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.
The last question presented to Ayaan and the applause it garnered is a very disturbing illustration of the determination of the secular West to hand our civilization over to radical Islam without a fight. 100 years of leftist brainwashing has made our society easy pickings for Islamism, as affirmed by Ayaan... they are winning, only because we are enabling them to win.
We in Western society had better think this through, get clear about the following or we have already lost this war:
Apologizing for our own belief system, exaggerating all that's wrong with Judeo-Christianity, implying some sort of equivalence of Western view of life with the alien beliefs of Islamist thinking, belies firstly a deep and disturbing hatred of who we are, secular or Christian,(the secularists' beliefs are outgrowths of Christianity, like it or not), and secondly, an incredibly strong and naive belief that Islamic Sharia law is somehow equivalent and equally valid to our society's values.
Let's reaffirm who we are, what our society has achieved, and the need to work to protect and improve our social and moral systems and the realization of individual empowerment. These values did not evolve by accident. From the roots in Judeo-Christian, Greek and Roman law, the Magna Carta, to the Enlightenment, to the example to the world of the American Constitution and the Parliamentary democratic systems of the West, and even to the concept of nationalism (roots are important too), these are what make Western civilization what it is, and are worth protecting as our previous generations have.
It's time both the apathetic and the self-hating fifth columns within our ranks do some deep soul-searching as to why they are so eager to undermine our society's foundations. Perhaps to venture beyond the city limits of the home town for a visit to Ayaan's Somalia or Sudan would open a few eyes. Then again, many of us are beyond hope. Brainwashing runs deep.