Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of today's most admired and controversial political figures. She burst into international headlines following the murder of Theo van Gogh by an Islamist who threatened she would be next. An international bestseller, her life story INFIDEL shows the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished -- and sometimes reviled -- political superstar and champion of free speech. Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali's story tells how a bright, curious, dutiful little girl evolves into a pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no other book could be more timely, or more significant.
About the Author
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia, was raised as a Muslim, and spent her childhood and young adulthood in Africa and Saudi Arabia. In 1992 Hirsi Ali went to the Netherlands as a refugee, escaping a forced marriage to a distant cousin she had never met. She denounced Islam after 9/11 and now works as a Dutch parliamentarian, fighting for the rights of Muslim women in Europe, the enlightenment of Islam, and for security in the West.
Once I started reading this book I couldn't put it down. Its contents are brutally honest and thoroughly shocking. A true eye opener to the way some women are forced to live their lives. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a truly inspirational woman!
After I finished Nomad by Hirsi Ali, I wanted to read Infidel to get a better idea on her background. I'm glad I did. While Nomad did go over most of the second half other back, Infidel goes into greater detail of her early childhood and her teen years. I liked this part of the book, especially the detailing of how she became quite devout in her teen years and the beginning of her 20s.
I know people debate this book, especially Muslims. Some people call Hirsi Ali's biography as being far too political. To those people I feel I must point out that she is a politician. It's like asking a musician to refrain from making their biography too musical, or to ask a sports player to remove all references to sports from their biography. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a politician. Her life is politics. You can't ask her to remove most of her life from her own autobiography.
Towards the end I started getting a little restless. I felt I had read most of this before, and I had, in Nomad. I mostly just skimmed the epilogue; most of it had been covered in the book I had already.
I find myself reading a lot of autobiographies and biographies about Muslim women who had pulled away from their religion. I think it's because it's so far removed from my life and my experiences. And I think this is partially why Hirsi Ali (and other women from Islamic backgrounds) write these books: to shock people like myself, and to get them to discover experiences that they wouldn't otherwise encounter. This is certainly why I read these books.
This book is a compelling and amazing account by one of the world's most recognizable former muslim women, now living in Amsterdam. She writes well and has a gentle voice even inside her book when talking about some of the harsh realities of her impoverished childhood in Somalia and Arabia etc. She starts off with life as a childm her family, her nomadic father whom she loved, and the religion that was all around her. She talks about how she thought and what she felt, and the conflicts of growing up. She talks about the shock of the world outside the Muslim religion and what it was to her and she talks about her escape to sanctuary in Holland, where she became an interpreter, her friendships witht he Dutch, her family issues when she left her religion and life in general for someone caught between two worlds. She is an amazing pillar of strength against many obstacles. This book doesn't seek to make a bad example of the muslim religion because deep in her heart she still loves the beautiful things about it, and talks about these things. But it does make points about how people can turn it into shackles against others and its not the way it was meant to be. Seriously recommend this book
In this moving autobiography, Ali takes us through her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia to her intellectual awakening in the Netherlands and her life under armed guard in the West. We relive her survival of the civil war and female circumcision, the brutal beatings, her adolescence as a devout believer, the rise of the Muslim brotherhood and her asylum in the Netherlands where she fought for the rights of Muslim women and the reform of Islam.
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