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Ayaan Hirsi Ali quotes (showing 1-30 of 49)

“The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“As a woman you are better off in life earning your own money. You couldn't prevent your husband from leaving you or taking another wife, but you could have some of your dignity if you didn't have to beg him for financial support.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
“However, some things must be said, and there are times when silence becomes an accomplice to injustice.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
“I would like to be judged on the validity of my arguments, not as a victim.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“Many well-meaning Dutch people have told me in all earnestness that nothing in Islamic culture incites abuse of women, that this is just a terrible misunderstanding. Men all over the world beat their women, I am constantly informed. In reality, these Westerners are the ones who misunderstand Islam. The Quaran mandates these punishments. It gives a legitimate basis for abuse, so that the perpetrators feel no shame and are not hounded by their conscience of their community. I wanted my art exhibit to make it difficult for people to look away from this problem. I wanted secular, non-Muslim people to stop kidding themselves that "Islam is peace and tolerance.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“Islam was like a mental cage. At first, when you open the door, the caged bird stays inside: it is frightened. It has internalized its imprisonment. It takes time for bird to escape, even after someone has opened the doors to its cage.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“I cannot emphasize enough how wrongheaded this is. Withholding criticism and ignoring differences are racism in its purest form. Yet these cultural experts fail to notice that, through their anxious avoidance of criticizing non-Western countries, they trap the people who represent these cultures in a state of backwardness. The experts may have the best of intentions, but as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam
“There are times when silence becomes an accomplice to injustice.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“It is easy to be disgruntled if you are denied rights and freedoms to which you feel entitled. But if you are not coherent, if you cannot put into words what it is that displeases you and why it is unfair and should change, then you are dismissed as an unreasonable whiner. You may be lectured about perseverance and patience, life as a test, the need to accept the higher wisdom of others.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations
“By declaring our Prophet infallible and not permitting ourselves to question him, we Muslims had set up a static tyranny. The Prophet Muhammad attempted to legislate every aspect of life. By adhering to his rules of what is permitted and what is forbidden, we Muslims supressed the freedom to think for ourselves and to act as we chose. We froze the moral outlook of billions of people into the mind-set of the Arab desert in the seventh century. We were not just servants of Allah, we were slaves.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“Most unmarried Somali girls who got pregnant committed suicide. I knew of one girl in Mogadishu who poured a can of gasoline over herself in the living room, with everyone there, and burned herself alive. Of course, if she hadn't done this, her father and brothers would probably have killed her anyway.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“You'll be pleased to hear, Christopher, that I am no longer a Muslim liberal but an atheist [....] I find that it obviates the necessity for any cognitive dissonance.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
“It is always difficult to make the transition to a modern world. I moved from the world of faith to the world of reason - from the world of excision and forced marriage to the world of secual emancipation. Having made that journey, I know that one of those worlds is simply better than the other. Not because of its flashy gadgets, but fundamentally, because of its values.
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 Hirsi Ali
“Drinking wine and wearing trousers were nothing compared to reading the history of ideas.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“The morning after the 9/11 attacks...we began talking about the Twin Towers attack. Ruud shook his head sadly about it all. He said, "It's so weird, isn't it, all these people saying this has to do with Islam?"
I couldn't help myself...I blurted out, "But it *is* about Islam. This is based in belief. This is Islam."
Ruud said, "Ayaan, of course these people may have been Muslims, but they are a lunatic fringe. We have extremist Christians, too, who interpret the bible literally. Most Muslims do not believe these things. To say so is to disparage a faith which is the second largest religion in the world, and which is civilized, and peaceful."
I walked into the office thinking, "I have to wake these people up."...The Dutch had forgotten that it was possible for people to stand up and wage war, destroy property, imprison, kill, impose laws of virtue because of the call of God. That kind of religion hadn't been present in Holland for centuries. It was not a lunatic fringe who felt this way about America and the West. I knew that a vast mass of Muslims would see the attacks as justified retaliation against the infidel enemies of Islam.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
“...Bin Laden's quotes from the Quaran resonated in my brain: "When you meet the unbelievers, strike them in the neck." "If you do not go out and fight, God will punish you severely and put others in your place." "Wherever you find the polytheists, kill them, seize them, besiege them, ambush them." "You who believe, do not take the Jews and Christians as friends; they are allies only to each other. Anyone who takes them as an ally becomes one of them.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“Infuriatingly stupid analysts - especially people who called themselves Arabists, yet who seemed to know next to nothing about the reality of the Islamic world - wrote reams of commentary [after 9/11]. Their articles were all about Islam saving Aristotle and the zero, which medieval Muslim scholars had done more than eight hundred years ago; about Islam being a religion of peace and tolerance, not the slightest bit violent. These were fairy tales, nothing to do with the real world I knew.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“In the real world, equal respect for all cultures doesn't translate into a rich mosaic of colorful and proud peoples interacting peacefully while maintaining a delightful diversity of food and craftwork. It translates into closed pockets of oppression, ignorance, and abuse.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations
“...Bear true witness, even if it be against yourselves, your parents or your family.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
“Reality is not easy, but all this make-believe doesn't make it easier.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“I would rather clean than beg.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
“The veil deliberately marks women as private and restricted property, nonpersons. The veil sets women apart from men and apart from the world; it restrains them, confines them, grooms them for docility. A mind can be cramped just as a body may be, and a Muslim veil blinkers both your vision and your destiny. It is the mark of a kind of apartheid, not the domination of a race but of a sex.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations
“People accuse me of having interiorized a feeling of racial inferiority, so that I attack my own culture out of self-hatred, because I want to be white. This is a tiresome argument. Tell me, is freedom then only for white people? Is it self-love to adhere to my ancestors' traditions and mutilate my daughters? To agree to be humiliated and powerless? To watch passively as my countrymen abuse women and slaughter each other in pointless disputes? When I came to a new culture, where I saw for the first time that human relations could be different, would it have been self-love to see that as a foreign cult, which Muslims are forbidden to practice?”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
tags: islam
“I lived in countries that had no democracy... so I don't find myself in the same luxury as you do. You grew up in freedom, and you can spit on freedom because you don't know what it is not to have freedom.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
“Wishful thinking about the peaceful tolerance of Islam cannot interpret away this reality: hands are still cut off, women still stoned and enslaved, just as the Prophet Muhammad decided centuries ago.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“But without doubts, without a standpoint reached through questionings, human beings can't acquire knowledge.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
“In a well-functioning democracy, the state constitution is considered more important than God's holy book, whichever holy book that may be, and God matters only in your private life.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam
“As a reader, I could put on someone else's shoes and live through his adventures, borrow his individuality and make choices that I didn't have at home.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel
“Such is the tragedy of girls and women who by the strictures of their upbringing and culture cannot own up to their body's desires, even to themselves.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations

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