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Posts Tagged ‘ayaan hirsi ali’

Dangerous delusions

Posted by Richard on June 1, 2010

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is promoting her new book, Nomad, and recently was interviewed by Tavis Smiley on PBS (HT: Booker Rising). She made the point that she'd recently revised her opinion regarding religions. She previously believed that "all religions are the same and all religions are inherently evil." But she now has a more positive view of Christians and wishes that Muslims would "distance themselves" from the facets of their religion that are "hostile to humanity" as most Christians have. Muslims haven't, she argued:

… I say in the book right now we cannot speak of moderate Muslims because they still cling to the absolute idea that everything in the Qur'an is the true word of God and cannot be changed by human beings, and that the prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, left a moral guidance behind and all we can do is follow it, not question it.

Smiley, somewhat incoherently, expressed doubt that anything needs to be done to change Muslims or "take on Muslims here in the West." Hirsi Ali tried to explain:

… The people who are engaged in terrorist activities look like you and me. They look like everybody else here.

 Major Nidal Hasan, the military guy who in November shot 13 of his colleagues and injured 32, he's going to be on trial pretty soon, I think this week, the young man, Faisal Shahzad, in Times Square who tried to blow innocent people that he doesn't know up, these guys are acting on conviction. Somehow, the idea got into their minds that to kill other people is a great thing to do and that they would be rewarded in the hereafter.

Smiley objected, revealing a profound delusion about the world in which he lives (emphasis added):

Tavis: But Christians do that every single day in this country.

Ali: Do they blow people up (unintelligible)?

Tavis: Yes. Oh, Christians, every day, people walk into post offices, they walk into schools, that's what Columbine is – I could do this all day long. There are so many more examples of Christians – and I happen to be a Christian. That's back to this notion of your idealizing Christianity in my mind, to my read. There are so many more examples, Ayaan, of Christians who do that than you could ever give me examples of Muslims who have done that inside this country, where you live and work.

Wow. I guess I haven't been checking the same news sources as Smiley. I wasn't aware of all the bombings and mass killings and aborted terrorist plots in the name of Christianity. No, wait — I'm being too snarky. There's something more seriously amiss here. 

Smiley specifically mentioned Columbine. Does he really think Columbine was an example of Christian terrorism analogous to the Ft. Hood massacre or the Times Square bombing attempt? Apparently he does. That's simply insane.

Occasionally, people who are purportedly Christians shoot up schools or offices, rob banks, or rape and murder people. But here's the thing — they're not doing it in the name of Christianity, to punish, intimidate, or destroy non-Christians, or for the purpose of subjugating all non-Christians and imposing Christian law on all the inhabitants of Earth. That's the difference, Mr. Smiley — can you not understand that??

But Smiley isn't the only person who's delusional regarding Islamists. This administration is full of them. Case in point (emphasis added): 

The president's top counterterrorism adviser on Wednesday called jihad a "legitimate tenet of Islam," arguing that the term "jihadists" should not be used to describe America's enemies. 

During a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, John Brennan described violent extremists as victims of "political, economic and social forces," but said that those plotting attacks on the United States should not be described in "religious terms." 

"Nor do we describe our enemy as 'jihadists' or 'Islamists' because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one's community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children," Brennan said.

As Robert Spencer noted, purifying one's community according to Islamic law is not something the nation's counter-terrorism chief ought to be endorsing: 

Brennan should study the Qur'an and Sunnah in order to discover just how Muslims understand what it means to purify "one's community," and what the Islamic understanding is of the term "innocent." He would find, of course, that a community that is fully purified is one in which non-Muslims live as subjugated dhimmis, and that non-Muslims are never understood in the Qur'an and Sunnah as being "innocent." But he will not undertake such a study, and will never find these things out.

This ignorant son of a bitch is what stands between you and the next terrorist attack, folks. Maybe when a tactical nuke or a "dirty bomb" is detonated in Manhattan, John Brennan will finally understand what Islamists mean by "purifying one's community."

And speaking of dangerous delusions, the U.S. government is actually trying to deport Mosab Yousef. Yousef is the son of the founder of Hamas, the author of Son of Hamas, a convert to Christianity, a one-time Israeli counter-terrorism agent, and a passionate opponent of radical Islam. Check out the interview with Yousef at GQ. It is insane, contemptible, and vile to move to deport this man. Who is responsible for this travesty of justice? 

For the ridiculous details of why Yousef has been declared a terrorist, see this World Net Daily post. And then ask yourself, given the above, whether you think this administration is capable of effectively protecting you from terrorists.

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The Third Jihad

Posted by Richard on October 24, 2008

Tonight, I attended a special Denver screening of the Clarion Fund's new film, The Third Jihad, along with members of the Jewish Republicans of Colorado, Colorado fans of Dennis Prager, and others like me concerned about the Islamists' war against Western Civilization.

I'm tired and not up for a detailed review, but I highly recommend this film. You can see a 30-minute version on the website and pre-order the full-length film, which ships Oct. 29. This film is more low-key than Obsession because it's focused on the "soft" or "political" jihad instead of violent jihad. But in many ways, it's even more compelling and disturbing.

The film is narrated by a real moderate — and heroic — Muslim, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser. I've posted about (and donated to) his organization, American Islamic Forum for Democracy in the past. The film also features Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Walid Phares, Joe Lieberman, Mark Steyn, Bernard Lewis, and Melanie Phillips. 

I suspect that viewers of The Third Jihad will fall into three groups: (1) those who go into denial, say to themselves that none of it is true or real, and just put it out of their heads; (2) those who get quite depressed, discouraged, and hopeless (this is an unfortunate, but understandable reaction; the film suggests that Western Civilization faces a grim future if things don't change); and (3) those who are motivated (or even more motivated) to take action to defend the values of liberty and democracy against barbarism.

