Infidel Author:Ayaan Hirsi Ali Readers with an eye on European politics will recognize Ali as the Somali-born member of the Dutch parliament who faced death threats after collaborating on a film about domestic violence against Muslim women with controversial director Theo van Gogh (who was himself assassinated). Even before then, her attacks on Islamic culture as "brutal, big... more »oted, [and] fixated on controlling women" had generated much controversy. In this suspenseful account of her life and her internal struggle with her Muslim faith, she discusses how these views were shaped by her experiences amid the political chaos of Somalia and other African nations, where she was subjected to genital mutilation and later forced into an unwanted marriage. While in transit to her husband in Canada, she decided to seek asylum in the Netherlands, where she marveled at the polite policemen and government bureaucrats. Ali is up-front about having lied about her background in order to obtain her citizenship, which led to further controversy in early 2006, when an immigration official sought to deport her and triggered the collapse of the Dutch coalition government. Apart from feelings of guilt over van Gogh's death, her voice is forceful and unbowed. Like Irshad Manji, she delivers a powerful feminist critique of Islam informed by a genuine understanding of the religion.« less
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Infidel is a page turner (even though it is more difficult to read than a fictional story). Ayaan Hirsi Ali captivated me with her ability to keep me in my comfort zone and yet tell the gruesome bits of her life. I find her amazing, more so because she was able to explain to me how Muslims think. She did not write a book that bashes the Muslim religion she wrote a memoir that clearly explains where she comes from and where the Muslims come from.
What I found most intriguing is how she could have such radical thoughts about her religion at such a young age with no one around her feeding her questions.
The one caution I would give other potential readers is that this book is highly political. I liked it a lot because I believe a lot of the things that Ayaan believes. However, for those readers that do not agree with those views this could be a very frustrating and maybe even enraging book.
I do highly recommend it to anyone even if they do not follow my beliefs on religion or politics. Everyone can take something away from this work.
This book was one of the most informative, horrifying, yet inspirational books I have ever read. Ayaan Hirsi Ali takes us through her childhood and teen years in war ravaged, Islamo-fascist Kenya & Somalia. She shares stories about the strict rules placed on Muslim women and the prohibitions on freedom found in Islam. I thoroughly enjoyed the first hand descriptions of what Islam actually teaches. With the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Libyia in the last couple of month (2011) an understanding of what these religious/political groups believe is essential.
THe writing style of Ali is beautiful. I did not even realize that her style changes throughout the book. She created the voice of an uneducated, scared young girl that eventually changes into the confusion of a teen who wants to rebel against strict standards. Finally, after finding her freedom, Ali writes with the authority of a woman who is confident in herself and her place in society. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
I found this book to be very informative and gripping. A true account of one woman's struggle to be an individual in a society that does not permit women to have a voice. We take our freedoms in this country so lightly that it is a shock to believe that women still have no choices in other countries. I think that Ayaan Hirsi Ali finally puts to rest the debate on Islam and the treatment of women. I highly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in the human condition.
Fascinating and horrifying. I was impressed by Ayaan's courage in questioning the entrenched beliefs of her family and in boldly making a new life for herself in Europe. This book has really affected the way that I understand Islam's treatment of women. It is impossible not to respond to Ayaan's life story. Her insider's perspective and criticisms speak volumes. A must-read for those interested in religious issues and human rights.
Wow! Ayaan is an amazing lady! Her courage and determination is incredible. Reading her life story makes me so grateful to have been born when and where I was. It would be nice to think that I could have done the same as her, faced with the challenges she was, but in all honesty I think I would have crumbled. She has a lot of important things to say about very complex issues facing society today.