Agreeing and disagreeing with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

In “60 Seconds: Ayaan Hirsi” by Andrew Williams in Metro.co.uk (thanks to all who sent this in), Ayaan Hirsi Ali says some very good things, and makes an offhand statement with which I could not disagree more strongly.

Of course, some have criticized my support for Hirsi Ali on similar grounds in the past, but I have never supported her when she takes positions like the one below. So it’s time to clarify matters again.

You were brought up a devout Muslim. What made you turn against the religion?

I knew no better than to follow the path my parents had laid out for me. I didn’t question it seriously until after 9/11. Bin Laden defined the world into Muslims and non-Muslims, and these had to either be converted or killed. I asked myself where I stood after I saw the pictures of people jumping out of the World Trade Center. As a Muslim I had to ask if I agreed with that. I was saddened to see Bin Laden’s citations were from the Koran and were consistent with the Islam I grew up with. It is just that we were passive until then. Now we had to take sides. I had completed a political science degree and could no longer use ignorance as an excuse. I had to make my own path.

The section I have put in bold is a key point — one that moderate Muslims have never adequately addressed. We hear constantly that bin Laden is a heretic, that what he is doing can’t be called Islam at all. But those who call themselves peaceful Muslims have never explained why the very people who supposedly so severely misunderstand Islam represent themselves as the exponents of “pure Islam” and make jihadists out of peaceful Muslims by referring to the Qur’an, Sunnah, and Islamic law. They have never addressed the fact that all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence teach that it is part of the responsibility of the Muslim umma (worldwide community) to wage war against unbelievers in order to impose Sharia upon them. They have never begun any programs in Western countries to teach Muslims that the jihad ideology of Islamic supremacism is un-Islamic.

And then, despite the Emperor’s-New-Clothes character of their Islamic moderation, they turn around and accuse those who point out the traditional character and firm Islamic foundations of the jihad ideology of aiding the jihadists instead of the moderates. And keen analysts like Dinesh D’Souza affirm them in this.

Yet here is a woman raised as a Muslim in a Muslim country, who attended Qur’an school, who is honest enough to say that she realized there was little or no difference between what she was taught and bin Laden’s theology. If Muslim reformers were likewise honest about the deep Islamic roots of jihad violence and Islamic supremacism, they would be getting to the heart of the problem within Islam — but they will never be able to fix something that they won’t admit is broken.

The 9/11 attacks made you renounce your faith but radicalised other Muslims. Why?

The 74 per cent of Muslims under 24 who said in a survey that women should wear the veil and want Sharia law to be introduced have gone for the consistency that Bin Laden offers. Others have taken my path. Liberal society hasn’t paid attention to what has been happening. Radical Islam was dismissed as a fringe movement but what starts small can grow. When you look at some Arab Islamic countries, radical Islamists are in the majority. Why do we kid ourselves it can’t happen in Europe?

[…]

Are you playing into the hands of Right-wing extremists?

If there is Right-wing extremism in Europe today, it’s radical Islamic extremism. It’s the agents of radical Islam who propose a future for women that is truly horrifying – as we saw with the Taliban in Afghanistan and in Somalia today.

Then the wheels fall off and burn:

Do you see any positive sides to Islam?

That’s like asking if I see positive sides to Nazism, communism, Catholicism. Of course Islam preaches generosity and kindness and taking care of the poor and elderly and so on – but these values aren’t limited to Islam. If you weigh what is provided in terms of kindness and humanity against the evil that can come from a society built on radical Islam, you will see that liberals must stand up to this like they’ve stood up to other ideologies.

“Nazism, communism, Catholicism”? Anti-Catholicism is fashionable these days, and the sins of the Catholic Church, like those of any group of human beings, are many. However, to equate Catholicism with Nazism and Communism is a ridiculous reductionism that ignores and implicitly denies the Catholic and Christian bases of so much of Western civilization — see Thomas Woods’ excellent book How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization for details.

I agree with her that “if you weigh what is provided in terms of kindness and humanity against the evil that can come from a society built on radical Islam, you will see that liberals must stand up to this like they’ve stood up to other ideologies.” However, societies built on Catholicism are not comparable in evil to societies built strictly on Sharia.

I will be discussing this in my next book, Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is — and Islam Isn’t (coming this summer from Regnery Publishing), as I believe that we cannot resist the Islamic supremacists without recovering a sense that our own culture is worth defending. And Christians and non-Christians in the West enjoy living in a culture that is still based on numerous Christian principles, although the hapless D’Souza’s cultural critique (and just that, not his attribution of the rise of the jihad to it) is not altogether wide of the mark. I have come to see that moral equivalence between Christianity and Islam is perhaps the single biggest obstacle to many people’s understanding the reality and magnitude of the threat of Islamic supremacism. Thus here is where Hirsi Ali and I part company. I applaud and support her critique of Islamic supremacism, and will continue to do so; however, I do hope she gains an appreciation of the fact that much of what she values in the West is derived from Judeo-Christian principles — from Catholicism. She doesn’t have to be a believer to do this; I still believe that Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists all need to unite against the threat of Islamic supremacism. But we can’t do that if we are devouring each other. And until she does gain some appreciation for the differences between religions and the Christian bases of Western civilization, her focus on what we are facing and what we need to do about it will not be entirely where it should be.

