirsi Ali studied political science — she is clearly intellectually brilliant — and ended up as a member of the Dutch Parliament. If the rapid transformation of a Somali girl into an outspoken black, female, immigrant member of Parliament seems extraordinary, it was just the beginning. Soon her critique of Islam was leading to death threats, her citizenship was threatened by Dutch officials and she moved to a new refuge in the United States. Even now, she needs bodyguards.

 

That’s partly because she is by nature a provocateur, the type of person who rolls out verbal hand grenades by reflex. After her father’s death, Hirsi Ali connects by telephone with her aging and long-estranged mother living in a dirt-floor hut in Somalia. Hirsi Ali asks forgiveness, but the conversation goes downhill when her mother pleads with her to return to Islam. Near tears, her mother asks: “Why are you so feeble in faith? . . . You are my child and I can’t bear the thought of you in hell.”

 

“I am feeble in faith because Allah is full of misogyny,” Hirsi Ali thinks to herself. “I am feeble in faith because faith in Allah has reduced you to a terrified old woman — because I don’t want to be like you.” What she says aloud is: “When I die I will rot.” (For my part, I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps Hirsi Ali’s family is dysfunctional simply because its members never learned to bite their tongues and just say to one another: “I love you.”)

 

Since Hirsi Ali denounces Islam with a ferocity that I find strident, potentially feeding religious bigotry, I expected to dislike this book. It did leave me uncomfortable and exasperated in places. But I also enjoyed it. Hirsi Ali comes across as so sympathetic when she shares her grief at her family’s troubles that she is difficult to dislike. Her memoir suggests that she never quite outgrew her rebellious teenager phase, but also that she would be a terrific conversationalist at a dinner party.

 

She is at her best when she is telling her powerful story. And she is at her worst when she is using her experience to excoriate a variegated faith that has more than one billion adherents. Her analysis seems accurate in its descriptions of Somalis, Saudis, Yemenis and Afghans, but not in her discussion, say, of Indonesian Muslims — who are more numerous than those other four nationalities put together.

 

To those of us who have lived and traveled widely in Africa and Asia, descriptions of Islam often seem true but incomplete. The repression of women, the persecution complexes, the lack of democracy, the volatility, the anti-Semitism, the difficulties modernizing, the disproportionate role in terrorism — those are all real. But if those were the only faces of Islam, it wouldn’t be one of the fastest-growing religions in the world today. There is also the warm hospitality toward guests, including Christians and Jews; charity for the poor; the aesthetic beauty of Koranic Arabic; the sense of democratic unity as rich and poor pray shoulder to shoulder in the mosque. Glib summaries don’t work any better for Islam than they do for Christianity or Judaism.

 

Where Hirsi Ali is exactly right, I think, is in her focus on education as a remedy. It’s the best way to open minds, promote economic development and suppress violence. In the long run education is a more effective weapon against terrorists than bombs are.

 

 

Because she is an immigrant, Hirsi Ali emphasizes the difficulties that immigrants, particularly Muslims, have in adjusting to life in Western societies. In the course of telling her own story, she identifies three central problems. First is Islam’s treatment of women. “The will of little girls is stifled by Islam. . . . They are reared to become submissive robots who serve in the house as cleaners and cooks.”

 

Second is the lack of experience that many Muslim immigrants have had with money and credit. Hirsi Ali recounts how, after her arrival in the Netherlands, she received an apartment through the government with the option of a loan of up to $4,000 to furnish it and pay utilities. A Dutch friend offered to take her to a discount furniture store, but Hirsi Ali had dreamed of something upscale. So she and her Somali roommate, Yasmin, went to a high-end store and bought wall-to-wall carpeting and wallpaper — and that used up almost the entire loan.

 

“The money was worth nothing here. Was the whole loan about just a carpet? We quickly decided it was God’s will. There was no need to quarrel: Allah had willed it thus.” Soon Hirsi Ali was thousands of dollars in debt, and she argues that many foreigners have similar troubles with Western credit and finance.

 

The third problem is a propensity to violence in the family, as well as in religious vocabulary and tradition. “I don’t want to create the impression that all people from Muslim countries or tribal societies are aggressive,” she writes — and then she proceeds to do just that. She declares: “Islam is not just a belief; it is a way of life, a violent way of life. Islam is imbued with violence, and it encourages violence. Muslim children all over the world are taught the way I was: taught with violence, taught to perpetuate violence, taught to wish for violence against the infidel, the Jew, the American Satan.”

 

This is the kind of exaggeration that undermines the book. If the points about women and money are largely true, the point about violence seems to me vastly overstated. Yes, corporal punishment is common in madrassas, as it was in the rural Oregon schools where I grew up, and as it continues to be in Texas. Beatings may be regrettable, but they don’t typically turn children into terrorists.

 

During a recent trip to Sudan, I was speaking to a Muslim Arab in Khartoum. When I said I was from the United States, he looked quite shocked and said worriedly: “Oh! It is very violent there.” I’ve had similar experiences in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, with people in those countries expressing concern about my safety in violent New York. They generalize too much from American movies.

 

It’s true that public discussion in some Muslim countries has taken on a strident tone, full of over-the-top exaggerations about the West. Educated Muslims should speak out more against such rhetoric.

