Sunday, April 19, 2009

Infidel Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a book that everyone should read. It is the story of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and it quite simply is unbelievable, especially to an American who has had a very gentle life and upbringing. I could only read a little at a time because it is so heartbreaking and sad. In spite of the anguish one has at reading about her childhood in Somalia, Kenya and Saudia Arabia, where she endured genital mutilation and was beaten by her mother, grandmother, religious teacher and others, one comes to admire her for her stubborness in achieving great things. For her indomitable will and desire to learn and educate herself, to open her eyes and see what is in front of her and question what appears wrong and false. She was raised Muslim, but ends up renouncing it. The renounciation is not easy, quick or simple. It comes about over time, after abuses in the name of her former religion, at the hands of people who should be protecting her. Her life in the Netherlands shows her a different way to live. While she ends up as a member of the Dutch Parliament, the controversy over her renunciation is such that she must give up her post and flee to the US, where she is today.

If you know nothing of the situation in Africa or of how madrassas indoctrinate muslim youth, this book will give you one person's personal story of those things. It will inform you so that you do not just shake your head at genetial mutilation or at angry immigrants, but hopefully it will give you a small understanding of the confusion that exists in their countries and in their minds so that it clouds their thoughts and actions.

This is a tough book to read, but I challenge everyone to read it.

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1 comment:

Henpecked said...

I read a similar type of book a few years back in my Anthropology class. The name was "Aman, The Story of a Somali Girl" as told by Virginia Lee Barnes and Janice Boddy. Very good book as well. It reads like a novel but is the true story of a young girl growing up in Somalia...going through many things we cannot even imagine. I highly recommend it.