The brutal murder of the Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh in 2004 shocked the world. Shot and mutilated by a Muslim fanatic as he cycled to work, it was a stark reminder of the dangers of challenging an extreme Islamic worldview. It also changed the life of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, van Gogh's collaborator on the film that had offended his murderer. Born in Somalia and raised a Muslim, she had escaped an arranged marriage and made a new life as a Dutch parliamentarian, championing the reform of Islam and its attitude to women's rights. She now has twenty-four-hour police protection, but refuses to let that inhibit her willingness to speak out.
THE INFIDEL is Ayaan Hirsi Ali's astonishing story. Recounting the extraordinary transition from a third-world upbringing to her current status as one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people in the world, it is a truly remarkable autobiography that is as gripping as it is inspiring.
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, bigoted, 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. 8-page photo insert.
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Couldn't put it down!
I thought this book was an excellent example of good story telling interwoven with a great story. She is very open about her life. Great reading!!! 5 stars.