A little later on she says:

Do you have any regrets about the work you’ve done?

I regret that Theo van Gogh was killed but I don’t regret making the film. I would do it again, only be more careful. I’m working on the followup to Submission: Part 1. One of the individuals in the film will be a gay man. I currently live in the US and work at a think-tank, and have all the intellectual freedom I need. Things are alright for me.

In February 2006 I spoke at the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference in The Hague. After one of the sessions, one of the other speakers and I got into an animated conversation with a liberal writer from New York who is well acquainted with Islamic terror; she now resides in the Netherlands. The writer heatedly insisted that Christian fundamentalism was just as dangerous as the Islamic variety, and that equal attention should be devoted to defeating both. Shortly thereafter she told us that she had to be going, as she was on a bicycle and couldn’t be out after dark, or she risked being attacked. “Who is going to attack you?” asked the other speaker. “Christian fundamentalists?”

This reductio ad absurdum illustrated several points: first, although it was clear that this American writer in the Netherlands felt threatened by Muslim gangs that preyed on passersby, political correctness prevented her from saying this despite her awareness of the reality of jihad terror. Also, her own actions showed that her equation of Christian and Islamic fundamentalism was absurd. For indeed she had no fear that Christian fundamentalists would attack her on her way home, but about Islamic jihadists she could not be so sanguine. But that didn’t stop her from loudly protesting that the two threats were essentially equivalent.

Likewise, I would suggest that as Hirsi Ali mourns van Gogh, she reflect on the implications of the fact that the producers of PBS’s Hand of God about clergy abuse need not fear that some crazed Catholic will murder them on a busy street and stab them with a knife on which is attached Scripture quotes and warnings to other critics of the Catholic Church.

Unrelated final note: in a sidebar Hirsi Ali says, “We’ve told ourselves that every criticism of Islam is some sort of racism – but Islam is not a race,” which is, of course, absolutely true.

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Comments

  1. says

    “The writer heatedly insisted that Christian fundamentalism was just as dangerous as the Islamic variety, and that equal attention should be devoted to defeating both. Shortly thereafter she told us that she had to be going, as she was on a bicycle and couldn’t be out after dark, or she risked being attacked. “Who is going to attack you?” asked Bostom. “Christian fundamentalists?””

    For those who may share this liberal bike rider’s view, consider this.

    At the optimum, marginal benefit equals marginal return. The marginal benefit of opposing Christian fundamentalists is what? Federal funding of stem cell research?

    The marginal benefit of stopping Muslim immigration includes that this bike rider could stay out late. What about when they come into people’s homes? They do, its counted as common crime instead.

    Now in defense of Robert Spencer for standing up with Ayaan Hirsi Ali even though she has criticism of Catholicism. Its the same rule. The marginal benefit is higher.

    Ali is a credible witness on Islam. She can say that the Islam she was taught was the “radical Islam” and that its the normal Islam that is taught. This is important.

    What impact do Ali’s comments on Catholicism have? With some groups, it increases the value of her as a witness against Islam. Those are often people who already fear and often loathe Christian fundamentalists. Many liberals think Jihad Watch is a group of Christian Crackers.

    Its difficult for them to say that Ayaan Hirsi Ali was brought up as a Christian and that’s why she talks the way she does.

    When Virgil Goode spoke out, Begala called him a bigot and an idiot. To Begala, we are all vigots.
    But its hard for Begala or Wolf Blitzer to treat her like one or call her one to her face.

    Begala can’t say, I grew up with lots of people who thought and talked like Virgil Goode, they were bigots then and they are bigots now. He can’t say that about Ali.

    Paul Begala should apologize to Bay Buchanan, Pat and Virgil Goode”

  2. says

    Given Dutch history with the Catholic Church, it’s not entirely unexpected she’d make such a comparison. But I can’t be the only one who’s sick and tired of hearing about various historical events in response to threats, intimidation, and violence going on right now.

  3. says

    Anti-Catholicism is fashionable these days, and the sins of the Catholic Church, like those of any group of human beings, are many.

    posted by Robert

    And so many Christians still interpret the whore of Babylon of Revelations to be the Vatican. The anti-Christ will be the Pope. Maybe not Benedict but someone more charismatic. So many Seventh Day Adventists do that today. They bring up the suppression of Saturday keeping Christians like the Waldenses and say it will happen again.

