Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the failure of feminists to fight for Muslim women

Here’s a five-minute video Ayaan Hirsi Ali made for Prager University (yes, I know what it is) decrying the neglect by Western feminists of Islamic oppression of women. I’m putting it up to stimulate discussion (but don’t bother saying that because Prager University was founded by a conservative, we can dismiss the entire video). There are lots of questions to deal with; I’ll mention just three.

  1. Is her talk of a “culture clash” between Western and Islamic values accurate? If so, should we nevertheless avoid discussing it lest it be perceived as “Islamophobic”?
  2. Is it even the business of Western feminists to fight for the rights of Muslim women, whether in the West or in Muslim countries? (I’m taking it for granted here that, as Hirsi Ali notes, that oppression is worse among Muslim women than among Western women in the West.) Shouldn’t we just deal, as some Western feminists note, with problems that are closer to home—problems we can fix?
  3. If Hirsi Ali is right, and feminists need to fight harder for their Muslim sisters, what’s the best way to do it?

I’ll state my own feelings about the broader question (not the ones above), which won’t be a surprise to regular readers. I think Western feminists excuse the misogyny inherent in Islam, and practiced by many Muslims, because thinking about it puts them in a situation of cognitive dissonance—they are forced to criticize the behavior of a group they consider oppressed (Muslims) if they want to promote the rights of another group they consider oppressed (women). It’s a clash between two classic progressive values, and to a large extent Western feminists have chosen Islam over women. Why they’ve made that choice baffles me.

Sadly, even if you consider all Muslims oppressed—and I don’t—being oppressed is no guarantee of virtue. Western women should stop coddling all religions that have misogynistic attributes, and those are not limited to Islam.

 

63 Comments

  1. Sastra
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m about to watch the video, but before I do I’m going to take issue with lumping “Western feminists” into one large category.

    Maryam Namazie is a Western feminist. Ophelia Benson is a Western feminist. Ayan Hirsi Ali is a Western feminist. And to the extent that the “Western” part of the phrase indicates only an ultimate origin in Greek philosophy and the reason-based Enlightenment, ALL feminists could be called “Western feminists.” Like “Eastern medicine” and “Western medicine,” when all is said and done there is just medicine — and just feminists.

    SOME feminists give religion-based Islamic misogyny too much of a pass. Yes. The controversy is pretty much down to how many, and what the self-identified group in contention is really doing.

    Now I watch.

    • Sastra
      Posted June 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Okay, I watched.

      OFFS, first off, feminism did not derive from “Judeo-Christian culture.” That’s true only in the broadest sense, in that a Mideast religion which viewed women as chattel and focused intently on their virginity eventually picked up just enough Greek tolerance and philosophy that, when filtered through an increasingly diverse environment, it eventually allowed the better values of the Enlightenment to evolve. Ali knows this.

      But then it got better.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted June 29, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        I reacted to the Christian claim too.

        Maybe Ali has rubber stamped a US conservative video script? About the only figure that I can find factual support for is the 1 M immigrants 2015.

        If they are all rapists, the “dramatic increase” in rape could be a few percent at most. If and when my longish comment comes out of moderation, I have scrambled up some fast and loose facts. They don’t seem to support Ali’s claims at all.

        Oh, of course the Cologne incident has valid figures too, but it is an arguable one off. When you can get statistics over anecdote, I prefer the facts, thank you very much.

    • Posted June 29, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Just what I was going to say. Feminists *do* advocate for the rights of Muslim women. Wouldn’t most of us who comment here call ourselves feminists?

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted June 29, 2016 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        >”Wouldn’t most of us who comment here call ourselves feminists?”

        I would rather identify as a humanist. I never liked the term feminist because it emphasizes one gender and there are also too many weird ideas inside the feminist tent.

        • Posted June 29, 2016 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

          Using the term “feminist” recognizes that women face a level of discrimination that men do not. We can afford to distribute our support equally among all people just as soon as all people are treated equally. Until then, it’s perfectly legitimate to concentrate support and advocacy on those demographics who need it more.

