Infidel

Infidel

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Overview

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ayaan Hirsi Ali

In this profoundly affecting memoir from the internationally renowned author of The Caged Virgin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells her astonishing life story, from her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, to her intellectual awakening and activism in the Netherlands, and her current life under armed guard in the West.

One of today's most admired and controversial political figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali burst into international headlines following an Islamist's murder of her colleague, Theo van Gogh, with whom she made the movie Submission.

Infidel is the eagerly awaited story of the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished -- and sometimes reviled -- political superstar and champion of free speech. With a gimlet eye and measured, often ironic, voice, Hirsi Ali recounts the evolution of her beliefs, her ironclad will, and her extraordinary resolve to fight injustice done in the name of religion. Raised in a strict Muslim family and extended clan, Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female mutilation, brutal beatings, adolescence as a devout believer during the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in four troubled, unstable countries largely ruled by despots. In her early twenties, she escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she earned a college degree in political science, tried to help her tragically depressed sister adjust to the West, and fought for the rights of Muslim immigrant women and the reform of Islam as a member of Parliament. Even though she is under constant threat -- demonized by reactionary Islamists and politicians, disowned by her father, and expelled from her family and clan -- she refuses to be silenced.

Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali's story tells how a bright little girl evolved out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no story could be timelier or more significant.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781428156586
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date: 06/28/2007
Series: The Outlander Series
Edition description: Unabridged, 14 CDs, 14 hours
Pages: 14
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 5.70(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, was raised Muslim, and spent her childhood and young adulthood in Africa and Saudi Arabia. In 1992, Hirsi Ali came to the Netherlands as a refugee. She earned her college degree in political science and worked for the Dutch Labor party. She denounced Islam after the September 11 terrorist attacks and now serves as a Dutch parliamentarian, fighting for the rights of Muslim women in Europe, the enlightenment of Islam, and security in the West.

Read an Excerpt

Infidel


By Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Free Press

Copyright © 2007 Ayaan Hirsi Ali
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780743289689


Introduction

One November morning in 2004, Theo van Gogh got up to go to work at his film production company in Amsterdam. He took out his old black bicycle and headed down a main road. Waiting in a doorway was a Moroccan man with a handgun and two butcher knives.

As Theo cycled down the Linnaeusstraat, Muhammad Bouyeri approached. He pulled out his gun and shot Theo several times. Theo fell off his bike and lurched across the road, then collapsed. Bouyeri followed. Theo begged, "Can't we talk about this?" but Bouyeri shot him four more times. Then he took out one of his butcher knives and sawed into Theo's throat. With the other knife, he stabbed a five-page letter onto Theo's chest.

The letter was addressed to me.

Two months before, Theo and I had made a short film together. We called it Submission, Part 1. I intended one day to make Part 2. (Theo warned me that he would work on Part 2 only if I accepted some humor in it!) Part 1 was about defiance - about Muslim women who shift from total submission to God to a dialogue with their deity. They pray, but instead of casting down their eyes, these women look up, at Allah, with the words of the Quran tattooed on their skin. They tell Him honestly that if submission to Him brings them so much misery, and He remains silent, they may stop submitting.

There is the woman who is flogged for committing adultery; another who is given in marriage to a man she loathes; another who is beaten by her husband on a regular basis; and another who is shunned by her father when he learns that his brother raped her. Each abuse is justified by the perpetrators in the name of God, citing the Quran verses now written on the bodies of the women. These women stand for hundreds of thousands of Muslim women around the world.

Theo and I knew it was a dangerous film to make. But Theo was a valiant man - he was a warrior, however unlikely that might seem. He was also very Dutch, and no nation in the world is more deeply attached to freedom of expression than the Dutch. The suggestion that he remove his name from the film's credits for security reasons made Theo angry. He told me once, "If I can't put my name on my own film, in Holland, then Holland isn't Holland any more, and I am not me."

People ask me if I have some kind of death wish, to keep saying the things I do. The answer is no: I would like to keep living. However, some things must be said, and there are times when silence becomes an accomplice to injustice.

This is the story of my life. It is a subjective record of my own personal memories, as close to accurate as I can make them; my relationship with the rest of my family has been so fractured that I cannot now refresh these recollections by asking them for help. It is the story of what I have experienced, what I've seen, and why I think the way I do. I've come to see that it is useful, and maybe even important, to tell this story. I want to make a few things clear, set a certain number of records straight, and also tell people about another kind of world and what it's really like.

