sisraelt’s review of Infidel > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Eve (new)

Eve Thank you! It's a relief to see at least one reviewer here who isn't taken in by what I see as propaganda.

message 2: by Pamela (new)

Pamela I couldn't agree more. I am frustrated by the abundance of books that emphasize Muslim women who suffer -- but not those who find spiritual fulfillment. Case in point: Monica Ali's Brick Lane.

message 3: by Danelley (new)

Danelley I agree and disagree. As Ayaan described the very many places she lived, I think that things can be very culturally different in many parts of the world. The message of this book was not that every Muslim man beats his wife/wives, but that in Somalia life is very different from Europe or America, and people have a group tendency to resist change and technology, associating it as evil. Many of these people are living as though they are a thousand years in the past. Freedoms are restricted, especially for women. I thought the trade-off was interesting when her family goes from Somalia to Saudi Arabia. Since women tend to do more heavy work in Somalia, they weren't quite covered up, they may have bare arms and a shoulder sticking out from their wrap. But in Saudi Arabia, if you weren't covering your arms and your head you were in effect sinning. Ayaan's mom also couldn't leave the airport in Saudi Arabia without a male guardian. Another part of the story that is very accurate is female "excision," essentially genital mutilation. Apparently this happens to the majority of Muslim women in Somalia, Egypt, Sudan, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, etc. The girls are so young - it happened to the author at five - and is supposed to be associated with purity. Many girls don't live through the process and the infections later. I wouldn't call this forced behavior very humane, would you? I felt like the author was trying to bring these things to light, to give these women a voice, not just show that she is bitter toward Islam.

I would love to hear your reply. I also want you to comment back and tell me where you've lived while you were growing up.

message 4: by Ali (new)

Ali Barrah What I loved about this book, more than anything, was to read a Somali's view on the various people and cultures she has experienced during her life, so far, fascinating! especially as I live in Kenya and spent a short time as a child in Somalia. The only objection I had is that I can not agree with her view that all of the wars fought in Islamic countries are Muslim against Muslim, who started the Iraq war? Who is keeping Afghanistan in perpetual war?

Ayaan does put across her political views and opinions of Islam, but she is very honest as to how she has become the person she is today through the influences and experiences she had during her childhood. She never said that all Islam was bad, she pointed out the extremes of Islam, how the people of Somalia viewed Islam, from those living in the bush to those in the city, and made a contrast with Saudi Arabia. Ayaan points out how extremists have caused unease in the world through their belief of how the Q'uran was written and it is to those people that she asks for change. Yes, excision is cruel and when she wrote the book she only talked about muslim women being abused, maybe now she has learnt that women from all walks of life and religion suffer physical and mental abuse from their men. I think it is an important book for people to read, but they have to have an open mind.

message 5: by Eric (new)

Eric I think that her outlook on Islam is extremely negative, but "biased?" She is telling her story. If she is being truthful, then it's her story. You say that it's a generalization to base "it" (her outlook on Islam) on her experiences in Saudi Arabia? But, what else is she going to base it on? Someone else's experience? And, as far as accurate depictions of Islam, are we to assume that Saudi Arabia (Mecca, Medina, etc.), the heart of the Muslim world, towards which Muslims pray 5 times today after ritually washing themselves, is just a few "extremists?"

Ali did say that they were "all" going home to beat their wives and kill infidels. She depicts Somalia much differently, a looser form of Islam, than what was occurring in Saudi Arabia.

Just because she relates her experiences, which include horriffic barbarities meted out upon her, does not mean that she is saying that "all" or even "most" Muslims worldwide want these things. However, one thing is for sure "plenty" of Muslims around the world do these things. Her story should be read by everyone, not just those who will discount the barbarity and vile aspects of Islam and sugar coat it under the rubric of the constant refrain "not all are like that." OF COURSE not all are like that - not all of any group of people is anything.

However, millions of people in Saudi Arabia live as she described - no rights - beatings - burkas - no driving - no going out in public unescorted - prayers 5 times a day - ritual washings - religious "education" in schools. It's awful. Millions of people in Somalia live as she described as well, with myths about clitorises growing long and dangling between their legs, so they have carve them out of the woman's body. Slavery.