I'm in the third group. As soon as I got home, I made online donations to the Clarion Fund, The Third Jihad, the new associated site, RadicalIslam.org, and AIFD. Please check out these fine organizations and watch the short online version of The Third Jihad. See if there's a theatrical screening in your area — or contact them about scheduling one! Or order the full-length DVD and then have some friends over to watch it with you. 

I'd really like you to join me in the third group.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali defends reason and the Enlightenment

Posted by Richard on January 9, 2008

I'm a strong defender of Western Civilization and the Enlightenment, but I've always argued that the ideas and values of the Enlightenment are available to anyone who chooses to embrace them, and not the property or province of some particular cultural or ethnic group. Nothing illustrates my point better than this: an African immigrant brought up in a primitive tribal culture has brilliantly corrected a conservative American intellectual's misunderstanding of reason and the Enlightenment.

Ayaan Hirsi AliThe conservative intellectual is Lee Harris. The African immigrant is Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The vehicle is Hirsi Ali's outstanding review of Harris's new book, The Suicide of Reason. The book is about Islamic fanaticism and what Harris calls "the fanaticism of reason." Hirsi Ali refutes Harris's premise masterfully, rejecting the Hegelianism and collectivism that's hidden within conservatism and that undermines its intellectual foundation (emphasis added):

Harris’s book is so engaging that it is difficult to put down, and its haunting assessments make it difficult for a reader to sleep at night. He deserves praise for raising serious questions. But his arguments are not entirely sound.

I disagree, for instance, that the way to rescue Western civilization from a path of suicide is to challenge its tradition of reason. Indeed, for all his understanding of the rise of fanaticism in general and its Islamic manifestation in particular, Harris’s use of the term “reason” is faulty.

Enlightenment thinkers, preoccupied with both individual freedom and secular and limited government, argued that human reason is fallible. They understood that reason is more than just rational thought; it is also a process of trial and error, the ability to learn from past mistakes. The Enlightenment cannot be fully appreciated without a strong awareness of just how frail human reason is. That is why concepts like doubt and reflection are central to any form of decision-making based on reason.

Harris is pessimistic in a way that the Enlightenment thinkers were not. He takes a Darwinian view of the struggle between clashing cultures, criticizing the West for an ethos of selfishness, and he follows Hegel in asserting that where the interest of the individual collides with that of the state, it is the state that should prevail. This is why he attributes such strength to Islamic fanaticism. The collectivity of the umma elevates the communal interest above that of the individual believer. Each Muslim is a slave, first of God, then of the caliphate. Although Harris does not condone this extreme subversion of the self, still a note of admiration seems to creep into his descriptions of Islam’s fierce solidarity, its adherence to tradition and the willingness of individual Muslims to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the greater good.

In addition, Harris extols American exceptionalism together with Hegel as if there were no contradiction between the two. But what makes America unique, especially in contrast to Europe, is its resistance to the philosophy of Hegel with its concept of a unifying world spirit. It is the individual that matters most in the United States.

I was not born in the West. I was raised with the code of Islam, and from birth I was indoctrinated into a tribal mind-set. Yet I have changed, I have adopted the values of the Enlightenment, and as a result I have to live with the rejection of my native clan as well as the Islamic tribe. Why have I done so? Because in a tribal society, life is cruel and terrible. And I am not alone. Muslims have been migrating to the West in droves for decades now. They are in search of a better life. Yet their tribal and cultural constraints have traveled with them. And the multiculturalism and moral relativism that reign in the West have accommodated this.

Harris is correct, I believe, that many Western leaders are terribly confused about the Islamic world. They are woefully uninformed and often unwilling to confront the tribal nature of Islam. The problem, however, is not too much reason but too little. Harris also fails to address the enemies of reason within the West: religion and the Romantic movement. It is out of rejection of religion that the Enlightenment emerged; Romanticism was a revolt against reason.

Both the Romantic movement and organized religion have contributed a great deal to the arts and to the spirituality of the Western mind, but they share a hostility to modernity. Moral and cultural relativism (and their popular manifestation, multiculturalism) are the hallmarks of the Romantics. To argue that reason is the mother of the current mess the West is in is to miss the major impact this movement has had, first in the West and perhaps even more profoundly outside the West, particularly in Muslim lands.

Thus, it is not reason that accommodates and encourages the persistent segregation and tribalism of immigrant Muslim populations in the West. It is Romanticism. Multiculturalism and moral relativism promote an idealization of tribal life and have shown themselves to be impervious to empirical criticism. My reasons for reproaching today’s Western leaders are different from Harris’s. I see them squandering a great and vital opportunity to compete with the agents of radical Islam for the minds of Muslims, especially those within their borders. But to do so, they must allow reason to prevail over sentiment.

To argue, as Harris seems to do, that children born and bred in superstitious cultures that value fanaticism and create phalanxes of alpha males are doomed — and will doom others — to an existence governed by the law of the jungle is to ignore the lessons of the West’s own past. There have been periods when the West was less than noble, when it engaged in crusades, inquisitions, witch-burnings and genocides. Many of the Westerners who were born into the law of the jungle, with its alpha males and submissive females, have since become acquainted with the culture of reason and have adopted it. They are even — and this should surely relieve Harris of some of his pessimism — willing to die for it, perhaps with the same fanaticism as the jihadists willing to die for their tribe. In short, while this conflict is undeniably a deadly struggle between cultures, it is individuals who will determine the outcome.

Bravo! Bravissimo!

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