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Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui
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Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  131 ratings  ·  36 reviews
A riveting look at militant Islam, Muslim women’s rights, and the war on terror—brought into focus through two lives on opposite sides: activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali and religious extremist Aafia Siddiqui.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born former member of the Dutch Parliament and the author of the international bestseller Infidel, was raised as a Muslim fundamentalist in Kenya. A
Hardcover, 560 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by Harper
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This was really interesting, and at some point I'd like to read her other book Emma's War, which looks like a similar approach but with a more limited scope that might work more neatly with Scroggins's method.

That's not to say that her method didn't work here, only that the results of this book are a bit messy and strange. I'd describe the Scroggins "thing," based on having read this book and on glancing at reviews of Emma's War, as a focus on the lives of individual women in order to illuminate
Michele bookloverforever
Interesting and puzzling. Apparently, the author regards Ayaan Ali as a wanna be...a glory hound not really interested in her avowed war on Islam's oppression of women. The author however seems really in awe of Aafia Siddiqi, an Islamic fundamentalist who ended up working for Al Queda against America. Personally, I was struck by the fact she described Aafia as "pale skineed" early in the book. Now, many things may be said about the other woman in the book, Aayan..but "pale skinned" is not one of ...more
This is a great twin biography/history, kind of like a pair of Plutarch's "parallel lives." Indeed, Scroggins notes that it's possible Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui could have cone in each other's directions; Ali herself has said so.

Beyond the general parallels, the thing I most noted about Ali is that it's more obvious than ever, from this book, why she threw her lot in with the neocons politically and the Gnu Atheist "philosophically." Both groups, and Ali, tend toward absolutism in their
I found this to be a very interesting read. Both women are caught in the cultural and political movements of our time as they move throughout the world. The book does not praise either woman too much. It is good to note that the author was not able to interview either woman for the book. I think that by mirroring Ayann with Aafia it does demonstrate that those who are so fundamentally determined to promote Western values and are completely against Islam may have different tactics than Islamist j ...more
This is, frankly, an amazing book: I was familiar with Hirsi Ali before I read this book, and had somehow never heard of Aafia Siddiqi, but I was definitely intrigued by the idea of Al Qaeda's #1 female operative, or whatever she was called. But more than telling these two stories, linked or otherwise, what Scroggins has done is use their stories to tell two related stories that as a fascinated outsider, I can't get enough of.

Hirsi Ali allows Scroggins to tell the story of the struggles of Islam
Until a few months ago, I had never heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Aafia Siddiqui, two Muslim woman juxtaposed in a biography by Deborah Scroggins. Ali, who was born in Somalia, grew to reject her Muslim upbringing as an adult. Siddiqui, who was born in Pakistan, embraced her Muslim upbringing, but from my point of view took it to the extreme. Wanted Women: Faith, Lies & The War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali & Aafia Siddiqui delves into the lives and similarities of these women. I ...more
This was a very interesting book as it compared the lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Infidel fame and Aafia Siddiqui, the only women to have made the most wanted list in the war on terror. It examines the lives of these women who both come from Islamic pasts and how they chose very different lives. It provide insight on Ayaan's life that was not presented in her book and introduced me to Aafia. The only thing preventing this book from getting five stars is it gets a limitless bogged down for time whe ...more
It started well, but I completely lost interest about halfway through. The first section, about how the women's upbringings shaped their views and later actions in life, was interesting. The second section became much too detailed in the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and much too speculative about Aafia Siddiqui. You could tell that one was a figure in the public eye and one was in hiding, and it made the author's method of short chapters alternating women much too choppy. I don't even think I can fi ...more
I really enjoyed this book. I read "Infidel" and found it compelling, but I found it lacking in balance. Some terrible things happened to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but Islam was not responsible for all of it. I found the comparison between Ayaan & Aafia fascinating. I was expecting this to be a dry book, but it was quite compelling.
Believe me when i say that scroggins brilliantly put on a tale of two brilliant and brave women in one whole book. I read all ayaan's books past few years and yes, i lauded her audacity in speaking her own mind but i felt some of it is debatable. This book, in my opinion, might be a bit critical towards Ayaan than Aafia but that's exactly what i'm looking for : someone to point out that Ayaan can be inconsistent and irrational in voicing out her opinion. Aafia, on the other hands, i never heard ...more
Biswajeet Deb
Interesting book conflating journeys of two devout Muslim women. The book was more investigative for Aafia and opinionated for Ayaan and consequently reveals a slight denunciation of Ayaan and for some reason a slight admiration for Aafia. The length of some of the chapters are so small that it makes it untidy and uneven.