I was born in Somalia. I grew up in Somalia, in Saudi Arabia, in Ethiopia, and in Kenya. I came to Europe in 1992, when I was twenty-two, and became a member of Parliament in Holland. I made a movie with Theo, and now I live with bodyguards and armored cars. In April 2006 a Dutch court ordered that I leave my safe-home that I was renting from the State. The judge concluded that my neighbors had a right to argue that they felt unsafe because of my presence in the building. I had already decided to move to the United States before the debate surrounding my Dutch citizenship erupted.

This book is dedicated to my family, and also to the millions and millions of Muslim women who have had to submit.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali Copyright © 2007 by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction

Part I: My Childhood

Chapter 1: Bloodlines

Chapter 2: Under the Talal Tree

Chapter 3: Playing Tag in Allah's Palace

Chapter 4: Weeping Orphans and Widowed Wives

Chapter 5: Secret Rendezvous, Sex, and the Scent of Sukumawik

Chapter 6: Doubt and Defiance

Chapter 7: Disillusion and Deceit

Chapter 8: Refugees

Chapter 9: Abeh

Part II: My Freedom

Chapter 10: Running Away

Chapter 11: A Trial by the Elders

Chapter 12: Haweya

Chapter 13: Leiden

Chapter 14: Leaving God

Chapter 15: Threats

Chapter 16: Politics

Chapter 17: The Murder of Theo

Epilogue: The Letter of the Law

Acknowledgments

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions
1. Hirsi Ali tells us that this book is "the story of what I have experienced, what I have seen, and why I think the way I do" (page xii). Which experiences does she highlight as being integral to forming her current views on Islam?
2. "No eyes silently accused me of being a whore. No lecherous men called me to bed with them. No Brotherhood members threatened me with hellfire. I felt safe; I could follow my curiosity" (page 185). This passage refers to Hirsi Ali's initial impression of walking the streets in Germany. What other significant differences between the West and Islamic Africa did she observe during her first days in Europe? Upon arriving in Holland, what were her initial impressions of the Dutch people and the Dutch government? Did these change significantly as she lived there
3. How did Hirsi Ali's immigration experience and integration into Dutch society differ from those of other Somalians?
4. Discuss the differences that Hirsi Ali noticed between raising children in Muslim countries and raising children in the West. In particular, what did she notice about Johanna's parenting? How were Muslim parents different from Dutch parents in their instructions to their children on the playground? (see page 245).
5. In Hirsi Ali's words, "a Muslim girl does not make her own decisions or seek control. She is trained to be docile. If you are a Muslim girl, you disappear, until there is almost no you inside you" (page 94). How do the three generations of women in Hirsi Ali's family differ in their willingness to "submit" to this doctrine?
6. As seen through Hirsi Ali's eyes, what factors contributed to Haweya's death? How might members of her family describe events differently?
7. Although Hirsi Ali mostly refrains from criticizing her father, she publishes the personal letter he wrote her upon her divorce. Why do you think she included this letter? Were you surprised by any other intimate details of her life that she revealed in the book?
8. The events of September 11th caused Hirsi Ali to reread sections of the Quran and to evaluate the role of violence in Islam. Consequently, her interpretation of September 11th differs from those around her. What doe she conclude? Do you agree with her analysis?
9. On page 295, Hirsi Ali lists the three goals she wished to accomplish by joining Parliament. By the book's end has she accomplished all three? How did her views of the Dutch government change over time?
10. Examine Hirsi Ali's relationship with her brother. How did Mahad's and Abeh's reactions to her political work differ?
11. Throughout her political career, Hirsi Ali has made several bold statements challenging the Muslim world. In your opinion, were these declarations worth the risk?
12. Has this book changed the way you view Islam? According to Hirsi Ali, is Islam compatible with Western values and culture? Do you agree with her?
Enhancing Your Book Club
1. Visit the website for the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, the Washington D.C. think tank that Hirsi Ali joined upon leaving Holland. Take a look at the articles that Hirsi Ali has posted, and bring one to share. The website is located at www.aei.org.
2. Go to www.youtube.com to watch a version of Theo van Gogh and Hirsi Ali's film, Submission: Part One.
3. Research the Quran before your group meeting and choose a passage to examine together.
4. Take a look on the web for Hirsi Ali's most recent statements about freedom of speech, women's rights, or religion in schools. (For example, in April 2006 she publicly stated her support of the Danish cartoonists' rights to publish images of Muhammad.) Bring in a copy of any interviews you find and share with your group.

