What Ayaan Hirsi Ali can teach us


by Sunny
17th May, 2006 at 4:11 pm    

I think it is important to take the Ayaan Hirsi Ali saga as a way to examine internal change.

Ali has always been presented as a ‘fearless woman’ who said ‘the truth’ about Muslims and would stop the Netherlands ‘sliding into dhimmitude;’ etc. Certainly her choice of friends were suspect sometimes.

Whatever her detractors say, society certainly needs people who stick their neck out and say what they feel at the risk of antagonising relations. We need the BNP as much as we need the likes Harold Pinter. We also need the likes of Ali because she stopped Netherlands from bending over backwards excessively in the name of political correctness.

Let’s not gloss over the fact that there is still widespread instances of female genital mutilation and wife-beating in the Middle East, South Asia and Latin America. Domestic abuse is a serious problem in this country too. Ali may have lied about her personal circumstances but she did not make up the death threats.

But what Ali did was take advantage of the anti-Muslim climate, conjure up a story that would play well with them, and exploit them for her own agenda. It says more about those ‘anti-dhimmis’ because they want to hang on to what she said, rather than accept she simply lied to get in. If her political leanings went the other way they would be up in arms. they are the ones being taken for a ride.

The bigger question is how do you deal with such hardline ‘reformers’. There are still too many people who respond to any insults with death-threats and violence, as Fe’reeha points out below.

The problem for us who refuse to take a hardline against anyone is this. We know that if you want to reform a system, to attack it without knowing anything about it and demonising the people involved doesn’t work. It is a tactic that rapidly pushes you into the arms of people with ulterior motives and produces an ‘us and them’ barrier that becomes stronger than get broken down.

We know that change has to come, but it must do so on a platform of empowerment, not demonising. Ali did nothing to help the Muslim women who need power to reform their communities. She made it harder for them to stand up and take the middle ground.

If we all stood on a podium and waxed lyrically about how rubbish Asian values and culture was – nothing would change. And we can’t do that anyway, we still belong to that world.

Maybe it was the right time. Netherlands stopped letting in the religious fanatics who simply wanted to get on social security, but relations between Christian and Muslim Dutch people could never improve with a person so hell-bent on demonising all of them.


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  1. C L O S E R

    C L O S E R – Land of Confusion…

    It is remarkable how many references there are to Hirsi Ali as a beautiful woman. I agree with these men (?), don’t get me wrong but why is that important? It’s very rare to see such a comment for a man. Does it contribute to her authority?…




  1. sonia — on 17th May, 2006 at 4:25 pm  

    there – the voice of reason.

    thanks sunny

  2. leon — on 17th May, 2006 at 4:30 pm  

    “We know that change has to come, but it must do so on a platform of empowerment, not demonising.”

    Amen to that brother.:)

  3. Sid — on 17th May, 2006 at 4:55 pm  

    If this is an article to redress the balance of the applecart that was slightly upset by al-Hack’s post which was somewhat over-zealous on the “fall of Hirsi-Ali”, then you’ve done the right thing.

    However, don’t think for a moment that Hirsi-Ali’s personal agenda is going to let up one iota because of this. She’s hit the big time (PNAC) and you can be sure that she’s still very much “hell-bent on demonising”.

  4. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 4:57 pm  

    Sid

    Do you think she intends to demonise or that she is just clumsy?

  5. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:02 pm  

    >>But what Ali did was take advantage of the anti-Muslim climate, conjure up a story that would play well with them, and exploit them for her own agenda. It says more about those ‘anti-dhimmis’ because they want to hang on to what she said, rather than accept she simply lied to get in. If her political leanings went the other way they would be up in arms. they are the ones being taken for a ride.

    First of all, Sunny, let’s clear up some unwarranted assumptions in your post.

    In 1992, AY Magan lied about :

    Her surname,date of birth, route she took to Holland.

    From at least 2002, these lies have been public. You can access 2003 BBC writeups as well as a Guardian article last year where some of these facts are laid clear, thanks to AY Magan herself.

    What the Zembla “documentary” did last Thursday, note the timing! – besides lying to her family and misrepresenting themselves to AYA – was a political hatchet job at the behest of certain other dutch politicians. The powers that be had decided that AYA had outlived her usefulness and that it was time to throw her on the scrapheap.

    She did not lie about her arranged marriage (she said her family lied on the Zembla documentary and her brother since then has admitted that she did not marry willingly) or her FGM (AYA in fact challenged the Zembla useful idiots on this omission).

    You might want your writers like Al-hack (fitting name!) to read up a bit, just a tiny weenie bit before they wank their schadanfreude all over the place- expatica.com is a great source and they have always hated AYA there, so no danger of bias!

    It will then be clear that what was done to AYA is something that sets a very, very dangerous precedent for all refugees and immigrants.

    Yes, AYA has set herself against Islam – she has the total right to do so – but i hardly think that this is some opportunistic bandwagoning on her part. In fact she seems to genuinely see the religion as the cause of a great many social ills and even in her last news conference, yesterday, made mention of it. She could well be wrong but that is not the issue here. She herself does not see herself as a reformer- she is the classic dissident/rebel and well outside of the dutch-muslim community to provide any meaningful leadership or activist help for it. It is pity that the politicians and media have built up that ‘spokeswoman’ role – and that AYA did not do more to disabuse that notion. It is also a great pity that she tied herself to rightwing party, VVD, which has cynically used and discarded her. The entire dutch establishment should hang its head in shame.

    I do hope that AYA shakes the dust off from holland and doesn’t look back. The US is lucky to gain her.

  6. Sid — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:03 pm  

    Well, unless she’s pathologically clumsy, I would say she’s got an agenda.

  7. Sid — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:05 pm  

    i>I do hope that AYA shakes the dust off from holland and doesn’t look back. The US is lucky to gain her.

    Ha ha. Drop dead lucky.

  8. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:05 pm  

    Sonia, I read much of what you wrote on the other thread and I respect you for standing up for another woman before all those swaggering males. Some at PP love these feeding frenzies but then have the cheek to castigate others- say at HP, for doing much the same.

  9. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:06 pm  

    She herself does not see herself as a reformer- she is the classic dissident/rebel and well outside of the dutch-muslim community to provide any meaningful leadership or activist help for it

    So what good is she to the dutch-muslim community then?

  10. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:07 pm  

    respect you for standing up for another woman before all those swaggering males

    I hope you were not referring to me because I don’t swagger, I strut ;-)

  11. Ravi Naik — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:09 pm  

    I agree with Sunny in that she is keen in demonising Islam. She did go over the koran and took a few passages to show that it is the religion, and not the culture that lies the root of problems.

    I certainly don’t agree with Al-Hack’s assumption that lying about her asylum equates lying about everything. There are serious problems with certain segments of the muslim population, but Ali is surely not the right person to tackle them.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali is no Irshad Manji.

  12. Sid — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:09 pm  

    No Jay, you swagger. Most def.

  13. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:11 pm  

    >>So what good is she to the dutch-muslim community then?

    That’s the irony of PP. You guys claim to want to shake off the shackles of identity politics but are so mired in it, that you don’t see how silly you are to even ask such a question!

  14. Roger — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:13 pm  

    “I would say she’s got an agenda.” Who hasn’t, Sid?
    She thinks that islam is a dangerous set of lies. She may be wrong but she is entitled to say it.

    “So what good is she to the dutch-muslim community then? ”
    Is the sole measure of whether someone is whether what they are “good” for a community they have left?

  15. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:15 pm  

    Irshad manji – no less hated than AYA!- does not set herself outside of the community, she is still a believer but don’t fool yourself that she is going to be any more influential than AYA for not having rejected the faith wholesale. The level of hatred for IM is just as great and she is widely seen as a sell out too.

