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Ayaan is a blatant islamophobe and yet this is a popular book? Every book I see regarding Islam (fiction or non but mostly fiction) sheds light on Islam in such a negative way and readers are naive and willing to take whatever is fed to them....Imagine if someone made a book and in their about it was written "A prominent critic of Judaism/Christianity/Hinduism" So heres my question..why read it :)

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Andrew Breslin I think I will invent a word "Andyphobia" And anyone who dares criticize me or my ideas will henceforth be labeled an Andyphobe.

Throughout history, there have been many people who have espoused various ideologies. Some of those people have claimed that their espoused ideology is not their own, but rather comes from GOD, but that does not excuse that ideology from criticism nor make such criticism any kind of 'phobia' or 'ism.' It is not one shred less appropriate to criticize these individuals and their ideas. Not one shred.

I used to be a Catholic. Now I'm not. I think it's bullshit and has been responsible for enormous oppression through the centuries, and I say so loudly all the time. Does that make me a Catholicaphobe? Does anyone suggest there is anything wrong with that?

There was a time, a few centuries ago, where I could be imprisoned, whipped or killed for renouncing my faith in the Catholic Church. But not any more. I can talk as much as I want about how glad I am that I no longer believe in all that nonsense, and not only won't I be killed, hardly anybody will even notice.

Former Muslims, like Ali are 'apostates.' Simply deciding that you no longer believe in Islam and no longer want to practice it makes one an apostate. You don't have to write books about it. Why don't you hazard a guess as to the prescribed penalty for apostasy in Islam is, today, in 2015? Name all the Muslim-majority countries where apostasy is considered okay, a personal choice and a personal right, and then name all the countries where it is punishable by imprisonment or death.

Ali is a courageous individual who has the courage to speak up against oppression and injustice even at the risk of her own life.
Nicole There are myriad books criticising other religions, not just Islam. And I am certain that there many other books (including fiction) written in praise of it. My impression with this book in particular is that Islam was not kind to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, so her views will naturally be critical of it. It's important also to remember there is actually a line between being critical and being bigoted.
So why read these books? How can we ever understand different perspectives if we never listen to/read them? It doesn't mean we will always agree, but knowing where someone is coming from is the first step in building bridges and having positive, productive discussion (and, perhaps eventually, action).
Ali She is not an Islamophobe, have you read what the word means? She is however a very strong critic of a religion that mutilated her in its name and tried to deny her individuality.

People criticise other religions all the time, however only Islam, or to correct myself, certain adherents of Islam, appear to think that no one has the right to criticise it and anyone who does should be put to death. I would suggest that that tells you almost everything you need to know about the type of Islam that Ayaan is, bravely, so very critical of.
Stringman Please do not use the term "Islamaphobe" for people who criticize Islam. This is a stupid practice, all too common today. Islam is a religion, and it is perfectly legitimate to analyze and criticize it.
It is also a religion that preaches many very bad precepts, many of which hurt women, but also violate the rights of gays and people who want to leave the religion. Leftists in the US, and much of the western world, have been fed a mindless knee-jerk kind of multiculturalism, and on that basis spew nonsense such as this by Ati person.
And furthermore this person seems unaware that there are a great many books today that are extremely negative and critical of Judaism and Christianity (e.g., Dawkins' the God Delusion and Hitchens' God is not Great).
I loved Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book, and am very grateful for people who speak the truth about the bad religion of Islam.
Derek Brown Judging by your questions and answers Ati it is a book you really SHOULD read to help open your mind. But only you can determine what you will and will not do. Read it. Don't read. I doubt the action of you doing so will affect any one of us here - the only person your action of reading it will affect will be you. If you learning someone else's perspective other than your own is so scary to you... Islamaphobe? ridiculous. She bravely critiques as a result of having lived through it. She has stepped out of her comfort zone to try to spread truth. You like a coward make disparaging remarks toward her book that you've not even read anyway and so have no real right to say anything at all about it. I'd say you are just a hater of truths you don't wish to hear or others to speak
Terence Howl I wait to hear coherent answers to Ayaan's criticism of Islam.
She was in turmoil regarding her doubts and to call her a blatant Islamophobe is simply nonsense. If you have read the book you cannot have understood it.
Alsie Really? She had experienced what it's like to be Islamic first hand. She simply discovered that the religion had torn apart her personal freedom and made a healthy and brave choice of leaving it.