    Nowadays I have my doubts about the anti-Christ coming from the Catholic Church. The theology of the Catholic Church and the various Protestant Churches may be different, and I disagree with the emphasis put on Mary, among other things. But Islam is more destructive, has always been. And of course, the dualistic ethics separates itself from the rest of the religions of the world. Satan lies and spins like there’s no tomorrow (and no punishment from God). And with religiously sanctioned lying in Islam, well I don’t know…

    Things are not so clear cut after all. Only God knows at this point.

  4. says

    Hirsi Ali, despite of her good intentions and credibility, will only facilitate survival and stabilization of Islam in Europe, until it will be too late (since people think: there are different fractions in Islam, they are not all the same, see Hirsi Ali….it is all not too bad…). She is, for instance, stressing that a big positive difference between European and USA Muslims is that those from USA speak English, while European Muslims often do not speak the language of the host country. With this opinion, she led many Europeans to believe that Muslims will integrate into European societies asap they have mastered the language (needless to say, with huge help of further welfare transfers). The context in which she locates Catholicism is simply outrageous and shows that deep down she cannot really accept that Islam is inferior, so she has to vilify one of the major pillars of European civilization.
    Another bad side effect is that many Europeans, being comfortable and cowards (afraid of being accused for nationalism, racism etc.etc.) believe that someone else (a black woman, born Muslim, an outsider) should fight for their freedom, not they themselves. This will further deteriorate European character. Of course, it is impossible not to admire this woman on a personal level (she is intelligent, brave, beautiful etc.) but I am afraid that this enormous visibility she enjoyes isn´t really productive for fighting Islam in Europe and USA. It would be better if she would fight in Kenia, for instance.

  5. says

    Hirsi Ali could be, perhaps, the most important guest who as ever appeared on Oprah, if she is invited. This will be the truest test of Oprah’s courage.

    And, I mean Hirsi Ali alone, not joined by representatives of CAIR or some Islamist apologist.

  6. says

    in a sidebar Hirsi Ali says, “We’ve told ourselves that every criticism of Islam is some sort of racism – but Islam is not a race,” which is, of course, absolutely true.

    Yes, but when it suits them they look at the Ummah as a race: oppose Islamism, you are opposing the Ummah, so you’re a racist.

    The Left, which sees racism in opposing the Crips and Bloods, concurs.

  7. says

    Hirsi Ali will be a guest on Oprah when monkeys come out of our behinds. “I get no respect” said Rodney Dangerfield, and neither does she. Perhaps she will be a guest on Oprah when there is another big terrorist attack in our country.

  8. says

    Hirsi Ali is an interesting case- her statements regarding Islam are helpful and could indeed be useful in raising awareness of the true nature of Islam.

    Conversely, her very fashionable, very European anti-Catholic sentiments would not play well in the Bible belt, and indeed, might alienate so many that her message is ultimately lost.

    Perhaps some day she will overcome her prejudices against Catholics. Until then, she risks being decried as just another foreigner who hates religion.

  9. says

    While it is right to question the unfortunate proximity of “Nazism, Communism, Catholicism” in her statement – you are making too much of this.

    Perhaps in other statements she makes her attitudes clearer, warranting rebuke.

    I can just as easily read it as a statement that “people are able to promote the opposite of reality of these examples”. She could have gone on to add “Socialism, Liberalism, Democratism(?), etc.” To make the point that people “see what they want to see”.

    Also note the -isms. Not “the Nazis” or “the Communists”. Catholic-ism like any -ism is perhaps an aggressive characterization – ex. the Inquisition.

    The question is about “Islam” and her respose suggest she is against “Islamism” primarily. In Islam some may find roses. Islamism is agressive and violent.

  10. says

    Moderates are the sheep as they have not really read the k0ran let alone the hadith and are aghast to hear the truth about m0hammad, and when mullah says so then it IS considered absolute fact. Fundamentalists are delusional and dogma is the killer in my book. But each to their own and that’s how it should be, religion is a personal ‘choice’. But I do not understand why people take offense with a slur directed at their religion. Like where is their ‘faith’?. Why do mere words conjure up such resentment? It was over half a millennium ago that Catholicism was running off the rails and today jihad and islam is on the rampage creating the fine mess the world is in, TODAY…

  11. says

    Picking up on sonomaca’s comment above, I just finished writing to the Oprah program suggesting Hirsi Ali as a guest. It’s a perfect time to do so since the memoir Infidel has been recently released.

    Hirsi Ali would make an impact on Oprah and her viewers. An impact that needs to be made. And if the memoir Infidel became one of Oprah’s “Book Selections”, well then all the better don’t you think?

  12. says

    OFF TOPIC

    Re: Islamic Jurisprudence.

    In commenting on this subject Mr. Robert Spencer said:

    “They have never addressed the fact that all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence teach that it is part of the responsibility of the Muslim umma (worldwide community) to wage war against unbelievers in order to impose Sharia upon them.”

