Jason’s Ranting & Raving

Those who don’t read have no advantage over those who can’t.

Book Review: Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Posted by jaystile on November 19, 2008

This is a book review of ‘Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali’. Ayaan was born into the Islamic faith in Somalia. This is her story of growing up and rejecting the way of life in which she was raised. Her life is full of tragedy, adversity, and strife. This piece of non-fiction is wonderful to read and will effect you emotionally and intellectually. At times it is difficult to read because of the content, but it will leave you wanting to contribute to the betterment of mankind.

What did Ayaan want to accomplish in this book? Here is a quote:

The message of this book, if it must have a message, is that we in the West would be wrong to prolong the pain of that transition unnecessarily, by elevating cultures full of bigotry and hatred toward women to the stature of respectable alternative ways of life.

Ayaan brings to this book a perspective that us in the West will never get. She lived many places growing up. First in Somalia with her mother, grandmother, brother, and sister. Her father was in put in prison when she was very young by Siad Barre because her father was an activist who wanted to install a democracy when Somalia was governed by a communist clan supported by the Soviet Union. Ayaan gives light to what it means to be a member of a clan. She could recite back many generations with other Somalis until they found a common ancestor and then they were like cousins and had to look out for one another. However, each clan is also stereotyped. Some are meant to rule, some are meant to be businessmen, some are meant to be holy, and some are the scum of the earth and should be spit upon. Each clan gives in to and supports their stereotypes. Ayaan and her family were supported by their clan through many hardships. She brings perspective from her experiences living in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Holland.

What does is mean to be an Islamic woman? Subjugation. You must submit to Allah. That is why when you pray you don’t look up, to look up would be to put yourself equal with Allah and that would be blasphemy. You must submit to your father and clan. If you dishonor your father and clan Islamic law permits them to punish you. If you are raped this brings dishonor upon your clan because you used your overly sexualized body to drive men insane, so you must be put to death. It was your fault you were raped. If you question your ma’alim (personal religious tutor) too much he can crack your skull against the wall without repercussions. You must be a pure virgin for your future husband, so you will be circumcised. They will shave off your clitoris and inner labia. They will then sew your outer labia together to form a nice thick scar and only leave a small hole for urine to leak out. On your wedding day your husband will rip open the scar with his penis or a knife and consummate the marriage and then show the bloody sheets to the family who will cheer.

Ayaan escaped from this life and started a new one once she received refugee status in Holland. She worked hard and got her degree in political science. She then went further and became a member of the Dutch parliament after she started raising awareness of the plight of Muslim women and the issues of immigration. The Muslim refugees in Holland and other places in the West do not integrate into their new country. They bring their old traditions, their old clans, and their old problems to their new country. Ayaan made a short movie with a Dutch movie maker Theo van Gogh called Submission Part 1. (Watch it!) For this movie, he was shot, had his throat slit, and had a warning note to others stabbed into his chest. Ayaan has received numerous death threats since she started speaking out.

In my opinion, everyone should read this book. It is time that everyone took a stand. It is time to be intolerant of intolerance. Free speech rules! Secularism and government go hand in hand. Religion and government lead to misery. A law based on religion has to be good for all those who are governed. I have noticed a trend. People read, they become exposed to different ideas, they read more, they form their own opinions, they reject dogma and become better people. Turn off those TVs, shut off the computer, go to the library and read something. I would recommend by starting with Infidel.

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3 Responses to “Book Review: Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali”

  1. […] Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali […]

  2. […] few years later I was having a conversation about Infidel (read my review) with my mom. I bought her the book for Christmas. In the book Ayaan gives up her Islamic faith. Her […]

  3. Great review. I think I will find this book

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