But that is just the beginning of who she is. There is so much more to this woman's remarkable life. In addition to the activism for which she is known now, she was elected to the House of Representatives in the Netherlands in 1992. Hirsi Ali has written and spoken out extensively about not only her life, but the lives of women in general living under Islam, a life of subservience, of subjugating much of what makes them who they are. She speaks of her mother's life:
[snip]Like all Somalian women, she had been pressured all her life to suppress her personality, to sublimate everything to men and to God – to become what Ayaan calls "a devoted, well-trained work-animal". [snip]
Hirsi Ali's activism has not been without a price, though. She continues to live under a fatwa, even now in the United States, where she has to travel with armed guards to this day as a result of her outspokenness on Islam. But at least she is still alive. The director who worked with her on a documentary about women and Islam is not so lucky, as this article, "My Life Under A Fatwa" from the Independent UK highlights:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was stabbed into the world's consciousness three years ago. One wet afternoon in November 2004, her friend Theo van Gogh – a film-maker, and descendant of Vincent – left his house and was about to cycle off through Amsterdam. But a young Dutch-born Muslim called Mohammed Bouyeri was waiting for him – with a handgun and two sharpened butcher's knives.
Wordlessly, he shot Van Gogh twice in the chest. Van Gogh howled: "Can't we talk about this?" Bouyeri ignored his pleas and fired four more times. Then he pulled out a knife and slit Van Gogh's throat with such strength that his head was almost severed from his body. He used the other knife to stab a five-page letter on to Van Gogh's haemorrhaging corpse.
Ayaan explains: "The letter was addressed to me." It said that Van Gogh had been "executed" for making a film with her that exposed the widespread abuse of Muslim women. Now, she would be "executed" too – for being an apostate.
Her story is recounted in that article, and what a life it has been. I urge you to read the rest. It is quite a story indeed.
All of that is to say, Ayaan Hirsi Ali knows whereof she speaks when it comes to Islam as a woman who grew up Muslim, and who has lived in several Muslim nations. Heaven knows, she is far more than an authority on it than I am.
And so, given the current brouhaha over the proposed mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero, and the imam who wants to build it currently on a trip to the Middle East on our dime, this seems like a good time to focus a bit more attention on what Hirsi Ali has to say. It is timely, provocative, and disturbing.
The following clip deals more with Islam in Europe, though Hirsi Ali does mention the United States. Still, what she says encompasses what is happening in the States:
And now, Hirsi Ali speaks specifically about the United States. You do not want to miss this. It is quite something:
An "unholy alliance" - WOW. The point she makes about the second type of liberal was breathtaking.
There is so, so much more to this woman's life, and what she has to say. I encourage you to watch more of her interviews. She is quite something.
Oh, and about that mosque near Ground Zero? Well, Hamas has weighed in on this issue. Yes, Hamas, the terrorist organization, has something to say about it. They say, build it, as this S.A. Miller NY Post article, "Hamas Nor For Ground Zero Mosque" points out:
[snip]"We have to build everywhere," said Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas and the organization's chief on the Gaza Strip.
"In every area we have, [as] Muslim[s], we have to pray, and this mosque is the only site of prayer," he said on "Aaron Klein Investigative Radio" on WABC. [snip]
Oh, it gets better:
[snip]"First of all, we have to address that we are different as people, as a nation, totally different," he said.
"We already are living under the tradition of Islam.
"Islam is controlling every source of our life as regard to marriage, divorce, our commercial relationships," Zahar said.
"Even the Islamic people or the Muslims in your country, they are living now in the tradition of Islam. They are fasting; they are praying." [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)
And Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf still refuses to characterize Hamas as a terrorist organization. Right...
I understand well Hirsi Ali's point that liberals like many of us do not want anyone to be subjected to the kind of discrimination African Americans and others (Chinese, Japanese, and Hispanics, to name a few) have experienced in the United States. I completely get that. But I think she raises some good points about how we cannot allow that to blind us to some realities we may not want to admit for fear of the historical reality some groups have faced here.
And yet, address these issues we must, with eyes wide open...