You sound like a close minded person that is just defensive of any little thing against your own beliefs.
Emil Why read it: Well, you seem to be of the impression that it is a book about portraying Islam in a negative way. If that is your reason for not reading it, then you should read it because to me the book was mainly about other things.

Here is what I found the book was about and what I found most interesting:
With Ayaan being brought up by her mother and grandmother there is a clash of generations and a general upheaval from tribal traditions. Intermingled in this is the well described clan system of Somalia.

It portrays a family living under a dictatorship with a father who is opposed to this and fights for democratic change, and a father who is seldomly around.

A 20 year history of Somalia is well portrayed, the downfall of the dictatorship, the ensuing killings of civilians because they are from the "wrong" clan, the resulting refugee surges first to the surrounding countries and then to Europe.

A change in what religion means to Somalians and a description from Ayaan of how Islam is practiced in different Muslim countries and the development of how and how many practice it in Somalia. Then you can make your own conclusions as to why there is such a big change during this period.

I really liked the bit where she describes what it is like to arrive to Europe and the encounters with the Dutch people. Great to read about that from another perspective and from a perspective of a person who feels that she has been caged her whole life and can now carve her own way in life. Last bit of the book is about her work on trying to get the Dutch politicians to see that there a problem with over representation of Muslim women in the statistics of family violence, particularly honor killings... She links this to religion and culture...

To conclude you should really read it but I guess you will be focusing on the negative bits about what, I presume, is your religion, which is sad because the book is much more than that.

Jamie King I'm pretty sure Richard Dawkins and all other atheist put a 'a prominent critic of theology' everywhere they are published, or something similar for lack of a better phrase.

Why read it? Well you have shown from your unwillingness to hear opposite view points that you hold a deep bias. Why read it? Same reason you would read any first hand account.

What can be learned from this? Well I hope you realize as you grow up that our intentions have very little to do with how we are precieved in the world, what matters is how our audience absorbs our content. Keeping in mind how others see our actions and how it effects them any Muslim or religious person who is not a fundamentalist will be able to approach this pragmatically. They are the reform types that are willing to change their habits and effects on people. For a devout fundamentalist...well little will shake your view anyway so why read anything other than holy scripts back to front and front to back over and over five times a day, consuming specific lines at specific times.. oh wait rational thinking = islamaphobe..

As far as a thesis goes she does not set out on a mission like you have in life. This is a memoir, what happened- happened, take it- can't leave. Now you can deal with it and learn from it or keep burying their heads in the sand like the devout fundamentalist you are.

I'm only 25% into the book and the tone is just now kinda starting to go negative, she has spoken mostly positive or at least implied it out weighed a lot more than any negative aspects prevalent up until that point

So you are a blatantly a very closed minded person. cyka blyat

Like what is your point of making this question and not a crummy review?


IT's also funny you act like there are only negative books about Islam, maybe if you look in the political section but in my library I haven't seen anything like that, only studious works
Brynn Hm, very sad that this is the first thing that shows up when you go to the book's page. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not an islamophobe and saying so is absolutely nonsensical. Her argument, if you were clever enough to bother thinking about it, is that Islam has enormous systemic issues and desperately needs a modern reformation - and she's right. Denying that is pure anti-intellectualism. With all offense intended: you are an idiot.
Patrick Have you read this book Ati?
Smaranda Dear Anonymous,

Have you asked yourself why every book you see regarding Islam paints it in a negative light?
Debra I hate that this is the first thing you see when looking at this book. I'm only 2/3 through reading and don't see how you can call someone who was raised and chose Islam, underwent Female circumcision, against her will, and gradually lost her faith -- an islamophobe. She is not afraid of Islam, she chose a different path based on first hand experiences.
Katrinka anyone who calls hirsi ali an islamophobe is a cultural Marxist. (i.e. neo-Marxist). cultural Marxists use personal attacks and labels instead of arguing.
Eunice Many books have been written by critics of 'religion' in its various forms throughout history. This is not a first.

