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The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,418 ratings  ·  180 reviews
Muslims who explore sources of morality other than Islam are threatened with death, and Muslim women who escape the virgins' cage are branded whores. So asserts Ayaan Hirsi Ali's profound meditation on Islam and the role of women, the rights of the individual, the roots of fanaticism, and Western policies toward Islamic countries and immigrant communities. Hard-hitting, ou ...more
ebook, 208 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Atria Books (first published 2002)
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Hodan A
Highly offensive to a religion which is practiced by a billion and half people the world over. The only thing I would like to ask the author is Which planet do you live in? Muslims don't all treat their women badly(implied here in the book- a fate worse than animals)women are abused everywhere both physically and mentally in western and non-western countries. The only Comment on this writer is--she's from the class of writers who bash Muslims to get fame and fortune. She gives examples of Somali ...more
A collection of essays by a Muslim woman who escaped (literally) to the Netherlands. Given our times, I recommend that anyone read this. One of her main points was this:
Women's situation under Islam is so completely, utterly shitty that Western liberals and feminists need to stop trying to be so "culturally sensitive" and actually DO SOMETHING. She exposes some of the hypocrisy of those who think their cultural sensitivity is helping, while it is really hurting - for example, she talks about th
Hanan Kat
March 2015 Update: Ayaan Hirsi Ali is nothing but a liar and agent.

I was deeply disturbed by the fact that she kept calling herself a muslim, while she discredited the prophet and the Koran and wanted both their sayings "revised and changed by intelligent people". She implied throughout the book that muslims are nothing but savages and ignorants. She considers herself a superior breed of Muslim. Why? Because she was born in some family that tried to get
For me, this book was disappointing and unsatisfying. I was hoping for an informed and intelligent treatment of the problem of the status of women in Islam, which would be evidence based and factual, but this is nothing like what I wanted.
Ali seems like no more than an averagely intelligent observer of Islam, though she is certainly well qualified in her opinions, having been brought up as a Muslim and having fled a compulsory marriage to live the unreligious life in the Netherlands. But I, for
This book is a personal yet widely relevant testimony to the power of religion and the men that religion serves. It lays bare the terror inflicted on women in the name of Islam ( not the only religion to have enslaved women turning them into chattel) and questions the whole basis on which this particular god based ideology was created and has since been maintained. Using her own life story and bringing in the tragic life stories of other women imprisoned by Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali calls into quest ...more
Mikey B.
This is a series of articles that Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote after seeking asylum in the Netherlands. One can sense the changes and development in her thought processes as she becomes more and more provocative.
She is not allowing Islamists in any way to externalize ‘their problems’. She wants an internal resurgence within the Arab-Muslim world – in particular to ask for the liberation of women. As she points out, the cycle of uneducated and repressed women in the role of raising children in a patria
The moment I started reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali's, "The Caged Virgin," I realized that I missed her style of writing, having previously read "Nomad" and "Infidel." The beginning of her book reflected an assertive manner without being offensive, a consistent characteristic offered in all three texts. This approach compelled the me to want to walk in-step with the author while she described her journey and goals. These items included, but were not limited to, the following:

Description of her credent
I had a difficult time getting through this book, despite it being only about 180 pages long. The problem wasn't the content but that I'd already read Hirsi Ali's memoir, Infidel, and had pretty much stalked her after that (this is a common thing I do when an author peaks my interest). What I mean is, I googled her and read everything and anything I could about her. I watched her short film, Submission, and learned as much as I could about what she's doing now that she's had death threats agains ...more
Her autobiography is very interesting and well written but this book is disjointed and poorly structured. I felt like some one was shouting at me or lecturing me without making a concise, well thought out point. I understand what she was trying to say but she didn't do a good job saying it and she didn't back up her points in a coheisive manner which is crucial when making bold statements and presenting theories. There are a lot of generalizations and a severe lack of specific examples, (which i ...more
Cathy Aquila
Infidel was one of my favorite books of all time. It was compelling on multiple levels. Infidel told the author's life story and through her journey we learn much about Islam and the mistreatment of women in Muslim society. Because of how good Infidel was, I was looking forward to reading The Caged Virgin. While this book is well written and discusses many important women's issues, it is not as interesting for anyone who has already read Infidel. In this book the author focuses on women's rights ...more
This book was written from the viewpoint of a woman who suffered through life under a fundamentalist Islamic regime. It is true that religions will always be judged on their most extreme members. I thought some good points were made, but a whole lot of generalizations were there too, not really addressing those who are more mainstream Muslims who do believe in women's education and rights.
I first heard about Ali when reading the BBC news website after the death of Theo Van Gogh. While I followed her story in the news, it was years later that I read Infidel, and not until this year that I read this book.

