May 14, 2015

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Channels Her Inner Jonathan Kay

Mindy AlterRebel Blogger

One of the most baffling transformations of recent times - even odder than Jonathan Kay's shockingly swift journey from the right to the squishy middle (where, granted, there are more employment opportunities) - is the long, strange ride of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ms. Hirsi Ali has gone from being completely wised up about Islam, the religion she rejected some decades ago and, to entertaining doubts about its immutablity. 

Sounding a lot like an Irshad Manji - or a Daniel Pipes - the previously adamant Islamic apostate has suddenly decided that, ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Shabab, Hezbollah, Hamas et al notwithstanding, there's a glimmer of a ghost of a shot that Islam, may, after all, be reformable.

To those of us who have read and admired Hirsi Ali in her previous incarnation, this volte face has come as the equivalent of, well, a slap in the face. And, having yet to read her latest book in its entirety (I have read excerpts and heard the author being interviewed about it on TV), it was never clear to me what, exactly, prompted her 180.

Was it, perhaps, her years of living in America? Was she infected by that nation's gung-ho attitude, it's unbridled sprit of optimism (even though, in recent years, an American president who does not believe in American exceptionalism has done his best to snuff it out)? Was there a degree of opportunism behind it in that she knew she could reach a wider audience - perhaps even an NPR/MSNBC/Oprah type of crowd - were she to harp on the positive instead of the negative, thereby turning herself into Norma Vincent Peale (or is it the Baraka Obama?) of Islamic hope 'n' change.

For the moment at least, those questions remain unanswered. Via an Op-Ed piece by Jonathan Kay in the National Post, however, we learn what Hirsi Ali attributes her epiphany to:

This is Ali’s third book. In Infidel (2006), she detailed her upbringing in East Africa and Saudi Arabia, and her flight to The Netherlands, where she became a politician and activist. In Nomad: From Islam To America (2010), she struck the pose of militant anti-Islamist culture warrior, arguing that her old religion is beyond redemption. 

Now, five years later, she believes that there may in fact be signs of hope. She calls Heretic an “optimistic” book  -  notwithstanding the depressing catalogue of Islamic-inspired violence it contains. “Seven months after I published Nomad came the start of the Arab Spring,” she writes. “I watched four national governments fall  -  Egypt’s twice  -  and protests or uprisings occur in 14 other nations, and I thought simply: I was wrong. Ordinary Muslims are ready for change.”

Seriously, Ms. Hirsi Ali? The "Arab Spring" inspired your change of heart? The "spring" that was largely chimerical, a fantasy cooked up by the gushing Western media (the New York Times's Thomas L. Friedman, among others - including the pre-Walrus Jonathan Kay - went absolutely gaga over it)? The "spring" that quickly devolved into a cold, brutal winter as ISIS and its savagery came to the fore, and even as Iran plotted to become the new hegemon in the region by acquiring nuclear weapons?

That's what did it?

Of all the events one would not expect to change the formerly clear-sighted Hirsi Ali into another Jonathan Kay, the "Arab Spring" would have to be top of the list.


Follow The Megaphone on Twitter.

JOIN for more news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else.

You must be logged in to comment. Click here to log in.
commented 2015-05-18 11:52:12 -0400
I will cut Hirsi Ali a little slack…she is not finished yet…one needs to know who is influencing her…she is only beginning her growth under very difficult circumstances that none of us has had to face, in a prison of sorts, for being a victim. Her greatest need is hope…but she is looking in the wrong direction… she needs to look outside her past to find where liberty comes from…and it is never found in Islam.

Why doesn’t she look here to where hope is found?:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me… to heal the brokenhearted , to preach deliverance to the captives,…to set at liberty them that are bruised…

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

“I am…the Truth”…

She won’t ever find that in the Koran.
commented 2015-05-18 11:31:11 -0400
@ Joan…enjoyed a good laugh reading your post!…they just can’t get their heads around the possibility of conservative feminists who believe in equality…c’mon guys…stretch your minds a bit. (Joan…see further re buying and selling women)

@ Kathy Shaidle…I loved it …“trust no one”….amen to that!

Islam may need a Christ…but there can and will be no other like Him! What they need IS The Christ!

