Streams

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Personal and Political

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, former member of Parliament in the Netherlands and fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, talks about her life and her new memoir Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations (Free Press, 2010).

Event:  Leonard Lopate interviews Ayaan Hirsi Ali tonight at the 92nd St Y at 8:15PM.  Tickets and more information available here

Guests:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The Morning Brief

Enter your email address and we’ll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.

Comments [69]

Taher from Croton on Hudson

Brain thanks again for bring us another right winger. Who wants to conflate her experience with what’s happening in Egypt. May be your producer is trying to destroy your show by bring in these ridicules guests. You guys might as well join Fox News.

Feb. 09 2011 10:30 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Brian why not do a show on Fascism and racism in Israel and how to stop it. Or better yet a show about America’s bigotry toward Muslims and Middle Eastern in general.

Feb. 09 2011 10:23 AM
Mike from Inwood

@Kiki - I don't read race into it; it's there. You claimed: "Bottom line, she appears to be seeking the approval of the "white men" who "give" her the opportunity to do what she wants at the AEI. She apparently has issues with her "father, brother, etc." so she looks for acceptance from other men. Here’s an idea – how about questioning the way religion treats women - period. I won’t hold my breath waiting for mass to be lead by a woman."

Then you criticize me, asking: "And your background? Were you born abroad? Were your parents born abroad? Were your grandparents born abroad? Are you from a lower socio-economic background? Do you hold an advanced degree? Are you college educated? What race are you? Did your parents love you? See what I mean - questions regarding background, when used to discredit the speaker and not address the issue, can be a bit insulting."

Don't you think you insulted Ms. Ali in the same way that you believe I insulted you? I think so.

I hear the reverend Wright is looking for campaign workers. Sounds like you'd be a perfect fit.

May. 22 2010 12:14 AM
DAT from Nathan Straus Projects

The Christian Bible is full of God ordered massacres and mayhem.
For example, 1 Samuel 15:2-3 says:
This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys."
Check out what the Talmud has to say about
Goys.

"Holy Books" are written by human beings
that put forth, their particular point of view.

May. 21 2010 01:26 PM
Kiki from NJ

I used the term "white men" (notice the quotes) because she chose to use it, albeit to a comment someone else made on the page and raised to her by Brian.

Again, your level of comprehension leaves much to be desired. The main thrust of my initial comment had nothing to do with race - it had to do with her feelings about men, i.e, her father, brother, other men, and a general criticism of her disparate treatment of religions, given the fact that they all treat women badly. You chose to read race into it. You assumed that I was black, oh, sorry, black and defensive, sorry again, "typical" black - defensive. I hear Rand Paul is looking for a campaign workers. Sounds like you would fit in perfectly.

May. 21 2010 01:05 AM
Mike from Inwood

Kiki claims: "you mentioned race first. In fact, ou went into excrusiation detail.." and she quotes me: "...or a former American 'Black' Muslim (e.g. NOI, Moorish Science Temple, American Society of Muslims, United Nation, Nation of Gods and Earth or Nuwaubianism)?"

But this was in response to her criticizing the Ms Ali for sucking up to "White men":

"Bottom line, she appears to be seeking the approval of the "white men" who "give" her the opportunity to do what she wants at the AEI. She apparently has issues with her "father, brother, etc." so she looks for acceptance from other men. Here’s an idea – how about questioning the way religion treats women - period. I won’t hold my breath waiting for mass to be lead by a woman."

This motivated me to ask what your background was. YOUR mention of race and your implicit allegation that the speaker was racist.

May. 20 2010 04:28 PM
Kiki from NJ

I will also take my cue from James. Ditto on his comment.

Later.

May. 20 2010 04:02 PM
Kiki from NJ

Mike,

Yeah - exactly...Dude - you mentioned race first. In fact, ou went into excrusiation detail...

Mike from Inwood
"...or a former American 'Black' Muslim (e.g. NOI, Moorish Science Temple, American Society of Muslims, United Nation, Nation of Gods and Earth or Nuwaubianism)?"

May. 20 2010 02:06 PM

I responded and asked you a question - would it make a difference. Obviously, for you it does. Poor black folk must not know how to behave around you. As you so unabashedly claim, "Sadly, I do find your defensiveness typical of many Black women (and men, although slightly less so) born in the Western hemisphere."