          • Posted June 29, 2016 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

            (I’m reminded of “All Lives Matter”, and “Straight Pride” parades.)

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted June 30, 2016 at 7:45 am | Permalink

            “Using the term “feminist” recognizes that women face a level of discrimination that men do not.”

            Then I assume you advocate dissolving all feminist groups in Sweden.

            “it’s perfectly legitimate to concentrate support and advocacy on those demographics who need it more.”

            True, and a term like “humanist” would not get in the way of that, whereas a term like feminism can be political and divisive.

        • Filippo
          Posted June 30, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

          Would you say that the words “weird” no less equally applies to the thousands of years of human male primates dominating and subjugating women? Would you say that the name “masculinism” accurately-enough describes this male behavior?

  2. Historian
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    The concept of a clash of civilizations has been debated for a long time. The controversy really took off in the early 1990s when it was enunciated by the political scientist, Samuel P. Huntington. Per Wikipedia in the article entitled “Clash of Civilizations,” the following conditions explain why civilizations will clash.

    ————

    “Why Civilizations will Clash

    Huntington offers six explanations for why civilizations will clash:

    1. Differences among civilizations are too basic in that civilizations are differentiated from each other by history, language, culture, tradition, and, most important, religion. These fundamental differences are the product of centuries, so they will not soon disappear.

    2. The world is becoming a smaller place. As a result, interactions across the world are increasing, which intensify “civilization consciousness” and the awareness of differences between civilizations and commonalities within civilizations.

    3. Due to economic modernization and social change, people are separated from longstanding local identities. Instead, religion has replaced this gap, which provides a basis for identity and commitment that transcends national boundaries and unites civilizations.

    4. The growth of civilization-consciousness is enhanced by the dual role of the West. On the one hand, the West is at a peak of power. At the same time, a return-to-the-roots phenomenon is occurring among non-Western civilizations. A West at the peak of its power confronts non-Western countries that increasingly have the desire, the will and the resources to shape the world in non-Western ways.

    5. Cultural characteristics and differences are less mutable and hence less easily compromised and resolved than political and economic ones.

    6. Economic regionalism is increasing. Successful economic regionalism will reinforce civilization-consciousness. Economic regionalism may succeed only when it is rooted in a common civilization.”

    ————-
    Notice in point 1 the emphasis on religion. As one may expect, the Huntington thesis has not gone unchallenged. My view is that Huntington was pretty much correct and his thesis has stood the test of time. While globalization has probably reduced cultural difference and will do so more in the future for the foreseeable future cultural identity, particularly in its religious component, is likely to remain strong. While I don’t advocate military force to compel conservative, Islamic cultures to change their ways in such areas as the treatment of women (which wouldn’t work anyway), western people should not hesitate to speak out in the hope that over time they will be able to change “hearts and minds.”

  3. rickflick
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    It’s good to hear Ali put this into a succinct film. I think it should have an effect. She comes across as someone who would know a thing or two.
    1. Sounds quite accurate to me.
    Fear of being labeled an Islamaphobe shouldn’t enter into an objective and honest appraisal.
    2. There is no reason western feminists have to concede misogyny anywhere in the world. Local an foreign efforts are not mutually exclusive.
    3. The best way for westerners in general to support women in Islamic environments is to vociferously support and defend their public defenders, such as Ali, Harris, and Nawaz.

  4. Zado
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think feminists in the West necessarily have a responsibility to “fight” for the rights of women overseas, anymore than free-thinkers have a responsibility to fight for open societies in foreign lands. Those parallel struggles must be won by the people within those societies.

    The best we can do is lend our support in the meantime and not hypocritically succumb to “the death of ethical thought,” as Salman Rushdie labeled cultural relativism. Either individual human rights are a universal concept, transcending tribe and culture, or they are not. Too many on the left have succumbed to the latter conclusion, thanks to post-modern theory and its rampant running through humanities departments.