  16. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:17 pm  

    mirax says

    She herself does not see herself as a reformer- she is the classic dissident/rebel and well outside of the dutch-muslim community to provide any meaningful leadership or activist help for it

    Alright, it might be true that the media feeding frenzy in Holland is wrong, free speech and all that, betrayal of Theo Van Gogh etc etc. It’s a disgrace how she is being dealt with. She should be allowed to stay in Holland and carry on etc etc

    But mirax says in black and white she is well outside of the dutch-muslim community to provide any meaningful leadership or activist help for it

    So we have established that in practical terms she is more or less useless to Dutch Muslims – and this is straight from the mouth of her staunchest defender here.

    We have also read quotes from the director of the largest Muslim womens shelter in Amsterdam that she is of no practical use to Muslim women and in fact her stance makes life MORE difficult for Muslim women.

  17. Robert — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:17 pm  

    We need the BNP

    Hmm. This is very realpolitik. They are useful in the sense that they give a name and a face to a certain attitude that we wish to argue against. But would our political debate be less rich and less considered without them? I don’t think so.

  18. sonia — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:19 pm  

    why thankx mirax. and i agree that if she’s decided that islam is the problem ( which many people do think) she has a right to that opinion. after all can you blame her!

  19. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:21 pm  

    That’s the irony of PP. You guys claim to want to shake off the shackles of identity politics but are so mired in it, that you don’t see how silly you are to even ask such a question!

    Nonsense. There is nothing silly in asking that question.

    When Muslim female activists are saying that she makes life difficult for Muslim women in Holland, and that she has no practical value to us, not even as a symbol to aspire to, because we then get squeezed by the conservative men even further because of the atmospherics she engenders, it has nothing to do with ‘identity politics’, it is all to do with the real world to ask that question. How does she help Muslims in Holland? How does she help them negotiate the path between the mullahs and the racists?

  20. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:21 pm  

    >>So we have established that in practical terms she is more or less useless to Dutch Muslims -

    Yes! Burn the bitch!

  21. Sid — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

    Yeah, IM and AYA – great for selling books, posters, lava lamps, cuddly toys and the odd toaster. But the real heroines who are fighting for Muslim Women’s rights are still unsung – and gain nothing from the personal crusades of these women. And the best thing is – they are quietly working away without iliciting contentious blog posts and comments box angst.

  22. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:24 pm  

    >>So we have established that in practical terms she is more or less useless to Dutch Muslims -

    We ask very specifically loaded questions here on PP too.

    whay not ask if she did anything for Dutch atheists? or Dutch secularists? or Dutch feminists?

    I won’t go into her contribution to dutch arts- her film, Submission, was terrible.

  23. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:28 pm  

    Yes! Burn the bitch!

    What a nasty piece of rhetoric.

    You said yourself that she offers nothing of practical value to dutch muslims. Think of a new line.

  24. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:29 pm  

    >>But the real heroines who are fighting for Muslim Women’s rights are still unsung – and gain nothing from the personal crusades of these women.

    I know some of these women in my part of the world.They may not like AYA but they rarely have the vitriol for her that many of the blokes do.

    I would not say they are all harmed by AYA/IM. Muslim males are in such apolexy at the antics of the former, that they have started becoming grateful for the latter! That is usefulness that you cannot deny!

  25. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:30 pm  

    We ask very specifically loaded questions here on PP too.whay not ask if she did anything for Dutch atheists? or Dutch secularists? or Dutch feminists?

    Great, good for them, maybe she does. But in the context of this discussion, we are talking specifically about her relationship with dutch muslims, specifically dutch muslim women. And by all accounts, they are totally estranged from her, and say her paradigm makes things worse for them. These are grassroots activists working in domestic violence shelters.

  26. sonia — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:32 pm  

    mirax and roger – good points.

    yep i don’t like this business about ‘community’ either. i know very little about asian muslim communities here. the fact that im an asian muslim – hell i shudder to think what would happen if i became ‘famous’ – ooh this woman is shameful – what good is she to *her* community?!

  27. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:41 pm  

    Yes Sonia, it is a very sexist and patriachal way of looking at a woman – she is of ‘value’ only if she feeds the baby, takes out the trash, runs shelters for abused women. She simply cannot just BE a single flawed individual who has her own mind.

  28. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:44 pm  

    Jay, you have very selective sensitivities too.

    This the very first post in the other thread:

    >>I tell you what’s worse is this silly bitch took the place of people who had a genuine right to seek refuge.

    No whining about nasty rhetoric then!

  29. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:51 pm  

    Roger

    Is the sole measure of whether someone is whether what they are “good” for a community they have left?

    No. It is not the sole measure.

    Hirsi Ali is probably a very good person. But the social implications of what she does are part of the reason why she has such prominence.

    After all, these are not academic debates taking place in journals. They are about practical life and practical living. About serious issues and real concerns.

    So just as whether someone is ‘good or bad’ for their community cannot be the only thing of value to describing their public ‘worth’ and status os an individual, in the same way in the context of dutch society with its tensions and dynamics, you cannot say that it is something that can be ignored and discarded either.

    Abstract debates about issues are good – but as sunny says, people have to live in the real world too. Like the woman who runs the domestic violence shelter in Amsterdam.

    How are you going to push reform through internally amongst dutch muslims, when you have no credibility with them?

    If you don’t care to change them, fine, carry on with the abstract theorising and denunciation. But then don’t pretend that she will get results, especially when people say that she has the opposite effect.

  30. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:52 pm  

    mirax

    I didnt read that post. Yes you are right it is a very nasty piece of rhetoric. Now stop all the imputation of misogyny and patriachal bias please.

  31. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:55 pm  

    >>then get squeezed by the conservative men even further because of the atmospherics she engenders, it has nothing to do with ‘identity politics’, it is all to do with the real world to ask that question

    Not by all accounts- just by one account. But take a look at what silly shite you come up with. AHA speaks up >>stokes up the atmosphere (like she is the one single cause for such a nebulous concept)>> conservative nasty muslim males squeeze their womenfolk even more (sorry but the perps here are the nasty men who are not likely to behave better because you speak softly and nicely to them or about them), so in effect, it is all AHA’s fault.She is the only one with agency, acting under her own steam/agenda, all the rest are perennial victims.

    You are effectively arguing for AHA to shut the fuck up. Nice one, Jay. Why am I not too surprised by it?

  32. sonia — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:55 pm  

    “Yes Sonia, it is a very sexist and patriachal way of looking at a woman – she is of ‘value’ only if she feeds the baby, takes out the trash, runs shelters for abused women. She simply cannot just BE a single flawed individual who has her own mind.”

    :-)

    yep all this ‘reprentative’ business is pants.

  33. sonia — on 17th May, 2006 at 5:57 pm  

    “She is the only one with agency, acting under her own steam/agenda, all the rest are perennial victims”

    that’s a good statement.

    now this doesn’t mean that people who run shelters arent of value of course they are. but its like contrasting a writer with some one who ‘delivers’ on the ground and saying one’s bad and the other isn’t.

    hell everyone’s gotta find their own way. it would be easier if people didn’t diss others so much.

  34. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:00 pm  

    it is a very sexist and patriachal way of looking at a woman – she is of ‘value’ only if she feeds the baby, takes out the trash, runs shelters for abused women. She simply cannot just BE a single flawed individual who has her own mind

    Many people bring that attitude to the table of this debate. But surely you are not suggesting that I do?

    One question on which my stance rests and if anyone can persuade me otherwise I will look at it differently:

    How are you going to push reform through internally amongst dutch muslims, when you have no credibility with them?

    Anyone?

