Ayaan Hirsi Ali Understands Islam
Why is the left afraid to face up to the threat of radical Islam?
BY BRET STEPHENS
The Wall Street Journal Sunday, September 17, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT
Here's a puzzle: Why is it so frequently the case that the people who have the most at stake in the battle against Islamic extremism and the most to lose when Islamism gains--namely, liberals--are typically the most reluctant to fight it?Hmmm, yes I see. And what does Ayaan Hirsi Ali say?
It is often said, particularly in the "progressive" precincts of the democratic left, that by aiming at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and perhaps the Capitol, Mohamed Atta and his cohorts were registering a broader Muslim objection to what those buildings supposedly represented: capitalism and globalization, U.S. military power, support for Israel, oppression of the Palestinians and so on.
But maybe Ms. Newman intuited that Atta's real targets weren't the symbols of American mightiness, but of what that mightiness protected: people like her, bohemian, sexually unorthodox, a minority within a minority. Maybe she understood that those F-16s overhead--likely manned by pilots who went to church on Sunday and voted the straight GOP ticket--were being flown above all for her defense, at the outer cultural perimeter of everything that America's political order permits.
"Many Europeans feel that a confrontation with Islamism will give the Islamists more opportunities to recruit--that confronting evil is counterproductive," says Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born, former Dutch parliamentarian whose outspoken opposition to Islamism (and to Islam itself) forced her repeatedly into hiding and now into exile in the United States. "They think that by appeasing them--allowing them their own ghettoes, their own Muslim schools--they will win their friendship."There's nothing wrong with criticizing an ideology. Like Islam. Or Leftism. If you believe your ideology, then defend it. Responding to criticism with censorship or violence is a sign of either sadism or insecurity, perhaps both.
A second factor, she says, is the superficial confluence between the bugaboos of the Chomskyite left and modern-day Islamism. "Many social democrats have this stereotype that the corporate world, the U.S. and Israel are the real evil. And [since] Islamists are also against Israel and America, [social democrats] sense an alliance with them."
But the really "lethal mistake," she says, "is the confusion of Islam, which is a body of ideas, with ethnicity." Liberals especially are reluctant to criticize the content of Islam because they fear that it is tantamount to criticizing Muslims as a group, and is therefore almost a species of racism. Yet Muslims, she says, "are responsible for their ideas. If it is written in the Koran that you must kill apostates, kill the unbelievers, kill gays, then it is legitimate and urgent to say, 'If that is what your God tells you, you have to modify it.' "
This poor lady lives in fear for her life because she criticized an ideology. How many bedwetting Bush Police State hallucinators can say that?