Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Infidel" and "Heretic" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali Suggest That Islam and REAL Wellness Are Incompatible

I spoke for ten minutes or so with Ayaan Hirsi, author of the two best-seller books on Islamic intolerance, brutality and fanaticism. We met at the Freedom from Religion Foundation convention in Madison, WI on October 31, 2010. I had read both her books and followed her career closely since she was forced to flee Holland, as she had fled her native Somalia, for refuge in the West (NYC). It was a thrill to engage this remarkable woman on a personal level. I recommend her two books to everyone interested in REAL wellness and human rights. Both are wonderful accounts of what is is like to be female in backward Islamic nations or even to speak freely about this religion in the West. Ali's best-sellers have convinced me that lifestyles consistent with the REAL wellness we value and the Islam religion are totally incompatible.
If I were Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, I would donate copies of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's books to adult female Muslims throughout the world. Of course, getting it in the hands of citizens who could benefit from considering Ali's life story would not be easy, or even possible, in most cases. The male rulers in Islamic countries would forbid women from reading such "blasphemous"works or, for that matter, developing a capacity to read in the first place. (Note: In Islamic cultures, blasphemy is an offense applied to the expression of any opinions at odds with Islamic dogma.)
Basically, Infidel and Heretic raise questions and provoke unapproved thoughts. Under conditions that now and have always prevailed, such liberties are unimaginable (for women) in Islamic countries. The life story Ali describes affecting Muslim women in Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Saudi Arabia is revealing to Westerners who mostly have no idea how barbaric these cultures are. Within such countries, there are few dissenters like Ali. If they could read Infidel or Heretic they, too, would challenge and undermine the controls that keep women in servitude and bondage. These controls are physical but primarily mental, amounting to what Christopher Hitchens called "mind-forged manacles."
The tenets of Islam are enforced by male power elites (imams, ayatollahs and theocratic officials). However, the imprinting is all-pervasive via beliefs and rituals inculcated from birth, reinforced daily and supervised by families, clans and communities. The outlook for women in Islamic countries is grim, and even in the West, the REAL wellness prospects for orthodox Muslim women are dark, at best. Exceptions will occur only when there are options and choices, and alternative sources of continuing information on the nature of reality. At present, Islam is the only reality.
It seems improbable that any woman who learned to value freedom of choice regarding belief, dress, profession, behavior, marital partner and the like would tolerate the conditions women endure in Islamic states. Most men and women find it almost incomprehensible that females in such societies have their sexual organs cut away to reduce temptations to engage in sexuality or enjoy the experience). Such barbarisms and other grotesque practices and traditions are vividly described in Infidel. In narrating the story of her life, Ali recounts the tyranny of female customs and traditions in Somalia, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic societies. The second half of Infidel describes Ali's gradual self-liberation and career as a reformer in the West (Holland).

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