Ayann's 'crime' has been to ask for better treatment of women within Islam, and this includes women's treatment of each other. She only asks for kindness.
Roger Taylor You ask the question, why read it? The alternative, I suppose, is to not read it and remain ignorant of the truths that the author presents about Islam as practiced by many but not all its adherents. I can't believe that anyone in the 21st century would condemn a book because the writer is critical of an institution, whatever it is. Surely that is what literary freedom is all about. We are hopefully intelligent enough to draw our own conclusions from what we read.
Biọlá but is she telling any lies? Go find some place to sit.
Elie Lebbos Isn't it convenient for brainwashed sheep to use one word as an implicit argument that is unfounded and completely irrelevant?
And I don't need to "imagine"... these books are more than readily available and in much greater quantities than books critiquing islam. This is because Islam and its gullible sympathizers do not realize how anti-intellectual Islam has become over the centuries and how the most creative and effective of arguments or responses when people whose islamic beliefs (+ beliefs about islamic beliefs) are being challenged is to either become enraged and destroy lives (figuratively + literally) or shout out "Islamophobe" and receive sympathy from the irrational portion of the left.

Please do not assume my race, original religion, or political affiliations because in all probability your guess will be at least partially false.
Sullyaugustine Interesting that the question cites not one specific as to why Ayaan is an "Islamophobe," probably because the author of the question has no idea what he or she is talking about. And there have been innumerable critics of Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism but the authors of those are engaged on the facts rather than smeared as Judaiphobes, Christianophobes and Hinduphobes.
Vesna "Islam in such a negative way"
- That's why you should start reading it.
Sharifaharfah A bit late here. I am a muslim but I read it because I want to judge her for myself and not because of what some people think or say about her just because what she said/did is offensive.
I think she went through a hard life and was taught a strident and austere brand of Islam which made her question hard about the religion and she eventually hate the religion after she failed to get answers.
Everyone have a spiritual path of their own including Ayaan. I am a muslim but her criticism of my religion does not affect how I believe or practise.
Martin Štěpán There being so much criticsm of Islam couldn't possibly be because there's something wrong with Islam, right?
As for Islamophobia, phobia means irrational fear. Islamophobia doesn't exist.
Ineke Obviously you have not read this book. Dismissing Ayaan as an Islamophobe is incorrect. In fact this book is not as much about Islam as it is about women and Islam. A "should" read actually. Ayaan has enormous courage and this book can only help in the dialogue about Islam and its place in Western Cultures.
Stephanie Maybe having lived in a Muslim part of the world and having a miserable upbringing because of the religion she was raised in means she knows more about it than you do? Some people feel they had a wonderful childhood being raised up in Islam, but not everyone's experience will be the same.This is a very brave woman.She has received multiple death threats from people who generally don't mess around.
Kevin Brown A phobia is an "irrational fear" of something. I think it's perfectly rational to fear a religion that is responsible for the mutilation of one's genitals.
Dylan Of course she's an Islamaphobe. Can you really blame her? I think she shows true courage in speaking her mind. Tell me, what is positive about Islam, for women in particular?
BAC So my question is this: how can someone born, raise and a believer/practitioner of Islam for a huge chunk of their life be islamaphobic? A phobia, in this usage, implies a fear of the misunderstood/unknown. How is a person raised in and formerly practicing islam .....islamophobic?
Kevin Bradshaw Ali is an exposed fraud, but that doesn't matter if she reinforces your own bigotry.
Aaliya Khan Not just an Islamophobe but also a liar.
The people who want to believe her ignore the privileged upbringing she had and the bag of lies she came to the West with. But does it matter as long as she's bashing irrationality?
Bouchra Rebiai I'm a Muslim and I read this book because personally I feel that I have to keep an open mind about people who criticize religion, so I can classify them as haters or people who have truly been wronged in the name of religion.

I'll be posting a detailed review later, but my conclusion from this book is that Ayaan is not an Islamophobe, but she herself fears what people may do to her in the name of Islam. Her fear is so clear and comes across in this book, as if she were a terrified little girl who is going to be eaten by a monster. Which isn't true, Islam - or Muslims, for that matter - aren't out to get her, she simply sticks to a very crude - albeit quite popular in certain parts of the world - interpretation of the Quran, in fact, she herself says that she doesn't understand the Arabic and simply relies on translations. Anyone who has a solid background in Islam knows that you don't simply read a translation and base conclusions off it. Just because X number of scholars have used a certain interpretation, doesn't make it the right interpretation, even if it's a majority consensus, unless if the consensus has been consistent throughout history.

