Ayaan Hirsi Ali aka Ayaan Hirsi Magan Profile - updated 6/27/14

Ayaan Hirsi Ali aka Ayaan Hirsi Magan Profile

by Sheila Musaji

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has in the past made statements such as calling Islam “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death” *** and saying ” I think that we are at war with Islam,” and it must be defeated.  ***.  Although she often makes statements such as “we Muslims”, she has also said “I have become an atheist.” ***  Who is she?  Is she an activist or an Islamophobic bigot?  This profile provides some background.

Here are a few quotes from the articles listed below about Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

“...  A “critic.”  That’s a lukewarm description for someone who has expressed her support for defeating Islam (not extremists, but the entire faith) by military means if necessary. Let’s be clear: Such measures do not constitute “criticism.” Instead, they are dangerously close to advocating genocide.

Similarly, it is not “criticism” to promote the idea that the 2010 massacre carried out by the Norwegian terrorist, Anders Breivik, was a result of his supposed censorship. That is dangerously close to justifying an act terrorism that killed 77 and injured more than 300 others.

It is fine to be a critic of Islam or any religion. But Hirsi Ali crosses a line. Suggesting that her views are simply unfavorable normalizes extremism. It also dilutes genuine critiques by lumping them into one vague category that contains calls for military action against Muslims and reasoned negative appraisals alike. And, it legitimizes the idea that reasoned criticism of Islam is enough to warrant the denial of a public platform. ...”  Nathan Lean

In an interview with the British newspaper Metro, Ali was asked whether she sees any positive sides to Islam. She replied, “That’s like asking if I see positive sides to Nazism, communism, Catholicism. Of course Islam preaches generosity and kindness and taking care of the poor and elderly and so on—but these values aren’t limited to Islam.”  Dr. Hesham Hassaballa

... “I have now publicly denounced God…I am an atheist at heart,” says Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her writings about herself and her self-proclaimed struggle to reform Islam. “We Muslims must help each other,” she elaborates.

Muslims reading these two statements side by side may be scratching their heads in confusion. In theological terms, a Muslim is one who states simply that “There is no diety but God, and that Muhammad is His (last) messenger.” The public avowal of these words - of believing in God - is sufficient to be counted as Muslim. The strength of belief and practice that lie behind them is immaterial. To be a Muslim in this sense is black and white, you say that you believe and you are considered a Muslim, or you say that you don’t, and you’re not.

But Miss Hirsi Ali peppers her writings with the phrase “we Muslims”. She insists that she speaks as a voice from within the Muslim community. As a matter of faith and religion, her position in Islamic terms is quite clear - it is not possible that she is a Muslim since she does not believe in God. But she defines herself as a Muslim by virtue of her culture, ethnicity and upbringing. This, she believes, makes her a Muslim, because the separation of culture and religion in her view is a false dichotomy.

Irrespective of the clarity of the Islamic criteria for being a Muslim, it seems that the wider community consider such individuals nevertheless as Muslim. More perplexingly these individuals also consider themselves to be Muslim. Perhaps ten or even twenty years ago, nationalism would have been the grounding for identity, and Hirsi Ali would have defined herself as Somalian. Today, she sees being Muslim as a cultural state, not one of religious belief. Shelina Zahra Janmohamed

The seriously faulty Rand Report titled Building Moderate Muslim Networks   ” ...  concludes by giving several examples of moderate Muslims, and surprisingly they include prominent Islam bashers. The list includes Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasreen, Irshad Manji, Basam Tibi, etc. Ultimately, it is not commitment to democratic values and practices, but proximity to Islam, that sets moderates and radicals is the eyes of the authors of the recent RAND report on moderate Islam. ...” Louay Safi

...  It has been reported that Brandeis University spokespeople have said that they were unaware of some of Ali’s past statements at the time they made the plans to award the honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  The decision not to award the honorary degree was made after they were made aware of these statements.  ...  Her 2007 interview with Reason is a good example of the sorts of statements she has made.  Read the full interview and see if it is possible for any reasonable person to imagine any context in which what she is saying can be interpreted as anything except bigotry, and prejudice.  ...  Sheila Musaji

Here is a short passage from the Reason interview:  “... Reason: Should we acknowledge that organized religion has sometimes sparked precisely the kinds of emancipation movements that could lift Islam into modern times? Slavery in the United States ended in part because of opposition by prominent church members and the communities they galvanized. The Polish Catholic Church helped defeat the Jaruzelski puppet regime. Do you think Islam could bring about similar social and political changes?

