Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, gave an interview recently to the L.A. Times. Her incisive intelligence is obvious, as is her willingness to take politically incorrect positions.
The interviewer, Patt Morrison, gives a brief overview of Ms. Ali’s background. For our readers who are not familiar with The Somalian Freedom Fighter, that page is a good place to catch up. By the way, the reporter says that Ms. Ali’s third book, Nomad, will be published in February. You can pre-order it here. I suspect it will cover her years spent in hiding and later, here in America.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Feminism’s freedom fighter*
What did you think of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s trip to Africa?
I am always very happy when the United States shows interest in Africa, even if it’s symbolic, and hers was largely symbolic. I think that Hillary Clinton will continue State Department aid to Africa. But many African countries are faced with the expansion of radical Islam, [which] will mean that the United States is going to be faced with a new national security question. Wahhabi money is in Africa. They’re building mosques very fast. They’re introducing Sharia. It’s a grass-roots movement, and I didn’t see anybody talking about that.
Translated: this administration (much like the last one) is playing the same old “symbolic” game with Africa. All clashing cymbals and banging drums, but no real investment in preventing the Wahhabi take-over.
When it comes to women in Africa, is the U.S. using too many of its values or too few?
There is too much apologizing for what freedom means. In Africa, you’re told, “Oh, this is our custom – polygamy is our custom, female genital mutilation is our custom, these are our values.” Then you have the Americans and the Europeans being very shy and saying, “Oh, I’m really sorry, it’s your custom.”
No translation necessary. Ms. Ali is telling the Anthropology Department, otherwise known as American foreign policy, to get a grip on reality and quit endorsing atrocities just because they’re “customs”.
Will someone make a permanent banner to wave at our President every time he speaks? It should say:
– – – – – – – – –
“THERE IS TOO MUCH APOLOGIZING FOR WHAT FREEDOM MEANS”
— Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Maybe blue letters on a red background with white stars?
Do you make a distinction between mainstream and radical Islam?
I refuse to do that because one gives birth to the other. You are born into mainstream Islam. You are taught: Do not question the prophet; everything in the Koran is true. And then the radicals come and they expand on that, they build on that. it is up to so-called mainstream Islam to tackle the radical element. [Mainstream Muslims] have to question the infallibility of the prophet Muhammad. They have to quit teaching children and young people that everything in the Koran is true and has to be taken seriously. [italics added]
You can see it in the Christian world. You have pockets of very radical Christians who refuse to change. But most Christians have decided to reform, to introduce new ways of looking at [the Bible] and to allow freedom of thought and speech. So if people move away from the radical ideas, they’re not killed, they’re not beheaded.
You’ll be eligible for U.S. citizenship in about three years. How do people here regard their citizenship compared with citizens of other countries?
I think the American situation is much healthier than the European situation. America has the advantage that when you become a citizen, you pledge loyalty to a Constitution that’s about ideas and not about ethnicity. Because of that, Americans do not feel shy about teaching new Americans why citizenship is important, why patriotism is important, pride about the Founding Fathers. That’s an easier sell than taking pride in the history of France, for instance.
Heh. Another Francophobe here. I wonder if she knows that the President thinks our Constitution is “deeply flawed”.
By the way, I didn’t know she was going to become an American citizen, did you? Well no wonder her new book is called Nomad!
One guiding value here is tolerance. You’re concerned about Americans tolerating the wrong things?
To be a community of free people, you have to defend that freedom tooth and nail, and for this country to remain vital, you have to understand that freedom is a very, very vulnerable institution. It’s something you have to keep defending, and the only way to achieve that is intolerance of intolerance.
I hope she keeps saying that at colleges and universities. Coming from her, the icon of freedom in chains, “the intolerance of intolerance” will tie them in philosophical knots.
Are American Muslims different from European Muslims?
I see one big difference, and that is economic. Most Muslims who come to the United States had a higher level of education than Muslims going to Europe, and a higher level of income. That is changing now because of resettlement [of more Muslims in the U.S.]. The United States is not a welfare state. American Muslims have to have a job. European [nations] are welfare states so you have a lot of poor people who depend on the state for their survival. That makes it very attractive for radicals. I hope that American Muslims are different. But that does not make America immune to radical Islam.
She’s right. We are not immune, and our own home-grown versions of radical jihadist terrorism are just as deadly as anything imported.
Be sure to read the rest of the interview here. You’ll find out where Ms. Hirsi Ali puts herself on the political spectrum. I was surprised.
I’ve emailed the reporter to ask if she’s going to publish any more of this interview. At the bottom of the page it says: This interview was edited and excerpted from a longer taped transcript. I’ll let you know if there is any more information forthcoming.
*Note: Ayaan Hirsi Ali is definitely a freedom fighter for women, as the title of this interview says. But then again, so is Phyllis Chesler. Ms. Chesler had to make her escape from Afghanistan and now she slogs away, pushing back against the politically correct tide that tries to wash over everything.
If there were any justice in the world, it would be Phyllis Chesler getting that award in December, not our newly-minted, maybe-counterfeit President…
We could start with her book (one of many), Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman. Every woman has experienced it at one time or another. Phyllis Chesler explains the phenomenon.
One of the advantages of Chesler’s book over the one with the President’s name on it is that Ms. Chesler actually wrote hers.
Hat Tip: Act for America