Ayaan Hirsi Ali. You’ve heard of her; she’s a vocal critic of Islam. You might have read a book of hers or seen her on TV or You Tube. For me, she’s the perfect person to inspire us to reconsider our opinions, as in “Don’t believe everything you think.” I’d be surprised if any one of us could listen to her or read her writings and not encounter some degree of gut level reaction. She has no use for political correctness and repeatedly challenges us to defend our values.
I’m so looking forward to the June 11 meeting of the Secular Humanist group at Horizon House (10:00 am). A video of Hirsi Ali will be shown and discussion will follow. I’m not sure which video has been selected, but I’ve seen her on screen often and love to hear her talk. I found her first book, Infidel, harsh and jarring, but by the most recent, Heretic, the tone was different and she was clearly seeking rapprochement with Muslims who appreciate liberal values and are seeking ways to live in western societies without leaving Islam.
Hirsi Ali was critical of Bush 43 and Barack Obama for focusing counter-terrorism efforts only on violent elements within Islam and pushing the characterization of Islam as a religion of peace and Muslims as believers at home in western culture. Her most recent study strives to direct our attention to Islamists who do not accept our values, but are not yet violent. In The Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Counter It, Hirsi Ali describes a common interpretation of Islam in which church and state are cemented together, a culture completely at odds with western secular society.
If you want to do some reading and thinking prior to the June 11 meeting, I’m offering two links to online sources. Many other articles and videos are out there should you want to prepare for an open discussion.
Whether you do or don’t attend on June 11, please share some of your thoughts here about Ayaan Hirsi Ali.