Can Ayaan Hirsi Ali Liberate Islam from Islamism?

Religious Freedom Coalition, by Andrew Harrod, PhD, Jul 20th, 2017

“Dawa is to the Islamists of today what the ‘long march through the institutions’ was to twentieth-century Marxists,” writes Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her latest monographThe Challenge of Dawa:  Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Counter It.  In it the Somali-born political activist accurately analyzes the threat of, and necessary response to, Islam’s faith-based political ideology, yet the feasibility of her desire to reform this “Islamism” out of Islam is questionable.

Analyzing dawa’s call to Islam, Ali calls for a “paradigm shift that recognizes how violent jihad is intertwined with the ideological infrastructure of dawa,” the “subversive, indoctrinating precursor to jihad.”  Reflecting a commonplace myopic focus on jihadists, President George W. Bush “often referred to a ‘war on terror,’ but terror is a tactic that can be used for a variety of ideological objectives.”  Accordingly, “nonviolent and violent Islamists differ only on tactics; they share the same goal, which is to establish an unfree society ruled by strict sharia law.”

Officials like President Barack Obama, who often appeared “as if he worried more about ‘Islamophobia’ than about radical Islam,” blinded the government to Islamic doctrine, Ali notes.  Therefore “[s]ince 9/11, the United States has committed a series of blunders in partnering with ‘moderates’ who turned out to be either Islamists active in dawa or fully fledged terrorists.”  Additionally, “nonviolent Islamists have benefited from terror attacks committed by jihadists because such attacks make nonviolent Islamists appear moderate in the eyes of Western governments.”

Ali sees positive indications that President Donald Trump is taking a “more comprehensive approach” to “defeat political Islam (or Islamism)” and offers her own proposals for this strategy.  Among other measures, public diplomacy entities like Voice of America should “fight the war of ideas by disseminating a counter-dawa message.”  The United States also should also apply “ideological scrutiny” to immigrants, refugees, and military chaplains.

Ali carefully distinguishes between personally devout Muslims and those following a totalitarian ideology.  “‘Islam,’ ‘Islamism,’ and ‘Muslims’ are distinct concepts.  Not all Muslims are Islamists, let alone violent, though all Islamists—including those who use violence—are Muslims.”  Therefore the “religion of Islam itself is indeed capable of reformation.”

Ali’s distinction between Islam in general and its political elements in Islamism derives from the canonical biography of Islam’s prophet Muhammad in seventh century Arabia.  She contrasts his early prophetic career when he was merely a preacher in Mecca with the polity he and his followers later founded in Medina.  She differentiates between “Mecca Muslims, who prefer the religion originally promoted by Muhammad in Mecca” and “Medina Muslims, who embrace the militant political ideology adopted by Muhammad in Medina.”

Notwithstanding worldwide disturbing polling data, Ali questionably asserts that “Mecca Muslims” are the “clear majority throughout the Muslim world.”  They “are loyal to the core religious creed and worship devoutly but are not inclined to practice violence or even intolerance toward non-Muslims.”  Yet a “fundamental problem is that the majority of otherwise peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are unwilling to acknowledge, much less to repudiate, the theological warrant for intolerance and violence embedded in their own religious texts.”

“Muslim reformers” or “modifying Muslims” form Ali’s third Muslim subgroup.  They “promote the separation of religion from politics and other reforms” and “realize that their religion must change if its followers are not to be condemned to an interminable cycle of political violence.”  Thus the “future of Islam and the world’s relationship with Muslims will be decided by which of the two minority groups—the Medina Muslims or the reformers—wins the support of the Meccan majority.”

Ali’s own analysis of Europe’s Islamic immigration gives an ominous portent for the struggle between Medina and reform.  She observes that “emigration, called hijra, is central to Islam and—more importantly—to the mission of Islamization to this day,” as shown by the exile of Muhammad and his companions to Medina, the start of the Islamic calendar.  True to Muhammad’s Medina example:

Forty or fifty years ago, it was still widely believed that the migration of Muslims to Europe, whether as ‘guest workers,’ immigrants, or refugees, would lead to their secularization and assimilation.  Americans who assume that this will happen in the United States should take note that the opposite has happened.

European Muslims are not the only disappointment for Ali’s Muslim reformer allies like former Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Nomani, with whom Ali jointly testified before the Senate on June 14.  She has joined with like-minded Muslims worldwide such as Zuhdi Jasser, who makes in his longstanding “Battle for the Soul of Islam” precisely Ali’s same distinction between Islam and Islamism.  Yet their Muslim Reform Movement has suffered sobering setbacks in America.

Several logical reasons explain why the Muslim reform failures of Ali et al. are not surprising.  Whatever moral inclinations Muslims might have, her Mecca/Medina distinction demands that Muslims somehow eschew Muhammad’s political practice while still viewing him as a religious authority.  Yet as the example of Jews and Christians show, over time mainly orthodox are faithful to religions, not people who split differences over prophetic examples.