No, not "all" Muslims do this or that, or the other thing. But, it would be painting a false picture of Islam to not acknowledge the vast number of followers who DO engage in such barbarities.

message 6: by Jessi (new)

Jessi "I think every religion has the fanatics and extremists and the more libral followers." That may be the case, but if the religious text justifies barbaric actions, shouldn't that be condemned (and not ignored or excused, as with many liberal interpretations of religions)?

message 7: by Nazmul (new)

Nazmul Ahsan I'm close to the end of the book, and I haven't found her directly accusing Islam or Quran, rather the people who interprets it...

I disagree with Sefanit's comments of spiritual fulfillment women might have achieved through Islam. Although I am a Muslim and believe in it, I don't buy the magical power of religion, let alone women getting greatly benefited in oppressed societies like Saudi Arabia and many middle eastern countries. As limited the access to media is in those countries, and as little I heard about their oppressive cultures, I heard more bad things than good ones, and not when I'm in US, but when I lived in Bangladesh, were approximately 95% of the people are Muslims. I believe she portrays the brute culture more than religion, and God Almighty had to sent most prophets to the area as it was deemed necessary...

message 8: by Raj (new)

Raj Patel Completely disagree with the op
She potrays Islam exactly how it is right now. Islam is battling for its soul and thanks to saudi money and the failure of european democracies to intergrate their muslim population into their culture, the result is what we see today. Also she states that Islam is used to subjugate women in that part of the world. I.E. how many women are stoned to death for adultary etc? Islam is inflexible and Ali's treatment shows just how backwards this philosphy is.

message 9: by Molly (new)

Molly Perhaps the message we can take from this book, is less about her decided war on Islam, and more about the need for human rights for all people around the world.

message 10: by Nazmul (new)

Nazmul Ahsan The ability to distinguish individuals actions from a particular philosophy or idea is important, else generalization is obvious as believed by the author and Raj. I agree with Raj that majority of the Muslims (not Islam, since Islam is not an entity) would be happy to get rid of bad practices. But I think Saudi money is not to thank but it is a bad investment to oppressive education systems and terrorism - Saudi is not a democracy itself and do not follow the teachings of Islam.

message 11: by Deena (new)

Deena Jessi wrote: ""I think every religion has the fanatics and extremists and the more libral followers." That may be the case, but if the religious text justifies barbaric actions, shouldn't that be condemned (and ..."

Do you know anything about Islam? Have you read the Quran? It does not justify violence anymore than any other religious text. Look at the Bible, it is filled with instances of cruelty. Christians have been using the Bible to justify acts of terror for HUNDREDS of years.

"An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth"- this vigilante notion, where was it stemmed from?

Slavery in the Global North was justified via the Children of Ham tale in the Bible. The Crusades, the Inquisition, even the Holocaust are just a FEW examples of Christian terror over the years. Does that mean Christians are seen in a negative light and that we are to condemn the Bible? If you agree, then by all means, I agree. Condemn all the holy books with their violence.

message 12: by Molly (new)

Molly While I appreciate the truth that violence comes from the Bible, as well as other religious sources, it is also important not to take it out of context, or to vilify an entire religion. There are fanatics in every faith, ie: you can't say that all Christians were involved in the Holocaust, or condemn them, just as it would be wrong to say the same for suicide bombers who claim Islam as their religion.

The term "an eye for an eye" has lost it's meaning throughout the years. If one looks at it in the context of the Old Testament, it was actually encouraging the culture of the time to show grace. In that time period, people retaliated in war, by going full-force. If tribes of people were warring, one person was killed, or lost an eye, then the entire tribe would be killed. This saying in the Bible of an eye for an eye, encouraged less violence; rather than killing everyone, even the score. I don't agree with the idea of that, I'd prefer nonviolence, but it's important to keep the statement in context.

I have an issue with anyone using a holy book, regardless of the book, as an excuse for violence.

message 13: by Deena (last edited Feb 15, 2010 12:21PM) (new)

Deena Molly wrote: "While I appreciate the truth that violence comes from the Bible, as well as other religious sources, it is also important not to take it out of context, or to vilify an entire religion. There are f..."

"There are fanatics in every faith, ie: you can't say that all Christians were involved in the Holocaust, or condemn them, just as it would be wrong to say the same for suicide bombers who claim Islam as their religion."