    +++++++++++++++

    If the answer is that everyone is free to say/do what they want then I agree with you, but that is not the crux of the matter. The key point is about practical terms and helping dutch muslim women in particular emancipate themselves.

    Abstract theorising is fine – but how do you push through internal change when you have no credibility with the people you are claiming to speak for?

    That is the baseline argument here, I believe.

    Let me know what you think, because this matters for us in the UK too, amongst Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus.

  35. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:01 pm  

    You are effectively arguing for AHA to shut the fuck up

    No I’m not.

    Nice one, Jay. Why am I not too surprised by it?

    I don’t know mirax, why are you not too surprised by your imaginings of something I didnt say? I can only speculate.

  36. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:06 pm  

    mirax

    Not by all accounts- just by one account. But take a look at what silly shite you come up with.

    It’s not me saying that – it is dutch muslim women saying it themselves:

    With her message that Muslim women must give up their faith and their families if they want to be liberated, Hirsi Ali is actually driving women into the arms of the fundamentalists, said Belhaj: “She attacks their values, so they are wearing more and more veils. It frightens me. I’m losing my country. I’m losing my people

    http://www.thenation.com/docprem.mhtml?i=20050627&s=scroggins

    She has never fought for the oppressed. In fact, she’s done the opposite. She uses these problems as a cover to attack Islam. She insults me and she makes my life as a feminist ten times harder because she forces me to be associated with anti-Muslim attacks.”

  37. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:10 pm  

    mirax I know you’re trying to slander me as some kind of misogynist and it is very distasteful. I understand that’s your style. I can tolerate it I don’t mind.

    But I would really look forward to an honest response to the question I ask a couple of posts ago:

    How are you going to push reform through internally amongst dutch muslims, when you have no credibility with them?

  38. Don — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:10 pm  

    Damn, it’s been frustrating watching this post and not having a few minutes to comment.

    Mirax, great post at #5. Al-Hack was in such a hurry to gloat he didn’t bother with trivialities like checking his facts. No suprises there. Fortunately Sunny reintroduced the concept of a balanced debate. Of course you are right, Mirax. She was stitched up by the gutless Dutch establishment.

    I admit to being disappointed by her destination, but I imagine physical safety was very much a factor when she looked at the options.

    Jay, you seem to be suggesting that AYA should be judged by her usefulness to the Dutch Muslim community, but I don’t follow your reasoning. She is not a moslem. I don’t want to be flippant, but isn’t that rather like asking how much help Richard Dawkins has been to Nigerian Christians in the UK?

    Of course those working quietly to alleviate day to day problems for moslem women (or indeed any oppressed group) are deserving of respect and support. But that doesn’t mean that the ameliorative position is the only valid one. HYA took a different position. She took it clearly and openly. Because of this her enemies want her dead and her ‘friends’ have thrown her to the wolves.

    Unless I missed something, amid all the sneering and jeering here I haven’t seen anyone actually take on her position in a reasoned argument.

    ‘If her political leanings went the other way they would be up in arms.’

    Come on, Sunny. We all do that. If someone you despise is caught out, you jump on it. If someone you admire is shown to be flawed, you take a more measured view. Human nature.

    The eagerness to condemn AYA shown by some simply indicates how much they hate what she says, not some sincere moral horror that she lied on a visa application (crime of the bloody century).

  39. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:17 pm  

    >>How are you going to push reform through internally amongst dutch muslims, when you have no credibility with them?

    That was not AHA’s stated aim. I don’t know why I have to keep repeating this but she was NOT a reformer. I think that she just wanted to show by way of her own example that it was possible to break away from one’s culture,religion and family and thrive. Yes it meant starting out with nothing at all, took a couple of lies, and later death threats and that it was not without its emotional toll, but it was very, very possible. You don’t find that inspiring? I do.

    AHA is often blamed for selfishness, for looking out for herself only but tell me, who WOULD have looked out for her, if not herself?
    We now know that even the great liberal white establishment would sooner spit in your face than help you if you departed from the script.

    Your big question of internal social reform is one that I have little interest in approaching. Social change is very complex and rarely achieved by diktat.

  40. Don — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:22 pm  

    Sorry about the typo’s. I shouldn’t use abbreviations, I’m acronymically challenged.

  41. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:23 pm  

    Don

    I don’t want to be flippant, but isn’t that rather like asking how much help Richard Dawkins has been to Nigerian Christians in the UK

    There is no comparison. If she is of no relevance to dutch muslims she wouldnt be in public life. Even speaking as a non Muslim, she still comes from the angle of authority to speak on dutch muslims.

    I believe it boils down to this:

    How are you going to push reform through internally amongst dutch muslims, when you have no credibility with them?

    If you don’t think it is important then we are on different pages altogether.

    However, the upshot of this is that everything becomes an issue of abstract theorising and rights. But there is no real discussion to be had on that topic – freedom of speech is good, killing film makers is bad, integration is good, honor killing is bad.

    The question then devolves to another level – how do you engage reform inside the dutch somali/arab community?

    This is about a bigger question for me and it is one that bugs me for us as British Asians of whatever background – how do you push reform through without having credibility amongst those you seek to engage?

    And further, how are those boundaries set?

    If you think about it, this issue goes right to the HEART of what Pickled Politics is trying to achieve and is something Asians have to get clear in their minds in the UK.

  42. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:26 pm  

    mirax

    Your big question of internal social reform is one that I have little interest in approaching.

    That is the big difference between you and me, and indeed between you and the whole Pickled Politics project I dare say.

    Social change is very complex and rarely achieved by diktat

    Including the diktat of dissenting example?

    Mirax, we are on completely different pages of completely different books.

  43. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:33 pm  

    Jay, to be honest I do not think that you are sexist/misogynist. I like what you write – quite often – but I do think that you have a very bullying attitude towards certain other posters and need to watch out for this.

  44. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:36 pm  

    I’ll bear that in mind after you slander me and call me misogynist and swear at me ;-)

    Thanks for the advice sister mirax

  45. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:37 pm  

    I just comment on a blog. I definitely have not signed up to the great PP Project. Though I sincerely wish you luck with it. something tells me that you going to need lots of it.

  46. raz — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:41 pm  

    Interesting when Jay Singh calls Yvonne Ridley a ‘total asshole’ :

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/472#comment-19370
    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/472#comment-19377

    Mirax (quite rightly) says nothing. Yet now Jay Singh goes after AHA and he is accused of being a misogynist. Very odd. It not sexist to criticise Ridley or Hirsi. Women should be judged on what they say not because they are women.

  47. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:44 pm  

    All women are not equal, dear Raz. We have female childkillers and mass murderers too. Yvonne Ridley is complete shite by my values – but you may notice that I desisted the temptation of piling on her.

  48. Rakhee — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:45 pm  

    For crying out loud. Can we engage in a debate without getting personal?!

  49. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:49 pm  

    TBC, I have not accused Jay of being sexist. I said the insistent call to prove AHA’s ‘value’ was reminiscent of sexist attitudes. Please read carefully.

  50. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:50 pm  

    By the way, I regret calling Yvonne Ridley a total asshole, even though she is.

  51. Jai — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:51 pm  

    =>”How are you going to push reform through internally amongst dutch muslims, when you have no credibility with them?”

    You cannot, which is why I have stated in the past (both here and on SM) that the most constructive course of action (in an ideal world) would be for reform within Islam or amongst Muslims in general to be achieved internally.

    However, that does not mean that an “external agency” should not try anyway, if their intentions are sincere, their methods are impeccably ethical, and they genuinely believe they can make some kind of difference.

  52. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:55 pm  

    >>However, that does not mean that an “external agency” should not try anyway, if their intentions are sincere, their methods are impeccably ethical, and they genuinely believe they can make some kind of difference.