By contrast, the liberal spirit advocated by Ali could very well lead freethinkers like her not to orthodoxy, but rather to her atheism or another belief system like Christianity, particularly in light of Islam’s numerous legalisms.  She strives to separate Islamic politics and piety, yet certainly many remain within Islam’s fold not out of sincere conviction, but coercion.  Even in “moderate” Indonesia, Islamic repressionexists in the form of blasphemy laws.

Ali at her Senate testimony raised eyebrows when she ominously described the Netherlands’ second largest party as a “radical right wing group.”  As knowledgeable observers like this author in the hearing room instantly recognized, she was anonymously referencing the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders.  While she has many sound policy proposals, time will tell who is more radical, Ali or Wilders, a strident critic of Islam who has personally explained to this author severe doubts concerning Islam’s reform.

To purchase her autobiography, click here.

Andrew E. Harrod is a researcher and writer who holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a JD from George Washington University Law School. He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project, an organization combating the misuse of human rights law against Western societies. He can be followed on twitter at @AEHarrod.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Islam’s Most Eloquent Apostate

ILLUSTRATION: ZINA SAUNDERS

WSJ, by Tunku Varadarajan, April 7, 2017:

The woman sitting opposite me, dressed in a charcoal pantsuit and a duck-egg-blue turtleneck, can’t go anywhere, at any time of day, without a bodyguard. She is soft-spoken and irrepressibly sane, but also—in the eyes of those who would rather cut her throat than listen to what she says—the most dangerous foe of Islamist extremism in the Western world. We are in a secure room at a sprawling university, but the queasiness in my chest takes a while to go away. I’m talking to a woman with multiple fatwas on her head, someone who has a greater chance of meeting a violent end than anyone I’ve met (Salman Rushdie included). And yet she’s wholly poised, spectacles pushed back to rest atop her head like a crown, dignified and smiling under siege.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born in Somalia in 1969, is Islam’s most eloquent apostate. She has just published a slim book that seeks to add a new four-letter word—dawa—to the West’s vocabulary. It describes the ceaseless, world-wide ideological campaign waged by Islamists as a complement to jihad. It is, she says, the greatest threat facing the West and “could well bring about the end of the European Union as we know it.” America is far from immune, and her book, “The Challenge of Dawa,” is an explicit attempt to persuade the Trump administration to adopt “a comprehensive anti-dawa strategy before it is too late.”

Ms. Hirsi Ali has come a long way from the days when she—“then a bit of a hothead”—declared Islam to be incapable of reform, while also calling on Muslims to convert or abandon religion altogether. That was a contentious decade ago. Today she believes that Islam can indeed be reformed, that it must be reformed, and that it can be reformed only by Muslims themselves—by those whom she calls “Mecca Muslims.” These are the faithful who prefer the gentler version of Islam that she says was “originally promoted by Muhammad” before 622. That was the year he migrated to Medina and the religion took a militant and unlovely ideological turn.

At the same time, Ms. Hirsi Ali—now a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, where I also work—is urging the West to look at Islam with new eyes. She says it must be viewed “not just as a religion, but also as a political ideology.” To regard Islam merely as a faith, “as we would Christianity or Buddhism, is to run the risk of ignoring dawa, the activities carried out by Islamists to keep Muslims energized by a campaign to impose Shariah law on all societies—including countries of the West.”

Dawa, Ms. Hirsi Ali explains, is “conducted right under our noses in Europe, and in America. It aims to convert non-Muslims to political Islam and also to push existing Muslims in a more extreme direction.” The ultimate goal is “to destroy the political institutions of a free society and replace them with Shariah.” It is a “never-ending process,” she says, and then checks herself: “It ends when an Islamic utopia is achieved. Shariah everywhere!”

Ms. Hirsi Ali contends that the West has made a colossal mistake by its obsession with “terror” in the years since 9/11. “In focusing only on acts of violence,” she says, “we’ve ignored the Islamist ideology underlying those acts. By not fighting a war of ideas against political Islam—or ‘Islamism’—and against those who spread that ideology in our midst, we’ve committed a blunder.”

There is a knock on the door. I hear hushed voices outside, presumably her bodyguard telling someone to come back later. To add to the mildly dramatic effect, a siren is audible somewhere in the distance, unusual for the serene Stanford campus. Ms. Hirsi Ali is unfazed. “What the Islamists call jihad,” she continues, “is what we call terrorism, and our preoccupation with it is, I think, a form of overconfidence. ‘Terrorism is the way of the weak,’ we tell ourselves, ‘and if we can just take out the leaders and bring down al Qaeda or ISIS, then surely the followers will stop their jihad.’ But we’re wrong. Every time Western leaders take down a particular organization, you see a different one emerge, or the same one take on a different shape. And that’s because we’ve been ignoring dawa.”

Ms. Hirsi Ali wants us to get away from this game of jihadi Whac-A-Mole and confront “the enemy that is in plain sight—the activists, the Islamists, who have access to all the Western institutions of socialization.” She chuckles here: “That’s a horrible phrase . . . ‘institutions of socialization’ . . . but they’re there, in families, in schools, in universities, prisons, in the military as chaplains. And we can’t allow them to pursue their aims unchecked.”

