Friday, March 16, 2007

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayyan Hirsi Ali was on The Colbert Report last night. It was an interesting chat, and may be interesting to watch.
Here is an older chat, from Real Time with Bill Mahr.
I have been interested to see some of the negative reactions to her and her thoughts.
Some call her naive. Some are upset she doesn't focus any ire on Christianity, or all religion.
And many dislike her connection to AEI, the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. And those ties go back to her time in Holland and connections to conservative politicians there.
They are thoughts and concerns worth contemplating.
But I am not ready to just dismiss her. She grew up in Muslim family, she fled it. She moved to Holland, found similar intolerance in the community. She spoke out, based on what she heard and experienced. This lead to her friend being murdered, and she was under constant threat of death. All for offering criticism.
So her fixation on the religion of her life experience and who has many members that long to throttle her to death...not too surprising.

A broader reproach of religion would be nice. And not tying oneself to AEI or similar very conservative think tanks would be quite nice. And I, as a result, look at her words with some credulity.
Just as I do when I agree with Christopher Hitchens. He is hard on all people who wrap themselves in the holy. But he also passionately backs the Iraq War. So I try hard to look at any reasoning he applies.
She has many legit grievances with her childhood religion. Mutilation, forced marriage, murder. If she wants to focus on Islam, that is her prerogative. It is up to others, to us, to take it forward and ask equally hard questions of our own faiths and the faiths around us.
She is a great example to women and all people. It is not wrong to question authority or sacred cows. Even if they throw stones or fire bullets.

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