Nevertheless the reports on Aafia seem to be carved very meticulously and deserves great commendation especially for the courage of a western woman to go to Pakistan amid the cu
G. Kretchmer
Overall I found the book tremendously informative. I learned a great deal about Islamic fundamentalism, female genitalia mutilation, and the broader Muslim culture. I also learned about two remarkable women whose lives were changed because of this religious sect, one of whom is now serving out her life in an American prison while the other is enjoying fame and success in her field. Deborah Scroggins certainly did her homework, sometimes to the extent of endangering her life, and my only complain ...more
What is most chilling for this reader is not how these two women responded to their respective upbringing as Muslin fundamentalist, but knowing that I know a whole host of Christian fundamentalist. Now that is worthy for due consideration and concern.
Paul Lunger
Deborah Scroggins's "Wanted Women: Faith Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi ali & Aafia Siddiqui" is a dual biography involving 2 of the more infamous women in the war on terror. The book itself is a little hard to follow & probably should've been done as 2 separate stories or for that matter in 2 parts as she chronicles the lives of these 2 different women & their involvement in the war on terror & the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Scroggins's tale is a bit u ...more
What an eye opener. I could not put this book down and stayed up waaaaay too late several nights in a row reading it. Finally finished and now want to just start over again.
Jennifer Gardener
Definitely an interesting read and a different perspective on two women who have impacted our current world.
Jun 13, 2014 Jon added it
Not as interesting as I thought it would be. I gave up on it after a few chapters.
I enjoyed readig this to find out more information about both women. I know I wanted to read Infidel by Ms. Ali about her life, but had never gotten around to it and now I doubt I will. The author, I felt,describes the women and their respective lives really well and in detail for the first 2/3 of the book, but the last years are only briefly described as the details are still fuzzy and unclear in the case of Aafia and less contentious in Ali's case. Interesting and easy read.
This parallel biography of two women was a good idea, but it reads a bit choppy and there are no grand revelations or insights on how two smart women went in radically different ideological directions. The author did manage to bump my respect of Ayaan Hirsi Ali down a notch (probably needed) but I think she is overly harsh of Ayaan (really hung up on how she used a ghostwriter for her autobiography.) I found Aafia's story hard to follow.
A fascinating look at two Muslim women and the very different paths their lives take. This book includes an amazing amount of research and sheds a light on Islam, women's roles in Islam, and the war on terror. It's compelling; I didn't want to stop reading because Scroggins is such a good writer and brings to life the women and the people she encounters while researching this book.
Anne Speckhard
Deborah Scroggins is a very thoughtful author, I really liked following her view of things in the Netherlands and how one woman went one direction and the other another. Having lived in Belgium seven years and interviewing second generation immigrant Muslims throughout Europe--some of them extremists, it brought up a lot of memories. I liked it alot.
Dec 07, 2012 Ruth marked it as to-read
"Two women, one from Somalia and the other from Pakistan, are born in the heart of conservative Islam into families of some prominence and move to America. Once there, they take radically different paths. One is now an admired public intellectual; the other is serving an 86-year prison sentence in Fort Worth, Texas." from Economist review
The author did an excellent job of presenting each of the women's flaws and strengths in a factual manner, following an easy chronological pace. It is obvious that the author has certain biases. Would be very interesting to have the same synopsis from the eyes of a Western Muslim which seems to be the opposing sides the two women seem to fall on.
A fascinating comparison between two Muslim women, one who renounces her faith as misogynist, one who embraces it as an al-Quaeda warrior. The chapters alternate between the two women's lives; sometimes this format is bothersome and tediously interferes with the rhythm of the story. But it's a good read -- an important read.
Very interesting, compelling reading. I loved the alternating chapters, and was never disappointed to switch from one to another. I do find it interesting that the author has so much disdain/dislike for Hirsi Ali; I imagine it was hard to spend so much time writing about someone you can't stand.
Wilburn Newcomb
An excellent book. The author is a good writer and a good researcher. The "parallel lives" approach was an appropriate structure to use in writing this kind of biography. I learned a lot and got rid of some of my prejudices. I do think the story is not over yet, however.
Leslee Jaeger
Fascinating read about 2 contemporary Muslim women who have used their faith in destructive ways at both ends of the spectrum. A bit too detailed with foreign names that are hard to keep straight.
Scroggins covers the waterfront and gets the story as she navigates different cultures and viewpoints. Well written and a fascinating look at the shadowy world of politics and terror.
This wasn't quite what I thought it would be, but it was still a very interesting read. Definitely worth the time to get a different, and very in depth, perspective on these two women.
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American writer and journalist, author of Emma's war: An Aid Worker, Radical Islam and the Politics of Oil - A True Story of Love and Death in the Sudan.
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