@ Cam and Joan…here is your information on buying and selling women:

“Wife selling in England was a way of ending an unsatisfactory marriage by mutual agreement that probably began in the late 17th century, when divorce was a practical impossibility for all but the very wealthiest. After parading his wife with a halter around her neck, arm, or waist, a husband would publicly auction her to the highest bidder. Wife selling provides the backdrop for Thomas Hardy’s novel The Mayor of Casterbridge, in which the central character sells his wife at the beginning of the story, an act that haunts him for the rest of his life, and ultimately destroys him.”

“Although the custom had no basis in law and frequently resulted in prosecution, particularly from the mid-19th century onwards, the attitude of the authorities was equivocal. At least one early 19th-century magistrate is on record as stating that he did not believe he had the right to prevent wife sales, and there were cases of local Poor Law Commissioners forcing husbands to sell their wives, rather than having to maintain the family in workhouses.”

“Wife selling persisted in England in some form until the early 20th century; according to the jurist and historian James Bryce, writing in 1901, wife sales were still occasionally taking place during his time. In one of the last reported instances of a wife sale in England, a woman giving evidence in a Leeds police court in 1913 claimed that she had been sold to one of her husband’s workmates for £1.”

courtesy of Wikipedia…

So it is likely not just a rumour in early Canada…but a fact, considering the poverty of many early settlers…

We are not so far from our fellow humans from other lands as we would like to think, are we?
commented 2015-05-17 21:32:09 -0400
Cam Brown – I am not a leftist. Nice prejudice you got there. Everyone who stands up for Conservative values you don’t like, like gender equity, you call us leftists. It’s a leftist tactic.


Read this and try to tell anyone with a brain that it’s new:

Oh and before you go calling Scott a leftist because her data back me up, you should know she is our long-standing Progressive Conservative MPP.

Misogyny is not a Conservative value.

By the way, Christ is not your exclusive property any more than women are. I clearly know Jesus a hell of a lot better than you do. Real disciples of Christ aren’t puffed up with pride and prejudice …
commented 2015-05-15 22:53:23 -0400
@joan Abernethy: Hmmm, when I get the “it’s oral history” argument without anything else to substantiate it, I am suspicious. Had similar nonsense in university from various leftists too. We’re all just to accept it. So since you didn’t provide definitive examples of women actually being bought and sold in Canada 100 years ago, I’ll take it all with a grain of salt (and I’m not saying women were always treated well or anything like that- but to say they were slaves or property in the way you are saying it, I would dispute).
As for the analogy of the Christian/Protestant Reformation to Islam, although I could spend go at length to dispute some f your assertions, I think in many ways you are proving my point: Islam needs a Christ. This would mean someone so selfless, pure in motive and life, consistent in teaching love, grace, mercy, self sacrifice as the ultimate objective, plus would be willing to lay down his life for those who hate him that it’s just not going to happen (this is outside the Christian view, not just the Protestant Reformers, that Jesus is the perfect man-God, come to the earth in the flesh, which I can tell by your response is something you’d repudiate as ridiculous). So, as such, Islam is back at square one: no likelihood of real reform and secularism is a non-starter.
commented 2015-05-15 08:13:49 -0400
Islam is figuring out that it’s not Christians nor Jews nor capitalism that are threats.

Islam’s partners, socialist/marxist/liberal/communist goobermints are their real enemy. Socialist/marxist/liberal/communist goobermints want NO Freedom of Speech (which is fine with islam) and NO religion (ruh-roh!! says islam).

Socialist/marxist/liberal/communist goobermint values conflict with all religions and conflict with themselves too – history shows they eventually “eat themselves”.

The good news is that media is now diverse and socialist/marxist/liberal/communist goobermints no longer control the narrative – welcome to the internet. Socialist/marxist/liberal/communist goobermint used to speak their riddled crap through their aligned MSM.

Now politicians go direct to the voters and ignore MSM.
commented 2015-05-15 04:09:44 -0400
Cam Brown – just look at the law. Women were property. Propery is owned. Owners shot, shoveled and shut up. No written records of that. Just the oral history.

You have the wrong referrent. Comparing any potential reformation of Islam with the Christian reformation is the wrong comparison.

Islam and Christianity are both Abrahamic-rooted religions. Jesus reformed the law by fulfilling it with the gospels. God promised Ishmael he would make his descendents “a great nation”. The reformation Islam needs is not a return to the eye-for-eye fundamentals of Abrhamic law but a fulfillment of that law by some leader like Jesus.