That was precisely my point. She was admonishing soley Islam when I was pointing out it is not the only religion that has fanatics.

message 14: by Molly (new)

Molly I think we agree. I was also making the point that it's unfair to take a quote out of context from any religious text to use it for one's own purposes.

message 15: by Jennah (new)

Jennah She wrote a book based on her experience which unfortunately was not positive or spiritually enlightening. Not everyone can write a book about someone finding spiritual fufillment. She wrote this book to call attention to the abuse of SOME Muslim women and to explain the fanatisism that seems to be becoming more and more prevolent. I found this book fascinating; I have alot of respect for the author.

message 16: by Pablo (new)

Pablo What I find disturbing about this review is the oh-so charming use of the term "FGM," which, of course, stands for female genital mutilation. Using this shorthand does nothing more than gloss over the fact that at the age of five Miss Ali was held down by numerous adults, including her grandmother, and someone, in the name of religious purity, took a pair of scissors and cut off her clitoris and labia then sewed her vagina shut. Then they tied her legs together for two weeks.

So yes, this book, in some ways, seems to "totally plays into making Africans seem so barabaric [sic:]." Gee. I wonder why people would think that.

message 17: by Deena (new)

Deena Pablo wrote: "What I find disturbing about this review is the oh-so charming use of the term "FGM," which, of course, stands for female genital mutilation. Using this shorthand does nothing more than gloss over..."

Because people of other cultures do nothing barbaric whatsoever? Do you really want to go down that road?

message 18: by Pablo (new)

Pablo I'm not going down any road. I just addressed a very specific comment on a very specific issue. I wasn't comparing, other than the obvious innate comparison between those who find slicing their daughter's genitalia acceptable and those who do not.

I also qualified my comment by stating, "in some ways," so as not to make blanket accusations.

message 19: by Deena (last edited Aug 03, 2010 08:32AM) (new)


"Why White People Like Ali"

"Now, I’m no fan of religion – of any kind. But Hirsi Ali’s simultaneous condemnation of Islam and obvious admiration of Christianity was disturbing. As with any religion or ideology, it’s how it’s practised that impacts on people’s lives and on society.

Many of Hirsi Ali’s criticisms of Islam could be applied to fundamentalist Christianity: unwavering adherence to the Bible and the control of women’s sexuality. Even FGM has a western parallel in the state-sanctioned, legal, non-consensual mutilation of intersex children’s genitals to force them to conform to a male/female sex binary – something that rarely warrants an outcry in mainstream media or from feminist activists. If Christian fundamentalists such as Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church had their way, our society would look very different in terms of women’s and queer rights, to name just two.

Of course in no way am I saying that we should not pay attention to and speak out against the abuses endured by so many women and girls in the Muslim world. Nor am I saying we should not be critical of radical, fundamentalist Islam – as Mona Siddiqui points out in her review of Nomad in the UK’s Daily Telegraph, there are many Muslims who fear radical Islam. But vilifying an entire religion or people who follow that religion is not the way to create a harmonious society – as history as shown time and again.

The irony is that while Hirsi Ali is (rightly) applauded for her courage in fighting for and finding personal freedom, she now denies others such rights. In unleashing her wrath on Islamic fundamentalism, she has (perhaps unwittingly) become a fundamentalist herself.

It doesn’t help that she has achieved celebrity status, because once a person reaches a certain level of fame for their ideas, they are then invested in sticking with them for their own economic survival. It’s a rare academic, writer or thinker who is willing to take the risk of losing their career and/or income by doing an about-turn.

So, perhaps it’s down to publishers to champion other writers with as much vigour as they do Hirsi Ali; to publish and promote the hell out of the work of Muslim feminists working on the ground in their local communities to educate and effect change; to bring the female activists such as those featured in Coleman’s book to international writers’ festivals and posh venues like the Sydney Opera House.

I’d certainly buy a ticket. What about you?"

message 20: by Pablo (new)

Pablo "The irony is that while Hirsi Ali is (rightly) applauded for her courage in fighting for and finding personal freedom, she now denies others such rights. In unleashing her wrath on Islamic fundamentalism, she has (perhaps unwittingly) become a fundamentalist herself."

My questions is, how is she a 'fundamentalist?'

message 21: by Deena (last edited Aug 03, 2010 09:38AM) (new)

Deena Pablo wrote: ""The irony is that while Hirsi Ali is (rightly) applauded for her courage in fighting for and finding personal freedom, she now denies others such rights. In unleashing her wrath on Islamic fundame..."

Did you read the ENTIRE article? Ali's ideas are largely cultural biased, as opposed to the actual religion. She is denying others' rights just as she opposes those who do the same.