America needs to be on full alert against political Islam because “its program is fundamentally incompatible with the U.S. Constitution”—with religious pluralism, the equality of men and women, and other fundamental rights, including the toleration of different sexual orientations. “When we say the Islamists are homophobic,” she observes, “we don’t mean that they don’t like gay marriage. We mean that they want gays put to death.”

Islam the religion, in Ms. Hirsi Ali’s view, is a Trojan horse that conceals Islamism the political movement. Since dawa is, ostensibly, a religious missionary activity, its proponents “enjoy a much greater protection by the law in free societies than Marxists or fascists did in the past.” Ms. Hirsi Ali is not afraid to call these groups out. Her book names five including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which asserts—and in turn receives in the mainstream media—the status of a moderate Muslim organization. But groups like CAIR, Ms. Hirsi Ali says, “take advantage of the focus on ‘inclusiveness’ by progressive political bodies in democratic societies, and then force these societies to bow to Islamist demands in the name of peaceful coexistence.”

Her strategy to fight dawa evokes several parallels with the Western historical experience of radical Marxism and the Cold War. Islamism has the help of “useful idiots”—Lenin’s phrase—such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has denounced Ms. Hirsi Ali as an “extremist.” She sees that smear as a success for dawa: “They go to people like the SPLC and say, ‘Can we partner with you, because we also want to talk about what you guys talk about, which is civil rights. And Muslims are a minority, just like you.’ So, they play this victim card, and the SPLC swallows it. And it’s not just them, it’s also the ACLU. The Islamists are infiltrating all these institutions that were historic and fought for rights. It’s a liberal blind spot.”

Western liberals, she says, are also complicit in an Islamist cultural segregation. She recalls a multiculturalist catchphrase from her years as a Somali refugee in Amsterdam in the early 1990s: “ ‘Integrate with your own identity,’ they used to tell us—Integratie met eigen identiteit. Of course, that resulted in no integration at all.”

Ms. Hirsi Ali wants the Trump administration—and the West more broadly—to counter the dawa brigade “just as we countered both the Red Army and the ideology of communism in the Cold War.” She is alarmed by the ease with which, as she sees it, “the agents of dawa hide behind constitutional protections they themselves would dismantle were they in power.” She invokes Karl Popper, the great Austrian-British philosopher who wrote of “the paradox of tolerance.” Her book quotes Popper writing in 1945: “If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”

I ask Ms. Hirsi Ali what her solution might be, and she leans once more on Popper, who proposed a right not to tolerate the intolerant. “Congress must give the president—this year, because there’s no time to lose—the tools he needs to dismantle the infrastructure of dawa in the U.S.” Dawa has become an existential menace to the West, she adds, because its practitioners are “working overtime to prevent the assimilation of Muslims into Western societies. It is assimilation versus dawa. There is a notion of ‘cocooning,’ by which Islamists tell Muslim families to cocoon their children from Western society. This can’t be allowed to happen.”

Is Ms. Hirsi Ali proposing to give Washington enhanced powers to supervise parenting? “Yes,” she says. “We want these children to be exposed to critical thinking, freedom, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the rights of women.” She also suggests subjecting immigrants and refugees to ideological scrutiny, so as to deny entry, residence and naturalization to those “involved with, or supportive of, Islamism.”

In effect, Ms. Hirsi Ali would modernize the “communism test” that still applies to those seeking naturalization. “I had to answer questions when I applied for citizenship in 2013: ‘Are you, or have you ever been, a communist?’ And I remember thinking, ‘God, that was the war back then. We’re supposed to update this stuff!’ Potential immigrants from Pakistan or Bangladesh, for instance, should have to answer questions—‘Are you a member of the Jamat?’ and so on. If they’re from the Middle East you ask them about the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘or any other similar group,’ so there’s no loophole.”

Might critics deride this as 21st-century McCarthyism? “That’s just a display of intellectual laziness,” Ms. Hirsi Ali replies. “We’re dealing here with a lethal ideological movement and all we are using is surveillance and military means? We have to grasp the gravity of dawa. Jihad is an extension of dawa. For some, in fact, it is dawa by other means.”

The U.S., she believes, is in a “much weaker position to combat the various forms of nonviolent extremism known as dawa because of the way that the courts have interpreted the First Amendment”—a situation where American exceptionalism turns into what she calls an “exceptional handicap.” Convincing Americans of this may be the hardest part of Ms. Hirsi Ali’s campaign, and she knows it. Yet she asks whether the judicial attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s—themselves a reaction to the excesses of Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s—might have left the U.S. ill-equipped to suppress threats from groups that act in the name of religion.

I ask Ms. Hirsi Ali if there’s any one thing she would wish for. “I would like to be present at a conversation between Popper and Muhammad,” she says. “Popper wrote about open society and its enemies, and subjected everyone from Plato to Marx to his critical scrutiny. I’d have liked him to subject Muhammad’s legacy to the same analysis.

“But he skipped Muhammad, alas. He skipped Muhammad.”