    • GBJames
      Posted June 29, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Then what about the rights of Muslim women who live in the West? Do you support the “one law for all” movement in the UK or oppose it?

      • Zado
        Posted June 29, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        I think it’s a travesty that there even needs to be such a movement.

    • eric
      Posted June 29, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      I partially agree. Though I would phrase it in more general terms: there are many good causes, and as long as someone is doing good deeds, I think its generally unhelpful to complain simply because they’re working on good cause X instead of good cause Y. Your time is spent working in a soup kitchen instead of helping the plight of Muslim women under misogynist regimes? Well, you’re still doing more for humanity than probably 90% of us, so I’m not going to begrudge you your choice.

  5. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Whoa! Time out. Where is Ali finding her figures? The video doesn’t tell.

    Quick browsing tells me 1 M immigrants to Europe is normal 2009 – 2013, 3 M immigrate, 2 M migrate. [ http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/File:Number_of_persons_having_acquired_the_citizenship_of_an_EU_Member_State,_EU-28,_2009%E2%80%9313_(thousands)_YB15.png ]

    Sweden’s share of non-nationals 2014 is 10 %, as it has been for a century now, I believe, many of them EU members, valuable members of the working force. [ http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/File:Share_of_non-nationals_in_the_resident_population,_1_January_2014_(%25)_YB15.png ] Asylum seekers would be 20 % of the 1 M non-nationals, or some 0.2 M, I think.

    How could a 2 % subgroup affect the rape statistics to increase dramatically? It can’t.

    Not using Sweden’s rape statistics, which now has a reporting problem – a dramatic increase (of 300 %) due to increased reporting efficiency. I can use Germany as a type case. Its reported rape statistics is perfectly flat 2003 – 2010 (at 1/5 of Sweden’s reporting). [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics ]

    I am sorry, but Ali is not using facts here. That is blatantly obvious when she picks one arguable event instead of statistics to argue her case.

    As for the rest, fine. I think she could, should, argue the case. But I don’t get why she dilutes her message with propaganda tricks.

    • agender
      Posted June 30, 2016 at 5:17 am | Permalink

      I am sorry, but you are the one who dies not know facts.
      1. Sweden has a not perfect but good law, therefore in starts and fits women embrace trusting the police enough to report.
      Germany, like Denmark, has NOT.
      http://freethoughtblogs.com/?s=Danish+rape
      In these days, German Bundestag tries to better the horrible §§177 and 178 – with LITTLE hope of avoiding Verschlimmbesserung (I leave it to the readers to translate that word)

      And so all stays the same – we stay silent and traumatized (girls, women and LBTQAs regardless of extraction and age).

      Small wonder too many women reenact the traumatization of the witchburnings (including blaming the victim and siding with the perpetrator).
      That is where “German” in fact Latin law goes back, compare the concepts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malleus_Maleficarum

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I think everyone in the west should stand up for liberal, secular values. Of course, not everyone agrees with liberal, secular values, so not everyone will. However, if you consider yourself liberal and secular then act like it! That means being willing to criticize bad ideas that oppose liberal,secular ideas. And that means it does not matter where (geographically, ethnically, culturally) these ideas come from. They are all worthy of criticism.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted June 29, 2016 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      agreed!

  7. Posted June 29, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    What is humane and sustainable when considering these “cultural conundrums” must win with no exceptions, and we all damn well know (or should know) the answers. This is a non-issue that has turned into a game of moral loopholes.

  8. Posted June 29, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    1.Is her talk of a “culture clash” between Western and Islamic values accurate?

    Not by a long shot. This is pure collective thinking and assumes that people are slaves of their “culture” and can not change their ways of life in a fundamental way.

    Hirsi Ali herself has “changed”. She no longer identifies with her previous “culture”. It is heart-breaking to see that she advocates barring others from the opportunities she was given by living in a wealthier and freer society.

    2.Is it even the business of Western feminists to fight for the rights of Muslim women, whether in the West or in Muslim countries?