The character of the fifth imam has a lot in common with the ideas around the second coming of Christ. Sometimes I wonder if they aren’t one and the same. Muslims need saving from the rigid old interpretation of the Book (old testament law) by Jesus or thinking like Jesus, as delivered by another figure like Jesus (which, as manifestations of the figure of God, are all the same).

Old Testament law, like Islamic law, is pretty brutal, pretty vengeful. You still hear lots of Christians pine for its grim hate-motivated brutality. But enlightened thinkers like Jasser, Raheel Reza, and Hirsi Ali are educated and sophisticated enough to understand that fulfillment of law, a New Testament, as it were, is what is needed to reform Islam. They have my support to try, even if they don’t have yours.
commented 2015-05-14 22:21:06 -0400
I wondered too, when I read read Kay’s article, just what about the Arab Spring might have given Hirsi Ali hope for an Islamic reformation. Because she deserves every benefit of the doubt, I can only conclude she was referring to all the young people demonstrating for democracy, as opposed to the Islamists hiding behind them. The Brotherhood may have come to power in Egypt, they may have had the support of most people, but they were also brought down when Egyptians realized just what they had elected. Let’s not forget either that the ayatollahs came to power in Iran after hijacking the democracy-socialism movement which brought down the Shah. Even then, as today, there are a great many democratically-minded Iranians.

Whether Hirsi Ali argument for why Islam can resolve the inherent conflict between Islam and human rights based democracy by basing itself on Mohammed’s (and the Koran’s) Medina period, i.e., peaceful, vs his Mecca period (and the Koran’s), violent, supremacist and imperialistic, waits to be seen. But we know that Islam practised aligned with Medina today (as Turkey was under Ataturk), can be Islam practised aligned with Mecca tomorrow (as Turkey under Erdogan). Islam will always be a dichotomy and contradiction. The question is this: Can democracies take solid, forever footing despite this?
commented 2015-05-14 20:25:32 -0400
@joan Abernethy: Women were bought and sold as chattel in Canadian society 100 years or so ago? I’d like evidence of that please.
commented 2015-05-14 20:24:26 -0400
Many cite the Reformation in Christianity when speaking or Islam reforming. The problem with this argument is, the 16th Century Protestant Reformation was to not only clear out much corruption in the church (which even many who did not join the Protestants agreed with), but to return to the basics of the gospel (with emphasis on grace, love, faith, etc.); meaning return to the Bible. For Islam to follow the ‘back to basics’ it would mean returning to the Qur’an, which (if anyone really pays attention) just means to do exactly what groups like ISIS are already doing. Pray tell ,where is there the emphasis on grace or love in that ancient text? Is Allah ever spoken of as loving, gracious, self sacrificing, etc.? I think you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that says that there. So, I believe this ‘reform’ people speak if is a fool’s errand. We’re just playing games to conceal our fear of the reality and somehow placate those who will end up calling us extremists and ‘Islamophobic’. Best just to call a spade a spade when it comes to Islam.
commented 2015-05-14 18:24:14 -0400
Bit like the transformation of Michael Coren post Sun News.
commented 2015-05-14 17:49:07 -0400
Mindy, since you accepted her as wise, insightful and honest as long as she agreed with you, perhaps you should reflect a bit on what’ she’s saying now.
commented 2015-05-14 14:40:00 -0400
Yeah, okay, but maybe she is also listening to pundits like Dr Zudhi Jasser’s ideas on reform.

Don’t forget, it is not yet 100 years since women were not persons under Canadian law, since women were bought and sold as chattel, as in current Islamic culture.

Things can change really quickly. Saudi Arabia may be inspired to fast track its reform into a Constitutional monarchy and a modernizing society by the Russian-backed aspirations of Iran, in order to get support and arms to maintain its place in the middle east.

China’s commercial expansion into the middle east may also modify radical Islam as it imposes military order to, ostensibly, defend its commercial interests.

Alliances are shifting. As the parent that brought the Wahhabi monster into the world, a reformed and western-fortified Saudi Arabia could be the just parent that also disciplines it into moderation.

Just saying. Maybe Hirsi Ali recognizes things have changed. I hope she is right because if Islam cannot be reformed, our only hope may be to genocide one billion radical Muslims, give or take a few million. And do any of us in the west really have the stomach for that?
commented 2015-05-14 11:30:34 -0400
Trust no one.