Islam shouldn’t be an exception

Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

PAUL MONK/ The Australian

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is coming to ­Australia soon to speak about ­reforming traditional Islam and confronting militant Islam. There are people and organisations trying to prevent her from coming or speaking. They describe her as an “extremist” who engages in “hate speech”. They are in error. She must be allowed both to come here and to speak.

Islam is Islam. It can’t be reformed.

Over the past week, the organisation hosting her — Think Inc — has been harassed. Its insurers have been contacted and warned there could be trouble. Venues where she is scheduled to speak have been contacted, warned there will be protests and urged to cancel her engagements. Bill Leak, were he still with us, would have had a field day with this.

The usual. Ask the Q-Society who hosted Geert Wilders. To set up such a venue is a nightmare.

Much of this has been done by an individual called Syed Murtaza Hussain of the Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia Inc. He informed Festival Hall in Melbourne there would be 5000 protesters outside the venue if the engagement went ahead. There have been other initiatives, including an abortive appeal on to prevent Ali from speaking.

Syed Murtaza Hussain and everyone who supports him should be arrested and charged with stirring up unrest and sedition.

Think Inc is the budding creation of two very fine young Australian entrepreneurs, Suzi Jamil and Desh Amila. They bring top class speakers here, covering the spectrum of both the natural ­sciences and public affairs. They don’t shrink from controversy. Cosmologists Brian Greene and Lisa Randall have been among their speakers. So have Julian ­Assange and Edward Snowden — by video link. There were no demonstrations in any of these cases. Why should there be in Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s case?

She is a woman of Somali origin who fled from Islam and has written and spoken as a trenchant critic of it, first from Holland and more recently from the United States. Her books, The Caged Virgin (2006), Infidel (2007), Nomad (2010), and Heretic (2015) have rightly made her a celebrity speaker. I have met her and heard her speak. She is dignified, articulate, courageous and well worth listening to on the challenge that Islam presents to the world at large.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the Council on American Islamic ­Relations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, all powerful international organisations, see her as a dangerous enemy and are determined to silence her. They have enlisted allies, strangely enough, on the regressive Left, who insist that criticism of Islam is in and of itself a kind of “Orientalist” or “neo-colonial” phenomenon and should be denounced as racist and bigoted. This strange ­alliance of conservative Muslims and self-styled Leftist “progressives” has been conducting a campaign to attack, discredit and silence Ali.

There are two fundamental things at stake here: first, the empirical question about the realities of Islam and second, the right to freedom of speech. If what Ali stands for and has written is not accurate in any point of detail, there is no reason why it cannot be challenged or corrected. This would be the case even if she really was an “extremist”. As it happens, she is largely correct in her criticisms of Islam and the attempt to silence her — which has long included relentless threats of violence — is not only misguided, but downright sinister. She has never stirred up a mob or issued threats of violence. She has fought exclusively with the pen, not with the sword. Her enemies would like to deny her these things.

Let’s be clear that there is plenty to criticise in Islam and that the freedom to engage in such criticism is suppressed across the Muslim world. The OIC and other Muslim groups are striving to suppress any criticism. They must not succeed. Ali particularly angers them because she is a ­former Muslim, a woman, dark skinned and therefore one of the Left’s “oppressed”, highly articulate and brave enough to have ­declared herself not only an apostate from Islam, but an atheist. The Koran and Muslim tradition punish these things with death sentences.

Ali ought to be lionised for her courage and her defence of both women’s rights and the rights of Muslims generally to liberty and freedom of expression. Instead, she is denounced as an enemy of tolerance and the open society. She is anything but those things.

In a liberal society one is free to choose and to change one’s ­religion, one is free to not adhere to any religion and one is free to ­inquire, read, speak and write ­critically of religions, political ­ideologies and other matters, ­including law and morals.

Wherever Islam — whether Sunni or Shia — rules, however, it makes itself an exception to such liberties. Its militant adherents are actively seeking to extend that regime of religious exceptionalism and intolerance in the Western democracies by attempting to ban any criticism of Islam.

Ali opposes them candidly and they deeply resent the fact that she has been finding an audience. We must insist on her freedom of speech and resist efforts to censor or intimidate her.

Paul Monk is a former senior intelligence analyst, an author and a member of the editorial board for the Rationalist Society. For Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s speaking schedule see:

9 thoughts on “Islam shouldn’t be an exception”

  1. Once more Islam reveals its true nature. It hates and fears exposure. It hides behind the cloak of anti Islamophobia while white anting the freedoms that previous generations fought and died for. I disagree with atheists point of view but respect their right to air it. Even Muslims have a right to air their views – provided that they give the same opportunities to Islam’s critics. That put paid to that idea.

  2. Truth = Light = God
    If you say you love God but oppose Light… then you do not have Truth but darkness, lie and hell.
    It doesn’t matter if you are secular or theocratic… the Devil is your true father.

  3. Islam is Muhammad worship, a political system designed to enslave minds to the will of Muhammad..
    And the fact is Muhammad was a very bad man..
    You can’t reform Islam because Islam is Muhammad’s will and Muhammad is dead you can’t go back and change Muhammad now and what would be the point anyway? Just stop worshiping the perverted barbarian and Islam disappears!

  4. If Islam could be reformed it would not be Islam.

    The idea is repugnant to all Muslims except those engaged in Taqiyya.

  5. I applaud Ayn Hirsi Ali’s courage but Islam cannot be reformed. The Christian Reformation involved going back to the scriptures and ridding the Church of man-made dogma.

    The problem with Islam IS the scriptures. It is beyond reformation. It is the doctrine of Satan.

