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Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali (1969 - ), born in Somalia and raised in Kenya. She became a Dutch citizen through political asylum and was a member of the Dutch parliment from 30 January 2003 until 16 May 2006. She is now a fellow at the conservative thinktank the American Enterprise Institute.


She is under threat from Islamists for her public rejection of the Muslim faith and its cultural practices which subjugate women.

In a BBC World Service radio interview [1] the week of June 19, 2005 Ali talks about the steps which led up to her rejection of Islam ...

I came to the conclusion [that] I do not believe in the existence of a god or in the hereafter.


“You'll be pleased to hear, Christopher [Hitchens], that I am no longer a Muslim liberal but an atheist [....] I find that it obviates the necessity for any cognitive dissonance.”


She co-produced (with Theo van Gogh) the short film Submission, Part I on the lack of rights for women under Islam. Van Gogh was later murdered by an Islamic extremist in reaction to the film.


More Ayaan Hirsi Ali Quotes

“The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.” - Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel


“Islam was like a mental cage. At first, when you open the door, the caged bird stays inside: it is frightened. It has internalized its imprisonment. It takes time for bird to escape, even after someone has opened the doors to its cage.” - Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel


“It is always difficult to make the transition to a modern world. I moved from the world of faith to the world of reason - from the world of excision and forced marriage to the world of secual emancipation. Having made that journey, I know that one of those worlds is simply better than the other. Not because of its flashy gadgets, but fundamentally, because of its values. The message of this book, if it must have a message, is that we in the West would be wrong to prolong the pain of that transition unnecessarily, by elevating cultures full of bigotry and hatred toward women to the stature of respectable alternative ways of life.” - Ayaan Hirsi Ali


“By declaring our Prophet infallible and not permitting ourselves to question him, we Muslims had set up a static tyranny. The Prophet Muhammad attempted to legislate every aspect of life. By adhering to his rules of what is permitted and what is forbidden, we Muslims supressed the freedom to think for ourselves and to act as we chose. We froze the moral outlook of billions of people into the mind-set of the Arab desert in the seventh century. We were not just servants of Allah, we were slaves.” - Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel


“In a well-functioning democracy, the state constitution is considered more important than God's holy book, whichever holy book that may be, and God matters only in your private life.” - Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam


References

Her blog

Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Wikipedia

BBC World Service Interview

Internet Movie Database entry on Submission, Part I

Clip of Submission, Part I at IFilm

More Ayaan Hirsi Ali quotes