 

In the same way, here in the West, we should try to have a conversation about Islam and its genuine problems — while speaking out against over-the-top exaggerations about the East. This memoir, while engaging and insightful in many places, exemplifies precisely the kind of rhetoric that is overheated and overstated.

 

 

Book-Release-Nomad_articleimage.jpg

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NASSIR   

And although she is herself an atheist, she is convinced that Christianity is superior to Islam, because it has learnt how to exist in plural societies and because it centres on love rather than anger and fear. She recommends that the churches should come together to counter radical Muslim dawa (mission) with a great push of their own to bring Christianity to immigrants.

Her sheer ignorance on Islam and selective tendencies of the excesses of our own culture is mindboggling. She derives popularity by reinforcing, least of adorning with finer accouterments, the prejudices that the uninformed western societies hold against Islam and the diverse peoples of the world who embrace it. They parade her reckless and sheer ignorance as an impressive feat that can easily pass the circles of the regulated western Press, which is also a well-known formula of a psychological warfare used by the imperialists through its media monopolies.

 

From a private knowledge of her background, she is hardly a gifted writer, in fact. However, she was presented with a wicked opportunity to abandon her faith and roots and be the face and authorship of a barrage of relentless attacks against our societies.

 

I'm really more worried by our innocent, less-read, girls who would fall for this sinister campaign of anti-Islam Literature.

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NASSIR   
" We may not be privy to what looms in the mind of any human who holds such loathing and ill-bred views against any group, but one fact is clear, she is getting the encouragement, funding and support of anti Muslim propaganda machines who no doubt are celebrating to use a renegade Muslim to spread their anti Islamic rhetoric through lies and misinformation. by Yasmeen

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Jacpher   

She's smart enough to know the hot product in the market today. She knows anything with Islam is gonna clear the shelves and make it a bestseller. For most of us, all that she's demonizing, we call them family, culture, identity, faith, but for her, it is all about business opportunity. Cash it in while it's hot. As simple as that.

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SeeKer   

Weird coincidence, I was just speaking of her today. Huffingtonpost review of the book was a bit fairer but the writer felt the need to include an afterthought.

 

I do get the sense once in a while in the second half of Nomad, which discusses her arrival in America, that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a little starry eyed about the West. Yes, Christianity at its best is about love; and no, it is not an all-encompassing theocratic order. But in its fundamentalist reaches the literalism and dogma of evangelicals generates plenty of intolerance, hypocrisy and familial dysfunction. And let's don't forget about the sex scandals in the Catholic Church.

 

Also, no doubt, in contrast to her experience of misogyny and polygamy Western men look pretty good. But to suggest they are nearly always upright and faithful to their wives and family is to ignore the reality of so many ugly divorces, forlorn children raised by the media, battered spouses and deadbeat dads. Certainly, the West has its fair share of desperate housewives.

 

Many Muslim readers will have bigger squabbles. How much does Hirsi Ali's experience, in which faith and clan are fused, tell us about, say, modern Turkey or Iran? Others, like Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, the Shiite theorist and first president of revolutionary Iran, will argue that the concept of "Tawhid" -- that the whole of existence is one -- understands that freedom, not submission and domination, is the path to the divine. Yet, admittedly, he lives in exile outside Paris like Trotsky in Mexico City while "actually existing Islam" is run by the Revolutonary Guard back in Tehran.

 

Above all, like Hirsi Ali's first account of her defection from Islam, Infidel, the power of this book is that it was written in "good faith" as Nicola Chiaromonte meant it: As a witness to her moment, Hirsi Ali calls it as she sees it. She has arrived at her beliefs not by retreating into orthodoxy out of fear of uncertainty or through the nihilism of indifference, but because experience has led her to them. If she wants to live in this world as a free women, here she must stand

source

 

Apostate or not, I find her a calculating woman that knows what she is doing. She might surprise some of us by turning coattail when she get longer in the tooth icon_razz.gif Whatever the case, her narrative is not one that is unique to her.

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Cabdow   

I'm really more worried by our innocent, less-read, girls who would fall for this sinister campaign of anti-Islam Literature.

I hear ya man!

 

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world (fact) Therefore, i highly doubt any garbage/missleading information that this ahbalad spews about Islam would weigh or change anything by the mass eey u durbaan tumeeso for the long run! Allaha soo hadeeyo iyada iyo intii lunsanba!!

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BUKURR   

I can't bring myself to read anything that falls under this category of propaganda-like books, am just too lazy to even read the book review, so what the hell she is talking about now, if you guys don't mind?

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Tuujiye   

^^ you sure you didn't read this book?...

 

GD when you take Islam the way you woud like it to be, you get lost. get it?

 

Ayan used to have views like the one you and other have here in SOL..she talks about it in her books.... so I think you should read her books sxb (if you don't)

 

 

Wareer Badanaa!!!!

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Abtigiis   

Jacphar'oow,

 

Gabadha wax pirate ah oo meheriya, kadibna waxan ay ku jirto ka dhex saara miyaa lawaayey??

 

Ileen gabadha waxaa kolkii horeba laga raacay mid madoow oo Pirate ah oo qasab in loogu guuriyo la damcay ooy ka carartaye!

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Tuujiye   

A&T.. Mid reer toronto ah aa hada kuhaayo aan maqlay..20 sano uu ka yaryahay loool... ciyaalka xaafada waaye..

 

 

Wareer Badanaa!!!

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