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At this book forum, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of the international bestseller Infidel, discussed her book, Nomad (Free Press, May 2010), which describes her new life in America and deepens her analysis of the dangers that radical Islam presents to Western values and institutions.
"This moving account by a remarkably brave
Download Audio as MP3 woman of her personal journey from the premodern mindset of nomadic Somali society to a modern Western one provides a searing indictment of the cult of 'multiculturalism' and 'diversity' that is disabling other Muslims in the West from making a similar transition and making their youth turn to radical Islam and become 'jihadis.' More than many academic tomes, this personal memoir provides a cogent account of how and why Islam poses the gravest threat to Western liberal societies."
--Deepak Lal, James Coleman Professor of International Development Studies, UCLA
||Christopher DeMuth, AEI
|Presentation:||Ayaan Hirsi Ali, AEI
|7:00||Adjournment and Reception
WASHINGTON, JUNE 2, 2010--Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of the international bestseller Infidel, spoke Wednesday about her new book Nomad, which focuses on the dangers of radical Islam. Hirsi Ali said she was inspired to write Nomad by the questions she received from readers of Infidel, who wanted to know more about her journey from the Islamic world to America. She noted, however, that Nomad was not "another memoir," as some reviewers have suggested, but an attempt to use the "intimate dynamics of my family" to address larger questions, including the collision of values between Islam and the West. In her remarks, Hirsi Ali recounted her painful break from her family and the values they had taught her. Rejecting the value system instilled in her from birth, she said, was the most difficult experience of her life. She also spoke about her transition to atheism, her admiration for "moderate" Christianity, and the cultural and economic obstacles to Muslim assimilation. She ended by urging her audience--atheists, feminists, and Christians alike--to engage forcefully in the battle of ideas with radical Islam. "We cannot defeat an idea by bombing it out of people's heads," she said. "You have to offer them a superior idea. . . . The message of Nomad is: do not kill, do not destroy, compete."
- "Having come to the Netherlands, to the West, I discovered that there are value differences. There are value differences in parenting, and in the three universal themes: sexuality, money, and violence."
--Ayaan Hirsi Ali
- "When I was promoting Infidel, I came away with the impression that most Americans regard Islam as a matter of foreign policy. I noticed a naïveté I had seen earlier in Europe. . . . There is jihad in America."
--Ayaan Hirsi Ali
- "Civil society has its job to do too. . . . The battle of ideas is not merely fought between states; it's fought between individuals, between groups. That's what I learned in America."
--Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Christopher DeMuth is D. C. Searle Senior Fellow at AEI. He was president of AEI from 1986 through 2008. Mr. DeMuth was previously the editor and publisher of Regulation magazine (1986-87); managing director of Lexecon Inc., an economics consulting firm (1984-86); administrator for information and regulatory affairs in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief in the Reagan administration (1981-84); lecturer and director of regulatory studies at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government (1977-81); a lawyer in private practice (1973-77); and staff assistant to the president and director of the White House Task Force on Environmental Policy in the Nixon administration (1969-70). His articles on government relations and other subjects have appeared in The Public Interest, Harvard Law Review, The Yale Journal of Regulation, the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and other publications.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a resident fellow at AEI and an outspoken defender of women's rights in Islamic societies, was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992 and served as a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006. In parliament, she worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society and defending the rights of women in Dutch Muslim communities. In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made Submission, a film about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures. Airing the film on Dutch television prompted the assassination of Mr. van Gogh by an Islamic extremist. At AEI, Ms. Hirsi Ali researches the relationship between the West and Islam, women's rights in Islam, violence against women propagated by religious and cultural arguments, and Islam in Europe. Ms. Hirsi Ali is the author of The Caged Virgin (Free Press, 2006); Infidel (Free Press, 2007), a New York Times bestseller; and Nomad (Free Press, May 2010).