Apr 23, 2008
Book Review: Infidel
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of the bravest women I've read about. This memoir of her life as a Muslim woman born in Somalia and raised by a very religious, honored family was incredible. Her father was considered honorable for his beliefs and the work he did to help Somalis during civil wars. This woman is only 5 years younger than me. I found myself comparing my life to hers throughout the book and it left me feeling so grateful for my life here in America. While I was growing up in a loving, carefree household with all the freedoms this country offers, she was living in a poor, war-torn country where she was beaten regularly by her mother and relying on family clan members for food and money. Once she was beaten almost to death by a Quran teacher because she had the audacity to question things she didn't understand. One of the main points she has tried to get people to understand is that contrary to what most Muslims believe and want others to believe is the Muslim religion is not a peaceful religion. It is born out of fear and submission, especially for women and children. They teach that if you do not believe as they do, you are an unbeliever and should die. Being an unbeliever or an Infidel is the worst thing in their culture. They are raised to fear Allah. Hirsi Ali finally came to terms in her 20's that she didn't want to worship a God that allowed women to be beaten and sexually mutilated for the sake of remaining pure. Pure from what? was her question. Why should man have to improve on what God made? She considered it blasphamy. She couldn't worship a God that allowed such things. God is supposed to be loving, not feared. For speaking out against these practices while living as a refugee and later as a Dutch citizen and Parliament member in the Netherlands, her life was threatened many times. In November 2004, Dutch filmaker Theo van Gogh (nephew of Vincent van Gogh) was murdered in broad daylight in the streets of Amsterdam for working with Hirsi Ali to make the 10-minute short film depicting the abuse of the women of Islam. The film is called Submission. Attached to his body was a death threat against Ayaan. She was immediatly put into hiding for months in the United States. Even today living in Washington D.C. she has constant security. This book enlightened me on the Islamic culture. I knew very little of it and their beliefs. She answered my questions while eloquently telling the story of her life. I have a much better understanding now and I am grateful for her writing this book and being so candid. The topic of Islam is so current in the world today and I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand it better. I found that the further I got into the book, I literally couldn't put it down. To watch the short film Submission click here.