    This wholly dangerous and unwarranted interference. Not to say completely patronising!

  53. Refresh — on 17th May, 2006 at 6:58 pm  

    I am not really any clearer as to what she lied about.

    If its a question of creating a past to support the lie (on her asylum application) then it could be much more serious. And only for one reason – that ‘creative past’ could then allow the protagonist’s mind take flight.

    Hirsi’s claim to media access is based on a narrative of her own making given that the past she ‘utilises’ potentially is untrue.

    Like all things we see – a product has a market and that market is of considerable interest to me if it is prepared to buy prejudices wholesale.

    As for Hirsi going to the States, good luck to her.

    I don’t see her as the problem, but the pool she swims in (and probably all of us swim in).

    She is most definitely not a reformer.

  54. Jai — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:01 pm  

    Mirax,

    Not necessarily. If intervention is an appropriate course of action in the instance of a mistreated party being unable to defend themselves or rectify the situation via their own efforts, then external intervention is necessary if one’s intentions and methods are logically & ethically correct. Assuming of course that the party you’re trying to help actually desires your input, which may or may not be the case.

  55. Don — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:01 pm  

    Jay,

    Of course I agree that encouraging internal reform among dutch muslims is important. Neither you nor I can contribute much to that, being neither dutch nor muslim, and I absolutely mean no disrespect to those who are trying. But I don’t see how it is incumbent on Ayaan Hirsi Ali to temper her position to that end, as she is presenting a different argument altogether.

    On reflection, the Dawkins comparison is not so flippant. While his position as a scientist gives him a standing in specialist circles, he is in the public eye mainly because he is relevant to Christianity in particular and religious belief in general. Relevant in a hostile way, but relevant nonetheless.

    Her voice may well be inflamatory, divisive, open to being suborned by the ill-intentioned, driven by personal experience. But it is a voice that has a right to be heard and shutting her up by way of a witch hunt (an over-used term, but here I use it advisedly) is something we should oppose, not revel in.

    (The ‘revelling’ doesn’t apply to you, I acknowledge your arguments, I just don’t agree on this point.)

  56. mirax — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:08 pm  

    >>Her voice may well be inflamatory, divisive, open to being suborned by the ill-intentioned, driven by personal experience. But it is a voice that has a right to be heard and shutting her up by way of a witch hunt (an over-used term, but here I use it advisedly) is something we should oppose, not revel in.

    You put this very well, Don. Exactly my sentiments. I would not put AHA on a pedestal,neither would I revile her in the terms that have been used on this blog.

  57. j0nz — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:14 pm  

    She can teach us to be brave and stick up for what we believe in. How tragic she doesn’t mind all those egg shells! How tragic she’s not politcally correct!

    European of the Year 2006

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali risks her life to fight for oppressed women in her adopted country—and in Britain, too

    When Somali-born Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali took part in a television programme about Islamic Sharia law in 2003, she ended up contributing much more than her opinion on Islam and its treatment of women. A young woman from a Muslim family told the programme makers she was in fear of her life from her relatives who hit her and called her a whore for wanting to go out with her friends and wearing western clothes. Hirsi Ali listened to her story, then took the young woman to the police, only to be told: “We can’t help you. There are so many girls like you and this is not police work.”

    It is not usually a politician’s job to look after threatened Muslim girls either, but that is what Ayaan Hirsi Ali did. She took the girl into her own home for nearly a year, enabling her to finish higher education. “She encouraged me every day,” says her protégée, who now has a job and her own flat. “Because of her I am stronger. It’s very difficult and dangerous for women from my community to speak out. Ayaan does that for us. We need her.”

  58. j0nz — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:16 pm  

    Who gives a flying fuck if she rubs people up the wrong way? She speaks her mind in the face of death.

    That’s why she’s a role model. She doesn’t give to hoots if people want to kill her for what she’s saying. That’s why.

  59. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:16 pm  

    Don

    To be honest, all the points you make are fairly self evident. The whole affair is distasteful.

    My points stand – beyond the splendour and luxury of abstract reckoning, how do you catalyse change within without credibility from those who you seek to engage?

    That is what is of relevance to us, and is a question we have to keep in mind. That is the lesson we have to think about.

  60. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:19 pm  

    jOnz

    She’s a role model for you because she allows you to defecate by proxy on Islam and Muslims. When someone offers a different view, you say ‘who gives a fuck about your view’

    At least be honest jOnz.

  61. j0nz — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:30 pm  

    Piss off. You have no deceny. I am critical of Islam and of practicing Muslims. So that makes me the scum of the earth does it?

    You comments on the previous thread were vile, and you do bully other commentors.

    You hate her because she highlights the faults in Islamic culture, and thus by proxy all Asians! Get a grip Singh.

  62. j0nz — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:40 pm  

    I am critical of anyone religious. There is no god folks! Sorry but that’s my right as an ATHEIST.

    Not only that, as an atheist, *I have the right* to strongly crticise the most dogmatic and potentially cruelest of all major religions.

    Nobody has any special right to avoid critcism because they are Asian/Sikh/Muslim/Black/Gay/White. We have equal rights to criticise.

  63. Bikhair — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:40 pm  

    jOnz,

    Why are you critical of me, as a practicing Muslim?

  64. Geezer — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:44 pm  

    I am critical of Islam and of practicing Muslims.[j0nz]

    Jonz sorry I thought your line was that you hate Jihadi’s, Islamofacists etc? But now you’re critical of any “practicing Muslim” and the faith itself.

  65. j0nz — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:45 pm  

    Bikhair apart from your approval of stoning to death for adultery you’re not all that bad.

    Anyway the footie has just started and I can’t find the bloomin remote control

  66. j0nz — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:49 pm  

    Well yes I am critical of anyone practicing religion. I still like most of them as human beings… I have a good friend named Mohammed, who I have great debates with. Apart from the acceptance of stoning to death of adulterers he’s a great guy, and I really do mean that!

    Though you are right I do save my wrath for Jihadis, Islamofacists, those that literally murder/incite murder.

  67. Don — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:49 pm  

    Please, in all sincerity, can we not get into a J0nz – Bikhair face off? Another time, another place and I’ll be watching with interest, but don’t screw up the thread.

    J0nz, I can see your position, but ‘vile’ is not a word that describes Jay’s posts on the other thread. I disagree with his stance, but it is at least argued coherently, unlike some of the others.

  68. Geezer — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:52 pm  

    j0nz thanks for response.

  69. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:56 pm  

    Piss off. You have no deceny. I am critical of Islam and of practicing Muslims. So that makes me the scum of the earth does it?

    Who said it made you the scum of the Earth?

    At least admit your bias, like I said, be honest.

    You comments on the previous thread were vile

    No they weren’t.

    You hate her because she highlights the faults in Islamic culture, and thus by proxy all Asians! Get a grip Singh

    (a) I don’t hate her.

    (b) Why would criticising Islamic culture be a proxy for criticising all Asians?

    See jOnz, the extrapolations and generalisations in this sentence alone are oozing with prejudice, false assumption and ignorance. I’ll put it down to your shoot-from-the-hip style. I don’t believe that you’re actually this stupid.

  70. Jay Singh — on 17th May, 2006 at 7:57 pm  

    Yeah alright – I’m off to watch the Champions League final and see if I can spot El Cid in the crowd!

    Take five jOnz

  71. Old Pickler — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:19 am  

    Good God. If ever there were proof that this blog is sexist, this thread is it.

    Here is a woman bravely speaking out against a vile, misogynist creed of which she has direct experience. The glee over her downfall is palpable.

