Nomad – Ayaan Hirsi Ali

I was at the bookstore a few days ago, where I noticed that Ayaan Hirsi Ali came out with a new book called Nomad. I read her book Infidel, and I found it very interesting, I do not discount her experiences as a former Muslim, we all go through life like the blind men and the elephant, I my self had a few brushes with the KKK when I was in America, and if I had to base my experience on that, and only that, well… you know where I am getting at.

But I find her reverence by the western media a little over the top. I understand that she does this to get her protection extended by whoever is footing the bill for her to live surrounded by bodyguards and of course to live off what she makes from her books, I do not think that she (or anyone for that matter) should be killed for leaving Islam, Islamic history is full of stories of those who left Islam and nothing happened to them.

However, I do not like that she seems to paint Islam as absolutely bad, and Christianity as absolutely good, here is an interview with Tavis Smiley who, as a Christian, questions her (actually corners her) about that.

I am not saying that some terrorist are not Muslims, in fact, all terrorist are Muslims… except the 94% that aren’t.

She did somehow, change her words, after her interview with Tavis, to “some, not all Muslims” but Stephen Colbert also makes a little fun of her admiration of Christianity (even though she says clearly she prefers others to Jesus) so it only makes me feel like she is trying to appeal to the majority of people in the western world.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
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I might flip through the pages next time I see the book, but at the moment it is not on my list of books to read (not a very impressive list I know, but I do/did not update it often).

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16 thoughts on “Nomad – Ayaan Hirsi Ali

  1. Media,and what they make out of people who are nothing.

    Great links buddy,and if u need any help in travel photography,u know who to ask bro!

  2. I have read Infidel, and I sympathize with Ayan in what she has to go through, I guess as a woman I identified with a lot of her sufferings, I feel that religion is not one fixed concept or ideology, our response to religion varies depending on how the religious teaching is translated into local cultures and laws, the book is rich with personal experience, comparison of world views, and personal conclusions, as a reader, I try not to judge the writer but to learn from her journey, and I disagree with what you wrote that many Muslims have left Islam before, if that ever happened in Islamic country and announced, it would be punishable by death…

    • Hello Hala, thanks for the comment, contrary to popular belief history does have its share of those who left Islam and were left alone, true, more often than not, and especially these days it is not the zeitgeist but there were books written by famous people who left Islam either in the Abbsid period or a few years ago like Abdullah Algaseemi who wrote many books against religion and died a natural death, yes he was not allowed to go back to Saudi, but nevertheless, he was not killed.

  3. As with the other forms of capital punishment in Islam, I do think that if someone were to leave islam, and indeed there have been many, a punishment is not warranted unless they flagrantly display that fact to society. Its a similar case for adultery, where to be given the punishment, you need to do it in front of 3 respectable members of society, which frankly won’t happen unless you do it in public.

    Now, I’m not going to go out on a limb and judge Ayan. She had her reasons to hate her culture, and indeed I felt very sympathetic after reading infidel, but her use of this as a launching pad to demonize the 1.4 billion of people that do follow Islam peacefully is completely unwarranted. I do see her actions now as being motivated through money, and ‘footing the bill’ as you said, and not because of a cause shes fighting for.

  4. You all are far kinder to Ayaan Hirsi Ali than I am.

    Her self-aggrandizement and conflation of Islam, culture and her biography are dangerous to those who believe her. Furthermore, she, herself, acknowledges her own capacity for deception and manipulation to “survive”, or more accurately to move up in society to what she seems to think is her rightful place of leading Muslims out of Islam and women out of their cultural values and into those of the US, which she states she has adopted. She of course fails to mention that she is embraced by the right-wing of the US, including the American Enterprise Institute.

    I have read both Infidel and The Caged Virgin, numerous articles written by her, watched her give lectures, and perform in debates. I have viewed Submission (more than once). I haven’t read Nomad, but will skim read it in the bookstore, if only to confirm my suspicion that the “Epilogue: Letter to My Unborn Daughter”, is her bad imitation of Oriana Fallaci’s brilliant Letter to an Unborn Child–written well before La Fallaci lost the plot and wrote La Rabbia e l’Orgoglio (The Rage and The Pride).

    As above, my main objection to Hirsi Ali’s work is that she conflates her autobiography-all of it, including her time in Europe and the US-and her Somali culture with Islam. I have a similar objection to anyone who mistakes his or her own biography for the experience of a much broader group, and doesn’t question which elements are relevant and which are not.