Mr. Varadarajan is a research fellow in journalism at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

***

***

Also see:

The Big Shut-Up

By Mark Steyn, Steyn on the WorldApril 3, 2017:

Over the weekend, I swung by Judge Jeanine’s show to talk about one of the most malign trends of our time: the ever more open refusal by one side to permit those on the other side to speak. As I always say, I don’t care what side you pick on the great questions of the age – climate change, gay marriage, Islam, transgendered bathrooms, whatever – but, if you’re on the side that says the other guy isn’t entitled to a side, you’re on the wrong side. Here’s how I put it to Judge Jeanine:

That Tweetaway takeaway is correct: They don’t want to participate in the debate, and win it. It’s easier to shut it down and save themselves the trouble. Case in point:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Tour Cancelled

Citing security issues, the Somalian-born activist calls off her scheduled Australian tour…

Let’s just expand that “Somali-born activist” précis a little. She’s not a dead white male like me or Charles Murray. As someone once said, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is everything the identity-group fetishists profess to dig: female, atheist, black, immigrant. But, because she does not toe the party line on Islam, her blackness washes off her like a bad dye job on a telly anchorman – and so do her femaleness and godlessness and immigrant status. And in the end she is Charles Murray, or Geert Wilders – or even David Duke. A black Somali woman is, it turns out, a “white supremacist“.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is someone who fled genital mutilation and arranged marriage in a backward, barbarous society to come to the west and live in freedom. Her first stop was the Netherlands. But the director of the film she wrote, Theo van Gogh, was murdered in the street, and the man who shot him then drove two knives through what was left of his chest pinning to it a five-page death-threat promising to do the same to Ayaan. So she was forced to leave the Netherlands, and has lived with round-the-clock security ever since. Now she has to cross Australia off the list, too. Where’s next? Can she speak in Sweden? Or Canada? Ireland or Germany? She left Somalia to live as a western woman, only to watch the west turn itself into Somalia, incrementally but remorselessly, at least as far as free speech is concerned.

It began, as it always does, respectably enough. Four hundred Muslim women in Australia – academics, social workers, diversicrats, supposed “human-rights activists” – signed a petition objecting to her tour Down Under but all artfully crafted in the usual weaselly more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger shtick, concluding with:

Australia deserves better than this.

Aww, that’s so cute! Did you all tilt your heads in unison and group-furrow your brows into concerned expressions? The petition title’s a doozy too:

Ayaan Hirsi-Ali [sic] Does Not Speak For Us

Well, she never claimed to, did she? You’re all Muslim women, and she’s a non-Muslim woman. She’s left Islam. Which makes her an apostate, which is one more reason why she lives with round-the-clock death threats. Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaks for herself. Why don’t you try that? Why don’t you try engaging in debate, in argument, in the free exchange of ideas? Or is it easier to insist that supposed freeborn citizens can only “speak for” the collective monolithic position of identity groups?

Next came something called the “Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia”. Hey, we’re all against Islamophobia, aren’t we? (At least at the House of Commons in Ottawa.) But how exactly are we supposed to “prevent” it? Enter the Council’s enforcer, Syed Murtaza Hussain, who isn’t quite as cuddly as all those Australia-deserves-better-that’s-not-who-we-are types:

Its insurers were contacted and warned there could be trouble, and venues where she was scheduled to speak had been contacted and warned that there would be protests where she was due to appear…

[Hussain] informed Festival Hall in Melbourne there would be 5000 protesters outside the venue if the engagement went ahead.

Nice little Festival Hall you’ve got there. Shame if anything were to happen to it.

As Brendan O’Neill observes:

Hirsi Ali’s troubles in Australia are striking because they point to a really worrying interplay between the polite intolerance of ‘Islamophobia’ and the more violent urge in certain sections of society to punish and maybe even kill critics of Islam.

As I say wearily for the umpteenth time, the defenders of Section 18 in Oz and the MPs who voted for M-103 in Canada and the jelly-spined non-entity of a university president who canceled Ayaan’s appearance at Brandeis, on the one hand, and, on the other, the men who slaughtered the Charlie Hebdo staff and shot up Lars Vilks’ event in Copenhagen and firebombed the Norwegian comedienne Shabana Rehman’s family restaurant are merely different points on the same continuum: they’re all in the shut-up business. And they’re all hustling us further along the same dark retreat into silence.

But as I wrote a few years ago:

After the threats against the Comedy Central show South Park the other week, Ms. Hirsi Ali turned up on CNN to say that the best defence against Islamic intimidation is for us all to stand together and thereby “share the risk.” But, around the world, every single translator of her books has insisted on total anonymity. When push comes to shove, very few are willing to share the risk. The British historian Andrew Roberts calls her “the bravest woman I know.”

I agree with Robert. The problem is that for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s bravery to be effective depends on the tour promoters’ bravery. And the tour promoters’ bravery depends on whichever hotel group she’s booked with to be brave. And the hotel group’s bravery depends on whichever corporate entity owns the event venues to be brave. And the corporate entity’s bravery depends on the insurers’ bravery. And the insurers’ bravery depends on someone ponying up an extra gazillion dollars for security costs. And suddenly for the cost of a bare-bones speech by one brave woman you could mount The Phantom Of The Opera meets Avatar on ice and still come out ahead.