Again, thanks for the "enlighted" view.

May. 20 2010 03:59 PM
Mike from Inwood

James "I just don't like making statements like "Muslims on the whole" and "the situation of Islam today" (as if it had some single situation), much as I don't like Ms. Ali talking about "the Muslim mind." It's just sloppy thinking embedded right in the grammar."

I hearwhat you're saying, but Ithink you should listen morecarefully to what she said. I think she did qualifiy what she said, just not at every turn. Think how cumbersome the conversation on the radio would have been had she attempted to do that.

I mean, for example, for all you talk about problems in the Middle East - problems aplenty, I grant you - as if that's Muslim central, you seem to overlook that the number one most populous Muslim country is Indonesia, with the number two being India. Both are democracies and don't have problems resembling those of Middle Eastern countries - they have different problems, sure.

Traditionally tolerant, Indonesia does increasingly have a problem with intolerant Muslims who want to repress other religions. The problems between Hindus and Muslims fill history texts. The problems are different and perhaps her remarks apply more to her native Somolia, but as our friend Kiki points out, the position of women in all these societies is something less than that of a man and separating this cultural history from the religion is not easy.

May. 20 2010 03:58 PM
James

Mike, when you find you're in a hole, stop digging, man.

Later!

May. 20 2010 03:53 PM
Mike from Inwood

Kiki "P.S. Ohh blacks born in the western hemisphere - when will your defensiveness stop being so "typical"...."

Yes, the descendents of the former slaves still have a lot of problems, the least of which are mental.

May. 20 2010 03:49 PM
Mike from Inwood

Kiki states: "LOL - I am not a black woman, but thanks for showing your prejudices. I never said I was. I asked if it would make a difference if I were. Thanks for the "enlightened" view of the world."

@ Kiki ealier states: "In any event, does being a black woman qualify the strength of my position/or lack thereof, in your opinion?"

This was the first mention of race. Your remarks had not been hypothetical prior to that, so there was no inference that these were either. Therefore this did imply you are Black. Get your story straight. Or is your point (still unclarified) just to get the last word?

May. 20 2010 03:47 PM
James

@Mike -

I just don't like making statements like "Muslims on the whole" and "the situation of Islam today" (as if it had some single situation), much as I don't like Ms. Ali talking about "the Muslim mind." It's just sloppy thinking embedded right in the grammar.

I mean, for example, for all you talk about problems in the Middle East - problems aplenty, I grant you - as if that's Muslim central, you seem to overlook that the number one most populous Muslim country is Indonesia, with the number two being India. Both are democracies and don't have problems resembling those of Middle Eastern countries - they have different problems, sure.

May. 20 2010 03:44 PM
Kiki from NJ

P.S. Ohh blacks born in the western hemisphere - when will your defensiveness stop being so "typical"....

May. 20 2010 03:40 PM
Mike from Inwood

@Kiki: "Nice way to insult black Muslims."

In case this nuance of American English has passed you by, a 'Black Muslim' refers to any of the churches originating in this country among Black people whose adherents call themselves "Muslims" even though they had no historcial connection to Islam as it originated in the Middle East. My original post listed several of the main sects. Black people in Africa practicing Islam as they have for many generations are not, in the American lexicon, "Black Muslims". They are Mulsims who are Black. I know it's a little odd. Kind of like "Indians" sometimes still refering to the indigenous people of this continent because Columbus thought he'd landed close to India.

May. 20 2010 03:39 PM
Kiki from NJ

I see.

LOL - I am not a black woman, but thanks for showing your prejudices. I never said I was. I asked if it would make a difference if I were. Thanks for the "enlightened" view of the world.

May. 20 2010 03:37 PM
Mik from Inwood

@Kiki: If your formerly being a Muslim was completely irrelevant to your point, why did you bother to state this fact? Clarify that.

May. 20 2010 03:29 PM
Mike from Inwood

@Kiki: You claim "questions regarding background, when used to discredit the speaker and not address the issue, can be a bit insulting",

Perhaps they can, but did I try to discredit anything you said?

You also ask: "In any event, does being a black woman qualify the strength of my position/or lack thereof, in your opinion?"

