Conflicted reviews

| February 28, 2007

Yesterday, I read Anne Applebaum’s reportage of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of a new book entitled “Infidel”. I recommended the piece to people around the office here because Ms. Applebaum’s “The Gall to Speak Her Mind” was such a well-written, unbiased article about this brave Somalian/Dutch woman who is currently targeted by Dutch of “Asian decent” to suffer the same fate as her co-producer, Theo VanGogh;

For those who haven’t encountered her name yet, suffice it to say that Hirsi Ali is a European of African descent with an almost American rags-to-riches life story. As a young woman, she escaped from her Somali family while en route to an arranged marriage in Canada, made her way to Holland, learned Dutch, attended college and eventually won a seat in the Dutch parliament. Along the way, she also made an intellectual journey — beautifully described in her new book, “Infidel”— from tribal Somalia, through fundamentalism, and into Western liberalism. After Sept. 11, 2001, horrified by some of the things Osama bin Laden was saying, she reached for the Koran to confirm a hunch: “I hated to do it,” she wrote, “because I knew that I would find bin Laden’s quotations in there.”

Partly as a result she lost her faith, concluding that the Koran spreads a culture that is “brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women, and harsh in war,” and that should not be tolerated by European liberals. The conclusion led her into a series of controversies — and to the murder of a Dutch filmmaker with whom she had co-produced a film about the mistreatment of Muslim women. The murderer was the son of Moroccan immigrants, born in Holland; he pinned a letter threatening Hirsi Ali onto his victim’s chest. Ultimately, she left Holland for Washington, where she remains, ensconced at the American Enterprise Institute.

I commend Ms. Applebaum for giving unbiased exposure to this brave woman. I highly recommend reading the piece as well the book.

But then, I see, from Little Green Footballs, Newsweek isn’t so kind. Neither are all of the reviewers at Amazon. For those reasons alone, I’d buy the book.

Category: Media

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