I have had the privilege of sharing stages with Ayaan Hirsi Ali at various places around the world from London to California. It wasn’t that long ago, but it feels already like the past – a previous era, just the day before yesterday but already the rules have changed. In 2015, I spoke in Copenhagen at an event to mark the tenth anniversary of the famous “Mohammed cartoons”. As on the fifth anniversary, it required the protection of PET, the Danish security police. But this time, as an additional precaution, it had to be moved inside the fortress-thick walls of the Danish Parliament in order to lessen further the likelihood of fellows who regard debate as a waste of time (and, indeed,an affront) busting in and shooting us all. Nevertheless, notwithstanding all the security, both the US State Department and the British Foreign Office issued formal warnings advising their nationals to steer clear of the Parliament building that day.

These things are always a little stressful: as recent incidents at Westminster and Ottawa illustrate, even national parliaments are not as “secure” as they appear. So we were looking forward to unwinding at dinner afterwards at what looked like a fine, convivial restaurant. Unfortunately, after the PET agents showed up for the advance-security check, the restaurateurs got cold feet and canceled on us. As my fellow speaker Douglas Murray commented:

Ten years ago, you could publish depictions of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper. Ten years later, it is hard for anyone who has been connected with such an act to find a restaurant in Copenhagen that will serve them dinner.

And in another ten years? Douglas, Ayaan and I will still enjoy theoretical freedom of speech but, to exercise it, we’ll have to meet in an abandoned mine-shaft an hour south of Cloncurry, speaking to seven personally invited guests driven there blindfolded. The marketplace of ideas, from Canberra to Copenhagen, is shrinking fast. To quote Laura Rosen Cohen yet again: “Security” is the new “shut up”.

Why is restoring free speech to Australia by scrapping Section 18C so important? The most dismal moment of my own Aussie tour last year was a private dinner with a group of well-known conservative Members of Parliament – that’s to say, men and women reliably to the right of the current Prime Minister, a finger-in-the-windy jelly-spined squish on freedom of expression and so much else. Yet, even dining with supposed sturdier types, the most eminent among our number declared breezily that repealing 18C was “not a first-order priority”, not compared to what he regarded as the real first-order priority: Islamic terrorism in Australia and elsewhere.

I pointed out that one of the reasons why the former (free speech) most certainly is a first-order priority is because, without it, the latter (Islam and the west) cannot be honestly addressed. And so it has proved, yet again.

Malcolm Turnbull’s ministry ought to be ashamed that a woman like Ayaan Hirsi Ali cannot speak in the country they purport to govern. And, if they want to do something to change that, they could start by speaking up for free speech. Will they? Will Turnbull? The men and women who run the western world – in Oz, in Britain, in Canada, in Europe – have made a bet that they can banish a few loudmouths like Ayaan Hirsi Ali to the fringes but that otherwise life will go on. No, it won’t. As I said of that Copenhagen eatery:

The restaurant that chickened out is called Fiat, in King’s New Square. It looks rather convivial from this photograph, with everyone quaffing their bubbly without a care in the world. They don’t seem to grasp that such civilized pleasures require civilization, and, ultimately, people willing to defend it.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is learning the hard way that very few people are willing to “share the risk”.

Former Muslim warns that if Islam continues as is, the West will not

 (AP Photo/Shiho Fukada)

(AP Photo/Shiho Fukada)

Family Security Matters, by Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.) October 26, 2016:

A 1986 television commercial punch line for makers of Vicks Formula 44 cough syrup proved very successful in marketing their product. The line, “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV” was delivered by actor Peter Bergman who played a doctor on daytime television.

Seeking accurate medical advice, one left to choose between a real doctor and an actor playing one, obviously would opt for the former as a knowledgeable duty expert.

Why then, seeking to understand Islam, do we accept what our non-Muslim leaders tell us about the religion being peaceful, ignoring what we are told by real duty experts-those once-practicing Muslims more intimately knowledgeable about it?

President Barack Obama has supposedly read the Koran. He assures us, although not a Muslim himself, the religion is peaceful. Having grown up in Muslim countries, he may have played the role of a Muslim but he was not one. Thus, his repeated pronouncements Islam is peaceful should carry no more weight than a diagnosis of a real illness by an actor playing a doctor on television.

Somali-born author, activist and former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a duty expert on Islam. Just like Christianity underwent a Protestant Reformation, she explains, Islam also needs reform. And, while she admits only Muslims can make it happen, “the West cannot remain on the sidelines as though the outcome of this struggle has nothing to do with us.”

Ali lived as a Muslim before experiencing its dark side. Forced into marriage with a man she never met, she experienced firsthand abuses directed at Muslim women. But, she warns, should the West remain on the sidelines concerning reform, terrorist attacks will continue.