Introduction

Discussion Questions

1. Hirsi Ali tells us that this book is "the story of what I have experienced, what I have seen, and why I think the way I do" (page xii). Which experiences does she highlight as being integral to forming her current views on Islam?

2. "No eyes silently accused me of being a whore. No lecherous men called me to bed with them. No Brotherhood members threatened me with hellfire. I felt safe; I could follow my curiosity" (page 185). This passage refers to Hirsi Ali's initial impression of walking the streets in Germany. What other significant differences between the West and Islamic Africa did she observe during her first days in Europe? Upon arriving in Holland, what were her initial impressions of the Dutch people and the Dutch government? Did these change significantly as she lived there

3. How did Hirsi Ali's immigration experience and integration into Dutch society differ from those of other Somalians?

4. Discuss the differences that Hirsi Ali noticed between raising children in Muslim countries and raising children in the West. In particular, what did she notice about Johanna's parenting? How were Muslim parents different from Dutch parents in their instructions to their children on the playground? (see page 245).

5. In Hirsi Ali's words, "a Muslim girl does not make her own decisions or seek control. She is trained to be docile. If you are a Muslim girl, you disappear, until there is almost no you inside you" (page 94). How do the three generations of women in Hirsi Ali's family differ in their willingness to "submit" to this doctrine?

6. As seen through Hirsi Ali's eyes, what factors contributed to Haweya's death? How mightmembers of her family describe events differently?

7. Although Hirsi Ali mostly refrains from criticizing her father, she publishes the personal letter he wrote her upon her divorce. Why do you think she included this letter? Were you surprised by any other intimate details of her life that she revealed in the book?

8. The events of September 11th caused Hirsi Ali to reread sections of the Quran and to evaluate the role of violence in Islam. Consequently, her interpretation of September 11th differs from those around her. What doe she conclude? Do you agree with her analysis?

9. On page 295, Hirsi Ali lists the three goals she wished to accomplish by joining Parliament. By the book's end has she accomplished all three? How did her views of the Dutch government change over time?

10. Examine Hirsi Ali's relationship with her brother. How did Mahad's and Abeh's reactions to her political work differ?

11. Throughout her political career, Hirsi Ali has made several bold statements challenging the Muslim world. In your opinion, were these declarations worth the risk?

12. Has this book changed the way you view Islam? According to Hirsi Ali, is Islam compatible with Western values and culture? Do you agree with her?

Enhancing Your Book Club

1. Visit the website for the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, the Washington D.C. think tank that Hirsi Ali joined upon leaving Holland. Take a look at the articles that Hirsi Ali has posted, and bring one to share. The website is located at www.aei.org.

2. Go to www.youtube.com to watch a version of Theo van Gogh and Hirsi Ali's film, Submission: Part One.

3. Research the Quran before your group meeting and choose a passage to examine together.

4. Take a look on the web for Hirsi Ali's most recent statements about freedom of speech, women's rights, or religion in schools. (For example, in April 2006 she publicly stated her support of the Danish cartoonists' rights to publish images of Muhammad.) Bring in a copy of any interviews you find and share with your group.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, was raised Muslim, and spent her childhood and young adulthood in Africa and Saudi Arabia. In 1992, Hirsi Ali came to the Netherlands as a refugee. She earned her college degree in political science and worked for the Dutch Labor party. She denounced Islam after the September 11 terrorist attacks and now serves as a Dutch parliamentarian, fighting for the rights of Muslim women in Europe, the enlightenment of Islam, and security in the West.