No, it just clarifies it a bit. And clarification was what I was seeking. Sadly, I do find your defensiveness typical of many Black women (and men, although slightly less so) born in the Western hemisphere.

May. 20 2010 03:26 PM
Kiki from NJ

Mike,

MIke,

I figured you wouldn't. Nice way to insult black Muslims.

For your edification "BTW" stands for "by the way," as in an aside and not the main point. Nice way to ignore the entire issue and focus on the BTW.

So the relavance of my skin color is.....?

May. 20 2010 03:20 PM
Mike from Inwood

@James: "You're just taking images of a foreign "other" - which happen to be poor people acting and speaking irrationally - and using them as tokens of the whole, in order to reinforce your image of yourself as rational and enlightened. It's a classic colonialist view. What about the civil protest movement in Iran, who marched in the streets last year under the green flag of Islam? You can't say they weren't Islamic - they were chanting Koranic verses the whole time. Are they some aberration among the savages?"

Again, listen to what the woman had to say. It's you who's creating the straw man by lumping everyone together and drawing crass generalizations. You are 'othering' me.

May. 20 2010 03:15 PM
Mike from Inwood

@James: Of course, there is a difference between any religion when considered as a philosophical approach to life and how it is practiced by the average person. How much are we looking at cultural practices originating in pre-Islamic times and how much is the religion as a prescription for how to live? While Muslims, on the whole pride themselves on being a way of life and intrinsically political, some do not. In contrast, Christians, after hundreds of years of slaughtering each other over theological differences during the Renaissance in Europe, learned to live with people of differing views much better than people in the Middle East. This may be the only thing they learned better, other than how to better use technology to kill other people. Of course, Jews And Christians have always been tolerated in the Middle East, with taxes for infidels, segregated in their ghettos and unable to participate politically. I see the situation of Islam today more as people whose grandparents lived closer to how their descendents lived 1,000 years ago dealing with rapid social change and the loss of moral certainty than whether or not these people are 'hillbillies' (an ethnic insult, I might add). People from the remote corners of the globe are being sucked into the currents of cultural exchange, Muslims largely because they have oil or we fear they influence our access to it.

May. 20 2010 03:11 PM
Mike from Inwood

Kiki replies: "Mike, Not that I see the relevance, and frankly the question is a bit insulting, but I am an immigrant, born abroad and proud to call myself an American. My "bible" is the U.S. Constitution. In any event, does being a black woman qualify the strength of my position/or lack thereof, in your opinion?
And your background? Were you born abroad? Were your parents born abroad? Were your grandparents born abroad? Are you from a lower socio-economic background? Do you hold an advanced degree? Are you college educated? What race are you? Did your parents love you? See what I mean - questions regarding background, when used to discredit the speaker and not address the issue, can be a bit insulting."

No, I do not see your point; not even a little. When your original remarks include, "BTW, I am a former Muslim...", YOU make it relevant and your feeling insulted is really YOUR problem. When you make your formerly being a Muslim relevant, then whether you are an American Muslim, (any of the religions that started within the racial context of this country and historically had no resemblance, other than their name, or connection to Islam in foreign countries) does make a big difference. That is why I asked.

May. 20 2010 02:56 PM
James

@Mike - I think you, like Ms. Ali, are being extremely selective. You are taking poor, illiterate people from the developing world and making them the sole representatives of a world religion. Yes, I'll admit that most in the moral majority have at least minimum education levels and won't tear you up on the street. However, you're talking about Islam's unwashed hillbillies. They're just not comparable. And BTW there are Christian mobs in Nigeria or Hindu BJP mobs in India you probably shouldn't "engage" if you want to keep your health - economic, political, and social factors probably have more to do with the violent outbursts than what holy verses they're reading, as Ali's critique implies.

You're just taking images of a foreign "other" - which happen to be poor people acting and speaking irrationally - and using them as tokens of the whole, in order to reinforce your image of yourself as rational and enlightened. It's a classic colonialist view.

What about the civil protest movement in Iran, who marched in the streets last year under the green flag of Islam? You can't say they weren't Islamic - they were chanting Koranic verses the whole time. Are they some aberration among the savages?