    This is something I’d like to follow up on. I’m a graduate student, so my leisure time is limited. I’ve scanned Robert’s book from the PIG series on Islam and the Crusades, but I’ve not so much as opened his other writings. Could someone point me in the right direction to some good sources on these schools of Islamic jurisprudence, whether it be from one of his books, or elsewhere. I don’t dispute the accuracy of the statement, but I would like to learn a bit more about this subject myself. I can be contacted at walkerw8AThotmailDOTcom.

    Thank You. :)

  13. says

    One definition of the suffix -ism is “a movement”.

    While we might argue the problem is Islam, it is Islamism (the movement) that we are at war with.

    I am a Christian. I subscribe to Christianity. I am not aware of a Christian-ism movement. While I love Democracy, I like Mr Spencer, and quite suspicious of current Democrat-ism efforts.

  14. says

    “Bostom’s reductio ad absurdum illustrated several points: first, although it was clear that this American writer in the Netherlands felt threatened by Muslim gangs that preyed on passersby, political correctness prevented her from saying this despite her awareness of the reality of jihad terror.”

    An interesting distinction is that I suspect it did not just prevent her from saying it but actually prevented her from thinking it as well. The whole thing is very Orwellian, change the definition of “threatening” or “evil” to include Catholicism and other Western traditions and the meanings of the words themselves become empty. Once this is achieved any serious thought on what is threatening or evil, or good for that matter is impossible. Everything is evil, everything is good, good and evil are nothing.

  15. says

    Previewing your Comment

    I agree with Mr. Spencer and what Ayaan Hirsi Ali said is just false. Modern Catholics are not Nazis or Communists and never have been. I myself am from a Protestant background but do not take the bible word for word. My grandfather is very religious and a true Protestant. My father dislikes religion in general. Despite our various views on the Christian faith and life in general we have all come to the same conclusion that Islam is dangerous not because we have some faith or because we are comparing religions but based on logical conclusions from their holy books, current actions and from their history.

    A logical person makes a conclusion off facts. Christians are not attacking anyone or forcefully converting anyone. No where in the Christian faith is it a mandatory act to go forth and forcefully convert or subjugate. Now are there those fringe elements within Christianity that push this? Yes of course every faith has those people but they don’t have any theological backing for their arguments. All of the atrocities committed by various Christian factions throughout history have no theological bases. There is no law within the Christian faith the demands someone must die for leaving the faith or no law that states people outside of the faith must be second class citizens.

    Now I from a Protestant background could scream about St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre and Mr. Spencer could fire back with Oliver Cromwell and his rampage through Ireland but if you look close at both of those events you will see there were alternate motives in which religion was invoked but the real reason was power and money. Yes witches were burned but in truth the practice came to an end because many within the church (Protestant/Catholic) at last spoke out against it. In other words the Christian faith has evolved and changed over the years. It tried to fix itself with secular prodding like the enlightenment and scientific revolution. Yet even many of these movements were born from very religious men. Look at Kepler or Newton. They were not secular. John Maynard Keynes who had purchased a series of notebooks (that Newton owned) stated:

    “I do not see him in this light. I do not think that any one who has pored over the contents of that box which he packed up when he finally left Cambridge in 1696 and which, though partly dispersed, have come down to us, can see him like that. Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the magicians, the last of the Babylonians and Sumerians, the last great mind which looked out on the visible and intellectual world with the same eyes as those who began to build our intellectual inheritance rather less than 10,000 years ago. Isaac Newton, a posthumous child born with no father on Christmas Day, 1642, was the last wonderchild to whom the Magi could do sincere and appropriate homage.”

    Now Newton was no fan of the Catholic Church either but he was most defiantly very religious and Christian by his own words. He owned over 300 bibles of different translation and was obsessed with his work not based on some secular yearning for knowledge but because he felt it was the will of god to learn about the universe. The scientific revolution was not a revolution of secular people fighting religious Christians but in truth was one group Christians butting heads with another group of Christians.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali tries to equate Christianity with Islam is wrong which is what she is implying by her statement. I disagree with her based on the simple examples I have given above. I however also still would encourage us to accept her into our camp. She could be misguided after all she just left a religion that was beyond oppressive and her knowledge of the Christian faith is no doubt flawed. It is understandable that as human progresses with knowledge they will make missteps. After all Lincoln was at first against the ending of slavery but as time progressed he came to the conclusion that slavery had to end. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams did not see eye to eye but they still wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence. We must help her see why she is flawed. Not to try to convert her but to make her see why her argument is dangerous to this cause. She has the Islam part right. She understands the enemy but now she must understand who the allies are.

    Sorry for the long winded comment. I felt that because I had attacked D’Souza for being foolish the same must be done for Hirsi Ali but at least unlike D’Souza she does get who the enemy is and for that we must be grateful. She has risked her life and for that she must be given some time and room to work things out. Hopefully her logical mind shall see the folly of this statement.

  16. says

    The ‘Catholicism’ remark was unfortunate, but please, let’s not write off Hirshi Ali as an invaluable ally in this war against Islam.