Ali makes a connection Obama refuses to make. She warns [emphasis added]:

“I believe it is foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam, can somehow be divorced from the religion itself…Islam is not a religion of peace…There are many millions of peaceful Muslims in the world…The call to violence and justification for it are explicitly stated in the sacred text of Islam. Moreover, this theologically-sanctioned violence is there to be activated by any number of offences including, but not limited to, adultery, blasphemy, homosexuality and apostasy…Those who tolerate this intolerance do so at their peril.”

Clearly Ali, unlike Obama, sees the Koran as a spring-loaded trigger for violence-activated by numerous offenses-which, while viewed in the West as the exercise of individual rights, are viewed by Islam as crimes punishable by dismemberment or death.

Ali is dumbfounded Western liberals and progressives believing “so fervently in individual liberty and minority rights make common cause with the forces in the world that manifestly pose the greatest threat to that very freedom and those very minorities.”

As an example, Ali told of her experience, despite working for Muslim women’s rights and being invited to accept a degree from Brandeis University in 2014 for doing so, of then being disinvited by professors and students protesting her criticism of Islam.

“My disinvitation…was no favor to Muslims-just the opposite,” Ali explained. “By labeling critical examination of Islam as inherently racist, we make the chances of reformation far less likely.”

Ali points out, while other religions are fair game for criticism, we contort Western intellectual traditions, giving Islam a free pass-even ignoring Muslim activists who risk life and limb seeking Islam’s badly needed reform.

She notes Western hypocrisy in having supported Cold War activists seeking to reform the Soviet Union’s system, but ignoring today’s Muslim activists seeking to reform Islam.

“These are the Muslims we should be supporting for our sake as much as for the sake of Islam,” Ali says. Yet, “the West either ignores them or dismisses them as ‘not representative.’ This is a grave mistake…If we do, in fact, support political, social and religious freedom, then we cannot in good conscience give Islam a free pass on the grounds of multicultural sensitivity. We need to say to Muslims living in the West, if you want to live in our societies, to share in the material benefits, then you need to accept that our freedoms are not optional. Islam is at the crossroads of reformation or self-destruction-but so is the West.”

There is a frighteningly real declaration Islamic expert Ali makes that clearly is at odds with representations by non-expert Obama. Ali states, “The call to violence and justification for it are explicitly stated in the sacred text of Islam.”

Thus, Muslims answering the call need feel no remorse for their violence. This leaves non-Westerners to determine, among those invited into their countries as refugees and immigrants, who among them will heed the call. It is a near impossible task to screen out those who agree with this command now or, who may choose to obey it in the future.

The bottom line is this: every Muslim entering a non-Western nation does so with a license, issued by the Koran, to commit violence in Allah’s name. Just like one who obtains a fishing license, some will choose to use it and fish; some will not; but all have the right to do so.

Shockingly, while assuring us Islam is peaceful, Obama continues to embrace as such the Muslim Brotherhood. That Brotherhood’s basic tenet is a global caliphate-a tenet it cannot renounce and seeks to impose upon the world-violently if necessary. For that reason, even our U.K. ally has condemned Obama’s “peaceful” Brotherhood.

There is a basic misconception about Islam Obama perpetuates: It is not, as he claims, extremists who have hijacked Islam, trying to give it a violent spin; it is moderates who have hijacked the religion, trying to give it a peaceful one. The trigger for violence is written into the Koran for followers to obey.

It is time to heed the voice of a real expert on Islam and not that of he who plays one as our president.

Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of “Bare Feet, Iron Will–Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam’s Battlefields,” “Living the Juche Lie: North Korea’s Kim Dynasty” and “Doomsday: Iran–The Clock is Ticking.” He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.

Prager U Video: Why Don’t Feminists Fight for Muslim Women

silence

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on why this matters more than ever.

Truth Revolt, June 27, 2016:

Are women oppressed in Muslim countries? What about in Islamic enclaves in the West? Are these places violating or fulfilling the Quran and Islamic law?

In Prager University’s newest video, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an author and activist who was raised a devout Muslim, describes the human rights crisis of our time, asks why feminists in the West don’t seem to care, and explains why immigration to the West from the Middle East means this issue matters more than ever.

Check out the short video above. Transcript below:

Culture matters. It ‘s the primary source of social progress or regression. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in the status of women. The Judeo-Christian culture — and perhaps a more apt word is civilization — has produced over time the law codes, language and material prosperity that have greatly elevated women’s status.

But this progress is not shared everywhere.

There are still hundreds of millions of people that live in a culture  — the Islamic, for instance — that takes female inferiority for granted. Until recently, these cultures — the Western and the Islamic — were, for the most part, separated. But that is changing. Dramatically so.

Large numbers of immigrant men from the Middle East, South Asia and various parts of Africa have brought a different set of values to the West, specifically Europe.  More than a million arrived in 2015 alone. More are on the way.

As a result, crimes against girls and women — groping, harassments, assaults and rape – have risen sharply. These crimes illustrate the stark difference between the Western culture of the victims and that of the perpetrators.

