Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Spiegel Online reported Former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali is worshipped by foreign intellectuals, but not always welcome at home. Her opinions provoke Muslims as well as the European left, and she's been living in very public exile from the Netherlands for over a year. Even her clothing is provocative, though not at first glance. Ayaan Hirsi Ali wears a soft brown designer jacket with an embroidered floral pattern. When she takes off the jacket, though, there's a black T-shirt. A black T-shirt underneath reads, in several languages (including Arabic): "Neither Whore Nor Submissive." She smoothes the T-shirt, stretches and says: "It's a fantastic slogan, isn't it?"
Fantastic and provocative.
Who can be surprised that this woman polarizes people? That some consider her a kind of Joan of Arc, while others see her as an incorrigible radical? As someone who says that she wants to help oppressed Muslim women, and yet may do more damage to them than good?
In what way can bringing out what happens to a woman under Islam can it do them damage. It might result in her death, but she seems prepared for that.
The daughter of a Somali opposition politician who fled to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage, Hirsi Ali is an expert at offending others. A rebellious spirit lurks beneath her graceful exterior and designer clothing.... She's discovered, she now says, that even those who claim to be fighting outdated dogmas are quick to impose their restrictions on thought. From public life she's learned that minorities should not be rebuked; that there are also racists among non-whites; and that "tolerance of the intolerant is nothing but cowardice."

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