"What does Hilary think? Well, she thinks Hirsi Ali’s books “aren’t much good”, that they are “disturbing and delusional”, a “gift to those of us who like our prejudices confirmed” — speaking for yourself Hilary? — and that they fail to give us “a more complex and sympathetic picture of the Muslim world”.

She feels the books fail to remind us “that more than 50 countries from Indonesia to Iran through Africa and the Middle East have Muslim majorities and vastly different cultures and histories”. McPhee is clearly oblivious to the progressive and systematic radicalization and cultural colonization of these “diverse” countries by Middle Eastern fundamentalists in the last few decades."

"If a woman walks down the street in a mini skirt and someone calls her a slut, feminists will be quick to object. However if a Muslim woman walks down in a burqa then many feminists are happy to concede that she is oppressed, submissive and brainwashed.

Unfortunately many feminists still believe that no Muslim woman could ever choose to wear the veil of her own free will.

As a Muslim feminist I find this infuriating, condescending and patronising.

Such ideas are even more alarming when they are insidious, rather than outwardly, honestly expressed. Feminists argue that Muslim women ‘say’ they choose to wear the hijab but these women could have only reached that position through cultural influence. That they didn’t have the intellect or gumption to stand up.

This is just as offensive as claiming that any woman who chooses to engage in heterosexual relationships has been duped by the patriarchy.

That we either have no free will and if we do we are doomed to never be able to exercise it.

Now I’m not saying all women who wear the veil choose to do so. Not at all: I’ll be the first to critique state enforced religion, or parental pressure to adopt religious behaviours.

I find the fact the Christian parents in Western Australia can force their girls not to have abortions if they want one equally as abhorrent as Muslim parents forcing their children to wear the veil.

I know what it’s like to be forced to wear the veil – I had to wear it to school every day for two years while I lived in Iran.

But to say that no woman, anywhere, under any circumstances can choose to express her faith in her choice of clothing is ludicrous.

The very fact that women who aren’t from Islamic backgrounds, can convert to Islam without pressure and often to the distaste of their families shows that women are indeed able to make the decision to wear the veil. As feminists we need to respect the fact that women have the ability and the right to make decisions and be in control of their own bodies – this includes a woman’s decision to wear the hijab. Anything less is pure, unadulterated sexism – and yes female feminists are just as capable of this as anyone else.

Women who wear the veil by choice are innovative, creative and able to tailor the hijab to suit their individual lifestyles. The invention of the ‘berkini’ is a clear testament to this. This subtle reform is what we should be supporting and encouraging so that Muslim women don’t face discrimination and are able to do all that they desire. "


'These policies also encourage Islamic moderates to believe that women’s bodies are cultural battlegrounds. So that if any Muslim woman participates in supposedly ‘western’ activities or opinions is automatically an embarrassment for betraying their culture and internalising imperialism.

By denying Muslim women agency, we miss out on seeing their resilience, strength and passion. When I tell people that I’m an Iranian Feminist most people assume that my fervent passion for defending women’s rights came from witnessing the way the government oppresses women in Iran. That’s not the case."

message 22: by Pablo (new)

Pablo Deena, Let me start by saying that while I disagree with some of what you're saying, I appreciate your thoughtful and impassioned posts.

If I had been institutionally marginalized (at best), ritually mutilated, and indoctrinated, and spoke out against it happening to others, would that make me a fundamentalist?

If I say that adherence to other forms of totalitarianism (religious or political) shouldn't be taught in schools, does that make me a fundamentalist?

When you say, "I’ll be the first to critique state enforced religion," I can't help but wonder why 'critique' is where you'd start. Why not start by criticizing, if not outright condemning?

"But to say that no woman, anywhere, under any circumstances can choose to express her faith in her choice of clothing is ludicrous."

Almost as ludicrous as a Muslim women pretending that Islam is 'her' faith, or that her 'clothing' is a choice. It's a 'faith' imposed on Muslim women, just as in many western cultures Judaism and Christianity are imposed on them. None of the Abrahamic superstitions are 'her' faith (there's a reason they are termed patriarchal) as none were developed by, or for, women or their (or, frankly, anyone's) betterment. As a matter of historical fact, religion, as much as anything else, is designed specifically to marginalize, and in many cases demean women, not to empower them.

