Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Infidel - Ayann Hirsi Ali
Infidel was one of the most interesting reads I have had in while. It also made me think - a lot. The book is very controversial because Ayaan Hirsi Ali looks at Islam from a very critical view. I wasn't sure what to expect but I was plesantly surprised that it was not a book about bashing Islam - it was a book talking about one woman's experiences and the reasons why her beliefs about Islam are the way they are. Hirsi Ali writes about her childhood (I don't even know if I would really call it that when looking at childhood from a Canadian viewpoint) living in Somalia, Kenya, Saudia Arabia and Ethiopia. Not only was she a refugee for most of her life, she also lived through much violence (both in the home and out) as well as in a devout Islamic family. Hirsi Ali talks about how her views about Islam changed as she got older and claimed refugee status in Holland. From what I understood from the novel her eyes were opened to the violence that some Islamic women face after she became a translator for the police and government. She was meeting women everyday at hospitals and homeless shelters, who were being abused and were scared. But because of their families beliefs (that women must obey and as Hirsi Ali says "submit" to their husbands) they had no where to go.
I found the book interesting. I do not know enough about Islam (or about African culture)to say if her views are true or not. Many people say that she is confusing culture and religion. I take what I read with a grain of salt - her experiences are not every woman in Islams experience. I know many Islamic women who are proud of their religious beliefs and are very happy in their lives. The same goes for Christian and Jewish women.
There is one thing that this book made me realize - women are abused all over the world and it is still acceptable in many places (including Canada). People need to speak out against violence - no matter if it is culturally or religiously based.