The strange journey of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali“The former ‘liberal’ who becomes an outspoken right-winger has become an American political archetype. Ronald Reagan and David Horowiz are two prime examples of the breed….

“Recently, a related version of this turncoat persona – former Dutch Member of Parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali – has emerged: a ‘reformed’ Muslim woman who favors crushing Islam under the boot of Western militarism. Once very devout in her Muslim beliefs, Ali has gained a great deal of media attention – including horrific tales of her abuse at the hands of Muslim men – and has transformed into an outspoken critic who bases her calls for the destruction of Islam on feminist and human rights principles….

“She is poised to become the most recognizable face of naked Islamophobia in America. Expect to see her as a ubiquitous guest on cable news channels and frequent contributor of op-eds reinforcing the worst stereotypes about the Muslim world. She’ll validate already disturbingly common narratives about the perfidy of Islam, and she’ll tout the vast superiority of Western thinking in stark terms that would be shocking coming from a more traditional (read: white, Christian) right-wing commentator….

“Hirsi Ali has become a darling of those who believe in the benevolence of Western hegemony; The Economist described her as a ‘cultural ideologue of the new right’…. Her outspoken advocacy on feminist ethical issues – roundly condemning ‘honor killings’ and female circumcision – has also made her a poster-girl for the aggressive brand of atheism typified by figures like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, all three of whom have held her life-story up as an example of the harms caused by religion in general, and Islam in particular. For them, she’s a living testament to the idea that rational liberal interventionists in the post-Enlightenment West have a moral duty to wage a new crusade against the Muslim world.”

Joshua Holland at AlterNet, 12 November 2007