    Yes, I believe it is.

    3.If Hirsi Ali is right, and feminists need to fight harder for their Muslim sisters, what’s the best way to do it?

    Not by dropping bombs on them to kill their terrorist husbands! There are two ways I see that can effectively help women in the Islamic world where their rights are regularly trampled:

    1- Help them learn about their situation and what they are missing. Education has never been easier and there never has been so many tools to spread ideas in the world.

    2- Let the oppressed migrate to the freer and wealthier places in the world. Remove the unnecessary hurdles in their way. How can one understand freedom when she has never experienced it first hand? This goes hand in hand with fighting for freedom and the rule of law in the West itself.

    • Sastra
      Posted June 29, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      I’m puzzled about your first comment regarding the ‘culture clash.’ Ali is referring to the ideas, not the individuals, and would I think agree that people are not, and should not be, ‘slaves to their culture.’ So I don’t understand what you mean by “collective thinking.” Perhaps you misinterpreted her? Or maybe I did?

      • Posted June 29, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        There are millions of Muslims living and working peacefully in the West minding their own business. They are contributing to the society they live in. Claiming they are part of a monumental “culture clash” implies an “us vs. them” mentality. It divides the society along ideological lines much like the way Communists or Racists do.

        What do we care if a Muslim believes women should be veiled? As long as he doesn’t force his beliefs on others and expresses his opinions peacefully, there is no reason to believe that he is violating any norms or participating in a culture war.

        • GBJames
          Posted June 29, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          “A Muslim” = “he”? I care if “he” thinks “she” should be veiled. “He” is imposing “his” opinion on “her”.

          “He” may be living and working peacefully. But it is important that we don’t allow his opinion about women’s dress to compell other people (women) to conform.

          • Posted June 29, 2016 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            Then he must be arrested and tried for that.
            Merely expressing an opinion is not forcing it upon others though.

          • Posted June 29, 2016 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

            I read your comment again and I completely disagree.
            Like I said, everyone is entitled to their opinion. It might be wrong. But living in a modern liberal society decrees that we use the weapon of reason and logic to change people’s minds.

            If that doesn’t work, then we have already lost!

            • GBJames
              Posted June 30, 2016 at 6:48 am | Permalink

              We are all entitled to opinions. Including the opinion that women must not be compelled by custom to second class status in a civilized world. And to the opinion that there should be one law that applies to everyone regardless of religious ideas one might have some opinions advocate.

              You seem to be advocating that feminists need to respect, in some perverse sense, the worst ideas in Islam. Given that, yes, we have already lost.

              • Posted June 30, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

                The law already applies to everyone, doesn’t it?

                I don’t see what is wrong with someone who peacefully expresses his opinion about anything. Are you suggesting that some forms of speech should be banned because they are inconsistent with an arbitrary set of cultural values? If not, then we agree. I, too, find Hijab repulsive. But it’s beside the point I’m trying to make here.

              • GBJames
                Posted June 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

                “The law already applies to everyone, doesn’t it?”

                I don’t think you bothered to follow the link I provided otherwise it is unlikely you would ask that question.

              • Posted June 30, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

                https://fullfact.org/law/uks-sharia-courts/

                From the text:

                While there are undoubtedly lots of different councils and tribunals dealing with Sharia principles, they aren’t courts of law.

                Most are Sharia ‘councils’ set up to make decisions on purely religious matters, although there are some bodies that mix Sharia principles with legally binding arbitration. But none can overrule the regular courts.

              • GBJames
                Posted June 30, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

                The problem arises when “purely religious matters” extends to marriage, divorce, and inheritance. These matters are all “purely religious” from the perspective of the advocates of Islam. And there are lots of non-Muslim liberals (know around these parts as “regressive” liberals) who think there is nothing wrong with turning over “family issues” to these “councils”.

                This is a serious issue, not a fantasy of anti-Muslim bigotry.