In my opinion (and I'm not alone in this), the terms feminist and theist are essentially mutually exclusive.

message 23: by Mariama (new)

Mariama The author DID make Islam and Somali culture look really bad, worse than it is actually. I think she should go die in a ditch somewhere, really, but that's just my opinion.

One thing I don't understand is HOW anyone who's read this book can say that she wasn't being offensive about Islam. OF COURSE SHE WAS FUCKING OFFENDING ISLAM. I quote:

"I wanted secular, non-Muslim people to stop kidding themselves that "Islam is peace and tolerance." "

"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."

"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."

Need I go on?

message 24: by Summer (new)

Summer These comments are disheartening. I feel you have all missed the point. The point is that we need to stop allowing people to be abused in the name of God. We need to stop protecting religions (all religions) that teach hatred--self-hatred, racial hatred, sexist hatred. I think we can all agree to protect children, the disabled, and the impoverished.

message 25: by sisraelt (new)

sisraelt I don't think that was at all the point she was making! Hers was a personal attack on Islam and no I don't think that's fair. Islam didn't allow things to happen to hair. People did!

People are abused in the name of God, government and anything and everything under the sun. That is the unfortunate side effect of LIFE! You can't be an open and accepting society and also advocate for helping people, if helping them is pushing your idea on them.

Misinterpretation of religion is a problem. Not the practice of a religion itself. I agree that hatred should be eliminated, but religion is not the problem, it's the people who hide behind it and make it the excuse/problem! Regardless... I still can't stand this book. And the issues we are debating here are beyond the scope of our Goodreads commenting. But thanks for chiming in everyone :)

message 26: by Joshua (new)

Joshua I don't understand some of the comments calling this book or Ayaan's view of Islam, one learned through her very personal experiences growing up in several Islamic nations and cultures, an unfair portrayal of said cultures and religion.

The atrocities and oppressions she describes actually happened to her, as well as the people she knew and grew up with. How is her personal opinion unfair when based on actuality? Not to mention when it is all presented as solely her experience?

I wont even attempt to pretend that I understand Islam, or the variety of African cultures she lived with, but I felt while reading that the first half of the book was a hell of a lot more balanced than I would have offered had I written this memoir and experienced what she had.

Because one does not agree, or perhaps prefers to live with blinders on in some cases, does not make someone else's factual recounting of there life experiences unfair. It simply makes it there view.

message 27: by Summer (new)

Summer I haven't said this in 30 years: Right on!

message 28: by sisraelt (new)

sisraelt Joshua wrote: "I don't understand some of the comments calling this book or Ayaan's view of Islam, one learned through her very personal experiences growing up in several Islamic nations and cultures, an unfair p..."

I do not agree or disagree that these things happened to her but they are not representative of the norm in how Islam is practiced in these places. And she does make several statements that generalize beyond her personal experience. It's like saying that the entire US population is represented by the ideologies and actions of the KKK. THAT IS NOT SO. For someone who doesn't take the time to seek a different outlook she does misrepresent these cultures that are discussed in her book. But just as her experience is her own to share, so are our opinions!

message 29: by Summer (new)

Summer @Sefanit: The KKK example is not a good one. The citizens of the US do not adhere to a document that supports them. The references the author sites are to ACTUAL VERSES that are part of the religion. True, many religious adherants take only the parts they like from a text, but comparing the US to members of the KKK is a completely different thing.

message 30: by sisraelt (new)

sisraelt And all the countries she lived in don't all adhere to Islam only. But even in sticking to the Q'uran, religious text is open to interpretation. That's how you have multiple denominations of Christians. The Q'uran was written in a different time than this. Without a historic understanding of the times and the circumstances surrounding the text it can't be directly applied to modern civilization without losing the integrity of the message originally intended.

message 31: by Joshua (last edited Apr 26, 2011 01:16PM) (new)

Joshua Considering that the KKK has never been a large group, nor one that had any real transferable ideology, that analogy is too flawed to give merit, though I do see the point you are making. It still isn't the same... in fact your example may support my argument more than yours.

We do look back at southern black Americans experiences with these groups as valid criticisms of the regions political structures of the time. The reality of figures such as Martin Luther King and the various civil rights leaders (as well as everyday people who had to live with the subjugation) of the era are not invalidated because not all southern whites were members of that group, if for nothing else but than because many of those in power there were. That was the reality in Birmingham, AL.

The result of nationally recognizing this was the success of the civil rights movement.