    Strong women scare the sh*t out of you lot. And strong women who are also black – well you can’t pigeon-hole them, so seeing them suffer brings all the Fred Flintstones out of the woodwork.

    Disgusting.

  72. Refresh — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:27 am  

    The ill-tempered offerings here has forced me to follow a few links and find some of may own.

    Jonz can you explain what it is you are actually so angry about? Either you are a seeker of the truth or your intention (hopefully not raison d’etre)is to stir using anti-muslim rhetoric. Now a few have relied on Hirsi Ali for their background material.

    The fact that Hirsi Ali had lied to obtain asylum, may not be news as such but it is news to me and many many others.

    The questions that arise are why and how has she ended up as an MP, at the invitation of the Party who’s minister is now stripping her of her citizenship. Why was she recruited in the first place?

    Yes of course, it might be the case that she had a role to play and she is no longer useful. Then surely Jonz we and you especially should be getting to the bottom of what that purpose was.

    It seems her lies run deep and its not just a case of lying to improve her economic situation.

    As for her farewell piece – she clearly says she intended to seek a global platform, and did not aspire to completing her full term in parliament. She will now have a global platform via a Washington think tank. A US think tank means that she will be paid to do her party trick. So why should this think tank want her? Do you have any information on this?

    The allegations she has made and you vainly repeat are deeply offensive and false. So it would please me no end if she ended up on her global platform as a discredited figure turning all she touches to a metabolic by-product.

  73. Sid — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:35 am  

    Calling j0nz an islamophobe (even though he seems curiously to be inviting it) because he defends AyHA is as useful to this discussion as Jay being called a misogynist for criticising her.

    mirax says
    She simply cannot just BE a single flawed individual who has her own mind.

    Do Muslims accept that? Would that were true! One of the problems why most Muslims cannot accept her is because her ideas represent the Long Awaited and Much Anticipated Islamic Reform. As a result, reactionary Muslim patriachism comes to the fore and see her as a threat. Cue image of large white-robed Pathaan with henna-dyed beard clenching a dagger betweem his teeth and packing an Uzi.

    She is not seen as a “single flawed individual” by her supporters either. They want to see her empower herself. And the irony is – thats what Muslims want too! They, and most Muslim women want to feel empowered too. The problem is – and I am going to blame the West here but don’t switch off – parochial elements of the West would like to see AyHA involved in some religious “Reform”.

    Well it could happen but probably way too unrealistic. Somehow I don’t see a Washington thinktank-endorsed Reform is happening anytime soon.

  74. Clairwil — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:37 am  

    Well Old Pickler. I’m a woman and the only strong woman who speaks her mind I’m afraid of is my mother. Judging Hirsi Ali as a politician it’s fair to say her career has ended in failure. The crowing is no different to that which any male politician that cocks up can expect. Or do you believe that female politicians should be given special treatment? Like children? I suspect not, unless it affords an opportunity to proclaim your cultural superiority over some brown folks.

    Funny that you people are so so P.C when it suits you. Then again I’d probably think like you if I was a paranoid old mentalist with cobwebs up her fanny. Oh and before you start, yes I would insult a man in similar terms. I wouldn’t dream of stepping on your rad fem beliefs.

  75. Sid — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:39 am  

    Would it be patricarchial of me to say that I think AyHA is very easy on the eyes?

  76. Old Pickler — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:43 am  

    Or do you believe that female politicians should be given special treatment? Like children?

    Not at all.

    Then again I’d probably think like you if I was a paranoid old mentalist with cobwebs up her fanny

    Fine. Earn yourself Brownie points with all the male chauvinists here by insulting me.

  77. Old Pickler — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:47 am  

    Clairwil – Do you really think that, because you apologise for Islam, and because you pander to the sexists here, they’re going to respect you?

    Islam treats you as an inferior. Hirsi Ali had the guts to speak out about it. And aren’t all the sexists and their pathetic groupies crowing, now that she is being hounded.

  78. Refresh — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:47 am  

    Sid, she does not in any way represent reform.

    The pathaan has probably never heard of her.

    As for her supporters well they’ve fooled themselves.

  79. Old Pickler — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:49 am  

    And as for cultural superiority, yes, of course Western culture is superior.

    Witness the number of “brown folks” trying to get into Holland, the UK etc.

    Now, count, on the fingers of one hand, the number of Westerners trying to get into Pakistan, Somalia, etc.

  80. Bikhair — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:50 am  

    I wonder if I am a strong black woman?

  81. Old Pickler — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:52 am  

    You’re a fool, that’s for sure.

  82. Bikhair — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:58 am  

    Old Pickler,

    What makes me a fool, am I not allowed to disagree with you?

  83. Old Pickler — on 18th May, 2006 at 1:06 am  

    Of course you are. As to what makes you a fool, well, who knows? Islam, at a guess.

  84. Clairwil — on 18th May, 2006 at 1:10 am  

    Wow brownie points from male chauvinists! Compensation at last! What do I win?

    Can you not just accept I’m insulting you because I want
    to?

    Really you should be applauding me for being so empowered.

    It is of little interest to me how Islam treats me because I’m not a Muslim and therefore the rules of that religion have no bearing on how I live. What I do support are the efforts of Muslim feminists to reform Islam, rather than being put in a position where they feel they have to reject their religion or renounce their rights.

    I very much doubt that the reasons for ‘brown folks’ coming to the west are down to their wish to worship at the altar of our ‘cultural superiority’. I would suggest greater political freedom and economic opportunities play a part. Then again in my never ending quest to win the approval of the boys I take the view that trying to establish cultural superiority is futile. Some aspects of culture are better or worse than some others.

    I have no idea why you are defending Ali to me. I would support wholeheartedly her right to follow her own conscience and speak out accordingly. As I would totally condemn those who have issued death threats against her. Just as I support your right to be a rancid old bag. After all tolerance isn’t just defending things you like.

    Do any boys like me yet?

  85. Old Pickler — on 18th May, 2006 at 1:19 am  

    What I do support are the efforts of Muslim feminists to reform Islam, rather than being put in a position where they feel they have to reject their religion or renounce their rights.

    And what if it can’t be reformed? Then what? This is a serious question, and one that has never been answered. Nazism could not be reformed. It was plain evil. Islam is also evil, in my opinion. But if somebody can prove otherwise, let them. I’m still waiting.

    This blog is relatively progressive. Yet attitudes to Irshad Manji are as negative as those to Hirsi Ali.

    Have you read the Koran?

    Thought not.

  86. Old Pickler — on 18th May, 2006 at 1:21 am  

    I very much doubt that the reasons for ‘brown folks’ coming to the west are down to their wish to worship at the altar of our ‘cultural superiority’. I would suggest greater political freedom and economic opportunities play a part.

    The latter follows from the former, as night follows day.

    The West is richer, more free, and so forth, because it is culturally superior. “Brown folks”, that is people of all races from inferior cultures, should join ‘em, because they can’t beat ‘em.

  87. Clairwil — on 18th May, 2006 at 1:29 am  

    Yes Old Pickler I have read the Qu’ran, it cropped up a couple of times in religious studies and there is a copy on my bookshelf next to the Bible and three books along from the Ramayana. However there is little point in continuing any sort of dialogue with you. You are a hate filled nasty individual, whose self esteem is dependant on denigrating other cultures rather than celebrating your own. In all honesty I pity you, whatever my faults and the misfortunes I have to bear in life at least I won’t have to go through life with your personality. Get well soon.

  88. limpia — on 18th May, 2006 at 1:33 am  

    I think that working within the system however there are some abuses that must be addressed by law. The govt, ofwhich she was part, must addresss abuses of women and others . This often is not addressed due to political correctness. there is no excuse, and her pushing for it allows the pressure to come from within and without. Others can play the role of social worker.