  17. says

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali said

    Nazism, communism, Catholicism

    What Hirsi Ali said was unfortunate, and also untrue. Of course she is free to give us her views on whatever topic she chooses, but for the purposes of unity, I’d prefer that she stick to anti-jihad and womens’ rights. Such are the dangers of free thought and free expression.

    Anti-Catholicism, antisemitism, anti-atheism, anti-Hinduism (if it existed) etc. are all devices to divide the infidels so that they can be more easily conquered in bite-sized pieces. They must be resisted.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali said

    you will see that liberals must stand up to this like they’ve stood up to other ideologies

    Eventually, as the reality of what Islam actually teaches leaks out in spite of our leaders’ best efforts to keep the truth from us, all sane infidels will stand together against jihad. We have no choice, Islam lumps us all together; it targets us all equally.

    Robert said

    I will be discussing this in my next book, Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is — and Islam Isn’t (coming this summer from Regnery Publishing)

    You da’ man. Well, actually you are one of da’ men. Hugh da’ man. Hirsi Ali da’ man, too. But you da’ man.

    At this rate, I’ll soon have to head to Ikea to buy a new bookshelf.

  18. says

    Robert:

    “I believe that we cannot resist the Islamic supremacists without recovering a sense that our own culture is worth defending. And Christians and non-Christians in the West enjoy living in a culture that is still based on numerous Christian principles…. I do hope she gains an appreciation of the fact that much of what she values in the West is derived from Judeo-Christian principles — from Catholicism… I still believe that Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists all need to unite against the threat of Islamic supremacism”.

    Absolutely. The sane and informed among Hindus who privately admit their appreciation of Western Civilization (JudeoChristianity) ought to play a more proactive role. Unfortunately they don’t do much. Certain opinion makers within India (hindus) are so out of touch with reality. They would go to any lengths to pillory Christianity but would talk about islam as a “religion” in glowing terms.

    What Jesus Christ Says is the same Vedantic Truth echoed in Hinduism.

  19. says

    Well, She has had a mistake, a huge mistake, I am catholic, and being compared with nazism and marxism is unaceptable, but I think that she is ignorant in this matter. The history of the Protestantism in the Netherlands, that collaborated for example in the killing of japanese catholics in Spain, and for example they forbade all catholic acts until 1989 like Corpus Christi isn´t good.
    But I think that now, we have to see the union and less the differencies against islam. They live for the separation of christianism.

  20. says

    ‘In a sidebar Hirsi Ali says, “We’ve told ourselves that every criticism of Islam is some sort of racism – but Islam is not a race,” which is, of course, absolutely true.

    Yes, but when it suits them they look at the Ummah as a race: oppose Islamism, you are opposing the Ummah, so you’re a racist.’

    On the left coast, good point. Maybe they mean the human race, whom they mean to enslave with their forced conversion. Either way the Muslims betray their motives and goals and we need to respond accordingly, LOUDLY.

    As for Hirsi Ali and the anti-Catholic remarks, I think she just doesn’t know. In the circles she travels in Catholicism is certainly not valued and having only just recently escaped the bondage of Islam, how would she have had time to know how great it is? Some people have the seed planted and it doesn’t take until years later. One of the saddest effects of Islam that I’ve seen is the apostates who come out of it and detest the idea of God. This is understandable though, considering that their idea of God is someone who hates, who demands, murder, maiming and mayhem as his chosen form of worship. Like an abused wife, it would take a long time to let down one’s guard and trust again. But in the meantime, the love and protection that these people need is being pushed away as the God who does love them is pushed away. Its very sad, but not hopeless.

  21. says

    Let’s see. Someone offends Islam and riots and/or murders are touched off around the Globe (Mohammed Cartoons, Pope Rage, the Nigerian Miss World riots, the murder of Theo van Gogh all come to mind readily)

    Someone insults Catholics and we say, “Gee, it’s a shame she feels that way. It’s understandable because of her background. Perhaps in time she’ll reconsider.”

    Yep. There’s no difference between Christian and Muslim fundamentalist, is there?

  22. says

    All religions are totalitarian to a greater or lesser degree. I think that is what she was trying to say.

    Also, not having read that book, I don’t think that the Catholic church built western civilisation.

    Western civilisation comes from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, which were both pagan.

  23. says

    “I do hope she gains an appreciation of the fact that much of what she values in the West is derived from Judeo-Christian principles — from Catholicism.”

    This is funny. What you said right there reminds me of when Virgil Goode wrote an article about the immigration problem and said this in the end of the article “the Judeo-Christian principles that have made us a beacon for freedom-loving persons around the world.”

    Exactly what “Judeo-Christian principles that have made us a beacon” do you mean? Let’s check the Bible and Christian history shall we.

    “Freedom of religion”, nope not in the Bible and not practiced for the majority of Christian history.

    “Non-establishment of religion” ditto.

    “No cruel and unusual punishment”, you’re kidding right?

    “Freedom of press” not with all those book burnings.