    Anti-islamic rants, and conflation of culture with religion by Muslims (like Irshad Manji) or atheistic former Muslims (like Hirsi Ali) do as much or more disservice to those advocating for moderate rather than extremist forms of Islam, or even against Islam, than a more measured approach.

    They do, however, “sell” extremely well in the West, including in both senses of marketing their ideas, and selling books. There are whole sections of bookstores that should, in my opinion, be called “Autobiographies and Biographies of Women Abused by Islam”. Not that it doesn’t happen and isn’t important, but the genre is amazingly prevalent. There is a general failure to recognize that Islam is also being abused in these instances of giving an Islamic gloss to familial, tribal, and cultural practices.

    A large part of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s success in the “West” (both Western Europe and North America) has to do with being an attractive, black, female of Islamic origin (though now an atheist of the English Enlightenment persuasion) more than willing to attack Islam as anti-female, oppressive, backward, etc. She is also extremely adept at transforming herself to fit her audience–first as a Dutchwoman, and now as an American.

    As is often the case with a Stephen Colbert interview, much is revealed about Hirsi Ali in this brief one on one: her commitment to becoming an American, and to “American values”; advocating proselytizing by Christians of Muslims, yet claiming to reject Jesus ie Christianity herself, and being laughably ignorant of any of it; claiming that Wahabism is the purest form of Islam (not that those who follow it claim it is); and, advocating judging cultures and religions where there is only 1 winner, ie 1 culture, 1 religion (that form of #1-ism is rather American). As usual she calmly and in measured tones speaks these preposterous ideas as if she herself were an Enlightenment philosopher.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s interest is herself–being a anti-Muslim pundit just happens to serve that interest well (yes, including being “persecuted”).

    I have no doubt I will be able to find Nomad easily, especially in the Chapters/Indigo stores across Canada which are owned by Heather Reisman, who with her husband supports the recruitment of IDF soldiers by offering, to any Jew in the world willing to serve 2 years in the IDF, full (as in room and board, living expenses, books as well as tuition) scholarships for an undergraduate degree at an Israeli university.

    I won’t buy it, though, and certainly not from there.

    Addenda (more elegant than a PS LOL :)):

    For your Canuck readers, here is the link to the Stephen Colbert interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali from the Canadian site available to us.

    Nice non-fiction list of “to be reads”.

    Excellent post on an extremely annoying/dangerous person! :)

    • Chiara, now this is what I am talking about :) a full analysis of someone who knows how to read between the lines. I cannot add a thing to this comment but my total agreement.

        • Thank you, Hanan! When I get the chance to put my draft into proper form I will do a post on Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I did read Nomad; and, yes she invokes Fallaci’s work, and it was far, far worse than I thought.

          I hope you will read that post (I will of course link back to the inspiration here), or any others in the meantime that interest you.

  5. Hi Qusay,

    right this morning I’ve also noticed in the window of a bookshop that she came out with this new book. I read other two books of her and from those two (Infedel and another but I don’t remember the title) I didn’t have the feeling that she states any superiority of christianity on islam, I would say that she has more an atheist/laic.
    I understand that for a muslim what she says can be perceived in some cases as offensive but it has to be considered that she and each of us bases his opinions on his experiences and these opinions can change or evolve during all our life.
    I would like to add that I don’t see anything dangerous in what she writes or says because we are all free not to listen, not to read or disagree.
    About the economical part, I can just say that unfortunately everithing today is moved by money and we all have to survive somehow. Even the most serius newspapers have to publish stupid advertisements to have enough finacial support so that their “real” articles can be published. I know it’s sad but it works in this way.

  6. Qusai, Algassimi was stripped from his rights to return to his country, this is not only because of his questioning of Islam, but due to questioning of politics and rights as well, I think Islam has moved from a relationship between man and God into a relationship of man and state (represented by religious clerics), there seems to be a different Islam in every country/ region… It should be alright if people like Ayan decided to tell their point of views of Islam, but it’s sick if she join forces with clerics -unintentionally- in calling every opponent a terrorist/ dissedent…

    • Very true Hala, yet he was not killed, and a fatwa was not put on him to get him killed, he wrote several anti religion and anti religious establishment books, but no one killed him.

      Other writers (like Alrawandi) in the height of Islamic enlightenment wrote anti Islam books and poems, those books disappeared (the poems did not) but the books refuting them “and quoting them copiously” survived, the way back then was to discuss, and not blindly kill, which is what seems to be going on these days.

      Thanks for your comment and reply :)

  7. Really interesting and convincing post Qusay.
    I’ve heard a lot of Islamophobic arguments, yet Ayaan’s arguments are always the most entertaining/least convincing, yet the American media just loves her.

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