Infidel – part 2

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a book about one woman’s life and struggle with Islam. The word infidel, literally means, “a person who does not believe in religion or who adheres to a religion other than one’s own” (definition from my Dictionary Widget) The definition does an alright job of summing up the book, but there’s so much more to it. Hirsi Ali grew up all over Africa, spent some time in Saudi Arabia and finally moved to Holland where, for the first time, she was exposed to the West. From there, she makes some fairly bold observations of her native religion of Islam. She also teamed up with Theo van Gogh to make a short film exposing some of the women’s rights that Islam negates. Van Gogh was eventually murdered for directing the film and after a long debate in my mind, I’ve decided to not post it here. While it’s done with taste and the point is clearly made by it, there is partial nudity in the film. Now that you have been warned, you can search for the video Submission yourself on YouTube.

I digress, In one part of the book, Hirsi Ali makes a bold observation of the religion she grew up in. Here, she is remembering the 9/11 attacks and the effect they had on her:

The little shutter at the back of my mind, where I pushed all my disonant thoughts, snapped open after the 9/11 attacks, and it refused to close again. I found myself thinking that the Quran is not a holy document. It is a historical record, written by humans. It is one version of events, as percieved by the men who wrote it 150 years after the Prophet Muhammad died. And it is a very tribal and Arab version of events. It spreads a culture that is brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women, and harsh in war.

The Prophet did teach us a lot of good things. I found it spiritually appealing to believe in the Hereafter. My life was enriched by the Quranic injunctions to be compassionate and show charity to others. There were times when I, like many other Muslims, found it too complicated to deal with the whole issued of war against unbelievers. Most Muslims never delve into theology, and we rarely read the Quran; we are taught it in Arabic, which most Muslims can’t speak. As a result, most people think that Islam is about peace. It is from these people, honest and kind, that the the fallacy has arisen that Islam is peaceful and tolerant.

But I can no longer avoid seeing the totalitarianism, the pure moral framework that is Islam. It regulates every detail of life and subjugates free will. True Islam, as a rigid belief system and a moral framework, leads to cruelty. The inhumane act of those nineteen hijackers was the logical outcome of this detailed system for regulating human behavior. Their world is divided between “Us” and “Them” — if you don’t accept Islam you should perish.

Just in case you skimmed the quote, please re-read the last paragraph. I’ll wait.

She is saying here, that Islam in it’s truest, fundamental form, is violent. Cruel. Inhumane. There is a quote from the article I posted in part one that reminded me of what Hirsi Ali says here. The article says that

“[Geert Wilders] planned to make a short film showing that Islam’s holy book, the Koran, is “a fascist book” that “incites people to murder”.” and the film “would lead viewers through the Koran, Islam’s holy book, he said, and show texts illustrated by documentary video images to show the Koran is not a symbolic text “but that Islam can take away our freedom unless we act against it”.

Wilders makes an interesting point here, when he speaks of Islam taking away our freedom. What Hirsi Ali says at the end of her book gives a basis for why she made Submission and Wilders made Fitna:

When people say that the values of Islam are compassion, tolerance, and freedom, I look at reality, at real cultures and goverernments, and I see that it simply isn’t so. People in the West swallow this sort of thing because they have learned not to examine the religions or cultures of minorities too critically, for fear of being called racist. It facinates them that I am not afraid to do so.

We have lived in a society where we have been taught to not question the beliefs of another, especially a minority. We fear that in doing such, the American dogma that we’re the melting pot of the world and tolerance should be our middle name, would be extinguished. Wilder’s film is telling us that tolerance in the name of religious freedom will ultimately be our demise. Ignorance will be our end.

I found an article today about how the US government has added a new Islamist group to their list of terrorist organizations. Their response? “Al-Shabab feels honoured to be included on the list. We are good Muslims and the Americans are infidels. We are on the right path,” he said.

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