This book includes Ali's screenplay "Submission Part 1" which was filmed by Van Gogh and was the excuse given for the murder of Van Gogh. I was glad to have read it because you should see what makes people angry for yourself. For instance, if you stopped reading Harry Potter and th
This is a courageous and vital statement from a woman who escaped the injustices and violence of Islam toward women and is now speaking out to inform the world how Islam should be changed. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who grew up in a strict Muslim family in Somalia, was supposed to marry a distant cousin in Canada, but managed to escape during the journey and take refuge in the Netherlands. There, she became a writer, filmmaker and Dutch parliamentarian who was determined to speak for Muslim women's rights ...more
Andrew Georgiadis
"Islam is a static faith."

This piece is not as effective or biting in its criticism of Islam as her autobiographical "Infidel," but it adequately presents Hirsi Ali's disappointments with the West's spineless, politically correct treatment her birth faith. Among the many chapters, there are transcriptions of magazine interviews, the script of her short film "Submission: Part I" which incited the murder of Theo Van Gogh, its director, and 10 steps of guidance to any woman thinking of escaping her
i've read in the news media about ali's struggles against muslim extremism and, more recently, dutch backlash for her outspokenness and i find her courage admirable. reading about her personal experience with the repression of muslim woman is horrifying to me. my only contact with muslim woman has been with those who are highly educated and whose families, while protective and religious, i cannot consider repressive. i tried to imagine these woman forced into a situation where they must follow a ...more
The general points brought up in the book were correct but the way the author brought them up were incredibly silly.

I am no fan of Islam but the amount of generalisations and pure Straw Man arguments were absolutely appalling and all of those were even before the 4th chapter.

The final straw for me was the line on page 34: "Arabic poets often think they can write much better than Shakespeare. But if that is the case, where is the Islamic Romeo and Juliet?"
Such an incomprehensible lack of knowled
The straight forward suggestions in this book are quite startling. I had to keep reminding myself that the author GREW UP in this culture, and she KNOWS the problems that exist within it.

If anyone outside the culture had approached this subject and come to her conclusions, they would have been run out of town. The author has received death threats in her attempt to protect women. She hates abuse being able to hide behind religion and she especially hates that atrocious human rights violations a
Azimah (previously Hamizao) Othman
Going through the leaves of the Preface, I feel disturbed by Ayaan Hirsi Ali's declaration of what she had learned of being a Muslim. Muslim evangelism in Somalia, her homeland, seems to have been very simplistic and divisive culminating into blind faith. I am quite shocked to say the least.I should not therefore find the strong opinion espoused in the Preface too surprising and yet superficial. She appears to be putting the blame on the religion for the failure of some Muslim people and nations ...more
This book was not written for me. Ali pats herself on the back for coming to conclusions that are obvious to a western mind. I hope this book can reach her intended audience in a meaningful way, but honestly I think her advice is superficial. She tells women to leave the country and get a job. Great. How?
All the same I did take something from this, which is her charge that moral relativism is condescending. We should not allow people to do violent and abhorrent things (like carve vaginas out wit
“Abandonment of slavery is also the banishment of the chimera of security. The world will not change overnight, and liberation will not happen unless individual women agree to be outcasts, eccentrics, perverts, and whatever the powers-that-be choose to call them.”
― Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch

