Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Page on the World... Infidel

An interesting article from about Islamic values. This follows this post about immigration. This follows this post about China's currency. This follows this post about California. This follows this post about attacks on the police.  For a free magazine subscription or to get the books recommended for free click HERE! or call 1-888-886- 8632.

Infidel is a remarkable book by a remarkable person. It's unusual that someone less than 40 years old would have lived a life worthy of an autobiography, but Ayaan Hirsi Ali certainly has. You might not have heard or remembered her name, but you are likely aware of the brutal murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in November 2004 at the hands of a radical Muslim. Van Gogh produced an 11-minute documentary titled Submission about the inherent abuse of women in the Islamic faith.
We wrote of the murder and its implications in several articles in World News and Prophecy starting in December 2004. After shooting his victim, then cutting his throat nearly to decapitation, the assassin stabbed a note to van Gogh's chest. The note was a fatwa-like assassination order against the woman who wrote the screenplay—Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Ali was, at the time, a member of the Dutch parliament. Little publicized outside of Holland, subsequent events threw the tiny nation into turmoil and eventually led Ali to write her extraordinary autobiography.
She now lives in the United States, but she came to Holland from Kenya, where she lived with her grandmother, mother and sister as refugees from war-torn Somalia. The family also lived for a time in Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia. She provides an insightful perception of the different approaches to Islam in the indigenous cultures and tribes.
Islam's oppression of women
Principally, Infidel is the story of Islam's effect upon women, told from the point of view of Somalis, where female circumcision is still practiced. Living in Saudi Arabia as a young girl in the 1970s, Ali also offers sharp insights into life as a woman under Islam in the Wahhabi tradition. In Kenya, as a teen, she was drawn to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, learning its violent philosophy from imams sponsored by Egypt and Saudi Arabia. She experienced and witnessed the routine beatings of women and children, as well as the facelessness of a female in the Islamic culture.
Yet, she did not rebel against her culture for a long time, not until her father arranged a marriage for her to a man she did not know and did not want to marry. Arranged marriages were—are—the norms in Islam. Her husband-to-be was Canadian, and while she was en route to Canada from Kenya to marry him, she sought asylum in Holland. She assimilated into the Dutch culture, as well as its politics, receiving a university education and eventually being elected to parliament.
Throughout it all, she struggled with her Muslim training, testing its assertions against what she witnessed in the West. She had been brought up to believe that only an Islamic government could produce a harmonious society, but she saw countries in Europe that were arguably better-ordered, cleaner and healthier than any of the Muslim nations in which she had lived. Moreover, the way the women of Europe were able to live was a universe away from Muslim practice.
She struggled with the Islamic mentality toward its women, concluding repeatedly that it did not fit the modern world. Even as a teen, she dared to question her imams, seeking the “why” behind the Koranic rules. As an adult, especially after moving to Holland, she openly debated those willing to address her questions. She could not find the relevancy within Islam that she believed the modern world requires. So she left the faith.
However, she did not leave her passionate desire to see the way of life for Muslim women improved. She grieved over the circumcision of young Somali girls that she knew continued even in the immigrant Somali communities of West. She had firsthand knowledge of it in Holland. (Female circumcision isn't a tenet of Islam, but the imams don't forbid it either. It's the remnant of an ignorant nomadic superstition.)
She describes as common throughout Islam the brutal subjugation of women, including arranged marriages, beatings by their husbands and the expectation that they will forever be quietly in the background of a male-dominated culture.
It is doubtful that she will bring about any change within Islam. Devout Muslims view her as a heretic; even her family cut off all contact with her. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says Ali is “just another Muslim basher on the lecture circuit” (Neely Tucker, “True Believer,” Washington Post, March 7, 2007, p. C01).
Armed body guards travel with Ali wherever she goes; they have ever since the murder of van Gogh.
Three principal lessons
The book itself is excellent writing, moving quickly along through dynamic and tragic stories. There are three outstanding points to draw from it. The first is the insight into how shockingly different the cultures of Somalia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and Kenya are from the West. Ali's grandmother literally lived in the Stone Age, married to a nomad and surviving off the desert; she was forced into an arranged marriage to an older man when she was 10 years old.