Let me be clear: not all immigrant men, or even most, indulge in sex attacks or approve of such attacks, but it’s a grave mistake to deny that the value system of the attackers is radically different from the value system of the West. In the West women are emancipated and sexually autonomous. Religiosity and sexual behavior or sexual restraint is determined by women’s individual wishes. The other value system is one in which women are viewed as either commodities (that is, their worth depends on their virginity), or on the level of a prostitute if they are guilty of public “immodesty” (wearing a short skirt for example).

I do not believe these value systems can coexist. The question is which value system will prevail. Unfortunately, this remains an open question.

The current situation in Europe is deeply troubling: not only are Muslim women within Europe subject to considerable oppression in many ways, such norms now risk spreading to non-Muslim women who face harassment from Muslim men.

One would think that Western feminists in the United States and Europe would be very disturbed by this obvious misogyny.  But sadly, with few exceptions, this does not appear to be the case.

Common among many Western feminists is a type of moral confusion, in which women are said to be oppressed everywhere and that this oppression, in feminist Eve Ensler’s words, is “exactly the same” around the world, in the West just as in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

To me, this suggests too much moral relativism and an inadequate understanding of Shariah law.  It is true that the situation for women in the West is not perfect, but can anyone truly deny that women enjoy greater freedom and opportunities in the United States, France and Finland than they do in Iran, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia?

Other feminists have also argued that non-Western women do not need “saving” and that any suggestion that they “need” help from Western feminists is insulting and condescending to non-Western women.

My perspective is a practical one: any efforts that help Muslim women — whether they live in the West or under Islamic governments should be encouraged. Every effort to pressure these governments to change unjust laws should be supported.

Western feminists — and female Western leaders — have a simple choice to make: either excuse the inexcusable, or demand reform in cultures and religious doctrines that continue to oppress women.

Nothing illustrates this better than what happened in Cologne, Germany on New Years Eve, 2015. That night, during the city’s traditional celebrations, numerous German women (467 at the last count) reported being sexually harassed or assaulted by men of North African and Arab origin. Within two months, 73 suspects had been identified — most of them from North Africa; 12 of them have been linked to sexual crimes. Yet, in response to the attacks, Cologne’s feminist Mayor Henriette Reker issued an “arm’s length” guideline to women. ” Just keep an arm’s length distance between you and a mob of Arab men, she advised Cologne’s female population, and you will be fine.

Mayor Reker’s comments underline the seriousness of the problem: a culture clash is upon us. The first step in resolving it is to unapologetically defend the values that have allowed women to flourish. Feminists with their organizations, networks and lobbying power need to be on the front lines on this battle. Their relevance depends on it. And so does the well being of countless women, Western and non-Western.

I’m Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Harvard University for Prager University.

SIGN THE PETITION! Demand that feminist activists fight for Muslim women! https://goo.gl/MmS1kq

***

Steve Coughlin drills down on the facts of Islamic law that Islam apologists either aren’t aware of or, in the case of stealth jihadists, purposely try to hide.

Responding to Muslim deceptions 1 Honour killings and innocence MRCTV:

Published on Jun 29, 2016 Vlad Tepes

Islam’s Jihad Against Homosexuals

BN-OL651_hirsia_J_20160613134428The rise of modern Islamic extremism has worsened an institutionalized Muslim homophobia.

WSJ, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, June 13, 2016:

The Orlando massacre is a hideous reminder to Americans that homophobia is an integral part of Islamic extremism. That isn’t to say that some people of other faiths and ideologies aren’t hostile to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community. Nor is to say that Islamic extremists don’t target other minorities, in addition to engaging in wholly indiscriminate violence. But it is important to establish why a man like Omar Mateen could be motivated to murder 49 people in a gay nightclub, interrupting the slaughter, as law-enforcement officials reported, to dial 911, proclaim his support for Islamic State and then pray to Allah.

I offer an explanation in the form of four propositions.

1. Muslim homophobia is institutionalized. Islamic law as derived from scripture, and as evolved over several centuries, not only condemns but prescribes cruel and unusual punishments for homosexuality.

2. Many Muslim-majority countries have laws that criminalize and punish homosexuals in line with Islamic law.

3. It is thus not surprising that the attitudes of Muslims in Muslim-majority countries are homophobic and that many people from those countries take those attitudes with them when they migrate to the West.

4. The rise of modern Islamic extremism has worsened the intolerance toward homosexuality. Extremists don’t just commit violence against LGBT people. They also spread the prejudice globally by preaching that homosexuality is a disease and a crime.

Not all Muslims are homophobic. Many are gay or lesbian themselves. Some even have the courage to venture into the gender fluidity that the 21st century West has come to recognize. But these LGBT Muslims are running directly counter to their religion.

In his 2006 book “Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law,” the Dutch scholar Rudolph Peters notes that most schools of Islamic law proscribe homosexuality. They differ only on the mode of punishment. “The Malikites, the Shiites and some Shafi’ites and Hanbalites are of the opinion that the penalty is death, either by stoning (Malikites), the sword (some Shafi’ites and Hanbalites) or, at the discretion of the court, by killing the culprit in the usual manner with a sword, stoning him, throwing him from a (high) wall or burning him (Shiites).”