After reading The Caged Virgin, this quote from Greer jumps out with a new forcefulness. I greatly admire Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Her personal experiences with corruption and injustice impel her, and she con
Connie Faull
Her first book "Infidel" was excellent. this book was just a boring regurgitation of some of the things in "Infidel" and even more boring rhetoric about her confusion with Islam. I recommend "Infidel" but say don't bother with this book.
Heard about it on NPR. Looked forward to reading it. Was sorely dissappointed. Badly written. Is more of a rant than a narrative or careful look at the issues. Highly inflammatory, one-sided, and dismissive.
Didn't like this one so much--i felt like the author expressed too much personal anger to fairly judge the issues, it's much better expressed in Infidel, in my opinion
Nancy Wilkinson
This book was easier to read than I expected and harder to read than I'd hoped. Through a series of essays I got a glimpse of the life of a Muslim woman raised in the Middle East. That glimpse made me want to know more and I look forward to her other books.

Her knowledge of Islam clarified and reinforced other information I had gleaned over the past few years and reinforced the need for the moderate Muslims to make Islam relevant in today's modern world so that the extremists can no longer subju
Andreea Gheghes
This is the first book I read from Hirsi Ali and in a way I was a bit disappointed about it. I knew about her and I saw some other books from her but I was expecting more.

I liked that she put the main problems of woman in Islam straightforward and didn't hide but I was expecting her to talk more about other woman problems. After you read the whole book you notice that she repeated the same ideas over and over again.

What I didn't like is that she blames the european society for standing up to the
WARNING: Graphic descriptions.

Building upon the conclusions from her first book (INFIDEL), the author expands in greater detail the ways that Islam dominates the lives of both men and women. The first rule of Islam is absolute obedience to God. Men are the heads of their families. Women are there to serve. Virginity (for women) is a strict requirement until their wedding night. In many Islamic societies, the female's clitoris is removed before puberty in order to reduce her sex drive. In some c
This book is a collection of essays based on Ms. Ali's personal experiences with Islam and her opinions on how it affects women in Islam. I've seen reviews claiming that she is a bigot for her criticism of Islam. I don't agree. Although I believe that her writing could be used by bigots to fan the flames of islamophobia, her criticism of Islam is aimed at reforming the religion so that women and girls are granted equality in Muslim society - a noble goal. She also points out that the Koran, whic ...more
Jeff Rudisel
From publisher:
Muslims who explore sources of morality other than Islam are threatened with death, and Muslim women who escape the virgins' cage are branded whores. So asserts Ayaan Hirsi Ali's profound meditation on Islam and the role of women, the rights of the individual, the roots of fanaticism, and Western policies toward Islamic countries and immigrant communities. Hard-hitting, outspoken, and controversial, The Caged Virgin is a call to arms for the emancipation of women from a brutal rel
Problematic things with The Caged Virgin besides the metaphor of the cage and Ali’s obbession with Muslim virginity is her “political analysis” if we can call it that on the underdevelopment of states that consider themselves Islamic or have a predominant Muslim majority. At one point, she links this underdevelopment to repressed sexuality while dismissing Muslims’ ‘obsession’ with colonialism, “Jews” and Americans. This obsession she finds distasteful and unable to explain underdevelopment or w ...more
Delicious Strawberry
I have already read 'Infidel' before I read this, and this book is not an autobiography, even if she does reveal a bit of her personal life in this. Various chapters tackle the various issues raised about religion freedom, Islam, tolerance, women, in a clear and concise way. The fact that Ms. Ali has received threats, and those of her ilk, only prove that her words are right. This is a eye-opener in the relation between the West and the Middle East and of religious fundamentalism itself.

She is c
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"Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Somali: Ayaan Xirsi Cali; born Ayaan Hirsi Magan 13 November 1969 in Mogadishu, Somalia) is a Dutch feminist, writer, and politician. She is the estranged daughter of the Somali scholar, politician, and revolutionary opposition leader Hirsi Magan Isse. She is a prominent critic of Islam, and her screenplay for Theo Van Gogh's movie Submission led to death threats. Since van Gogh' ...more
More about Ayaan Hirsi Ali...
Infidel Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now De zoontjesfabriek: Over vrouwen, islam en integratie Jeg anklager

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“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.” 36 likes
“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.” 9 likes
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