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Infidel 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 216 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For an autobiography this book is amazingly readable. I could not put it down even though I knew how it ended. Ali writes beautifully and gives such stark descriptions of life as a woman in a third world Muslim family. Most important was the insight she gave into her transformation from a faithful Islam believer to an agnostic. Her explanations of her early instruction in Islam, all the prohibitions, her beginning doubts, (ie men didn't crash cars in Holland by being distracted by women in modern dress) her eventual rejection of Islam help to make the current political climate clearer. I am not certain I can agree with her conclusion not to trust any Muslim, but I can understand that with her life threatened why she must feel that way. I constantly had to remind myself that she is just 42. She is so strong, courageous and has accomplished so much.
MadmanMatt More than 1 year ago
The author puts to rest the false impression that Islam stands for peaceful solutuions in solving the differences of the world's religions; that it is a religion that stands for toleration. She stands up for women's rights denied in the world in which she had been born and from which she had escaped. Forced marriages of young girls to older men, female genital mutilation, second class citizenship for women in the Muslim world: battles against these abuses are the ones she has chosen to fight, perilous to her life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read several reviews left by those who are most likely Muslims and the Muslims who are leaving the reviews are most likely American Muslims. I have read some of the Quran before and it contradicts itself. I know how it is in Muslim countries and they claim that everything they do, killing their wife or daughter for disobedience, or blowing up an orthodox church, they claim all that in the name of the Quran and in the name of Allah. Do not tell me that Islam is all love. I have experienced several times how they treat others when it comes to religion. I know a girl personally who converted from that religion. I am NOT sying that all Muslims are hating extremists, but look at the mid-east and tell me that a vast majority aren't. This book gives an accurate truth of Islam.
irinaaaa More than 1 year ago
Infidel starts low and slow, with sometimes graphic depictions of Ms. Hirsi Ali's childhood, and blossoms into the best coming-of-age story I've ever read. This memoir is well thought out and written, witty, biting, and condescending of self; written with flair and humbleness. You're taken on a journey of her life so far, and at the end, I was dumbfounded right along with her about how far a person can come. Definitely recommended, definitely a must-read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After I finished this book I felt like buying a copy for everyone in this country. A must read to understand Islam, which, when left to rule a country is permeated by cruelness, torture, and a total and complete rape of freedom. A must read for the politically correct among us who think every religion is equal and expouses truth, but fail to see the implimentation on humanity that proves otherwise.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Infidel is a book that focuses on not hatred or spite, but rather the differences that exist and the need for citizens of the world to recognize the role of Islam in modern culture. No other book has ever dared to cross the extremes of the political and religious realms . Ayaan Hirsi Ali defiantly challenges the traditions of Islam and their beliefs towards Western culture. She exposes the harsh realities of female mutilation and numerous other discriminations that preside within the Muslim community. Infidel brought the reader into a world of alienation, civil war, and family values. Ayaan Hirsi Ali manages to survive the death and violence that constantly traps her in Africa through an arranged marriage of which she flees from and seeks refuge in Holland. This book inspires both passion and sympathy. The tales Ali tells are sadly true, and are in dire need to be addressed. Ali provides readers with intimate information about the ways of Islam in Africa, and then tells about her own spiritual journey to realization. An excellent choice of reading that undoubtedly reveals a conflict between Muslim prejudices and Western ideals, this autobiography is bluntly horrifying and absolutely necessary to read for further understanding of today's religious and political clashes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an autobiography of the brave and controversial Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The account starts with her strict upbringing by her grandmother who lived as a nomad. She gives us insight into the Somalian social hierarchy, and the world through the eyes of a Muslim child. The beginning of the book actually makes the reader sympathize with Muslims and gives one an understanding of why societies embrace Islam how the it affects the dynamics of personal relationships in these societies. The latter part of the book shows her exposure to Western society and it's ideals, and how this prompted her to question what she had considered an absolute truth. This book is not an Islam-bashing book by an apostate, but rather an account of how a member of the voiceless side of a religious culture defied her fears of the afterlife through reflection and perseverance. While western authors who are critical of Islam will be discredited for not knowing the 'true Islam', I am sure Ms. Hirsi Ali will receive the same treatment as an apostate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To the Anonymous reviewer who stated "She states that female mutilation is from her religion and I decided to ask and do research and I found out that this only happens in Africa to African women" I just finished reading this book, just hours ago. I NEVER once read ANYWHERE in her book anything blaming her relegion for excision. She clearly stated NUMEROUS times that it is NOT done widely done by Muslims, but is an African culture practice. I have read many reviews stating the same complaint. Obviously these readers DID NOT read the book in entirety. Or just took what they wanted from it. Her stories are very true. Anyone who has actually read the Quran completely knows that Islam is not a religion of peace. The passeages she quotes about killing non-believers, and beating your wives are completely accurate. Not all Muslims are like this, not all Muslims follow the Quran word for word and do exactly what it says. Just the same with Christians and the Bible.