              • Posted June 30, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

                I know, but in the end, the whole process is just a form of mediation. Any party can reject the mediation and go to a court of law at any time. Also the choice of mediator is always agreed upon.

                If a party is scammed into signing a fraudulent contract in these councils, then it needs to be addressed.
                Otherwise, who cares how a couple go their separate ways?

              • GBJames
                Posted June 30, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

                Well then, no problem! Turns out that there’s no reason to be concerned about the treatment of women in Islam and it all was just a fiction. Real victims of sexual bigotry are just found in the “western” community!

        • Eric Grobler
          Posted June 30, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

          “It divides the society along ideological lines much like the way Communists or Racists do.”

          It makes me wonder how much you know about Islam the ideology. It has many similaries with Communism and Nazism and is actually very racist.

          At the same time it also has a glorious history in science and art, even philosophy, but it has a rotten core which we have to live with because it is the fabric of many societies in the world.

        • Sastra
          Posted June 30, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          The “culture clash” is between an ideology which values modern freedoms and an ideology which doesn’t. It’s not between Muslims and non-Muslims, but between the more liberal and the less. Nobody is being boxed in. I think you’re misreading Ali.

          What do we care if a Muslim believes women should be veiled? As long as he doesn’t force his beliefs on others and expresses his opinions peacefully, there is no reason to believe that he is violating any norms or participating in a culture war.

          You seem to be taking the words “clash” and “war” too literally — and missing that in advocating secularism Ali is on your side. The conflict is between ideas, but these ideas are often played out not just on the field of reason, but by how we live and treat each other. A secular culture draws a line between religion and law. And we justify that line through arguing for the side that says we draw that line.

          What do we care if someone is racist, sexist, homophobic, irrational, or virulently anti-freedom … as long as they don’t act on it by forcing it on others? Well, hypothetically, that IS a good deal better than if they do follow through, I guess. They behave just like someone who isn’t racist, sexist, homophobic, etc — except they give their private opinion otherwise. Maybe. But if the ‘culture war’ is, among other things, against the idea that “women ought to be veiled” then the war is fought on the level of ideas and this individual is caught up one way or the other.

          • Posted June 30, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

            My problem with her is that she is blurring the line between the Islamic culture and Muslims in general.

            She is advocating policy changes to curb immigration. In other words, she wants the government to deprive other humans (who haven’t committed a crime) of their right to immigrate because of her beliefs.

            This is dangerous territory. I am fine with her bashing Islam and I will totally support her in that endeavor. But I can’t support her collectivist views in regards to Muslims.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted June 29, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      >”assumes that people are slaves of their culture”

      I believe most people are. Most people in Pakistan will die with the same beliefs that they were conditioned as children.

      >”She no longer identifies with her previous “culture””
      That is rather the exception you must agree.

      >”It is heart-breaking to see that she advocates barring others from the opportunities…”
      What are you referring to?

      Regards
      Eric

      • Posted June 29, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        That is rather the exception you must agree.

        I don’t agree. People change their convictions every day. If human beliefs were actually set in stone and all a thinker and a writer can achieve is reinforcing the beliefs of those who already agree with her, then there is no point to any of this. There is no point to this blog!

        Change in beliefs occurs gradually and as a result of exposure to new information. It is an exception until it becomes the rule!

        What are you referring to?

        0:58 in video. The migrants are portrayed in the same way an invading army is portrayed in military analysis videos. She is clearly for curbing immigration from Islamic countries. If she gets her way, how many oppressed women like herself will be able to free themselves from their situation?
        We can talk about women’s right in Islam all we want. Without granting them safe haven in a free country with better economic opportunities, it is just empty rhetoric useful only for political bickering.

        • Eric Grobler
          Posted June 30, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

          “If she gets her way, how many oppressed women like herself will be able to free themselves from their situation?”

          That is a valid point, however if you analyze the refugee influx currenty too Europe, most are economic migrants, men and very religious.
          I assume she is against unfiltered mass Islamic immigration, not against giving people freedom who escape from religious tyranny.