But she doesn't look deeply into all of these things. In fact, the main issue she has with Islam - oppression of women - is totally unIslamic, and many of the things she claims Muslims do, aren't 100% true. She makes it seem as though it's rare for Muslim women not to be oppressed, when in reality it's the other way around.

So yeah. She's a politician. She's good at making arguments, but she's basing them off a very narrow and limited viewpoint. To be able to properly "help" Muslim women, as she calls what she did (and is still doing), she needs to understand the real Islam, not whatever version her Imams taught her.

Bagu Marius Have you ever heard of freedom of speech? It seems you are exactly like the people that she describes in the book. Very well that she had the courage to shed light on the true nature of islam. If it is true, why are you that offended? Should you not go and scream at men who oppress women, rather than attack Ayaan? Should you not protect the oppressed, than protecting the oppressor? So, I guess you are close-minded, evil and mischievous.
TJL I mean, if we're asking loaded questions, I could go for the low-blow and ask YOU why you hate black ex-Islamic women for telling their stories about how they were abused physically, sexually, and emotionally by extremist Muslims.

But that would be a logical fallacy, because I know you don't.

You're just someone who's very uncomfortable with being confronted with a view of Islam that does not align with the socially acceptable/politically correct one that's being pushed by certain people. Maybe you're afraid that if you acknowledge that Islam has a lot of toxic elements, esp. where women's rights and racism are concerned, you might be labeled a bigot.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali actually talks about people like that in the book.

That's why you should read it.
Michael I think your comment is incredibly insensitive and callous. Here’s a woman who experienced the absolute horrors of the fundamentalist Muslim world, enduring physical, mental and emotional abuse and you dare to call this book islamophobic. How about you let her tell her life story?
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This question shows that you did not understand the book! The author is not against Islam in general, but she is against the way that she was raised and who she was expected to be according to Islamic society she lived in (including mutilation, including getting married to somebody you hardly know, including covering yourself, including not having a choice to be somebody else, etc.).
Her parents, her teachers, all around her thought that this is what Islam requires to be a good Muslim.
But it is their interpretation: they interpret that Islam’s jihad is killing Westerner’s for example, but as far as I know, for example, jihad is inner struggle to be a better person.
What Ayanne shows so powerfully and convincingly is that Islam, the way it is today, is forbidding people in general, and women in particular, to think, to choose, to make decisions, to question.
There were times in Christianity when we, the Christians, had similar rules: women did not have a right to own property, to divorce; Christians thought that Bible teaches them to kill Muslims (in Middle Ages) and there are many examples when Christians thought the way Islam is today.
What western world did is MODERNIZED (restructured) the religion (by the way, thanks to great writers, philosophers, progressive thinkers who criticized the Religion (Christianity). We grew out of mentality of the 10th century, yet Islam is still there. That is what Ayanne is trying to show-- that for their own good Muslims should grow and modernize their religion. Look at what Taliban demands according to Islam! They kill girls who go to school. Women should be stoned. Is it really in Koran? I do not know, but I know that in Old Testament there is a paragraph describing Christians stoning a woman. Do we follow it today? Of course not! We found a way to “Civilize” our religion. I think Ayanne likes the way Westerners did “restructure” of religion and she shows that Western countries prosper compare to Islamic countries today partially, if not fully, because of how Islam is interpreted and thought (violence and old mentality) today. It makes those countries go backwards; it is not allowing critical thinking and progress.
It is very positive good book because it is a revelation for people who are very ignorant about Islam and everybody who is Muslim is a terrorist for them: it tells us the history of countries that we have no idea, including names and geography. It shows how progressive ideas can change a mentality of a little girl, be an eye opener (because she “accidentally” learned English and had an access to Western books such as Kipling; she started seeing a difference, asking questions). So if you ask me, instead of bombs and army we need to send them books and good movies! I read once that in many Islamic countries in schools all children are being thought is Koran =violence) This is what we need to change.
Education is LIGHT and Ayanne Hersi Ali’s book is that light which will (hopefully) help to enlighten the Muslim world.
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Pamela Conley If someone cut off part of your genitals in the name of God you might also be critical about others who espouse those beliefs, just a guess. Not sure that makes you "phobic". To have a phobia is to have an unfounded fear. I would advocate her fear has a very solid basis.
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