ssgbutlerec More than 1 year ago
This book is simply exquisite. Ali deals quite effectively with her impression of many ideals and reveals her perspective on Islam, from first hand experience. It is not so much a revelation of Islam as it is a coming of age of a girl into adulthood. The way she shows her mother, who must obey her husband and eventually how she has to take out the stress that is heaped on her. It shows that Ali could have grown into something else entirely, but it was her dreams and also, her exposure to literature that actually put ideas into her head. A must read book, that also shows the importance of education to women who suffer under the pressures of extreme societies. The book contains a lot of different elements and my particular favorite was her escape from Germany. It was brief, well written, and exciting. This book is a must have for any book clubs since it covers so many issues. Many of which are still current. Female circumcision, literacy, Islam, immigration, racism, welfare states, and many others. Promote it and read it. I love this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If one text has succeeded in challenging the complacency of the West, indeed of supposedly enlightened people the world over, to the rising threat of fundamentalist Islam, it is Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. From her perspective as a woman who has survived the treacherous grip of Islam over both her body and her mind, Ayaan counters the oft repeated proclamation that Islam is 'a religion of peace.' Narrating her own intimidating journey through oppression and hatred in Islamic Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and the rapidly growing Muslim enclaves of Kenya and Europe, Ali rehashes in masterful and often touching prose her harrowing trials and the series of cruel acts perpetrated against her in the name of the religion she herself so desperately clung to. Young Ayaan survives her mother's descent into insanity, her abusive male relatives, female circumcision, and constant religious and tribal warfare by dreaming of the life she can only read about in Western novels. She is finally forced to choose between her dreams and the harsh reality of life as a subservient Muslim woman when her father promises her hand in marriage to an aging Somali expatriate who has come to seek a proper traditional wife in Kenya. Her choice is flight, but reaching her imagined paradise in liberal Western Europe she discovers that Islam has arrived ahead of her, bringing with it so much of the terror she had naively hoped to have left behind. After a soul wrenching self-examination, Ayaan cuts the final cords to the religion and culture of her birth, to become a one woman crusade against the oppression perpetrated by Islam, and innocently defended by the 'accepting' European Left. For anyone who is left unsatisfied by the all-encompassing doctrine of cultural relativism, Ali is a breath of fresh literary air. When we unquestioningly 'accept' Muslim culture, are we also accepting the horrific abuse of Muslim wives and daughters? What of religious and ethnic minorities suffering throughout the Muslim dominated Arab world and East Africa? Ayaan convincingly argues that in our zeal to be inoffensive, we have allowed for a level of intolerance and violent hatred that would not be tolerated in any other religion. It is time, Ali is telling us, to force an enlightenment in the Muslim world, to bring it up to the same standards by which we judge the Christian West. Quill says: Infidel is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I personally love the book. I think that the way she take position is admirable, she is not dissing on Islam or telling anyone to abbondoned it, she is judt simply, elocantly and powerfully comparing it to what she felt worked for her. And I certainly respect her battle to free women from oppression and her call to freedom of expression and a larger acceptance and tolerance for critical thinking. Even on an non religious background all her claim are valid, people just simply sit on their asses way to easily and refuse to think for themselves always wanting someone else to make the decision for them. I think that this book should be even more widely spread even just for a purpose of seeing things through the eyes of someone who is not letting herself totally run on by emotions. I still believe that something said in this book still need to be taken carefully, it's tollaly utopic to say that she is totally objective or that all of her experiences haven't psychologically wounded her. But them again she plainly state that this is her subjective revisitations of her memories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful story of courage!! Amazing woman! Ms. Ali is an inspiration...
Paradeus More than 1 year ago
