Huff Post: by Kashif N. Chaudhry —
In an interview with Reason magazine, this became clear when the interviewer asked if by “defeating Islam” Hirsi Ali meant, “defeating radical Islam?” She replied: “No. Islam, period.” When the reporter asked her to further elaborate what she meant by “defeat Islam” she replied: “I think that we are at war with Islam. And there is no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways… You look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, ‘This is a warning. We won’t accept this anymore.’ There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.”
The interviewer then asked, “Militarily?” Hirsi Ali replied: “In all forms.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born U.S. citizen who is known — among other things — for her radical views on Islam. Her supporters consider her a leading critic, while many others believe she is guilty of Islamophobia and bigotry. I think she is a perfect case to educate people on the difference between the two.
Hirsi Ali immigrated to the Netherlands in 1992, claiming to escape a forced marriage. There, she rose to become a member of the House of Representatives in 2003. However, she was forced to resign from the Dutch parliament when her biographical details were challenged and publicly exposed as a chain of fabrications. She admitted to the lies and decided to move to the U.S. Just recently, Hirsi Ali was in the news again when Brandeis University, which had earlier nominated Hirsi for a honorary degree, decided she was not a fit candidate for the honor. “We cannot overlook that certain of her past statements are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values,” the university said. It added, “For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of Ms Hirsi Ali’s record of anti-Islam statements.”
There is certainly all freedom to hold a different opinion within Islam or about Islam. Intellectual criticism leads to dialogue, which in turn leads to better understanding. However, there is a difference between critiquing Islam and spreading irrational fear of Muslims. There is a difference between intellectually commenting on a religion and inciting hatred of its adherents.