An interview with an international hero of the resistance to jihad, the Somali-born Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. From Expatica, with thanks to Peter Rockas and RickB:
People who object to her criticism of Islam should take her to court rather than take the law into their own hands, Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells Abi Daruvalla.
Hirsi Ali has been moved to a safe house following new death threats and the publication of her private address on an Islamic website just four days after her controversial film ‘Submission’ was screened on Dutch TV.
Somali-born Hirsi Ali, 34, is herself a former Muslim and an outspoken critic of Islam’s treatment of women. Her film ‘Submission’ which depicts the text of the Koran on the naked flesh of Muslim women, is provoking a furore in the Netherlands.
With the assassination of right-wing political leader Pim Fortuyn in May 2002 still horribly fresh in people’s minds, the Dutch security services are clearly taking no chances and have mounted round-the-clock protection.
But Hirsi Ali is undaunted: “Reactions to my film have been varied and I accept some people are offended, that’s legitimate, but in a democracy it is not legitimate to intimidate and threaten someone for expressing her views. I made the film to publicise an injustice that is being ignored not only in Holland but throughout the world.”
Hirsi Ali reflects the spirit of today’s Dutch society with her conviction that ‘tolerance’ means Muslims in the Netherlands — almost one million in a total population of 16 million — must accept Western values.
“That means people from non-Western countries need to be educated about democratic values which include the freedom of expression,” said Hirsi Ali. If people feel she has gone too far with her film they must take her to court and not take the law into their own hands, she said defiantly. “Otherwise the rule of the jungle will prevail,” she added. …
‘Submission’ is written and narrated in English by Hirsi Ali. The 11-minute film takes the form of four monologues by women praying to Allah: one has been whipped for having an illicit love affair; another faces an arranged marriage to a man she finds sexually repulsive, a third was beaten by her husband and the last is pregnant after being raped by her uncle. Their injuries are clearly visible through their transparent chador.
Hirsi Ali claims more than 60 percent of those fleeing domestic violence in Dutch women’s shelters are Muslim. But Muslim organisations say ‘Submission’ contributes nothing towards a solution.
Canan Ujar of the women’s federation of Holland’s biggest Muslim organisation, Milli GÃ¶rÃ¼s: “This film is worthless and the nudity unnecessary. Emancipation has to come from within the Muslim community itself and we are already working on this by encouraging women to talk about domestic violence, organizing workshops to educate women on their rights and teaching them how to handle threatening situations.”
To others, the film resembles more an ‘erotic’ art film than a political statement. Cisca Dresselhuys, Holland’s veteran feminist, concedes that the carefully choreographed scenes conjure up erotic associations for her but said this doesn’t detract her from the central message of the film: “It is a very beautiful, poetic film but it is shocking. I don’t think it would have been any stronger by making it full of blood and gore.”
Hirsi Ali said the actresses are nude — she insisted that pubic hair and nipples were not visible — because she wants to show the “naked truth” that domestic violence committed against Muslim women is condoned by the Koran.
The film also has supporters among Muslim women. Fadoua Bouali, a 33-year-old nurse in Amsterdam who has lived in Holland since she was seven, said she and many other Moroccan women are grateful that she is giving them a voice. “The conversations the women [in the film] have with God touched me as a Muslim woman enormously because they symbolize ‘real’ prayers.” The fact that the women are naked does not disturb Bouali.
Hirsi Ali says her aim is to reach out to Muslim women who live in fear so that they could see themselves reflected in the film and find the strength to break out of their situation. She also wants to provoke western liberals into taking a stand against violence against Muslim women: “People don’t want to insult other cultures, but they should not close their eyes to the violence.”