    “Equal treatment under the law” considering how unequal and flexible Judeo-Christian principles are, the notion of equality is an alien concept.

    “Fair trials” remember all those witch hunts?

    “Democracy” again, never mentioned in the Bible and never practiced in any meaningful way until the US was founded.

    So it seems to me the values America was based on are ANTI-Christian values.

    Real Judeo-Christian “values” brought us none other then the Mosaic Law, which is no different then the strict hardcore type of Sharia law used in muslim extremist countries like Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and a few others.

  24. says

    Radical Islam was dismissed as a fringe movement but what starts small can grow

    And how we all wish the movement of Islamic moderates and apostates will grow likewise.

  25. says

    [quote]Well, She has had a mistake, a huge mistake, I am catholic, and being compared with nazism and marxism is unaceptable, but I think that she is ignorant in this matter.[/quote]

    Guys, I cannot read minds, but I do not believe she is necessarily talking about Catholicism in its present-day form. There’s a big difference between Catholicism now and several hundred years ago. The same Catholicism that Martin Luther saught to reform. The same Catholicism that was so dominant a force in Spain during the Inquisition and Expulsion!~

    Her point is a valid one. One that may not have much relavence in today’s world, but valid, nonetheless!

  26. says

    I don’t think that the Catholic church built western civilisation.

    Western civilisation comes from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, which were both pagan. Posted by: Voltaire

    Au contraire. Western civilization — at least modern Western civilization — derives out of the synthesis of Graceo-Roman culture and Judaeo-Christian culture, and that synthesis was medieval Christendom.

    Exactly what “Judeo-Christian principles that have made us a beacon” do you mean? Posted by: WAT_123

    By their fruits ye shall know them. Modern Western secularism is a fruit that grew organically — albeit tumtultously at times — out of the tree of medieval Christendom. With all its faults, that secular fruit is a model of civilizational progress, historically unprecedented in the benefits it has brought Mankind, and it therefore reflects well on the tree whence it came.

    The organic relationship between modern Western secularism and medieval Christendom is, of course, paradoxical; but in emphasizing one side of the paradox, I am merely adding a sorely needed corrective to a massively popular bias toward the opposite direction, a bias that has become dominant in Western thought over the past two centuries.

  27. says

    I agree with isabellethecrusader. Hirsi Ali has done a remarkable job re-educating herself since she escaped to the West, but the circles she was involved in were anti-religious and aggressively secular. She has not had a chance to learn of current day Catholicism, so I would give her a pass on that. Isabelle is also quite accurate in noting that those who leave Islam in large part choose to be believe in no god, because the god they are leaving behind is so repellent.

  28. says

    WAT_123

    I’m afraid that you’re missing the point if you find Mr. Spencer’s comments amusing.

    It is a fact that Western history has indeed included episodes of intolerance and persecution. It is also a fact that intolerance and persecution have become increasingly recognized as unacceptable in the West. The result is a society that is more consistent with Judeo-Christian precepts than ever, even as it accepts a secular form of government.

    Don’t laugh that so many have failed to meet the standards of self-control set by traditions of the West, the philosophical schools of Greece as well as the religious traditions. These are, after all, high standards. I’d be more worried that there are so many who do meet the standards of behavior set by Mohammed, putative prophet. And that’s no laughing matter.

  29. says

    Bravo Robert! You have performed another tour de force of analytical reasoning and assertive virtuosity. I look forward to reading your next book.

    For anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of “moral equivalency”, I highly recommend reading “Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault” by Stephen R. C. Hicks.

    Any other recommendations? Anyone?

  30. says

    WAT_123 see http://www.wallbuilders.com for some answers to your questions.

    Just because you aren’t aware or chose to ignore the Judeo-Christian foundations of our nation doesn’t mean they aren’t there. In fact, the founders believed that our nation could only continue to exist with a population with a Judeo-Christian worldview.

    Also, where do you think the great movements for freedom in our nation came from? They came out of the church by and large….e.g. the First and Second Great Awakenings led to the War of Independence and the Abolitionist movements, respectively.

  31. says

    i think she probably has just gotten to the point where she trusts NO religions, even though its laughable to compare today’s Catholic church to Islam. Although it is unfortunate she said that because it gives apologists ammo to use in defense of Islam. She has my full support though. i love her and pray for her safety

  32. says

    Agrippa has a good point. I think we are being too hard on Hirsi Ali. After all, she is talking about the positive and negatives of these -isms. This doesn’t mean she thinks the negatives of Nazism and Catholicism are the same. Just that there are some. And you would expect this from a humanist. Humanists would also claim that the principles of democracy, debate and freethinking originate in the pre-Christian era. Asking Hirsi Ali to quieten down a bit strenghens Richard Dawkin’s argument that religion seems to think it shouldn’t be criticised.
    In some ways she does have an advantage, as do all atheists in general, in being able to undermine Islam by attacking the very existence of Allah and gods in general. Christians can have difficulty with the Son of God, Trinity, Holy Spirit when arguing with Muslims. A good example is Bilal Philips who produces a whole range of anti-Christian arguments in his da’wa training programmes but really struggles with atheism. The big disadvantage is that should the Islamists take over, the atheists would be the first for execution.

