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Apr 10 2014

More Thoughts on Ayaan Hirsi Ali

I posted this originally on James Croft’s Facebook page. It included other people too, but I’m only posting my own thoughts. Might be an asshole move, but I feel what I said is important and I want to share it. Sorry for the one-sided conversation.

I think this shows that being an ex-Muslim is hard. If she had said all of that about Christianity, it wouldn’t have been a controversy. Ex-Muslims are trapped between Muslims and pro-Islam liberals who are more anxious to prove they’re not racist than to care for the people of Middle East.

I think Ali can introduce some nuance, I think she can be unfair in some of her judgment, but ultimately I consider her a persuasive and fearless fighter of Islam, and I like her for it.

And ultimately, my own opinions are in agreement with her. I do think that moderate Islam is bullshit, I do think that Islam is fascistic, and worse than any other religion. I also think that western culture and western ways of life are superior to our ways. I do think we, the Muslim world, are backward. I do think we need to put our culture in the toilet and flush it.

If that makes me “Islamophpbic”, then be it. It takes a lot of courage to claim that an Iranian or a Somalian person has a deep-seated prejudice against his or her own people as a race, Personally I think my enmity is motivated by love for my people, for seeing how they have suffered and wanting to make things better for them.

I don’t think my response was measured or thoughtful, sorry. I’m not a very thoughtful or measured person, I can’t help it.

My problem is not with people who say “we should empower moderate Islam”. My disagreement is with people who say that their existence means that we can’t critique Islam as an ideology based on its text anymore.

I think I have a better track record of fighting for moderate Muslims than anyone else here – sorry that I’m assuming. I don’t think any of you took part in a protest that a bullet crossed your face by an inch and shot someone behind you in the throat. It wasn’t an atheist rally. It was a rally for a man who is far less moderate than some Muslim moderates. I love this man so much my pen name is derived from his name.

Don’t use a blank statement and call people like me “Islamophobic” or “dangerously close to it”. It’s an unfair accusation and it HURTS because it’s the equivalent of saying someone hates their family. I have also been called a puppet of the regime, and a cleric-lover, that doesn’t hurt, this one does.

I also don’t buy this marginalization narrative. The Bahai are the most marginalized people in Iran. They’re very peaceful, tolerant, and have faced the most horrific crimes. I still feel very comfortable saying that their religion is laughable and utterly masochistic. AND, I prefer Bahai faith to Islam like a million times. Islam is at heart fascistic, and when 99% of Muslims are moderates, it’s already dead.

The reason is that Muslim countries are backward. They are more religious than the west, more radical. Pointing this out doesn’t mean he’s racist. If that were true then 90% of Iranian pro-democracy advocates – Muslims too – are racist. We ALL say that. The whole purpose of Iranian intellectuals is to make people stop nagging about the west or the regimes and recognize that problems are deeper and cultural.

In some Iranian Persian atheists, their hatred of Islam has – sadly – been married to a deep racism against Arabs. They’re not racist because of their hatred of Islam, though. And they’re certainly not capable of being Islamophobic in the way that assumes the entire Muslim world to be monolithic. They’re different topics.

Saying that = “Islam is evil”, “Moderate Islam is wrong”, “Our culture is backward”, these things are not racist. ESPECIALLY the last one which is as obvious as the sun in the sky.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    Infidel753

    pro-Islam liberals who are more anxious to prove they’re not racist than to care for the people of Middle East.

    This is the key problem, and probably the real reason why Hirsi Ali was suddenly snubbed at Brandeis. In some Western liberal circles, criticizing Islam is deemed politically incorrect, and there is indeed a deliberate effort by some people to confuse opposition to Islam with racism. It’s absurd, since Muslims (like Christians) can be of any race, but people push this idea even in ludicrous cases. The founder of the first anti-Islam political party in the Netherlands, Pim Fortuyn, was a gay, atheist, Marxist professor and opposed Islam partly because of its anti-gay attitudes, but he was quickly branded “far right” by the media. I’ve been accused of racism myself because I attack Islam as well as Christianity on my blog.

    In Europe, some opponents of immigration really are racists, but many aren’t — yet they too are smeared that way.

    An atheist who is Somali or Iranian is not safe from this treatment, either. They’ll call you a sell-out or a self-hater or something.

    I’m not comfortable with Hirsi Ali’s decision to associate with right-wing groups in the US, especially since the right wing here is itself increasingly dominated by religious crazies. But the shameful behavior of some on the left toward critics of Islam does make it, to some extent, understandable that she did so.