  89. Old Pickler — on 18th May, 2006 at 1:37 am  

    Clairwil, fine. Islam is fine. Hirsi Ali is just nasty. I’m just nasty. Nothing to see here. Move along.

    This is a turning point. And Pickled Politics has taken the wrong turn.

    Nowhere on this blog have her arguments about the Koranic justification for the violence against women been refuted. All we get are bland platitudes about bad stuff in all religions. Well then, how many fundamentalist Christians are fleeing the American Bible Belt to go and live in Pakistan? There should be loads. After all, one fundamentalism is just as bad as another.

    Opportunity missed. She’s black and female, ffs. A gift. And you blew it.

  90. Bikhair — on 18th May, 2006 at 1:39 am  

    Old Pickler,

    Specifically, and I know you will not bother, how does Islam make me a fool?

  91. limpia — on 18th May, 2006 at 1:40 am  

    i aologize for the poor editing- i meant to write- I think that working within the system is fine, however…..

  92. Old Pickler — on 18th May, 2006 at 1:42 am  

    Bikhair – read http://www.faithfreedom.org.

  93. Sunny — on 18th May, 2006 at 3:01 am  

    Good God. If ever there were proof that this blog is sexist, this thread is it.

    We spend most of our time cussing middle-aged Asian men and their patriarchal beliefs, and you come here only to when you can supposedly spot instances of brown people being sexist. Fuck off OP. And take your culturally superior air with you.

    Now, back to the debate.

    Mirax – You make some good points in the initial post. Hmmm, this has been quite an interesting debate.

    I suppose my point was to say a few things about creating reform from within, rather than specifically about AYA. There is no doubt she has been useful in pulling the Netherlands out of their politically correct paralysis. I’ve acknowledged that on top. Religion should never be allowed to excuse any sort of abuse, I’ve never wavered on that point here.

    That AYA is not a reformer is a point well made and I guess I went along with the rhetoric of JihadWatch etc who always say that AYA was the future of Muslim women.

    You are right in that she does not represent anyone but herself, and I find it hilarious when supposed socialists such as the boys on Islamophobia-Watch get worked up when she highlights the abuse that Muslim women in many countries face.

    But that still does not negate the fact that she was held up as a black, former-Muslim, woman who in effect ‘saw the light’, and is thus used as one big Muslim-bashing tool. In fact AYA did that herself, though given her terrible past one can say it is not unexpected.

    But her voice was never just held up as another voice. Everyone played on her race, sex and her past and used it for their own agenda. She became one massive tool for the Islamists and the right-wingers.

    If that continues in the USA it would be a sad thing because AYA ends up, like many other neo-cons, trying to play up the whole ‘clash of civilisations’ argument, and I can never go along with that despite what race, sex or gender you belong to.

    And lastly. Please, enough of the personal insults. Just ignore them or I will get trigger-happy with my delete button.

  94. Bikhair — on 18th May, 2006 at 3:05 am  

    Old Pickler,

    Ok so that is where you get it from. I knew you couldnt do it on your own.

  95. Bikhair — on 18th May, 2006 at 3:09 am  

    Old Pickler,

    Typically female of you. Cant even stand on your own two feet. It doesnt even embarrass you that you had to point to some pre written articles.

    Any blog I go to I stand on my own and dont need someone else to carry my arguments.

  96. Bikhair — on 18th May, 2006 at 3:27 am  

    Sunny,

    Who gave AYA the right to define Islam for Muslim men and women and whoever else is listening? Every non-Muslim is looking for authentic voices to carry their agenda about Islam and Muslims. Its pathetic.

  97. Bikhair — on 18th May, 2006 at 3:30 am  

    Old Pickler,

    “Nowhere on this blog have her arguments about the Koranic justification for the violence against women been refuted.”

    I’d like to see her arguments. I will refute them. Poor thing.

  98. limpia — on 18th May, 2006 at 3:40 am  

    i cant imagine that she will fit in in a neocon think tank, but i dont count on her kowtowing to anyone.

    as an american i appreciate her stand against lawbreakers often ignored by the pc police. btw- i am a liberal in nyc and feel that her popularity will provide the liberal community with some reality

  99. mirax — on 18th May, 2006 at 4:51 am  

    The neo cons will have a collective heart attack when AHA starts expressing her views on abortion, gay rights etc. ;-)

    Bikhair – Old Pickler : You are both cut from the same cloth. Narrow-minded bigots.

  100. mirax — on 18th May, 2006 at 5:08 am  

    Sunny,

    I just noticed this part of your post :

    If we all stood on a podium and waxed lyrically about how rubbish Asian values and culture was – nothing would change. And we can’t do that anyway, we still belong to that world.

    I find it disturbing that you feel an individual cannot reject his culture and is somehow so wound up in the particularities of his ethnic and cultural background, that such repudiation is meaningless anyway. I cannot accept that.You cannot change the colour of your skin but apart from that, everything else is up to individual choice. There are totally fucked up chunks in my Tamil,Indian and Singaporean culture that I have stood at a podium (sometimes literally) to reject and really, it is errant nonsense to say that NOTHING changed. MY life changed and that is the most important change of all.

  101. Sunny — on 18th May, 2006 at 5:42 am  

    You interpret that wrongly Mirax. Certainly there are aspects of my culture I reject.

    There are totally fucked up chunks in my Tamil,Indian and Singaporean culture that I have stood at a podium (sometimes literally) to reject and really,

    As do I, and feel all the better for it. But that is rather different to me hating Asians and thinking they’re all a bunch of backward imbeciles.

  102. John Browne — on 18th May, 2006 at 7:15 am  

    Hi,
    This is my honest GENERAL opinion now I’ve read up on it a bit.

    Illegal immigration is unfair on those who queue legally to get in and unfair on the host nation.

    Thus, I would GENERALLY send all illegal immgrants back and let in a great deal more legal immgrants.

    HOWEVER, there has to be some room for some illegals to stay if they have been here (or Holland) for a good number of years and have not committed crimes that involve prison sentences of over 6 months.

    John

  103. Old Pickler — on 18th May, 2006 at 10:12 am  

    Irshad Manji is Ugandan Asian in origin. Hirsi Ali is black, of course, which, if you are racist, you should hate even more than Asian.

    This is why it messes with people’s heads when she – rightly – condemns multiculturalism and the backwardness of the Muslim community in Holland and elsewhere. People can’t even call her a racist because she’s black. No wonder she had to go, and no wonder some of the chauvinists here are so chuffed about it.

  104. raz — on 18th May, 2006 at 10:20 am  

    OP, why where you not offended by the smackdown which PP laid on another foolish woman, Yvonne Ridley, a few days ago? Are we only ‘sexist’ when it suits you?

  105. Roger — on 18th May, 2006 at 10:34 am  

    The reason muslim reformers are hostile to Ms Ali is that she isn’t a muslim at all. They may not hold the murderous opinions of the “kill the apostate” crowd, but by remaining muslims they differ strongly with Ms Ali because she rejects the main basis of their identity and says that they are trying to reform the unreformable and that their attempts at reform are wasted time.
    The difference between Ms Ali and even the most radical muslim reformer is a difference of kind, not of degree.

  106. Ravi Naik — on 18th May, 2006 at 10:36 am  

    OP, blacks can’t be racists and prejudiced? And by the way, perhaps you can clear this out for me, what if we are homophobes and racists? Who should we hate more, Irshad or Hirsi?

    Hirsi has every right to criticize radical Muslim communities, but where she goes wrong is to criticize religion quoting the Koran. One could do the same (in fact, it has been done) to attack Jews and Christians.