Hirsi Ali: Only if Islam is defeated. Because right now, the political side of Islam, the power-hungry expansionist side of Islam, has become superior to the Sufis and the Ismailis and the peace-seeking Muslims.

Reason: Don’t you mean defeating radical Islam?

Hirsi Ali: No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.

Reason: We have to crush the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims under our boot? In concrete terms, what does that mean, “defeat Islam”?

Hirsi Ali: I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. For starters, you stop the spread of the ideology itself; at present, there are native Westerners converting to Islam, and they’re the most fanatical sometimes. There is infiltration of Islam in the schools and universities of the West. You stop that. You stop the symbol burning and the effigy burning, and you look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, “This is a warning. We won’t accept this anymore.” There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.

Reason: Militarily?

Hirsi Ali: In all forms, and if you don’t do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed. ... Reason Magazine Interview

...  Hirsi-Ali has been embraced by the coterie of anti-Muslim bloggers, activists and politicians whose influence grew in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.  She left conflict-riven Somalia, where she said she underwent female genital mutilation, when she was young. Hirsi-Ali eventually obtained asylum in the Netherlands, where she was elected to Parliament but stripped of her citizenship and left the country in 2006 amidst a controversy over details of her application.  Hirsi-Ali admitted she lied about a number of details because, she said, she was fleeing a forced marriage.

She came to the U.S. after leaving the Netherlands, and joined the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute as a fellow.  Today, she is a fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Celebrated by the right for her outspoken views on how women are treated in Muslim countries, she has been praised by figures like anti-Muslim bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. ... Alex Kane


A Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_whos_who_of_the_anti-muslimanti-arabislamophobia_industry
The Agenda Behind Honor Diaries (Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Executive Producer & “expert”), Roqayah Chamseddine http://roqayah.co/2014/04/01/the-agenda-behind-honor-diaries/
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Right Web profile http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/hirsi_ali_ayaan
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is to be allowed to keep her Dutch citizenship despite lying in her asylum application in 1992 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5120846.stm
Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the dangerous anti-Islamic logic of the war on terror, Eric Levitz http://www.salon.com/2014/04/20/ayaan_hirsi_ali_and_the_dangerous_anti_islamic_logic_of_the_war_on_terror/
Ayaan Hirsi Ali & Brandeis University: A View from Campus, Celene Ayat Ibrahim-Lizzio http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2014/04/13071/
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Enlightened intolerance http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2014/04/ayaan-hirsi-ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Neither a Critic of Islam, Nor a Champion of Women’s Rights, Nathan Lean http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-lean/ayaan-hirsi-ali-neither-a_b_5175604.html
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Conservative Think Tank Scholar Promotes Claim That Norway Terrorist Attacked Because He Was Censored, Ali Gharib http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/06/01/492884/ayaan-hirsi-ali-breivik-norway-terrorist/
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Hateful Quote Makes Its Rounds on Facebook http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/06/ayaan-hirsi-alis-hateful-quote-makes-its-rounds-on-facebook/
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: “Change the Constitution to Eliminate Muslim Rights” http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/01/ayaan-hirsi-ali-change-the-constitution-to-eliminate-muslim-rights/
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The Gadfly, Nicholas D. Kristof http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/books/review/Kristof-t.html?ref=review&pagewanted=all
Ayaan Hirsi Ali should not testify before Rep. Peter King, Josh Rosenau http://scienceblogs.com/tfk/2011/01/21/ayaan-hirsi-ali-should-not-tes/
Ayaan Hirsi Ali misuses Samuel Huntington, Michael Desch http://mondoweiss.net/2010/08/ayaan-hirsi-ali-misuses-samuel-huntington.html
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: A One-Note Islam Critic, Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/ayaan_hirsi_ali_a_one_note_islam_critic
Ayaan Hirsi Ali Says Israel-Palestine Peace Impossible Due to Muslim Fanaticism, Richard Silverstein http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2014/04/09/hirsi-ali-says-israel-palestine-impossible-due-to-muslim-fanaticism/
Hirsi Ali: telling a critic from an Islamophobe, Kashif Chaudhry http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/28-Apr-2014/hirsi-ali-telling-a-critic-from-an-islamophobe
A Muslim by any other name, Shelina Zahra Janmohamed http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_muslim_by_any_other_name
Anti-Muslim activists seethe after Brandeis withdraws honor to Ayaan Hirsi Ali http://imagine2050.newcomm.org/2014/04/10/anti-muslim-activists-seethe-after-brandeis-withdraws-honor-to-ayaan-hirsi-ali/#sthash.RGgFWE6I.dpuf
Apostate Politics: How Some Recanted Muslims Have Bolstered Militarist US Policies http://rightweb.irc-online.org/articles/display/apostate_politics_how_some_recanted_muslims_have_bolstered_militarist_us_po#sthash.CCWwUkUS.dpuf
Brandeis Cancels Plan to Give Honorary Degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Critic of Islam, Richard Perez Pena http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/09/us/brandeis-cancels-plan-to-give-honorary-degree-to-ayaan-hirsi-ali-a-critic-of-islam.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=2
Brandeis retracts plan to honor anti-Muslim activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Alex Kane http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/brandeis-retracts-activist.html
Brandeis University Reconsiders and Will Not Honor Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/brandeis1
Critic of Islam to quit Holland after lies are exposed, David Rennie http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/1518532/Critic-of-Islam-to-quit-Holland-after-lies-are-exposed.html
Dutch Immigration scandal: The ups, downs, and outs of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Zahed Amanullah http://www.patheos.com/blogs/altmuslim/2006/05/the_ups_downs_and_outs_of_ayaan_hirsi_ali/ 
Freedom to Offend Everyone, Nesrine Malik http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/opinion/freedom-to-offend-everyone.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
The Jewish community must not embrace Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Rachel Roberts http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/jewish-community-embrace.html
The ‘Muslim insiders’ of the War on Terror, Theodore Sayeed http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/the-muslim-insiders-of-the-war-on-terror.html
Myopic Builders and Elusive Moderates, Louay Safi http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/myopic_builders_and_elusive_moderates
Newsweek Inspires Comedic Rage with Ayaan Hirsi Ali article, Alexander Hamid http://www.the-platform.org.uk/2012/09/20/newsweek-inspires-comedic-rage/
No, Brandeis Isn’t ‘Silencing’ Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ali Gharib http://blogs.forward.com/forward-thinking/196399/no-brandeis-isnt-silencing-ayaan-hirsi-ali/
No Honor for A Career of Hate, Dr. Amina Wadud http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/no-honor-for-a-career-of-hate/0020166
Petitioned to Brandeis University Administration: Speak out against honoring Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Brandeis’ 2014 Commencement http://www.change.org/petitions/brandeis-university-administration-speak-out-against-honoring-ayaan-hirsi-ali-at-brandeis-2014-commencement
The question we should be asking about Brandeis, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Islam, Omid Safi http://omidsafi.religionnews.com/2014/04/11/question-asking-brandeis-ayaan-hirsi-ali-islam/
Response to Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Question in the NY Times: Where are the Moderate Muslims?, Danya Shakfeh http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/response_to_ayaan_hirsi_alis_question_in_the_ny_times_where_are_the_moderat
Reason magazine interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali http://reason.com/archives/2007/10/10/the-trouble-is-the-west/singlepage
T.V. Truth Moment: Tavis Smiley Takes Out Ayaan Hirsi Ali http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/05/t-v-truth-moment-tavis-smiley-takes-out-ayaan-hirsi-ali/
What Was Brandeis Thinking When It Invited Ayaan Hirsi Ali to Speak?, Benjamin Wallace-Wells http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/04/what-was-brandeis-thinking.html
When Neo-Cons And Liberals Unite: The Case of Anti-Muslim Crusader Ayaan Hirsi Ali http://www.loonwatch.com/2014/04/when-neo-cons-and-liberals-unite-the-case-of-anti-muslim-crusader-ayaan-hirsi-ali/
Why Ayaan Hirsi Ali Gets A Conservative Media Spotlight, Michelle Leung http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/04/11/why-aayan-hirsi-ali-gets-a-conservative-media-s/198856
Why white people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Katrina Fox http://www.thescavenger.net/feminism-a-pop-culture-sp-9560/feminism-a-pop-culture/387-why-white-people-like-ayaan-hirsi-ali-83967.html