The controversial author, feminist activist and politician, Ayaan Hirsi Ali comes to Melbourne. A vocal and prominent critic of Islam, Ali has been celebrated and criticised for her work and writings. A former member of the Dutch House of Representatives, she has campaigned passionately for conflict resolution, ethics and world citizenship. Named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2005, her memoir Infidel has been praised as profoundly affecting and powerful. The followup, Nomad, tells the stirring story of her search for a new life as she tries to reconcile her Islamic past with her passionate adherence to democracy and Western values.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an outspoken defender of women's rights in Islamic societies. Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992, and served as a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006.
In parliament, she worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society, and on defending the rights of women in Dutch Muslim society. In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made "Submission," a film about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures.
Jennifer Byrne has 26 years experience in television, radio and print journalism. Over the years she has interviewed many world leaders for television programs such as "60 Minutes", "7.30 Report" and "Lateline". She is currently presenter of the "First Tuesday Book Club" on ABC TV.
Author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali argues that the clash of cultures between Western secular liberalism and radical Muslim immigrants is being overshadowed by meaningless debates over burqas and minarets.
Major world religion founded by Muhammad in Arabia in the early 7th century AD. The Arabic word islam means surrenderspecifically, surrender to the will of the one God, called Allah in Arabic. Islam is a strictly monotheistic religion, and its adherents, called Muslims, regard the Prophet Muhammad as the last and most perfect of God's messengers, who include Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and others. The sacred scripture of Islam is the Qur'an, which contains God's revelations to Muhammad. The sayings and deeds of the Prophet recounted in the sunna are also an important source of belief and practice in Islam. The religious obligations of all Muslims are summed up in the Five Pillars of Islam, which include belief in God and his Prophet and obligations of prayer, charity, pilgrimage, and fasting. The fundamental concept in Islam is the Shari'ah, or Law, which embraces the total way of life commanded by God. Observant Muslims pray five times a day and join in community worship on Fridays at the mosque, where worship is led by an imam. Every believer is required to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city, at least once in a lifetime, barring poverty or physical incapacity. The month of Ramadan is set aside for fasting. Alcohol and pork are always forbidden, as are gambling, usury, fraud, slander, and the making of images. In addition to celebrating the breaking of the fast of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Muhammad's birthday (seemawlid) and his ascension into heaven (seemi'raj). The 'Id al-Adha festival inaugurates the season of pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims are enjoined to defend Islam against unbelievers through jihad. Divisions occurred early in Islam, brought about by disputes over the succession to the caliphate (seecaliph). About 90% of Muslims belong to the Sunnite branch. The Shi'ites broke away in the 7th century and later gave rise to other sects, including the Isma'ilis. Another significant element in Islam is the mysticism known as Sufism. Since the 19th century the concept of the Islamic community has inspired Muslim peoples to cast off Western colonial rule, and in the late 20th century fundamentalist movements (see Islamic fundamentalism) threatened or toppled a number of secular Middle Eastern governments. In the early 21st century, there were more than 1.2 billion Muslims in the world.
Please prove all your assertions, keeping in mind the 270 million people killed by Islam in 14 centuries, and little evidence of "lessons learnt", improvement, reform. Black Africans (slavery), Hindus, Buddhists, Christians... http://www.politicalislam.com/blog/tears-of-jihad/
Number of converts to Islam only shows that it is a very powerful ideology. The Crusades were a (ugly) response to centuries of Islamic imperialism. Nagasaki & Hiroshima, (ugly, but perhaps necessary) responses to Japanese imperialism. The alternative: invasion, maybe 1 million deaths. Christian terrorism: in Ireland, perhaps; not a global phenomenon. Evidence that Americans killed more than Saddam Hussein? How would you like being ruled by a psychopath for 30 years, waiting for his replacement by one of his (even crazier) sons?
Nothing of what she have said can be proved. She merely, making accusation that the radical islamists have bording schools in Poland and Germany awere they teach children to hate!!! What proof does she have on such issue. The number of people who convert to Islam, is much higher than those who convert to any other religion. The western media over emphasizing the picture of radicalism in Islam, yet they totally, ignore, the radical hatred Israel implement on eastern Jews, and others in Israel. Since the Crusades times, Spanish Inquisitions, and bombing of Nagasaki, and Hiroshima, Christians committed more killing and terrorism, compared to what Al-qaeda did. Americans killed ten folds more in Iraq, than Saddam Hussein. You don not need to like Islam, but enough of the double bigotry.
IMHO, the need for some people "believe and have faith" is genetic. I don't think those people are genetically predisposed to "Believe" can become atheists. So IMHO Ayaan Ali's idea is the best possible solution under the circumstances.