  33. says

    She’s alright. I think she’s great. Some of us would feel pretty traumatized and hurting when discussion about God came up if He was presented in the fashion that those brutes like to do it (fgm and all).

  34. says

    Ok – how many of you actually read those infamous letters – other than accepting what others say?

    I did – and frankly, apart from the remarks about islam and conquest – bin laden is right> Again I say the u.s. has been quite…shall I say, naughty?

    Search out those ltrs and read them.

    BTW, I don’t think bin laden is still alive – who really knows when he croaked – but haven’t you noticed how many islamic nutzoid clerics are ranting and raving – they’ve taken OBL’s place. He ain’t here no moe.”

  35. says

    “to equate Catholicism with Nazism and Communism is a ridiculous reductionism that ignores and implicitly denies the Catholic and Christian bases of so much of Western civilization.”

    I don’t think it’s ridiculous at all. The only reason there’s no active inquisition is because of the Enlightenment – the bold men, some misguieded and rebels for the wrong reason (not for altruism) and the pressure of the U.S. that separated as church and state.

    Because the church knows quite well that the people today would never stand for it.

    Friends, the Inquisitional Office is still extant. It’s now a little sweet, innocent title
    Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    Don’t think if the church had the power, it would do it over again.

    But as (as we say in Sp., fondly) Shah-kehs-peh-ah-reh said “What’s in a name.”

    Today, the California Indian missions are part of vineyards, and used as tourist attractions, but the missions run up to the 19th c. were HORROR CONCENTRATION CAMPS FOR THE AMERICAN INDIANS.

    Same with the Indian Missions in Florida.

    The Jeshits did the same thing in Uruguay.

    THAT was Communism!

    The church today complains and fights against Communism – but it practiced the same thing under a different name.

  36. says

    The protestants had their inquisition and was much more bloody than the catholics, for example the killing of witches in Germany and the Calvin´s inquisition were very famous, and in US the process of Salem, for example. Or the famous killer Cromwell.
    I think that the important thing, now is the union, but the Catholic Church isn´t this monster that many think that it was.

  37. says

    Briefly, and imho:
    I think she was, in a sense, trying to be fair.
    I do understand that it is not the whole story, but at many times and places in history,
    Catholicism has been an oppressive force.
    Against Jews, the Orthodox, and anyone deemed a heretic, it could deploy terrifying and barbaric force.
    In doing so, Catholicism weakened Europe in the face of advancing Islam. Contantinople was lost as much due the actions of Catholicism as to those of Islam.
    The loss of authority Catholicism has experienced in counties such as Spain is arguably due to the abuse of authority it displayed in the past, including the violent cruelty it actually encouraged during the Civil War, much of which was committed by Muslim soldiers under the command of avowadly Catholic officers.
    I think Catholics need to get over all this, and now would be a good time to do so, because time is running out.

  38. says

    Non-judgmental comparisons between Christianity and Islam are almost always fatuous. Let it be said that violence and mayhem done historically in the name of Christianity has subsequently been declared anti-Christian, and the perpetrators are regarded as evil and misguided men.

    Quite the opposite with Islam, where murder, revenge and chaos have been the bona fides of the true believer. It is the religion of hate personified in the form of Muhammad. In the words of Aristophanes, what remains when “Whirl is King, having driven out Zeus.”

  39. says

    Today has raised the issue of when, how, what, who, why, etc. to bring up disagreements with allies and others working for a cause together.

    Let’s compare these disagreements to the case of William Kristol.

    search

    William Kristol Enron

    Kristol apparently took 100,000 dollars from Enron.


    Payolagate: The tip of the iceberg

    William Kristol corporate speaking fees


    Right Web | Individual Profile: William Kristol

    “Government Service
    # Office of the Vice President: Chief of Staff to Dan Quayle, 1989-1992 (2)
    # Office of the Secretary of Education: Chief of Staff and Counselor to the Secretary for William Bennett, 1985-1988 (8)”

    Kristol calls Tom Tancredo a Yahoo:

    Y is for Yahoo

    “Anti-immigration yahoo Tom Tancredo”

    So Kristol has been in high government office and takes Enron money after that. He gets corporate speaking fees quite likely. He calls Tom Tancredo a yahoo.

    None of those involved in today’s friendly disagreements, here or elsewhere, have these sorts of issues. None of them get the corporate jet to take them to give a speech at a corporation for 50,000 dollars, and then go on TV and call Tancredo a Yahoo and praise Islam, etc.

    We are good colleagues advocating vigorously for what we believe and as to the best methods to achieve it. We are not betraying Tancredo or Goode to get on the Enron jet and gravy train.

