Ayaan Hirsi Ali:
What I hope will be shocking to anyone viewing these is Ayaan Hirsi Ali's story as much as her natural presense, poise and skill as a speaker. Her story is one of the more amazing to come out of the dark corners of modern religious experience. It illustrates the deep problems in one of the worlds most shackling religions.
My own experience with Islam is very minimal, but I have a dear friend who has spent the last decade or more in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and the like and she has witnessed much of the mind-numbing effects this particular monotheism has had on people. She works as a conflict mediator for governments and peace keeping organizations and is currently starting her own NGO. Anyway, she and I were talking about the honour killings that took place in England a little while back. I had asked her if this was a common sentiment in Islamic London. She said, with almost no hesitation, yes. A friend of hers, a medical student, a good student of Islam, but seemingly westernized beyond barbarism shocked her with his answer to a similar question.
"How could her father do that to her?" She asked her seemingly modernized friend.
"If it were my sister or daughter, "he said, "I would hate it, but I would have to do the same."
My friend was duly shocked. So am I. So should we all be.
So heres to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and the risks she takes to oppose oppression.
(A closing note about the medical student. This clearly isn't the case of all muslim medical students and doctors refusing to take courses on STDs, AIDs/HIV, or see people with alcohol related problems. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/10/09/do0902.xml