Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s “Nomad” – An Interview with Guardian

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new book titled “Nomad: A Personal Journey Through The Clash Of Civilisations” will be released on 13th of May. This book is a follow up to her previous work titled “Infidel” and proposes that Christianity should act as a role model for Muslims in order to progress towards enlightenment and critical thinking. Here is an interview she gave to The Guardian.

Though, I am a great admirer of her because she has displayed enormous courage and strength throughout her life and has survived to tell the tale. Despite facing serious threats to her life, she continues to pursue the fight. However, personally I do not think that it is wise to replace one set of dogmatic ideals with another one, even though I do admit that for most part Islam is the main problem world faces today. However, it would be naïve to say that Christianity is the way out of it.

Her argument is that as compared to Islam & Muslims, Christianity and Christians are more tolerant towards criticism:

"If you compare the way Muslims take offence at perceived insults that are not insults, but are just a critical way of looking at their religion, then I start to ask myself, why are Muslims so hypersensitive to criticism and why don't they do anything with it except to respond by denying it or playing the victim? And I've come to the conclusion it's because of the gradual indoctrination – from parents, teachers – that everything in the Qur'an is true; Muhammad is infallible, you have to follow his example and defend Islam at all times, at all costs. Instead of going along as most people are doing now and saying, OK, let's refrain from criticizing Islam, let's refrain from calling Islamic terrorism Islamic, I think we should do the opposite”

She is obviously right in her observation that Muslims take their scripture to be infallible and that it is considered to be the duty of all Muslims to defend religion. And this is again why these very same people are going to look despicably at Christianity, because for them the “last words of god” have already been provided to them. In my opinion they will again oppose the idea of looking up at Christianity (the infidels) as a role model and the opposition will have the same ferocity as those opposing criticism of Islam.

Her rational for promoting Christianity is that there are people who are reluctant to abandon faith and for such folks she suggests enlightened Christianity that separates “not just church and state, but knowledge and church”. There are sects within Islam as well which offer a ‘spiritual solution’ for example, Sufisim which is based on non-violent concept. Then why not promote this sect in order to counter the fanatical breed which might sound less offensive to them.

She has however made some statements in the interview with which I agree completely regarding her strong belief in liberal values. She asserts her strong belief in the rights of individuals in a society saying:

“I am talking about a denial of rights to an individual within a community: a girl's genitals were being cut; a girl was being denied education, forced into marriage; a gay guy has to hide from his parents that he's gay otherwise they're going to do something to him. That is what liberalism was all about. It is offensive to me if a group of people deny rights to an individual human being in the name of their religion – and they want the rest of us to leave them alone? No way”

With all the death threats and dangers she faces because of her opinions she still believes that it is still a better life that she could have as a woman in an Islamic country, because:

“Even with protection, even with death threats, I can publish, I can travel and I can live the life that I want, and not the one my parents want, or some imam somewhere thinks I should live."

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Comment by QM on May 12, 2010 at 4:24pm
Thats exactly my sentiments. I obviously admire her for being one of the very few and vocal critics of Islam, but this idea just comes out wrong.


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