    We can respect each other and our disagreements and try to achieve results as we each see the best way to do that and overcome the spats that arise from to time which reflect a strong commitment to achieving the same goals.

  40. says

    These ruminations into the past are interesting–and divisive–playing into the hands of the common enemy: Islam.

    Let’s get back to today. The only ideology endangering all of us non-Moslems today is the one thought up by Mohamed: Islam.

    Once that has been put back into its place, we can again return to squabbling among ourselves.

    As for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, she unnecessarily dilutes her effectiveness as a rallying point for former Moslems who have see “the light”–Islam for what it really is–by attacking a religion, lumping and equating it with ideologies such as Nazism and Communism.

  41. says

    Of course there is no comparison between the modern Catholic church and Mohammedanism – or communism and fascism. What I do find interesting is the way Catholicism can influence, sometimes quite subtly, the way that its adherents oppose Islam. At one point it was fashionable to say that Islam ought to have a reformation. Someone observed that Eposito would not be the person to suggest this – as a Jesuit, reformation was not a trope he was able to call on.
    Closer to home, I once suggested that someone might draw up 95 theses, listing criticisms of Islam These could be nailed to the noticeboard of a local mosques, in imitation of what Martin Luther did at the church of Wittenberg castle in 1517, generally taken as the starting point of the reformation. To my surprise, soon after, Hugh came up with a go at 95 bogus complaints made by Moslems against the west. I had forgotten, of course, that to a Catholic, 95 theses were something directed at you by your opponents and were to be regarded as erroneous and probably malicious.

  42. says

    It does seem a bit harsh to equate Catholicism with communism and Nazism, but some criticism is valid. Millions of Jews have persecuted, tortured, and killed by the Catholic church down through the centuries. Pope Pius XII earned a name as “Hitler’s pope”.
    And don’t forget the crusades to take the Holy Land from Muslim and Jew alike. Even today, the Catholic church can’t stand the idea of Christian holy sites being under Israeli administration.

  43. says

    I believe Ayaan Hirsi Ali (much like Rosie O’ Donnell) correctly interprets the *desires* of fundamentalist Catholics, and only errs by exaggerating by implication their willingness to use violent means to achieve their desires.

    Regarding mainstream Catholicism, the principal way in which it differs from mainstream Islam is in that there is less effort to enforce the draconian rules which are in fact “on the books”, so to speak, and even more importantly a lack of Islam’s inherent inclination towards violent enforcement of such rules. However, this distiction cannot be misconstrued to mean that some of the core tenets of Catholicism don’t bear critical examining.

    Much as how the problematic core tenets of Islam fuel the violence and bigotry of fundamentalist (which all too often = mainstream) Muslims, the difficulties that exist in Catholic doctrines and tradition also fuel a *large and growing* movement of Catholic fundamentalists. And these groups attempt to force their beliefs upon others not at the point of a gun, indeed, but through aggresive but non-violent means such as well-organized political activism. For more information, please examine this excellent and incredibly thorough piece from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which I’ve linked below.

    It focuses primarily on the anti-Semitism, not of the mainstream Catholic faith (except by the Catholic hierarchy’s tacit approval of Catholic traditionalists’ anti-Semitism), but of Catholic traditionalists and Catholic spliter groups.

    Note particularly the nature of the groups described under their section entitled “The Dirty Dozen.” I am personally familiar with 4 of the 12 groups, having been exposed to their literature on a weekly/monthly basis over the course of most of my life, and can vouch for the accuracy of SPLC’s description of them.

    “The New Crusaders”
    http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=719

    “The Dirty Dozen”
    http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=720

  44. says

    Maybe Ms. Ali should visit Poland and get a crash course from the locals conerning the positive attributes of Catholicism, Communism, and Nazisim.

  45. says

    “Regarding mainstream Catholicism, the principal way in which it differs from mainstream Islam is in that there is less effort to enforce the draconian rules which are in fact ‘on the books’, so to speak.”

    From a posting above.

    Well, you can knock me over with a feather! I would’ve guessed the principal difference between Catholicism and Islam would have been something like Catholic recognition of Jesus as the Word Made Flesh, rather than Moslem relegation of Jesus to the rank of second-string prophet. D’oh!

  46. says

    Carolyn2: ” This — http://utahamicus.blogspot.com/2006/11/norman-rockwell-thanksgiving.html — is the Christianity I was raised with.”…
    __________

    Actually, it looks like you were raised a Mormon. I hear Glen Beck is a Mormon too.

    A few decades ago Mormons did not want to be associated with Christians and Christians did not want to associate with Mormons.

    As with Islam today, in the 18th century, the Mormons condoned polygamy.

    In Islam, if you become an apostate you must atone for it with your own blood. 150 years ago, the Mormons also preached ‘blood attonement': http://www.xmission.com/~country/reason/blood.htm

    The point I’m trying to make is that religions can change. Perhaps in 150 years Islam will no longer be considered evil.