  107. Roger — on 18th May, 2006 at 11:02 am  

    Why shouldn’t people quote the books that inspire the religions to attack the religion? After all, the religion and the way its followers behave are both based on those books. Radical muslims are inspired by the quran.
    If a religious book somehow contained nothing but completely benign and universally acceptable instructions then it could not be attacked morally. However, if any such book ever existed, it did not last very long.

  108. Jai — on 18th May, 2006 at 11:12 am  

    Roger,

    =>”However, if any such book ever existed, it did not last very long.”

    I hate to contradict you (and since you are aware of my recent altercation with Ismaeel, you can guess where I am going with this) but this is not quite true…..

    As Raz mentioned yesterday, this is not the right place for “religious flag-waving”, but hopefully you can read between the lines here with regards to what I am referring to.

    However, the rest of your post is spot-on.

  109. Old Pickler — on 18th May, 2006 at 11:21 am  

    Raz – Yvonne Ridley is indeed a foolish woman. Growing up with all the advantages of our superior culture, and all the equal rights, she puts on a sack and adopts a backward religion.

    Hirsi Ali did the opposite. Raised with all the disadvantages of a backward, primitive culture, she pulled herself out of it.

    The contrast could not be greater.

  110. j0nz — on 18th May, 2006 at 11:51 am  

    Raz – you are comparing Yvonne “brother Brother al-Zarqawi” Riddley to an Islamic apostate that speaks her mind in the face of death threats? You are sick.

    Refresh “The allegations she has made and you vainly repeat are deeply offensive and false.” Burn the bitch!
    - You have nothing to bring to this debate except Muslim Outrage

    People can’t even call her a racist because she’s black. No wonder she had to go, and no wonder some of the chauvinists here are so chuffed about it.

    Nail on the head there. Normally a few dismissive shouts of racist would denounce any would-be Islam critic… So they have to channel their rage into other words “She LIED about her immigration!!” – like those people are SOO against immigration – yeah right.

  111. j0nz — on 18th May, 2006 at 11:55 am  

    #73 Sid I like your new-improved comments :)

  112. Jay Singh — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:20 pm  

    I was hoping there would be more blood on the floor when I got back, but everything got back to civilised discussion, even jOnz turned off the Little Green Football default button, and mirax said Old Pickler and Bikhair are the same narrow minded bigots.

    Phew.

    I feel sorry for El Cid.

  113. Vikrant — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    why?

    ohh…. i get it… I’m sure he is still sulking over yesterday’s loss.

  114. Sid — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    j0nz

    you like huh? ’twas ever thus. you just didn’t want to see the real Sid, only a poor facsimile thereof.

  115. Roger — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:25 pm  

    “=>”However, if any such book ever existed, it did not last very long.”
    … but this is not quite true…..”

    No-one paid much attention, then.

  116. sonia — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:31 pm  

    ah well that’s where you’re wrong Old Pickler – in my mind Yvonne and Ayan both share something – guts to stand up for their own opinions. and not to worry about what the chattering masses are viciously whispering behind their back.

    I don’t care what those individual opinions are or happen to be – they happen to be poles apart in the case of these 2 women – but its the attitude – for me – that counts.

    strong women = a good thing and less of the social conformity bullshit we’re ALL stuck with.

    :-)

  117. sonia — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:35 pm  

    “Thus, I would GENERALLY send all illegal immgrants back and let in a great deal more legal immgrants”

    er…if you changed the rules so that everyone could ‘get in’ legally then maybe they wouldn’t be illegal anymore!!

    or have to spend their time climbing over razor wire. the poor home secretaries ( poor dears – i do feel sorry for them when they have all the newspapers shouting at them and then they get sacked..)could have a rest and the police would have a much easier time. less money spent – more money in taxes from us foreigners ( who AGAIN can i point out aren’t allowed on benefits) – so who’s benefiting? the guys on the dole who can sit around and drink more.

    smiles all around :-)

  118. Jay Singh — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:35 pm  

    So sonia, you don’t care about the message of what someone says, as long as she’s a woman, she is not to be criticised?

  119. sonia — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:37 pm  

    yeah you said it right sunny –

    “But her voice was never just held up as another voice. Everyone played on her race, sex and her past and used it for their own agenda. She became one massive tool for the Islamists and the right-wingers”

  120. Ravi Naik — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:38 pm  

    “Why shouldn’t people quote the books that inspire the religions to attack the religion? After all, the religion and the way its followers behave are both based on those books.”

    Evil people will interpret sacred books to fit their means, and not the other way around. Others will be inspired by these books to do good. The Christian Bible has been interpreted over the ages to commit the most horrifying crimes against non-believers. Even today, the most racist american organizations (which make the KKK look moderate) are Christian and use the same Bible as I do.

    So, interpreting or highlighting selected parts and repeating the interpretation that evil/backward people do so to make a point that all people of that faith are like that – is plain wrong.

  121. sonia — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:43 pm  

    you can’t ‘push’ reform. you can encourage it, but its back to the same issue of ‘imposing’ democracy. by definition it can’t be done. stinks of the old colonialist attitude – ah see -these people are backward what can we do to ‘push’ reform on them.

  122. sonia — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:45 pm  

    ravi’s got a good point – in as much people should always focus on the interpretation of a text or an idea. but since you always hear the rabid dogmatic types focusing on taking things literally, i can understand why others when seeking to refute that, fight fire with fire.

    its not particularly sensible, but there you go. obviously it would be a lot easier if people didn’t insist on taking things literally.

  123. Vikrant — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:45 pm  

    Ravi,

    Its not the matter of interpretation but Koran and Old Teastment DO contain passages instigating violence against non-believers. But then again we must take into account the time and the context these books were written in.

  124. Vikrant — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

    Even Hindu texts are pretty casteist. The only solution is to ignore those passages.

  125. Roger — on 18th May, 2006 at 12:59 pm  

    ” But then again we must take into account the time and the context these books were written in. ”
    The whole point about a sacred text- as far as believers are concerned- is that you can’t do that. It is eternally relevant and aplies absolutely.
    If a book is the absolute word of god, as people claim for sacred texts, then the least we can expect is that it cannot be misinterpreted and misused. If it can then we are entitled to be very suspicious of its claims to perfection. As Ravi Naik said “the most racist american organizations … are Christian and use the same Bible as I do.”
    Not only that, but their interpretations are just as valid. In fact, “interpreting or highlighting selected parts” is just what the decent followers of religions do as well. The only difference is that they highlight different parts.

  126. Jai — on 18th May, 2006 at 2:41 pm  

    Roger,

    =>”No-one paid much attention, then.”

    Also not quite true. The adherents who draw on the book concerned as a source of spiritual refernce are not part of a proselytising religion, so unfortunately the tenets involved are not promoted as widely as they perhaps should be.

    In any case, to a significant extent, one of the major reasons why India is not still a fundamentalist Islamic theocratic state like Iran (but on a superpower scale) — which it was for a while, albeit a few centuries ago — is specifically due to the actions of individuals acting on the basis of the teachings of their religious book and the religion as a whole, although there were certain other reasons too as to why history took a different course in the subcontinent.

    Modern-day adherents who may act in contradiction of the scriptural ideals in this case are not doing so as a result of “misinterpretation or abuse” of its contents, but by ignoring the relevant aspects of the text completely.

    Not all religious texts necessarily contain ammunition for abuse — some do, some do not.

  127. j0nz — on 18th May, 2006 at 3:23 pm  

    Sorry Sonia I need to take you up on #116

    Yvonne Ridley things there is something repugnant about those who rush to condemn acts of terrorism. She sides with al-Zarqawi over the Jordan bombings. She defends terror in the name of Islam.