This book should be required reading for those people who feel Islam is a religion of peace. As Pope Benedict XVI said, Islam has been spread by the sword. This book also explodes the myth of Muslim moderation. When 9/11 took place, where were the counter protests in the Muslim world? If the moderates do not speak out then they are functionally non-existant. Islam is the greatest threat to the freedom of the West.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have read in the last five years - perhaps longer. Not only is it insightful and educational about the world of Islam and the treatment of women, but it teaches those of us who are products of Western culture, that it is necessary to question any religion that practices extremism and oppression.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thank God that this amazing woman has come into my life! I urge that each of you read this book and encourage at least one other person to read it. This is paying it forward. There are some ve
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read the entire book in 3 days. Could have been slightly shorter, but i enjoyed it. She gives a great perspective on tolerance, empowerment and things that we take for granted in the U.S.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic, fantastic book, about a woman with the intellectual, moral, and spiritual stature of a giant.  Her courage is a bright star of inspiration for all who might trip over the rubble of Politican Correctness strewn in our paths, and give us the courage march on, and to think, think, think.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book once read you will carry with you the rest of your life. Not a book to read if you’re looking for something uplifting. This explains what happens when you mix certain religious beliefs with cultural beliefs and how devastating it can be. How males in our world control women and children for their own personnel needs and wants. This author is a survivor. Nobody should have to endure what she has had to endure. It will make an emotional impact on you. There are times of joy that you will make you applaud her. It will give you added appreciation for freedom. This book is one all people should read but be prepared to ponder it for a long time afterwards.
Doug-from-Alaska More than 1 year ago
I'm reading the book now (no, I'm not done). What I've read so far has the 'unmistakable ring of truth' about it. The pain and bitterness of her up-bringing 'rings' clearly through her narrative. It's like the sound you get when you tap a spoon against fine china or crystal; the sound 'rings' (unlike the dull 'thunk' when you strike a cheap plastic copy of the china or crystal. This is NOT about Somali culture or society, it IS about the teachings of a Sadistic Bandit who decided that God had called him to start a new religion. This religion does teach that the brutal repression of half the world's population is right and appropriate based on the arbitrary and capricious nature of the other half of the world's population. It is a fact that sometimes the Truth is not pleasant and sometimes the Truth hurts BUT THIS IS THE TRUTH!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story from beginning to end, especially since it's true. Honestly relayed, with gut wrenching decisions that she explains she had to make in her life. She is a courageous woman. Great insight into another kind of world and culture.
Di-an-th-a More than 1 year ago
I learned more about Islam from the inside point of view of this writer than from all the books I have read on comparative religions, Islam/Christianity/Judaism, what the Koran really says, etc. It was sobering and thought-provoking to read of the precariousness of life in some East African countries. We read and see news stories of masses of people driven into exile but one person's experience is a more powerful barometer of the suffering involved and the effect on one's future life. If you are interested in cultures, religions, politics and human experience beyond your own, you will enjoy this book. And if you need some good news about the human spirit, here it is.
lolita12 More than 1 year ago
I remember reading Khaled Housseini's "A Thousand Splendid Suns," stunned by the beatings the two women went through, and Amy Tan's "The Kithchen's God's Wife" and the deprecation she suffered. But Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel" isn't just about the suffering she went through, but the transition of thoughts that turned her into who she is now. It's about the woman she's become - an incomparable identity, a symbol of strenght and perseverance, and an infinite voice for those who can't speak. She represents a childhood - a history - inconcievable to most of us. And yet she tells it in ways we can relate to. And overcomes it with the strenght and perseverance we hope for throughout our lives. Now that's a woman.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book in a riveting, page turning, intriguing revelation into the world's most mysterious and dogmatic religion. Ayaan's journey in unraveling the truth behind the veil is a intimate expose' that gives insight and understanding to the otherwise ambivalent true nature of Islam. A must read!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Provocative and thoughtful. A young woman's life under the spectre of religious fervor is narrated with eloquence. The bigger lesson is that fundamentalism, irrespective of religious hue, curtails individual freedoms. Christianity too is awash with similar examples.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If there could be one book that should be a recommended read for everyone in politics today it¿s this one. Today¿s news media and political rhetoric does little to enlighten the average citizen about what is going on in the Middle East and, especially, Islamic backed countries. It is through her personal accounts of oppression and sexism we get a first hand look at the fallacy that multiculturalism is a positive thing. We see, through her time as a translator in Holland, how adhering to an immigrant or refugee¿s cultural and religious background it only perpetuates their lives of poverty and violence. Ayaan was able to overcome centuries of adverse living by embracing a Westernized way of living. With the political indifference we are facing with the Middle East and the mass genocide occurring in Africa, Ayaan¿s book Infidel addresses the problem at its root, fundamentalist Islam.