May. 20 2010 02:45 PM
Kiki from NJ

Mike,

Not that I see the relevance, and frankly the question is a bit insulting, but I am an immigrant, born abroad and proud to call myself an American. My "bible" is the U.S. Constitution. In any event, does being a black woman qualify the strength of my position/or lack thereof, in your opinion?

And your background? Were you born abroad? Were your parents born abroad? Were your grandparents born abroad? Are you from a lower socio-economic background? Do you hold an advanced degree? Are you college educated? What race are you? Did your parents love you? See what I mean - questions regarding background, when used to discredit the speaker and not address the issue, can be a bit insulting.

May. 20 2010 02:24 PM
Mike from Inwood

@Kiki - Just curious: Are you an immigrant from a Muslim family abroad, the descendent of Muslim immigrants born here or a former American 'Black' Muslim (e.g. NOI, Moorish Science Temple, American Society of Muslims, United Nation, Nation of Gods and Earth or Nuwaubianism)?

May. 20 2010 02:06 PM
kiki from NJ

Just heard the segment.

Well...golly gee boof (Gary Dell' Abate voice) - thanks for pointing Muslims in the U.S to look at how well Christians treat others/ideas they are opposed to. Yes, let's look at Christianity for their treatment of the savages (native americans) gay bashing, and pedophilia. Let's not forget the Inquisition and the Holocaust. Religion is evil, let's not delude ourselves. The Muslims lack PR skills - otherwise, it is all the same.

Bottom line, she appears to be seeking the approval of the "white men" who "give" her the opportunity to do what she wants at the AEI. She apparently has issues with her "father, brother, etc." so she looks for acceptance from other men. Here’s an idea – how about questioning the way religion treats women - period. I won’t hold my breath waiting for mass to be lead by a woman.

BTW, I am a former Muslim and a proud devout atheist.

May. 20 2010 01:35 PM
Mike from Inwood

@James, who states:"Another way of stating my problem with Ms. Ali's argument is that, by dismissing the cosmopolitanism that does exist in Islam in favor of a single version of that religion and its billion followers, she herself falls prey to fundamentalist logic (which thrives on totalizing "us/them" lines) as she seemingly argues for cosmopolitan secularism."

I think you should listen to Ms. Ali's comments again. I don't think she paints all Muslims with the same brushstroke. After her brief acknowledgment of that, those are not the Muslims she addresses.

James: "Believe me, if Islam were this bloodthirsty religion Ali claims (and she has every right and reason to make such a critique), we all would know it. Because the billion people who follow that religion would be out there kicking butt. The world would look very different than it does."

I also think that you should look again at the world. See how Afghanis are intimidated by the Taliban. See how the Muslim community ensures conformity in Muslim countries with social pressure and threats of violence. Look at the crowds that protest the drawings in Muslim countries and their sporadic violence. Would you feel safe having a 'dialogue' with them on their streets? I do feel safe having a dialogue on the street with members of the Moral Majority. On occasion, I have. The vast majority are peaseful and able to engage in a real conversation, although I acknowledge that it takes some conversational skill not to press their buttons and have the conversation degenerate into an argument.

May. 20 2010 01:30 PM
Mike from Inwood

Voter from Brooklyn replies: "The same way there are cafeteria Catholics and pork eating Jews in the US, there are virtually secular Muslims. That’s religion in America, 250 million people claiming to be holy, unless it’s inconvenient for them. As for the remainder, 50 million or so practice something else or nothing at all and then there are the zealots. A zealot here, whether bombing a clinic, gunning someone down in church or at a memorial, beating someone to a pulp or just controlling their women and children the way the Bible tells them to, is no different than one overseas."

In some qualitative sense you can find similarities, but my point was quantitative. Christiam zealots who will not tolerate blasphemy are an anomoly here. Muslims who will not tolerate blasphemy in predominantly Muslim countries are NOT anomolies. And my point is also qualitative: Authorites in many predominantly Muslim countries condone violence against blasphemers. Authorities here prosecute violence against blasphemers. You are making a mountain out of a molehill.

May. 20 2010 01:19 PM
James

Another way of stating my problem with Ms. Ali's argument is that, by dismissing the cosmopolitanism that does exist in Islam in favor of a single version of that religion and its billion followers, she herself falls prey to fundamentalist logic (which thrives on totalizing "us/them" lines) as she seemingly argues for cosmopolitan secularism.