I enjoyed this interview, but I disagree with Ayaan's idea to replace Islam with Christianity. I understand that Christianity is less of a threat than Islam, and converting Muslims to Christianity can be a good thing, but in the end we need to spread enlightenment and reason to these people. Christianity might cover up some of the evil with a bandaid, but that evil stems from faith and Christianity is still faith. We won't be able to make true progress until people move beyond faith. Perhaps it can be a temporary solution, just not THE solution.
Even if Muslims do convert to Christianity, many will probably still be radicals because they'll still find equally radical verses in the Bible and many fundamentalist and violent groups to support them. From experience, people who convert from one faith to another aren't very bright. They're right in questioning the faith in which they were raised, but they simply replace it with something of equally null value, faith. Those who trade faiths don't think logically or rationally or they'd drop religion altogether.
How can a thinking human being really say that their religion is infallible, and then decide to leave their religion for another religion? If the first religion was infallible and you found some flaws in it, by what method of thinking should any rational person think a different religion must be the infallible one?
It all comes down to a lack of education and a lack of thinking.
As a liberal I've always wondered why only the right talks about biblical values and family values, meaning faith, the supremacy of God's Will, anti-sex puritanism, and male dominance. Whatever happened to values like equal rights for all, the primacy of human well-being, and provisional beliefs based on evidence?
And btw Christianity did not give us elections, universal suffrage, equal rights, habeas corpus, jury trial, or presumed innocence. That was extended to us common people by the humanism of the Enlightenment and the Renaissance, which built upon a Greek and Arab secular tradition. Religion gave us divine authority and trivialized real suffering and joy by replacing it with an eternal promise.
Dallas1, you say that secularist beliefs are an outgrowth of Chirstianity. You lump Christian values together with Greco-Roman, and Enlightenment values as if these ideas for the soul of Western civilization formed a coherent whole. This is false. These values clash on metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. The Christians that brought Enlightenment values did so inspite of their Christian values, not because of them.
And, I love Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but her error here is that by suggesting an adaptation of Christian values she's just suggesting another form of cancer. You also enable that which you oppose because Christianity, like Islam, is based on Faith. Moreover, there is no obligation to accept the premise that we should give them any ideas to accept. If they're a real threat we defend ourselves. Period.
Gunner, I don't recall that the Christianity of 1950 forced women into virtual slavery, that they were considered property by men, that women were stoned to death for adultery, that they were considered chattel, that they couldn't drive, that they needed their husband's position to leave the home, that they could be legally beaten according to Christian beliefs, etc. Do you really believe that 1950's Christianity (for all its many faults) was in 1950 as barbaric as Islam?
Like I mentioned before, it's time that we reaffirm who we are. The fact is, secular Westerners' value systems have been hugely shaped by Judeo-Christian beliefs. Throw out Christianity wholesale and the pythons will creep in from the jungle to fill the vacuum.
The religion of anything-goes liberalism and collectivism has no historical track record of working at all. The lyrics to John Lennon's leftist mantra "Imagine" are the philosophy of a cow, and by following that path we will anything but his utopia.
Let's keep the best of what we have in our society, reform what needs to be reformed, work on our conscious morality, and remain clear about what our egalitarian beliefs are. The freedoms of Western society were hard-won and must be protected.
Gunner, unfortunately it's the Islamists who are using our egalitarian laws (lawfare) to do exactly the opposite. They have the whole West divided and confused - look what's happening to Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff in Austria - they are facing prosecution for merely telling the truth.
If Western nations don't quickly redefine the concepts of "religion" and "human rights" to allow for this unprecedented manipulation and protect the original intent of these commendable ideals, Shari'a law will eventually dominate. The enemy had made it clear, and the fifth column within our ranks are doing all they can to enable them. Look at the UK, with hundreds of Shari'a courts. In Canada polygamy is now acceptable, provided the muslim man gets married elsewhere (c/w multiple welfare cheques).
I'm not a big fan of Hirsi Ali, but she makes a strong point here about the debate on Islam. The debate on a mosque or the burqa is of little importance compared to the true clash of value's between the western culture and Islam. And I agree that there is no compromise when there is a clash of fundamental value's. In that case the dominant culture should always prevail.
The true debate should indeed be about the political dimension of Islam that simply is incompatible with Western law/politics. And the social dimension of Islam can be compared to the social dimension that christianity had only 60 years ago, namely the inferior position of women in religion.
If Islam isn't able to develop towards the value's that modernity has accomplished then government/law should take action to simply make them.