Sometimes it requires putting the ugly aspects of a culture (any culture) in the spotlight in order for that culture to adapt and continue on with any relevance. I'm sorry that you are offended by Ayaan's experience and opinions but it does not change my opinion that there was nothing unfair about this recounting of her life in a very muslum society.

message 32: by sisraelt (new)

sisraelt I'm not offended by her experience. Nor am I here to change your opinion. I read this several years ago and didn't enjoy it and have spent too much time discussing it. If you like it good. If you don't good. Doesn't matter to me either way. But this is my official sign off about this miserable book!

message 33: by Jen (new)

Jen thank you SO much for writing this review. i was thinking this the entire way through.

message 34: by Sana (new)

Sana Thank you.

God Bless,

message 35: by John (new)

John Blanchard But they arent going to stop ALL those that DO beat and kill and disrespect women.

message 36: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Hirsi Ali is not criticizing Muslims. She's made the distinction between the group of Muslim people and the actual doctrine of Islam. Her critique of Islam doctrine is valid - it has a tribal moral and legal system incompatible to modern democratic values and Islam has no centralized power, thus it is hijacked by extremists who from her eyes, "speak for Islam." From reading your review, I'm frankly not sure we read the same book.

message 37: by Sovay (new)

Sovay @Mcooper: Care to quote the verse?

message 38: by Pablo (new)

Pablo "The Quran’s authorization for husbands to beat disobedient wives. This is found in chapter 4, verse 34. Additional references on wife beating are found in Muhammad’s traditions (hadith), and biographical material (sira)."

And for more on this subject:

message 39: by Summer (new)

Summer I disagree with those of you defending religion. Religion IS at least part of the problem. If I could abolish ONE thing in the world, it would be RELIGION. let's hear from those of you hell-bent (ha!) on believing in fictional deities.

message 40: by Sovay (last edited Oct 25, 2011 01:06PM) (new)

Sovay @Pablo: I've memorised the Quraan in Arabic, if you can tell me which sura (not chapter, the Quraan doesn't work like that) those verses are from, I could confirm or refute that verse with trusted sources. I don't recognize those translations, they sound warped and like something from the bible. The single Hadith I know that deals with wife beating is one on this page, scroll: You're not allowed to hit your wife or your children any harder than tapping them with a 'siwak' (which is like a pencil), and it's only supposed to show you're displeased, not inflict pain. Thank you for replying.

@Summer: That's nice. I wonder what it feels like to be perpetually angry.

message 41: by Summer (new)

Summer I'm very, very happy, thank you.

message 42: by Sovay (last edited Oct 26, 2011 04:23AM) (new)

Sovay Good for you :)

message 43: by Ronando (new)

Ronando Biased: Show prejudice for or against (someone or something) unfairly. Influence unfairly to invoke favoritism.

Sefanit, Ayaan has to live with bodyguards because of her merely speaking out about Islam and you dare to call her biased?? Her friend, Theo Van Gough, was murdered in the name of Islam and the 5 page letter STABBED to his body (with his head nearly severed off) was for HER! And you call her biased?

I suggest you look up the definition of "extremely biased" and reconsider your choice of words. Does Ayaan appear to "Show prejudice?" Does she act "unfairly" towards Islam? Her clitoris was HACKED off at 5 years old, and you say she was biased?

The definition of "Biased" includes "prejudice." The definition of prejudice is "an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought or reason."

As you stated that you don't know the Qoran, since you have not read it, it appears that you are the one who is biased since you are the one who has not experienced Islam or had your clit removed like Ayaan or grew up in a barbaric theocracy where women have no rights.

I am amazed at people (especially women) who defend misogyny (hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women) when people like Ayaan dare to speak up in the face of Islamic death threats.


message 44: by MJ (new)

MJ I have read the Quran and Ayaan's experience with "Islam" has little to do with it. Female Genital Mutilation has nothing to do with Islam and the biggest reason I have issues with books like this is that they perpetuate stereotypes. I firmly believe that each culture, country and religion has its own faults to say [as other comments have alluded to] that women are subjugated and denied freedom in Middle Eastern countries reeks of stereotyping bordering on racism. A NOVEL does not give you authority to become an expert on the role of an entire gender in the second largest religion in the world.

message 45: by Pablo (new)

Pablo It's a memoir. It's not a stereotype, it's true, and it's called sharia. If you think it's so great, move to Saudi Arabia and try to get a driver's license, or leave the house without a male chaperon, or walk in public with your face exposed. You are delusional and completely in denial.