May. 20 2010 01:05 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

@Mike from Inwood,
The same way there are cafeteria Catholics and pork eating Jews in the US, there are virtually secular Muslims. That’s religion in America, 250 million people claiming to be holy, unless it’s inconvenient for them. As for the remainder, 50 million or so practice something else or nothing at all and then there are the zealots. A zealot here, whether bombing a clinic, gunning someone down in church or at a memorial, beating someone to a pulp or just controlling their women and children the way the Bible tells them to, is no different than one overseas.

May. 20 2010 12:49 PM
James

@Mike and Michael - I would actually largely agree with you that, even if fundamentalists DID bomb the theater in France (of all places) showing the "Last Temptation", you can't hold up Christianity and Islam and make a facile comparison or equivalence between the violence that occurs in both religions. There is a movement for "militant Islam" - it's true. There are Christian militias operating today (including in the US, where under the right circumstances they could be very dangerous), however they don't have the same character or efficacy.

I guess my problem with Ali is that her critique is blunt and artless. She has a complete right and every reason for it - she has been abused by members of her former religion and paid a high price for trying to exercise her human rights. However, the people who are picking her up and running with her are the "Islamofascism" crowd here, who are a group that I really really disagree with.

They are basically al Qaeda enablers. Bin Laden's argument is essentially that a global war is being waged on Islam - come defend it, join the jihad, blah blah blah. You might think an effective strategy against this argument would be to isolate the Bin Ladens. But no, the "Islamofascism" crowd seem intent on lumping as many muslims together with the terrorists as possible. They're doing Bin Laden's work for him - though they stand on the other side of it, they are reinforcing his logic that westerners stand against Islam itself rather than a cult within it.

Believe me, if Islam were this bloodthirsty religion Ali claims (and she has every right and reason to make such a critique), we all would know it. Because the billion people who follow that religion would be out there kicking butt. The world would look very different than it does.

May. 20 2010 12:43 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

@Mike from Inwood,
Woah, what!?! Christians in America don’t do what to whom? There’s a whole slew of dead gay people, women seeking abortions and doctors in America who have died at the hands of God-fearing church-going pistol-backing bomb-making Americans. At least one of them got gunned down IN CHURCH! Let’s forget about the bloody, raping, slave owning, pillaging, genocidal past of Christianity and focus on the murderous present of Christians. Do you even know what Catholics in South America and Anglicans in Africa do?
Have you ever been outside the Northeast?

May. 20 2010 12:37 PM
Mike from Inwood

James replies: @ Mike - Just not true. Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" met with widespread protests, including violent attacks by fundamentalists who threw Molotov cocktails and severely burned filmgoers. The film met with more protests when it was broadcast on TV in the 90s.

Widespread? Look again. Even if there was an isolated instance of a theater goer being burned, this was simply not happening everywhere or in a widespread manner. You are remembering your fears and biases. And wasn't the person responsible for this burning prosecuted? In the Middle East, where the authorities encourage violent behavior, the perpetrator would be the person burned, not the person protecting the faith. If you don't see a difference here, please move there for your own edification.

May. 20 2010 12:30 PM
Mike from Inwood

Voter from Brooklyn states: "The Pope in Rome routinely tells Americans what they should and should not do, including protesting movies and “must not see TV”. Remember the movies Dogma, Legion, The Da Vinci Code, Angles and Demons, et al. Catholic adulterer Giuliani tried to pull public all funding to the Brooklyn Museum because of a painting."

First what Guliani does to grandstand has more to do with what he thinks will play well at the poles. He never expected to get away with that Brooklyn Museum stunt. Secondly, I was raised as a Catholic and I KNOW from frirst hand experience that Catholics routinely ignore the Pope. They are just as likely to tape the pill as protestants and just as likely to see blaspheming movies. To equate the Pope's reach in the US or the activities of the 'Moral Majority' here with the intolerance that exists in Muslim societies is comapring a mountain to a molehill.

May. 20 2010 12:22 PM

mike in wood
you are right, i'm.
but is the name of their faith the issue. they are poor, don't have control over their lives and live in the dark ages. maybe it's not their religion that causes such hate but their form of government and the US support for those governements.

