From Ayaan Hirsi Ali
An Interview with the Scholar, Activist, and Politician
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of the most renowned, and most controversial, religious commentators of our day. Her straightforward critiques of radical Islam have drawn admirers and detractors on both sides of the political spectrum, and she has become a hero to some and an enemy to others. She experienced the horrors of religious extremism growing up in Somalia, and she later moved to the Netherlands, where she rose to a seat in the Dutch parliament before immigrating to the U.S. In this year’s Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, she argues for a wholesale critical reexamination within Islam. She brings her life story and firebrand politics to the Granada Theatre this Saturday.
How has your year been so far?
In 2014, Brandeis [University] rescinded the invitation for an honorary degree, and soon after that, all these events started to unfold pretty quickly. We had the headlines around the 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria and at just about the same time news of the woman in Sudan who was sentenced to death for being a Christian. Fast forward to ISIS and Charlie Hebdo, the attack on the schools in Pakistan, the shooting incidents in Canada and here in the U.S.… It’s as if before that, what I was saying to many people was hypothetical. It was as if there are some crazy people sometimes, and some of them do things that are bad, but there’s really nothing to worry about. What happened is people started piecing together all of these events and the motivations of people doing very nasty things, especially Boko Haram and the Islamic State, and all of a sudden what you have to say is it’s serious and it’s related to this religion.