Islam is a religion of violence and cruelty to women. Anyone who denies that is simply wrong. This is not a matter of opinion,

message 46: by Ronando (new)

Ronando MJ, you're living in a fantasy land. Your tolerance of intolerance is part of the problem. Notice how there isn't a flock of women leaving Western countries to go to Islmic countries. Why? Because Westerners don't behead women for speaking to a man in public, nor do we stone women to death. As Pablo said, if you think it's so great, go try to be free in an Islamic country, and see where it gets you.

Islam is not about peace, for if anyone speaks out against it or criticizes it, much less draws a picture of Muhammad is immediately met with death threats.

Islam is about control over women, it is about suppressing democracy with superstition, racism and prejudice. It condones beheadings and stonings in the name of Allah. It is not a stereotype if it is true. Stereotypes are unfounded. How many women have to FLEE for their lives from Islam before people realize it's reality, not fantasy, delusion or stereotype?

message 47: by MJ (new)

MJ Ronando, I'm a Western woman living in the Middle East. Three of my best friends are non-Muslims, white Americans who also live here, quite, spare me the stereotypes about West vs. Islam. That argument REEKS of ignorance.

There are MANY countries in the Middle East besides Saudi and Iran - just thought you should know.

FYI - It is not necessary to cover your face in Saudi Arabia, Pablo. Non-Muslims don't even cover their heads...but you would know that IF you would step away from the prejudices and actually RESEARCH what Islam is before callously and carelessly making assumptions.

Islam is about peace. It is about total submission to God. It gives women the HIGHEST rank. I don't know any women who have had to flee from Islam.

Islam is about superstition? I can't even entertain that comment it's so foolish. Islam is racist? The religion that orders all men and women to pray side-by-side, shoulder to shoulder? The religion that tells us to never bow down before any man?

I am shocked by your lack of knowledge of Islam. As a Muslim AMERICAN woman,I think it's ridiculous that you would even think of writing about a subject you know SO little about.

Read about Islam through the Quran, through the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]'s sayings...look at what he preached and how he lived.

I realize my comments are useless because those who are prejudiced will see what they want to see. It makes me sad to see people with such little understanding make such shamelessly magnanimous statements.

message 48: by Pablo (new)

Pablo "God will mock them and keep them long in sin, blundering blindly along" (2:15).

A fire "whose fuel is men and stones" awaits them (2:24).

They will be "rewarded with disgrace in this world and with grievous punishment on the Day of Resurrection" (2:85).

"God's curse be upon the infidels!" (2:89).

"Slay them wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from which they drove you. Idolatry is worse than carnage. . . . [I]f they attack you put them to the sword. Thus shall the unbelievers be rewarded: but if they desist, God is forgiving and merciful. Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme. But if they desist, fight none except the evil-doers"(2:190–93).

Your women are your fields, so go into your fields whichever way you like . . . . (MAS Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, Oxford UP, 2004)

The share of the male shall be twice that of a female . . . . (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 311)

Sura 4:34 . . . If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. God is most high and great. (Haleem, emphasis added)

Tabari IX:113 "Allah permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely. If they abstain, they have the right to food and clothing. Treat women well for they are like domestic animals and they possess nothing themselves. Allah has made the enjoyment of their bodies lawful in his Qur'an."

Qur'an 4:15 "If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four witnesses from amongst you against them; if they testify, confine them to houses until death [by starvation] claims them."

Sounds Idyllic. Where do I sign up?

message 49: by Pablo (new)

Pablo Lest you think it's just us men who have a problem, you know, because we're "prejudice" and have "such little understanding."

message 50: by MJ (new)

MJ To each his own. I'm not going to get in to the context of these quotes because I am sure there are far more learned scholars out there than myself. I'd suggest talking to an actual Muslim, if you are ready to let go of your misconceptions.

I highly recommend this article as a starting point -

I don't know what Tabari is but as a Muslim, I will say those verses are not translated properly and you should look for true translations/supplement explanations.

I have never been beaten, deprived of food nor have I been shut up in a room...and I am a born/raised Muslim.

-Like I said, if you care for true explanations you should find a more knowledgeable person - I'm sure if you take any religious text out of context things can become just as badly muddled.

Good Luck.

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