Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The "Infidel": Power and Grace
I mentioned sometime ago that the first time I saw Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of the best-selling book Infidel, was on C-Span, which I rarely watch. Christopher Hitchens, the brilliant English author and enemy of Islamo-fascism, was in the audience.
She may have been the most articulate and compelling speaker – even though English was not her first-language – I’ve ever heard. I’d read that she was a strong critic of Islam, and that she was under a death threat from the adherents to that profoundly flawed religion.
In the C-Span production, a Muslim man in the audience – he was in a distinct minority – asked her how she “dared” to utter such thorough-going criticisms of his faith. His comment reflected the Islamic belief that the religion should never be subject to challenges, not from the faithful (which Ali no longer is) and certainly not by an infidel (which she now calls herself proudly).
Perhaps the man’s question implied something else, that people who dared to take the life path she has are taking a great risk. A significant portion of the Muslim doesn’t debate its critics. Rather, it kills them, always in the name of its “faith.”
If you read the introductory paragraphs in Infidel, you’ll get a sense of the book’s power:
“One November morning in 2004, Theodore van Gogh got up to work at his film production company in Amsterdam. He took out his old black bicycle and headed down a main road. Waiting in a doorway was a Moroccan man with a handgun and two butcher knives.”
“As Theo cycled down the Linnaeusstraat, Muhammed Bouyeri approached. He pulled out his gun and shot Theo several times. Theo fell off his bike and lurched across the road, then collapsed. Bouyeri followed. Theo begged, ‘Can’t we talk about this?’ but Bouyeri shot him four more times. Then he took out one of his butcher knives and sawed into Theo’s throat. With the other knife, he stabbed a five-page letter onto Theo’s chest.”
“The letter was addressed to me.”
Theo van Gogh and Ayaan Ali had made a short film together. It had portrayed the brutal and disgusting subjugation of Muslim women by Muslim men assuming they are carrying out the “will of Allah.” The film was Theo’s – and Ayaan’s – supposed crime against Islam. In short, to tell the truth is somehow an offense against the Supreme Being.
What will be the fate of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, this incredibly beautiful, intelligent, and courageous woman? Unfortunately, the Muslim world being the global embarrassment it has become, there’s a good probability she will go the way of her friend Theo van Gogh. There are many ignorant, fanaticized, violence-prone Muhammed Bouyeri’s out there, with their guns, knives, and other implements of death.
Ali never goes anywhere without an armed guard. She may need one for the rest of her life. Born a Somali, Ali is now a Dutch citizen. I sincerely wish the U.S. would do for her what it did for Churchill, give her honorary citizenship – and also provide her with Secret Service protection.
I urge everyone who loves liberty and the worth of the individual to buy Ms. Ali’s book. I got it from amazon.com for about $13, plus shipping. For anyone who wants to understand why most of the Muslim world hates us – and hates her – it’s important reading.
In some ways, Ali reminds me of my friend Diana Lynn Irey of Washington County, Pennsylvania. Like Diana, she’s a person who with an uncommon combination of physical and spiritual beauty. Also, she's scrupulously honest and boundlessly caring. She attracts friends and supporters much the same way a magnet attracts iron filings.
Diana is an unusual woman, but Ali is the type that comes along about once a century. She’s a dark-skinned, highly educated version of Joan of Arc. Unlike Joan (and unlike Diana), Ali has not yet seen the tremendous power for good that Christianity at its best can unleash in individuals and societies. If that comes to her, and I pray it will, she could realize her full capacity to transform the world for good.
As women (and men of good will) come out of Islam, as they will in great numbers, they will need an alternative to the barbarism they have left behind. They will benefit from understanding a Supreme Being who is an endless fountain of mercy and compassion – a God who, unlike the one in Islam, wants to engage us in an endless dialogue.
Whatever the exact path Ali follows, she is a woman deserving of our admiration, emulation, and gratitude.
Note: I’ll write at least one more piece in the coming days about Ms. Ali.