Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Wilders channels anger

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Wilders channels anger

29th March 2010, Comments 7 comments

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has returned to the Netherlands with the same message as when she left: Islam needs its own period of 'Enlightenment'.

Hirsi Ali is back for one week to promote her most recent book, Nomad. It's her first substantial visit since leaving the Dutch parliament four years ago to live in the United States.
Her main point still is that Muslim integration into Dutch society can only succeed if Muslim immigrants fully embrace Dutch values and leave their own values behind. The two systems of thought cannot be combined.
"The idea that the two can be combined is why the problem has lasted so long, and become so entrenched as to be nearly intractable: people have contradictory expectations."
Once a rising star

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is living proof of what an individual immigrant from a Muslim background can accomplish.

Born in Somalia, but raised in three other countries, she gained refugee status in the Netherlands in 1992, under what were later revealed to be false pretences.

After learning Dutch and pursuing higher education she first went to work for the Dutch Labour Party's research institute.
Somali-born Dutch writer and fierce critic of Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is interviewed by with Liberales' Dirk Verhofstadt (R) during a debate evening in Brussels on her latest book 'Nomade', 18 March 2010

The conservative VVD party recruited her as a candidate for parliament, where she handled integration issues for three years. She herself nearly faced charges similar to those facing Wilders, after she called the Muslim prophet Mohammed a paedophile.

She received protection from the government after making the film Submission with Theo van Gogh, who was later murdered by a Muslim extremist. Revelations about lying to gain refugee status indirectly led to the fall of the government, and she emigrated to the United States.
Four years later, Hirsi Ali has tempered her approach, if not her ideas. She continues to live under constant protection in the US, at her own expense. But she enjoys greater anonymity and a freer lifestyle than she had in the Netherlands.

Wilders good

In her criticism of Muslim integration, the former Dutch conservative VVD party MP echoes many of the ideas of Geert Wilders, once her VVD colleague and now leader of his 'own' Freedom Party (PVV). Wilders' party is likely to become one of the largest, if not the largest, in the country after the general election on 9 June.

He is currently on trial facing charges of inciting hatred toward Muslims. Hirsi Ali disagrees. She says that on the contrary, Wilders is preventing violence by allowing a segment of the population to channel their anger by voting rather than rioting. Wilders is good for the Netherlands she says.
But she also criticises the Freedom Party leader for raising false expectations.
"I have also learned that you have to translate political proposals into policy, and my critique for Geert Wilders is that his proposals have raised expectations that cannot be translated into policy."
Hirsi Ali portrays herself as more pragmatic than Wilders.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali chats with the British historian and author Niall Ferguson during an unannounced appearance at the Jaipur Literary Festival on 24 January 2010. At the festival, she accused the world's liberal democracies of adopting a dangerous policy of appeasment towards radical Muslims. Since 2004 Ali has been forced to live under constant guard because of death threats from Islamic extremists and her visit to the festival was kept secret until the last minute.

Still controversial

Hirsi Ali's future remains uncertain. The publication of her latest book here in the Netherlands, and the publicity tour she has organised, reveal her ongoing interest in Dutch affairs.
And, in case anyone forgot, she can still stir things up. An avowed atheist, she says the government should promote the Enlightenment - the period in and around the 18th century when many in Europe began to emphasise the importance of science and reason over religion - as an alternative to Islam.
"And for those who really cannot live without God, better a caring Jesus than a warlord like Mohammed."
Nomad is Ayaan Hirsi Ali's third book.

John Tyler
Radio Netherlands


7 Comments To This Article

  • Wout posted:

    on 2nd April 2010, 11:41:14 - Reply

    "They cannot choose to enjoy the comforts of living in a developed country and alos carry baggage of their arabic ancestors."
    Shouldn't it be described as garbage, instead of baggage?
  • sandy posted:

    on 1st April 2010, 06:21:22 - Reply

    What ever her opinion be, one cannot rule her comment that muslims need to integrate with society they have chosen to live in. They cannot choose to enjoy the comforts of living in a developed country and alos carry baggage of their arabic ancestors.
    A high point observation of present turmoil in the world can be largely traced to muslim radicalism. Muslims have not changed with the world as other societies have done; therefore they are in constant conflict with the society they live in. The muslims need to change from within to adapt to the world; they should not expect world to be arm twisted. World is in a constant flux, and that has been forgotten by the muslims.
  • stuart577 posted:

    on 31st March 2010, 17:00:18 - Reply

    D. Tennant,
    Who are you to be Judge and Jury?
    To inquire, Why must they leave? The Muslim have lived in Europe for many centuries as have the Christian and the Jew, Buddist and Atheist.
  • D.Tennant posted:

    on 31st March 2010, 14:43:15 - Reply

    She is one smart lady who makes some very valid points.
    However, for Muslims to be accepted in Europe they must leave it.
    Islam does not belong in European nations!
  • Stuart577 posted:

    on 31st March 2010, 12:08:09 - Reply

    Dear Ms. Ali,
    For one who has changed her views somewhat I applaud.
    For your swings in changes politically I do not.
    How can one look at the left and then the right, does it show yourself as an opportunist as Wilders or a Ronald Reagan?
  • Dave Johnson posted:

    on 31st March 2010, 11:41:04 - Reply

    I just want to get this straight - the enlightenment means you can just forget all the atrocities committed by the followers of "caring Jesus" for the last 2000 years - including the most recent oil "crusade" in Iraq.
  • madjanssen posted:

    on 29th March 2010, 16:56:36 - Reply

    If she is so convinced that what her opinions are right, why does she need bodyguards around her then!?! She shouldn't keep blaming Islam for her wretched previous life - instead she should seek peaceful ways of having inter-faith dialogues instead of antagonising the Muslims each time she opens her mouth. No wonder she had to return here to be heard, only the people of the NL will entertain an attention-seeker like her. At least the Americans know better.