Under Shariah—Islamic law—those engaging in same-sex sexual acts can be sentenced to death in nearly a dozen countries or in large areas of them: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, the northern states of Nigeria, southern parts of Somalia, two provinces in Indonesia, Mauritania, Afghanistan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates. Death is also the penalty in the territories in northern Iraq and Syria controlled by ISIS.

Iran is notorious for hanging men accused of homosexual behavior. The Associated Press reports that since 2014 ISIS has executed at least 30 people in Syria and Iraq for being homosexual, including three men who were dropped from the top of a 100-foot building in Mosul in June 2015.

No fewer than 40 out of 57 Muslim-majority countries or territories have laws that criminalize homosexuality, prescribing punishments ranging from fines and short jail sentences to whippings and more than 10 years in prison or death.

These countries’ laws against homosexuality align with the attitudes of the overwhelming majority of their populations. In 2013 the Pew Research Center surveyed the beliefs of Muslims in 36 countries with a significant Muslim population or majority, including asking about their views of homosexuality. In 33 out of the 36 countries, more than 75% of those surveyed answered that homosexuality was “morally wrong,” and in only three did more than 10% of those surveyed believe that homosexuality was “morally acceptable.”

In many Muslim-majority countries—including Afghanistan, where Omar Mateen’s parents came from—LGBT people face as much danger from their families or vigilantes as they do from the authorities.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Islamic extremists condemn homosexuality in the strongest possible terms. The Middle East Media Research Institute reported in 2006 that whenSheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the world’s leading Sunni clerics and chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, was asked how gay people should be punished, he replied: “Some say we should throw them from a high place, like God did with the people of Sodom. Some say we should burn them, and so on. There is disagreement. . . . The important thing is to treat this act as a crime.”

Such ideas travel. In 2009 Anjem Choudary, an infamous London imam and self-proclaimed “judge of the Shariah Court of the U.K.,” stated in a press conference that all homosexuals should be stoned to death. Here in the U.S., Muzammil Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America, has written: “Homosexuality is a moral disorder. It is a moral disease, a sin and corruption . . . No person is born homosexual, just like no one is born a thief, a liar or murderer. People acquire these evil habits due to a lack of proper guidance and education.”

Farrokh Sekaleshfar, a Shiite cleric educated in London, declared of homosexuality in 2013: “Death is the sentence. We know there’s nothing to be embarrassed about this. Death is the sentence.” He was speaking at the Husseini Islamic Center outside Orlando. Yes, Orlando. He spoke there again in April.

These men express their hostility toward the LGBT community only verbally, but the Orlando attack was hardly the first manifestation in the U.S. of Islamist antigay violence. During a New Year’s Eve celebration in the first hours of 2014, Musab Masmari tried to set fire to a gay nightclub in Seattle; he is serving 10 years in prison on federal arson charges. Law-enforcement officials say that Ali Muhammad Brown, an ISIS supporter who is now in prison for armed robbery, also faces charges for terrorism and four murders, including the 2014 execution of two men in Seattle outside of a gay nightclub.

Following the horrific attack in Orlando, people as usual have been rushing to judgment. President Obama blames lax gun laws. Donald Trump blames immigration. Neither is right. There has been comparable carnage in countries with strict gun laws. The perpetrator in this case was born in the United States. This is not primarily about guns or immigration. It is about a deeply dangerous ideology that is infiltrating American society in the guise of religion. Homophobia comes in many forms. But none is more dangerous in our time than the Islamic version.

Ms. Hirsi Ali, a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, is the author of “Infidel” (Free Press, 2007) and “Heretic: The Case for a Muslim Reformation” (HarperCollins, 2015).

An In-Depth Interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Islam and the Defense of Western Civilization

ayaanPublished on Jun 1, 2016 by The New Criterion

For The New Criterion, Ben Weingarten, commentator and Founder & CEO of ChangeUp Media sits down with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, ardent defender of Western civilization and individual liberty against Islamic supremacism, New York Times bestselling author of ‘The Caged Virgin,’ ‘Infidel’ and ‘Nomad’ and ‘Heretic,’ former Dutch MP, fellow with the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, founder of the AHA Foundation Ayaan Hirsi Ali and recipient of The New Criterion’s fourth annual Edmund Burke Award for Service to Culture & Society for an in-depth interview. During their discussion, Weingarten and Ali discuss America’s inability under both Presidents Obama and Bush to recognize and defend against Islamic supremacism as the totalitarian existential threat of our time, the clash of civilizations between Islam and the West and the ideology of the global jihadist movement, the Islamization of Europe, how the West can defend its freedoms from a subversive global jihadist movement seeking to use those freedoms against us, the war on free speech in the West being waged by Islamic supremacists with the help wittingly or unwittingly of many on the Left and more. For more from The New Criterion’s April 2016 ‘Edmund Burke Award’ gala and other compelling content, check out The New Criterion’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/TheNewCriterion/featured

Also see:

In defense of dissidence – Text of a lecture delivered by Ayaan Hirsi Ali after she received the fourth Edmund Burke Award for Service to Culture and Society.