          • Posted June 30, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

            + 1. Plus, the West must find other ways to help people in Muslim and other Third World countries, instead of letting all of them immigrate.

            • Posted June 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

              First of all, the word “influx” can be misleading. Accepting Ali’s figures, how one million refugees -many of them children- can radically change the culture of 742 million people in Europe?

              Second of all, how do you suggest the West help 3rd. world? International aid has been shown to have little effect. Military intervention and colonizing have been calamitous too. What else is there to try? Immigration and trade have worked very well in solving 3rd world problems. Why abandon them now?

              • Cindy
                Posted July 1, 2016 at 6:38 am | Permalink

                The majority of “refugees” are economic migrants from North Africa. Only a very tiny minority are refugees from Syria. These often healthy young single men head straight to Northern Europe for the social welfare benefits. Rather than stay in France, they wait in Calais hoping to catch a free ride to tbr UK to benefit from the welfare state. And no, they don’t have a “right” to the tax dollars of hardworking Europeans

                Many of these young men are often quite violent and rape. A young man from Eritrea had to literally be taught NOT TO RAPE, because in Eritrea it is legal to rape single women. And truck drivers in Calais are often subjected to violence from these “refugees “.

              • Posted July 1, 2016 at 11:07 am | Permalink

                Trade is good for development, though does not automatically solve the problems of a culture. Sharing knowledge is good. Some aid is good (e.g. vaccines). I do not think that migration benefits the donor country in any way. For my own country, I find it disastrous. I do not think that colonizing has been calamitous, but it is out of question anyway. And I do not think that all military interventions have been calamitous. The one in Korea was very beneficial. I think military interventions must continue. ISIS will not be stopped by trade (trade benefits it), much less with migration, even if all immigrants are people fleeing ISIS and there are no infiltrated ISIS members among them.

              • Posted July 1, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

                Cindy,
                because in Eritrea it is legal to rape single women.

                Care to provide a source for your claim?

                What is wrong with “economic” migration anyway? Aren’t Americans and Europeans working and living in Duabi “economic” migrants after all?

        • Robert Bray
          Posted June 30, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          ‘People change their convictions every day.’

          Surely not! Which people? What convictions? What you assert is, after all, an empirical question. Moreover, if true, it denies the possibility of an agreed-upon standpoint or universal by which to order the sort of civilization you appear to favor in the final paragraph of your post.

          • Posted June 30, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

            Sorry, I misspoke. I just meant to say that change in beliefs is possible and it happens a lot. In some cases it’s a gradual process though and may not seem a fundamental change at first.

  9. Siggy in Costa Rica
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    It’s a shame that she had to resort to Prager U to find an outlet for this message.

    • mfdempsey1946
      Posted June 29, 2016 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      I agree totally. Any enterprise associated with Dennis Prager and anything he has to say about anything are totally discredited in advance for me.

      Here is why.

      On November 3, 1993, someone I knew slightly, filmmaker Duncan Gibbins, narrowly escaped from one of Southern California’s raging fires.

      But then he returned to the blaze in order to rescue his cat. As a result, he was brutally burned and did not survive.

      While he was still alive in the famed Sherman Oaks Burn Center and visible on a TV screen raising one of his arms, Dennis Prager began berating him on his radio talk show for risking his life to try and save a cat.

      I can still vividly remember the insufferable pomposity of his voice as he pontificated about the moral failings of one who put his own life in danger for a mere house pet (or words to that effect).

      What got to me was that, although this might be an issue worth discussing, Prager didn’t have the sensitivity to at least learn first whether or not Duncan was going to live or die (the latter was the likelihood despite what the TV screen was showing) before airing his ideas, and in such a self-important fashion.

      From that instant on, nothing he ever said or did, even if in an of itself it might have merit, was ever going to matter to me again.

      • Posted June 29, 2016 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        Well, that plus the fact that he’s a religious right theocratic idiot who fancies himself a genius and thinks atheism and higher education are the causes of all problems in the world. Right?