May. 20 2010 12:21 PM
Mike from Inwood

hjs1221 - Once again, you are comparing mountains to molehills. People would be killed (actually killed, physically dead, lose their lives) if they blasphemed in public in the Middle East or Asia Minor. Chistrians in the West might have some choice words for you (exercising their free-speech rights) but you will not be phyisically attacked in the US, Canada or Europe if you publically blaspheme Jesus or the Christian religion in any way. I remember crossing a picket line (if 6 people can be called a 'line') to see 'The Life of Brian'. No one attempted to impede my movement. The 'protesters' politlely stepped aside. Was anyone prevented from seeing 'The Last Temptation'? Were theaters bombed or burned? Did any theater not show it out of fear? That's what's being discussed here, not some religious zealot exercising their right to protest anything they'd like to. Where the religious right starts to impinge on other people's freedom is shutting down health care facilities that provide abortions. And they should be (and occasionally are) prosecuted in a court of law for this.

May. 20 2010 12:17 PM

voter
"I’m curious to see if any serious questions were asked about Christianity’s and Judaism’s hypocrisy" sorry to say NO

May. 20 2010 12:16 PM
James

@ Mike and Michael - Just not true. Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" met with widespread protests, including violent attacks by fundamentalists who threw Molotov cocktails and severely burned filmgoers. The film met with more protests when it was broadcast on TV in the 90s.

By Ali's reasoning, that makes Christianity a violently intolerant religion - all its branches, etc. The "Christian mind" is one that is consumed with violence, and so on.

May. 20 2010 12:16 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

@ Mike from Inwood,
The Pope in Rome routinely tells Americans what they should and should not do, including protesting movies and “must not see TV”. Remember the movies Dogma, Legion, The Da Vinci Code, Angles and Demons, et al. Catholic adulterer Giuliani tried to pull public all funding to the Brooklyn Museum because of a painting. The Pope had issue with performer Madonna because of her concerts in America. Breath the wrong way in the American northeast and your anti-Semitic.
I missed the segment (working) but will listen to it later. I’m curious to see if any serious questions were asked about Christianity’s and Judaism’s hypocrisy.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph themed pornography would be roundly demonized and protested by Catholics and Evangelicals alike, they will not support it as free expression. And I’ll tell you, if anyone in the northeast proposed “Draw a Jew Tuesdays” there’d be h*ll to pay. Just because Christians and Jews routinely compromise on the 10 commandments—remember idolatry, the Sabbath, using Gods name in vain—doesn’t mean Muslims must. I’m an atheist BTW.

May. 20 2010 12:14 PM
Madrid

Dumb move to have Hirsi Ali on during pledge week, unless your target audience is Muslim hating Zionists.

I used to donate to WNYC, until I understood that one of its primary purposes was to disseminate pro-Israel propaganda.

Nice way to alienate new listeners, WNYC-- way to go.

May. 20 2010 12:13 PM

Mike from Inwood
we can't even learn evloution in some states.
by the way since 'last temptation of christ' there have been few if any films worth protesting. i guess hollywood got the message.

May. 20 2010 12:07 PM
Mike from Inwood

@hjs11211 regarding my post below:

hjs - Get real. The moral majority considers a great many Hollywood movies to be immoral, (think of efforts to sell or rent censored Hollywood movies) but when was the last time anyone saw or heard of a movie being protested? True, 'The Life of Brian' in the late 1970s had maybe a handful of peaeful protesters outside some theaters. Christians are simply not hunting down blaphemers. Compare that to Salman Rushdie having to live in hiding for 10 or 15 years because he published a misunderstood book. You could carry a sign suggesting Jesus star in a porn film through any American city or town all day and not be attacked.
**********************
James asks, "Let's have a "Make a Porn Starring Jesus" day and see how America's "moral majority" turns the other cheek."

I think we'd see that the moral majority would simply ignore you because they'd simply think you were very immature and juvenile.

"

May. 20 2010 11:58 AM
mer from Manhattan

I admire her desire to sit with people and engage them on the interpretations of the Koran. However, engaging with anyone who blindly follows any faith, whether it's the bible or any other religion, is a waste of time. People who adhere to their religion believe what they believe, and their beliefs will not be changed. They will just say "it is written" or "it's God's way." When there is no logical answer, that's the response you will always get.

