As a Liberal Party member of parliament, she urged the Dutch to quit tolerating the oppression of Muslim women in the name of multiculturalism. This was a hard sell. She urged Muslims who lived where they could enjoy free speech to start a debate to expose inequities inherent in Islam. This was a harder sell. She urged Muslim women to understand that their suffering was not ordained even though they found interpretations in the Koran that sustained it. This was the hardest sell of all.
"People who are conditioned to meekness, almost to the point where they have no minds of their own, sadly have no ability to organize, or will to express their opinion," she writes. She understands their meekness and fear; she travels with bodyguards.
Her friends and colleagues told her that Islam had nothing to do with September 11. She disagreed, and argued that September 11 had everything to do with Islam as the radicals teach it. Islamist violence, she says, has nothing to do with poverty, colonialism or Israel. Mohammed Atta, the leading hijacker, was exactly her age, and she knew many men like him. She understood that these terrorists acted as if on behalf of Allah, counting on their brutal violence as validating "a one-way ticket to heaven."
She accuses "stupid analysts," especially those who call themselves "Arabists," as spinners of fairy tales, who know nothing about the reality of the Islamists but blindly defend Islam as "a religion of peace and tolerance." Those who look for reasons everywhere but in the Koran to explain Osama bin Laden and his followers are like those who would analyze Lenin and Stalin without reading the works of Karl Marx.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali lives somewhere in Washington, and works to expand her forum at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Each chapter in her book "Infidel" reads like a perverse version of "Tales of the Arabian Nights." Muslims, she insists, can transform their religion into one of peace, but they have a long way to go. Well-meaning friends in the West can help by appreciating the difference between fancy and fact, between myth and reality.