    Yvonne Ridley is far from a strong minded woman. She has bought a pre-packaged identity so she doesn’t have to be an individual. Her thoughts are based on other people’s thoughts and attitudes almost entirely.

  128. Sunny — on 18th May, 2006 at 4:29 pm  

    It’s too simplistic a view to take that following a religion will make you violent and prone to kill others. Most of the big wars in Europe (and indeed the world) have been between secularists.

    It also does not take into account other local and historical factors that help the crazy literalists get into power.

  129. sonia — on 18th May, 2006 at 4:32 pm  

    jonz – i said iwasn’t interested in her views, you can be all you like. :-) i could be – yep she’s said some silly things and makes me glad i don’t share her views.. but hey! it’s a free world, free speech you know what i mean? just like those cartoons – i guess she’s entitled to say what she wants. they don’t bug me ( the cartoons or yvonne) but if they bug you – that’s your right to express your opinion. i was merely expressing my opinion.

  130. sonia — on 18th May, 2006 at 4:33 pm  

    oops space between i and wasnt needed up above..

    and anyway jonz – she may be a loony but even loonies need strength!

  131. Jai — on 18th May, 2006 at 4:34 pm  

    Most recent wars, Sunny. European, Middle-Eastern, and indeed Indian history covering the past 1000 years is littered with wars fought for religious reasons.

    However, the rest of your point is accurate and very relevant.

  132. sonia — on 18th May, 2006 at 4:35 pm  

    jay – you do like twisting things. what i said was in the context of personal attacks on both of those two women.

  133. sonia — on 18th May, 2006 at 4:37 pm  

    jai – religion has been involved in the wars but don’t imagine that territorialism wasn’t involved :-)

  134. Jay Singh — on 18th May, 2006 at 4:38 pm  

    I wasnt twisting just asking! Thanks for clearing up the context – now my understanding of your point is clear.

  135. j0nz — on 18th May, 2006 at 5:17 pm  

    but hey! it’s a free world, free speech

    Well I can’t disagree with you there! Yvonne Ridley though… ewww makes me shudder :)

  136. Ravi Naik — on 18th May, 2006 at 6:04 pm  

    “The whole point about a sacred text- as far as believers are concerned- is that you can’t do that. It
    is eternally relevant and aplies absolutely.”

    If you are going to take the rational route, which we actually should, then here is the thing: sacred books have contradictions, factual errors and are ambigious.

    Remember when I said that we interpret the Bible according to our beliefs?

    There is a christian church in the US which has a neat interpretation of the Bible. In the Genesis, God created Adam and Eve (which happen to be aryan). Both of them had Abel. Eve was seduced by the devil (snake) and they had Cain. The descendants of Abel are the true aryan folk. The descendants of Cain are the jews (ouch). And what about us black, brown and yellow folk? We are the descendants of the beasts that God created with the rest of the animals.

    You got to love human diversity and imagination. :)

  137. Sunny — on 18th May, 2006 at 6:10 pm  

    You got to love human diversity and imagination

    Haha! Isn’t it Einstein who said there are no limits to the imagination and human stupidity? I’ve always loved that quote.

    Another point that Robert Sharp made above:

    “We need the BNP”

    Hmm. This is very realpolitik.

    Kind of. Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, said that without hardship life would be like a dream (or something to that effect). The BNP are evil, but a necessary evil just so we know what the boundaries of evil are.

  138. Refresh — on 18th May, 2006 at 7:06 pm  

    jonz, you not responded the points I made. Its tragic that you label people for pointing out other perspectives. What’s this burn the bitch mantra?

    I could very easily decide from your language, accusations and peristence here and quite a few other boards that you are bigot.

    As for burning people – you don’t give the impression that you would be unhappy burning muslims with flamethrowers.

    On Hirsi look again what I wrote and explain to me how you justify your comment to me.

  139. Bikhair — on 18th May, 2006 at 7:18 pm  

    Ravi,

    The hamitic theory (prominent during colonialism) was used to justify slavery among Christians. Because of Ham’s (father of black/African ) sin, by seeing his father( Noah’s) nakedness, he was cursed to be his brothers servant (slave).

  140. Bikhair — on 18th May, 2006 at 7:20 pm  

    Sonia,

    Havent you noticed in the discourse that Muslims are only motivated by their religion. On the one hand it is hopeful, so long as they are correct, but on the other hand it is uncharacteristic of human nature.

  141. j0nz — on 18th May, 2006 at 9:15 pm  

    OK Refresh may I may have been a little hot-headed there.

    Can you explain to me why you were “deeply offended” though?

  142. Don — on 18th May, 2006 at 10:49 pm  

    There was one such comment. And she is. You try not to let it influence you, but you’ld be a liar to say you hadn’t noticed.

  143. John Browne — on 18th May, 2006 at 11:11 pm  

    …someone mentioned “Holy Books”…
    Apparently the ancient greeks wrote the God stories down on paper (about 600BC – chap called Homer). As a result of READING the stories the Greeks gave up on god/gods and instead went in for something called Philosophy. These ancient greek ‘scientists’, apparently, had blond hair and blue eyes, and thus all their stuff was boring, lifeless and middle class twaddle.

  144. Refresh — on 18th May, 2006 at 11:16 pm  

    jonz a little ‘hot-headed’ would mean a lapse. That is not the case.

    I’d be happy to respond once you have covered the points I raised specifically related to Hirsi.

  145. j0nz — on 18th May, 2006 at 11:29 pm  

    I have more than covered “your points”, please read my previous comments, they’re right there in front of you.

    Now, what are you “deeply offended” about?

  146. j0nz — on 18th May, 2006 at 11:34 pm  

    If you want to know what I am so angry about try reading the previous post on Ali called “Ayaan Hirsi’s lies come to an end”.

  147. Roger — on 19th May, 2006 at 11:33 am  

    “It’s too simplistic a view to take that following a religion will make you violent and prone to kill others.”
    True, Sunny, but it will give people more reasons or excuses to kill and torture others and- contrary to popular belief- it won’t make them less violent in most cases. One side effect of religious belief is that- as well as bad people finding excuses for bad acts- good people can find reasons for bad acts. Look at Osama bin Laden: he has heroically abandoned great wealth and luxury to pursue his ideals. Unfortunately his ideals involve killing and subjugating people.

    “The hamitic theory (prominent during colonialism) was used to justify slavery among Christians.”

    Actually it was an improvement on the previous attitude. Slavery for most of human history was accepted as pefectly normal and acceptable. There was no moral objection to making someone a slave. There might be personal objections, but that’s another matter. Thinking that slavery needed justification and that not every one was fair game for slavery was an improvement. In fact, the change in attitude from what had been the accepted custom from time immemorial to regarding slavery as absolutely wrong was astonishingly quick. It was less than a hundred years from the first anti-slavery campaigners to the abolition of slavery throughout the Britih empire.

  148. Sunny — on 20th May, 2006 at 2:38 pm  

    Look at Osama bin Laden: he has heroically abandoned great wealth and luxury to pursue his ideals.

    It is paradise he wants. But history has shown that religious people are not alone in demanding their own version of utopia, and willing to kill others to get there.

  149. Fob — on 22nd May, 2006 at 10:17 am  

    World Bank, IMF, and corporations are EVIL!!!! BNP and all leaders in the world are just puppets.

    http://www.whirledbank.org/

  150. Roger — on 22nd May, 2006 at 12:48 pm  

    “history has shown that religious people are not alone in demanding their own version of utopia, and willing to kill others to get there. ”
    True, but they believe in the same way that religious people believe- absolutely certainly and with no doubt about the truth of their doctrine. If you want what is obviously best for the human race your opponents are so obviously stupid or evil that they can be ignored.

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