May. 20 2010 11:55 AM

Mike from Inwood
oh no they would not. there are many movies protested as blasphemy by christians

May. 20 2010 11:49 AM
Amy from Manhattan

There are progressive Muslims--there's even a meetup group by that name, & I know some of its members. (I'm a Jew & a member of The Dialogue Project.)

May. 20 2010 11:49 AM
Micheal from Manhattan

To James ..... Southpark regularly makes fun of Jesus (PBUH) and other religious icons ... and America is not upturned. You really do NOT know US.
Mike from Inwood...As for using (PBUH) after the prophet Mohammed's name ... this conveys no particular RELIGIOUS devotion it only shows a mortal respect in my case,being to being... peace be apon YOU. ;)

May. 20 2010 11:49 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I would love to engage her on what things Christians have decided to put away in the Bible. This seems to be one of the hottest debates going on right now among Christians.

I think the AEI gets off on having her as a member and that may explain all the freedom they give her. Doesn't really change who they are. That said, I can hardly blame her for taking advantage of it.

May. 20 2010 11:47 AM
norman from NYC

The American Enterprise Institute is progressive if you define "progressive" as corporate conservative Republican.

May. 20 2010 11:47 AM
Mike from Inwood

James asks, "Let's have a "Make a Porn Starring Jesus" day and see how America's "moral majority" turns the other cheek."

I think we'd see that the moral majority would simply ignore you because they'd simply think you were very immature and juvenile.

May. 20 2010 11:46 AM
Sev from Jersey

I hope Mr. Lehrer will point out to his commenters' what an ad hominem, straw man, and tu quoque fallacies are, every other one seems to indulge in them.

May. 20 2010 11:45 AM
James

BTW - I am all for free expression, too. It's a legal right and except for incitement and threats, it is absolutely protected.

However, I can express my social disapproval of certain speech without denying a person's legal right to speak. Without challenging questions of legality, there are questions of propriety, respectability, and good taste.

May. 20 2010 11:42 AM
Michael from Manhattan

in addition...the ultimate blasphemy for this religious tradition is the elevation of the mere prophet Mohammed (PBUH) into some sort of demi god. Thousands of years before the appearance of the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) G*D Himself scribed "There shall be no other Gods before me" This particular prophet is one of many, and should be accorded no more sacredness than any other man or woman that has walked this earth.

May. 20 2010 11:42 AM
Mike from Inwood

According to my secular humanist religion, the dignity of being an adult human being lies in being able to choose good over evil. People who are forced to "behave" under threats are not good or holy, they are children. Whenever people do things by rote and consider themselves to be better and more holy as a result, they are abdicating their responsibility to actively judge each situation as they are confronted by choices. Routinely saying "Peace be upon Him" after saying the Prophet's name or treating each copy of a man-made book known as the Quaran is idol-worship. Whatever Hell there is, Muslims who rigidly adhere to a set of behaviorswill be burning in it (among others).

May. 20 2010 11:41 AM
The Truth from Becky

AHA so there is the answer, she is an Atheist now...I was confused for a moment about why she would be promoting this.

May. 20 2010 11:40 AM
norman from NYC

Are you also going to engage with Jews and Christians about the similar violent, anti-woman and anti-gay writings in Leviticus?

May. 20 2010 11:39 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I am with Tara. I am dismayed by all the venom directed at her by the left. Disagree with her all you like, but in fact her co-filmaker was killed in the street in the Netherlands and Hirsi's name was on a piece of paper that was pinned to his body with a knife. Given her experience I think that she deserves respect if not agreement, especially from anyone who champion's free speech and the right to self determination.

May. 20 2010 11:38 AM
James

Let's have a "Make a Porn Starring Jesus" day and see how America's "moral majority" turns the other cheek.

May. 20 2010 11:38 AM
Michael from Manhattan

wither she is from the right , left, or centre, freedom of speech means freedom to offend. I will protect that right .... and there should be no Islamic exceptionalism in THIS nation.

May. 20 2010 11:36 AM
norman from NYC

So would she accept similar abusive cartoons about Jews and Christians?

May. 20 2010 11:36 AM
The Truth from Becky

What a very bad idea! This has to be the worst idea since....draw mohammed day? OMGoodneess what next?