        • Siggy in Costa Rica
          Posted June 30, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          You pretty much nailed on the head with that. The videos he releases are for the most part regressive nonsense, with the occasional one that seems to make some valid points, like the one being discussed here.

          • Siggy in Costa Rica
            Posted June 30, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

            I should clarify, “regressive” in the sense that they promote undoing advances in our society, not in the “regressive left” sense.

  10. Filippo
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Sub.

  11. penguin0302
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Is her talk of a “culture clash” between Western and Islamic values accurate?

    I think the culture clash issue is relevant. It annoys me to no end when virtue signalers tell us that diversity enriches communities without ever addressing that some aspects of these cultural differences DO clash with our truly held fundamental values.

    Some arab men in “western” countries, emboldened by their culture approach women in an aggressive, unfiltered and intimidating manner (the intensity of those qualities may be statistically correlated with the number of them there are together at that given time). And wait for the inevitable insults and mockery if you’re not flattered by the attention.

    “should we nevertheless avoid discussing it lest it be perceived as “Islamophobic?”

    My experiences date from my college years (late 80s-early 90s) in a university with a relatively high arabic population. I never made an issue of it because I thought I’d be branded a racist, but most of all I thought I was alone and weak for being targeted in such a hostile way.

    So no, I think we should talk about it and what was once dismissed as “isolated” incidents might reveal a pattern that shouldn’t be dismissed quite as casually.

  12. mdeschane
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I am reading, or have recently read, Infidel, Heretic and Nomad, my thinking is probably somewhat sympathetic to her message.

    1. Maybe, but given her history some editorializing on her part might be excusable. I will take the first amendment on the second part, especially when somebody tries to shut me up by calling me names.

    2. Yes, Western Feminists, and Western societies in general should stand against human rights violations everywhere. We publicly criticize and sanction governments for those violations, Islam should not get a by.

    3. We should deal with all human rights violations to the extent that our resources will allow. In one of her books AHA gives an example of the resources that were put into propaganda fighting Communism. She thinks, and I agree, that radical Islam is a problem on that scale and probably worse, but the resources (not including wars and anti-terrorism work) we are currently expending are nowhere near what we expended fighting Communism. (I am probably going to yelled at for putting Islam and Communism in the same sentence, sticks and stones… )

    • Posted June 30, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      I think you are quite correct to compare Islam and Communism – both are totalitarian ideologies devastating for their own societies and threatening the West (Communism no longer).

  13. Eric Grobler
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    1. “Islamophobic” – Perhaps we should change the term to “Muslimphobic”, I am happy to acknowledge that I am very weary of Islam.

    2. “is it the business of Western feminists?…” Yes of course, and non-feminists also, in the same way Apartheid was opposed by the majority of people all over the globe.

    3. The “clash” is also inside the Muslim world, Sunni vs Shia and secular vs devout.

    The biggest problem we have is that Islam is at its core an aggressive ideology and cannot be “reformed” by the serious reading of the Quran, Hadith or Sunnah.

    The world was a better place before the Internet when Muslims knew far less about their holy books.

    • Filippo
      Posted June 30, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Though of quite awkward construction, I think “Islamofascismphobia” is accurate.

      Of course, that leads to the question of whether “Islamofascism” exists? If one points to ISIS as an example, I gather that one can expect a kneejerk Pavlovian reply to the effect that ISIS does not represent “true” Islam, however fascistic ISIS may be, and that therefore Islamofascism does not and cannot exist.

      Can one reasonably point to Saudi Arabia as an example of Islamofascism?

  14. lonefreethinkers
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    Sapiens have the capacity to believe in two contradictory facts.