The second point springs from the first: That part of the world is still largely conscious of tribes, clans and families. The book opens with Ali's recitation of her ancestors, something that her grandmother had her do repeatedly. Whenever one met a stranger, the first thing they did was recite their family lines, usually to discover some common ancestor. Clans automatically helped fellow clan members with food, shelter or whatever else was needed.
When all else fails—as when Somalia overthrew its communist government—people return to their tribal identity. Sadly, that country exploded into intertribal warfare, propelling hundreds of thousands of refugees over the borders of neighboring countries.
Clearly, any international policies regarding the Middle East must be knowledgeable about tribal configurations, not merely national boundaries. Failing to fully understand and plan around this reality has frustrated the American-led coalition in Iraq.
The third point is the most important. It has to do with Ali's reaction to the 9/11 terror assault on the United States. When she heard of the attacks, her first reaction was, “Please don't let the attackers be Muslims.” Her worst fears were confirmed when she learned that that the terrorists were indeed Muslims. Ali bristled at the ignorance in analyses that claimed the attacks sprang from Islamic frustrations about Palestine, Israel or Western morals.
Terrorist attacks “were about belief”
“It was about belief,” she wrote, bluntly. Articles “about Islam being a religion of peace and tolerance, not the slightest bit violent…were fairy tales, nothing to do with the real world I knew…People theorized about poverty pushing people to terrorism; about colonialism and consumerism, pop culture and Western decadence… None of this pseudointellectualism had anything to do with reality” (p. 270).
Addressing the theory that American support for Israel and Arab frustration over Palestinian issues motivated the attacks, Ali scoffed that the attackers weren't Palestinian men. None left letters about Palestine. “This was belief, I thought. Not frustration, colonialism, or Israel: it was about a religious belief, a one-way ticket to Heaven” (ibid.).
Questions, doubts and challenges she had mentally collected about Islam now flooded Ali's mind. She wrote that she came to realize, “We froze the moral outlook of billions of people into the mind-set of the Arab desert in the seventh century” (p. 272).
She sees Islam as unwilling to bring the faith into the modern world. Equally, she sees the West as unwilling to perceive Islam for what it is. Commenting on a European Social Democrat Parties conference whose attendees “seemed to think it would be easy to set up the institutions for a European Islam in peace and harmony. They seemed clouded by wishful thinking rather than operating with rigorous analysis” (p. 278).
She was commenting on the fact that European Islamic communities are retaining their cultures, with their unacceptable and troublesome components. They are not integrating into Europe's culture, and they are retaining their deeply held religious convictions.
One of the changes she pushed for in Holland was the registration of “honor killings”—murders of Islamic women by family members over acts that they believe dishonored the family. Homicide statistics did not reflect this category until Ali lobbied the justice minister to try a pilot project in just two of the 25 regions in Holland. Monitoring honor killings revealed 11 in only seven months!
Such murders occur by the multiple thousands throughout the Muslim world, as well as within insular immigrant communities in Western countries. “Honor killings occur for a variety of offenses, including allegations of premarital or extramarital sex, refusing an arranged marriage, attempting to obtain a divorce, or simply talking with a man. If a woman brings shame to the family, her male relatives are bound by duty and culture to kill her” (James Emery, “Reputation Is Everything: Honor Killing Among the Palestinians,”, 2003).
The most explosive charge she leveled at Islam was in regard to the “marriage” of the prophet Muhammad, then in his 50s, to a 9-year-old girl. Ali pointed out to the Dutch authorities that he would be a pedophile by modern legal standards. Her comparison was a firebomb to devout Muslims.
You can understand why Ayaan Hirsi Ali has become a lightning rod for controversy in today's world. Islam and its internal struggles—Shia vs. Sunni, clan vs. clan, Wahhabism, radical terrorists, etc.—are all part of the daily news. All are part of the considerations of international politics, as well as global business. That reality makes Infidel worth reading.
As we have often observed in World News and Prophecy, the fomenting conflict between Islam and traditional Western nations and cultures is a natural fit to the end-time prophecies of a north-south pitched battle for control of the Middle East. We recommend our booklet The Middle East in Bible Prophecy for a complete analysis of those prophecies, as well as for an overview of the history of Islam. WNP

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