May. 20 2010 11:33 AM
Tara from Bronx, NY

Thank you Brian for having Ms. Ali on your show. I am dismayed by the hostility expressed toward her by so many on the left. Maybe this explains why she has chosen to involve herself w/ institutes like American Enterprise. Liberals need to refocus and remember that their ideology should be about free speech and anti oppression. In my opinion Ms. Ali gets bashed mostly because it is not currently fashionable (on the left) to say anything critical about Islam. Although Christianity and Judaism are fare game.

May. 20 2010 11:30 AM
Summiter from NYC

How many of those who say that Ms. Ali is misinterpreting Islam have actually read the Koran, and from the Hadiths? My guess is- few.

I've read Ms. Ali's writing and know that she doesn't "misinterpret" Islam. She has every right to both question Islamic tradition, and to advocate for "reformation" within the religion.

The Koran is seen by those who believe in it as the unmediated word of God. And , as Muhammad was the perfect person, his actions are seen as unquestionably perfect, and to be emulated precisely.

How many know that Sharia law requires a woman to produce 2 male witnesses to the actual act of rape in order to bring charges? More importantly, how many know the actual incident in the life of Mohammad, and his revelation from Allah, that created this law?

How many know of the artists who satirized Mohammad that he had assassinated? One was a woman sleeping with her children. The children were pulled off of her, and she was butchered in their presence. Understanding this part of Islamic history sheds light on the rage on Moslem culture in response to the Danish Cartoons.

The "Religion of Peace" has traditionally only been peaceful within its borders. "Dal ar Harb" (the Abode of War) is the designation given to lands not following Islam.

Uncomfortable as the thought might be to multiculturalists, Ms. Ali does have a firm and accurate understanding of Islamic law and tradition. Her drive to reform Islam is crucial, even if seemingly futile. Her voice is necessary. Essential.

Koran:
http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/quran/

Hadiths:
http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/

May. 20 2010 11:22 AM
norman from NYC

Here's her Wikipedia entry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayaan_Hirsi_Ali

May. 20 2010 11:12 AM
Nu On from New York

Please ask Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali why she is in the United States working for right-wing think tanks (right-wing public relations propaganda vehicles).

May. 20 2010 11:05 AM

all religion is myth and voodoo. an opiate for the masses, some might say. bringer of wars.
perhaps weak people need that crutch, but if more people look to science not myth for guidance the world would be a better place.
when will we get it.

May. 20 2010 10:58 AM
pt

Why did she join the American Enterprise Institute?

She left an oppresive male controlled community, only to join one that is consists of almost all well-to-do white males.

Is she aware that they claim Global Warming is not real?

May. 20 2010 10:52 AM
Zahara from Hoboken

To miss Ali,

Just like you, I am an African immigrant female, probably with similar not exactly backgrounds. For example, absentee father, helpless mother, terrible childhood, etc. However, unlike you, I am a proud practicing Muslim woman. Until my middle 20s, that was not the case. I chose Islam, meaning it was my choice to practice Islam not the command of family or a husband. Matter of fact, I had very limited knowledge of Islam growing up. I studied and chose Islam as my preferred religion. One of the things I’m thankful to God for in my life is that I don’t live in a society where some mullah’s version of Islam is enforce on me against my will.

I consider myself a” hard core Muslim feminist” whatever that means. Therefore, I understand and admire some of your stands on women issues. Be it Islam or not.

Even though I strongly disagree and dislike your hate rampage on Islam, I read your book (Infidel) couple of years ago to understand your philosophy. I most say, I rather understood your disenchantments with your past.

As a person, you have every right in the world to your opinion, however, when that opinion is not the truth, when that opinion is clouded with such perverted understanding of things, then we have a problem. With all respect, your problems, whatever they were was not due to ISLAM, as someone on this message board pointed out couple of weeks ago - but to your people’s understanding of Islam, to your family, culture, tradition, politics, etc. So, please, let Islam be, Islam is not your problem, sister.

May. 20 2010 10:47 AM

hugh
explain "slander"

May. 20 2010 10:32 AM

I hope Mr. Lehrer will point out that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a far-right conservative who briefly took a post at the American Enterprise Institute. Americans and the Dutch adore her for her never-ending campaign to slander and libel _all_ Muslims everywhere.

May. 20 2010 09:15 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.