  2. 2
    Ophelia Benson

    I especially like this passage:

    It takes a lot of courage to claim that an Iranian or a Somalian person has a deep-seated prejudice against his or her own people as a race, Personally I think my enmity is motivated by love for my people, for seeing how they have suffered and wanting to make things better for them.

    Well said.

  3. 3
    Fury

    Bravo.

    I have to say “thank you” here. Thank you. I long for the day that atheist bloggers not living under theocracy have your guts and clear sightedness.

    As to those complaining that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has joined the political right, you think this might have a little to do with the treatment she’s received from the political left?

    1. 3.1
      fourth of july, asbury park

      As to those complaining that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has joined the political right, you think this might have a little to do with the treatment she’s received from the political left?

      This has been exactly my thought, on several occasions, not only in the wake of the current situation. I read her book when it came out, and while her defense of the Enlightenment would make her at odds with the far left, the right here must be an uncomfortable fit for exactly the same reason. Overall, though, I’d say that the left has not given her a reasonable hearing. Also, it’s important to recognize the duress under which she arrived here. Let’s not forget, that it’s not as if she comes from a rich family. She was living under death threats. She was about to get her citizenship revoked in the Netherlands and in all likelihood she would have needed a promise of employment to come to the U.S. permanently. The American Enterprise Institute offered her a position. I can hardly fault her for taking it under those circumstances.

      There seems to me to be almost a weird arrogance on the far left where they won’t listen to people speak about their very own experiences.

      I’ve been trying to put together my own post on the subject and have been reading a bunch of news items in preparation and I’m surprised how much people have forgotten, or left out, the circumstances of her life.

      1. Kaveh Mousavi

        Please make sure to share your post here when you write it :)

    2. 3.2
      Kaveh Mousavi

      I’m not happy that Ali has joined the political right, but I think human rights is more important than the left vs. right. Lech Walesa is also politically right. Issues like genital mutilation and forced marriages are more important, at least to me, than the left and right political divide.

    3. 3.3
      StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

      @3. Fury

      Bravo. I have to say “thank you” here. Thank you. I long for the day that atheist bloggers not living under theocracy have your guts and clear sightedness.

      As to those complaining that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has joined the political right, you think this might have a little to do with the treatment she’s received from the political left?

      Seconded by me and quoted for truth. Well said – and thanks again for your courage and reason and blogging Kaveh Mousavi.

      I consider Ayaan Hirsi Ali one of my heroes. She’s not perfect, nobody is, but she certainly is brave, admirable and correct about a whole lot of things.

      I think it is very telling how few of her critics have been through or understand what’s she ahs been through and how they lack the intimate complete (well very much more complete at least) knowledge and direct experience of Islamic cultures that she – and Kaveh Mousavi have here. Her critics too quite literally do NOT know what they are talking about. She – and Kaveh and Maryam Namazie and Taslima Nasreen OTOH do. That simple really.

      Now if only we could get Ayaan Hirsi Ali onto FTB as well .. (pipedream?)

  4. 4
    patrikroslund

    I live in a country were Muslims are a minority, i also live in a low income neighbourhood were many of my neighbours are Muslim. If not daily then atleast a couple of days a week swastikas apears on the mosks. The Nazis of (western) Europe have declared Muslims to be the greatest danger to European safety since ww2 (i guess the allied forces was the danger then? Nazis are not great thinkers). Not long ago a mob of these bastards attacked a peaceful anti-racist rally, they are violent, organised and behind quite a few murders in this little place of the world. Thank goodness for the radical left who stepped in and protected the people many of whom had brought there families to a peaceful protest against racism and segregation. Making people “the other” has a way of setting Europe on fire and we don’t want that anymore. That said yes Islam is fascistic, yes you need to be able to criticise everything and especially religion. But you need to do it in ways that are responsible and proper to the context in which you are, i’m deeply saden by the fact that fascist and right-wingers use what should be (and most often is) good criticism to stir up hate, but they do, and these people are as dangerous and as fanatic as any Muslim imam. There are other horrible ideological memes that are poisoning the well. The Muslims in my country are my neibourghs and my countrymen, many fled from Iran to Sweden only to met hate and many other European countries have far worse problems of this kind. I don’t try to defend the liberal-left stance on not allowing criticism of Islam. I want to give you some context as to why many european intelectuals are reluctant to critisise Islam. I would group myself as the socialist-left, anti religion and anti Capitalist and among us there are quite a few ex-muslims.

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