  15. keith cook + / -
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    “Western women should stop coddling all religions that have misogynistic attributes, and those are not limited to Islam.”
    As a humanist and a male this is a given. I don’t wish to comment on the other questions.
    If we were talking about oil here, the generals of this world would be in there with all gun blazing but we are talking about women and reality, half the planets population, not a culture, not a ideology, not a chattel, life of individuals whose role is indispensable. So we, both genders, have to be those generals. It is a numbers game I feel must have a tipping point.
    Weary of Islam? I’m weary of the macho dominated delusional, fractionated, the so called east / west divide, on a hiding to nowhere state we have induced our brains to except as living. I have to keep that boot firmly up my arse to make sure intellectual complacency does not rot me from the inside out.
    Guiding lights are an exception, courage and vision is at a premium but like in nature rarity can have a high value and that is encouraging.
    Sorry about the rhetoric sandwich.

  16. Posted June 30, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    1. Is her talk of a “culture clash” between Western and Islamic values accurate? If so, should we nevertheless avoid discussing it lest it be perceived as “Islamophobic”?

    The West is not well described as Judeo-Christian. The clash is not between Judeo-Christian worldviews and Islam, but between Enlightenment-Humanistic-Universal-Rights against Abrahamitic Faiths (Islamo-Judeo-Christian). The clash is between the devout and their totalitarian understanding of religion and everyone else who accept a secular society that allows all members to do their thing, as long as they leave each other be. It is just the case that Judeo-Christians tend to be far less pious and less totalitarian than Muslims, especially in Europe.

    Is it even the business of Western feminists to fight for the rights of Muslim women, whether in the West or in Muslim countries? (I’m taking it for granted here that, as Hirsi Ali notes, that oppression is worse among Muslim women than among Western women in the West.) Shouldn’t we just deal, as some Western feminists note, with problems that are closer to home—problems we can fix?

    Pleas to focus on something else are mostly ill-advised, because they are imperatives that tend to offer no compelling reasons why one should care about something else. Even pointing out a situation does little, because the situations are generally known (even if viewed controversially). What is missing are concrete, actionable steps. They are easier to conceive with our own problems. However, wasting time on the internet is usually not a wasted opportunity that would translate to something useful in another domain. And writing about the problems with religion (and Islam) is useful. Argueing about what should be done instead is rather a feature of the postmodern crowd (SJW) and their drift towards metaconcept and metadiscourse, as expressions of their attempts to secure the hegemony of interpretation. In other words, this is done to shut down conservations and critique of Islam and the alternative problems are suggested to advertise membership in the “correct” anti-racist tribe, and to show that one cares about the horrors of double entendres in confined, vertically moving, spaces.

    If Hirsi Ali is right, and feminists need to fight harder for their Muslim sisters, what’s the best way to do it?

    Anti-theism geared towards winning over Muslims. One of the conundrums is that Muslims feel alienated when presented with a “west vs islam” distinction, which may drive them closer to religious identification. But at the same time, not saying anything doesn’t solve the problems. This is a case of the Golden Apple. As long as difference remain hidden, people can get along. But when pressured, and they have to take a side, when the Golden Apple is thrown, differences not only become visible, they are pronounced and we see polarisations, and extremism on the fringes (atheism is itself a good example case, see the SJW faction on how not to do it). I like the confrontative new atheist approach, but it should try to pronounce more the ideas being criticized, leaving the door open for the believers to be invited. Instead of “only idiots believe this” rather “You know as well as I do that this idea is preposterous”. The opinion leaders, such as Dawkins, largely did it well.

  17. Posted June 30, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    There are different degrees of alliances and support. But generally I think people should work on their own stuff before worrying about others. However, “their own” is vague sometimes. On the other hand, those of us who live with more freedoms should take advantage to *do* more, so “their own” might be vague.

    Also, one thing that some do not see, is that we *do* benefit from stuff that was wrong before even if it has ended, so the difficult matter of “compensation” and such is a concern.

  18. GBJames
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Faisal Saeed AlMutar has some comments on this video. My disagreements with Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s latest video


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Thanks to Why Evolution is True: Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the failure of feminists to fight for Muslim women. […]

  2. […] Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the failure of feminists to fight for Mulsim women […]

%d bloggers like this: