I published an article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali at ur-Butterflies and Wheels way back in 2005, when she was still an MP in the Netherlands. It was a talk she gave at a UN conference in Geneva, one of three. I published all three. Here’s the background information I provided at the time:
A one-day conference was held at the United Nations in Geneva on April 18 2005, titled ‘Victims of Jihad: Human Rights Abuse in the Name of Islam’. The conference occurred during the last week of the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. On April 12, the Commission on Human Rights passed a resolution condemning the ‘defamation’ of religion. The resolution, titled ‘Combating Defamation of Religions,’ expresses ‘deep concern that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.’ The ‘Victims of Jihad’ conference cast doubt on the wording of that resolution, and the thought behind it.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Azam Kamguian, and Ibn Warraq all addressed the conference, and all kindly sent the text of their speeches to Butterflies and Wheels. Here, for your convenience, they all are.
I wrote to Ayaan at her parliamentary address and her assistant replied, with the text of Ayaan’s talk. I felt honored.
In honor of Brandeis’s cowardly and insulting treatment of Ayaan, here is that article again.
Women Victims of Islam
Due to the sensitivity of this subject I will start by making a distinction between Islam and Muslims. Islam can be described as a civilization, as a source of spiritual guidance, as a way of life and so on. Most of all Islam is a moral framework, and central to this moral frame is the decree that a believer or follower submit his will to Allah. How this submission should be practiced is worked out in the Qur’an and hadith.
A Muslim is any one – regardless of race or sex – who subscribes to or testifies to believing, among other things, that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his prophet. Besides accepting god as Allah, and his prophet, a Muslim also believes in a host of other things like the existence of angels, a hereafter with a range of different heavens and hells, more prophets, and the view that the world will come to an end as predicted in the holy Qur’an.
Islam as compiled in the Qur’an and Hadith could be viewed as static. The way Muslims believe or practice their religion is dynamic. The individual Muslim can choose to change. As humans they are endowed with reason and, if free, Muslims can, as Christians and Jews have done in the past and still do, progress by means of critical self-reflection. I regularly criticize Islam and especially the treatment of women as prescribed in the Qur’ an and Hadith. By doing that I have annoyed many Muslims, some of whom actually want to hurt me. Despite this, rejecting some of the teachings in Islam is not the same as rejecting Muslims. Muslims deserve to be and should be viewed in Europe and elsewhere like all other humans. What I ask is not to fear Muslims or persecute them for their beliefs. What I expect – both from Muslims and their non-Muslim supporters – is to have the opportunity to think, publish my ideas and engage in societal discussion about Islam as a moral framework without having to fear for my life.