  6. As you say, Ayan Hirsi Ali is both dignified and articulate. She also speaks from a position of moral authority, having suffered greatly on account of Islam. In short, she is a highly effective critic of Islam. Far easier for Islamists to engage in name-calling and use ANY means to silence her than to actually engage with her substantively.

    1. Hirsi Ali believes Islam can be reformed. It can’t. That’s where we differ.

      1. No, I do think that Ayaan Hirsi Ali believes it.
        What she is recommending is a way out.

        And if you are right, sheikyermami ( and I think you are) what is the solution a practical solution?

        Yes, and where are the reforms and reformers.

        This article by Robert Spencer gives you an idea why it cannot be reformed.
        It is about Zuhdi Jasser a reformist Muslim.

        and this by Pamela Geller where she says this.

        “Here is another truth that Jasser doesn’t want aired about: his organization is minuscule. Where is the invisible giant movement of his? And why has he not prevailed and gained a huge Muslim following in the wake of the unfathomable bloodshed for which jihadis are responsible, if that bloodshed were so very un-Islamic? He has no significant following among Muslims, and is not going to get one. He is much more popular among non-Muslims who are just aching to be fooled.”

        1. I never took Jasser seriously. He has a following of one, Jasser.

          This latest rant about Spencer & Geller being “useful idiots” is typical Mohammedan projection. We have heard the same drivel from other da’awa gigolos many times before.

          Here’s an encounter I had with him some years back:

          Fibber Zuhdi Jasser: Please read and disseminate our full report from USCIRF after our trip to Burma in August 2014 reviewing our findings of the horrible religious freedom situation there. On the eve of President Obama’s upcoming trip to Burma our findings will be particularly relevant. Will President Obama even use the word “Rohingya”? Will he continue to praise their “political progress” while ignoring the plight of religious freedom especially for Muslims and Kachin Christians? Read our report and hold our President and media accountable.
          Everywhere you look in the world, in the present age and in times past, Muslims have been waging their jihad on indigenous peoples, wiping out their cultures, traditions, moral codes and systems of jurisprudence. What we see in Burma, are indigenous peoples (Buddhists) fighting back against the non-indigenuous Islamic horde, and while the violence carried out is entirely regrettable, such a gross violation of national sovereignty should never be rewarded with a de facto state of their own.

          Here’s the exchange:

          Warren Raymond “Rohingya” is an invention just like the “Palestinians” were invented after 1967. They are Bengal Muslim invaders. If they are legitimised, they will wipe out the Buddhists of Burma, just like they wiped out the Buddhists of Afghanistan and India.
          M Zuhdi Jasser Warren Raymond all nations have challenges with immigrant populations with regards to national security and identity. Read our full report. Your comments and Burma’s chauvinistic solutions will not work and are inhumane. These are Muslims who have been Burmese for generations. To deny them religious freedom and agency is a crime and violates all standards of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We saw little to no evidence of any penetration of AQ, MB, JI, or Wahhabism or petro-radical Islamist movements in the groups ideologies we met nor evidenced provably by Burma’s government. If there is a disenfranchised community of Muslims in the world from both the west and the Islamists of the OIC, it is the Rohingya Muslims of Burma. This in no way minimizes any national security risks any groups like Islamists may pose, but you should know that Burmese chauvinism and criminal religious discrimination serves only to put jet fuel into Muslim separatism and radicalization to the extent that it exists at all in Burma. To deny them all religious freedom and agency after they have been in Burma for generations is not only a failed strategy but inhumane.
          Warren Raymond The humanity of Muslims is legendary, Zuhdi. In Pakistan and Bangladesh they prove it daily. The Turks proved it with the Armenians and Iran does it every day with the Christians and the Bahai. Considering that unbelievers are the ‘vilest of beasts’ and sons of apes and swine and that in that ideology only Muslims are considered ‘human’ I prefer the injustice of eviction to legitimising the invasion. “Rohingya” is not a people, they have no history, no king, no coinage and no land, they are Bengali Muslims, nothing else. Their claim is based on fraud and deception. Nothing, except the law of allah entitles them to settle in Burma, and their ‘disenfranchisement’ is of their own making. It always is, because in Burma the Muslims are no different from anywhere else. They are illegal settlers in a land where they have committed many crimes. I have been to Burma, I have seen their mosques and I have seen no difference to what they do elsewhere. “Penetration of AQ, MB, JI, or Wahhabism or petro-radical Islamist movements” may not be as strong as elsewhere because they are being closely watched, but it is clearly there. There are many Arabs strutting their stuff, which means the petrodollar jihad is in full swing.
          M Zuhdi Jasser Warren Raymond there is no rational way to respond to your blanketed deception and hate for all Muslims. Regardless of the truth or fiction of your stereotype, as a strategy it’s doomed to failure arguing for an endgame that attempts to convert all Muslims 1/4 of the world out of Islam. Your inhumane un-American generalizations about all Muslims includes me, my family and all our supporters and anti-Islamists…Muslims like the majority of Egyptians who threw out the MB. Your ideas are doomed to fail and stand against everything America stands for.
          Warren Raymond A very stereotypical Muslim response, Zuhdi. Let nothing deter you from advancing the Islamic expansion program, or is it pogrom?
          M Zuhdi Jasser Warren Raymond you just proved your fascism. Calling my work advancing a pogrom is the summit of disinformation. I’m done here.
          Warren Raymond Projection is the first and last refuge of the scoundrel, Zuhdi. I don’t hate, I care. I care for my society, for my culture, for my civilisation and for my people. Not for the blood-cult of Islam, not for a culture of savagery, deception and destruction, Islam has no redeeming features, all of it has to go. Advancing the Mohammedan agenda for the Bengal invaders against the Buddhists makes it clear which side you’re on. I don’t think you have any divided loyalties, you are simply playing for time. Jihad by demographics….

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