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August 26, 2006

The Caged Virgin

(An Emancipation Proclamation for the Women and Islam)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali – ISBN13 – 9780743288330

For those unaware, Ali is the Somali woman who wrote the script which Theo Van Gogh produced, and resulted in his assassination by a Muslim in Holland. She is a brilliant woman who escaped her suffocating family—and religion--immigrated to Holland, learned Dutch, achieved independence and a fine education, was elected to the Dutch parliament, and is a prime mover to reform Islam and inform the West. Recently challenged for “falsifying her entry documents” to gain citizenship in Holland, she has resigned parliament and is moving to the U.S. to accept a position with the American Enterprise Institute where, in my opinion, she will be more influential and more respected than in Holland.

I have previously recommended, and reviewed, What Went Wrong, Sword of the Prophet, and Why I Am Not a Muslim. This book is different. It is brief, to the point, and rendered from personal experience (including genital mutilation, the horrors of which she discusses fully.) It also provides answers to the questions it posits. One is simultaneously alarmed by the narrative and overwhelmed by her courage. She (more eloquently than I have in the past) makes the point that the problem isn’t, or isn’t only, radical Islam, but Islam itself! It is a pre-modern, unreformed religion based in Arab tribalism; a world inhabited by ghosts, spirits of the dead, invisible creatures, magic, seduction and belief that paradise can be achieved thru violence and martyrdom.

Islam is the only religion founded by a warrior; built using tactics including lying, torture, assassination, mass murder, and the destruction of goods and communities. While painful for Muslims to admit, these are historic facts.

The moral framework of Islam, unlike Christianity and Judaism, has not changed with the times, and will have to be forced to change, somehow. The fact that the majority of Muslims live in dire circumstances, with disease, overpopulation, starvation and unemployment has yet to cause them to reflect upon their plight in any constructive way.

• “We Muslims have completely lost sight of the balance between religion and reason.” (I would suggest, rather, that there has never been such a balance.)
• “The best way for Islamic culture to liberate itself from its backwardness is by ceasing to blame others.”
• “This personal suffering [primarily of women] is the inevitable result of the form Islam takes at home, at school, in everyday life, and in the media.”
• “The primary task of both Muslims and non-Muslims is to face the malicious extremism manifest in the attacks of September ll. Do not underestimate it. Fear of that kind of Islam is valid. Fanaticism in Islam . . . is growing steadily.”
• “We Muslims are inclined to view universal values, such as freedom of the individual and the equality of men and women, as exclusively Western values. This is wrong.”

Islam is a beautiful and tolerant religion, in theory. But it is submerged by Arabian cultural imperialism. No educated Muslim can raise issues of faith which deviate from the Koran; the uneducated masses never consider it. Most everything in the Koran is outdated, yet it cannot be challenged. Muhammad’s first victims are the minds of Muslims themselves, imprisoned as they are in the fear of hell and the natural pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

Much of the trouble is the cult of virginity; hence the book’s title. Women are property. They cannot do anything without approval of the males of the family, must stay in the home, and are subject to cruelty, beatings, rape and humiliation. All of this social control results in Muslim women maintaining their own repression.

She describes the effect on the family structure as well. There is a harsh influence on children, especially young boys, who are raised by “caged” women who are ignorant, without experience or education. They have no self-image and no control over them. Little girls are unappreciated, dealt with as property, and little cared for. They grow into womanhood with built-in feelings of inferiority. They are made so! Nowhere in the world is the position of women as bad as in Islamic countries. When half of the population is not permitted to contribute, except as household and sexual slaves, it is small wonder there has been no progress in more than a millennium.

She elaborates succinctly on the errors of the West, and especially multiculturalists. Afraid to be called “Islamophobic," they refuse to criticize those viewed as “victims,” and encourage Muslims to maintain their culture. There is inflexible defense of Islamic education which perpetuates the poverty and alienation of Muslims, and permits the teaching of hate. This attitude, refusing to hold Muslims to the same standards as all others has resulted in gains by the reactionary forces. Moderates are being intimidated and forced into hiding, figuratively at least. The West is clearly afraid of Muslims, afraid to confront their illusions, and this fear of offending leads to the perpetuation of injustice and human suffering. This is dangerous and must be stopped.

A satanic pact has been forged between Westerners who make their living by representing Muslim interests . . . those who have a vested interest in maintaining the cage—a myopic, selfish, short-term interest (not at all unlike Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson do with black Americans.)

Waiting for enlightenment to take place within Islam is a mistake. It won’t happen. The West must help it to change—by opposing the radicals, supporting the moderates, and not tolerating the current activities and attitudes. “Tolerance” isn’t working. It is in the interest of the Islamic world and of the Western world to promote a flourishing culture of self-criticism among Muslims and support them whereever possible.

And it would help a lot if Western leaders weren’t always ruminating that Islam is a religion of peace, hijacked by the fascists! It isn’t so!

She notes that Bin Laden and his ilk have succeeded in achieving the exact opposite of what was intended. Things will no doubt get worse first—as they have since the book was written—but 9/11 was a mistake of horrendous proportions. It marks “the beginning of the end of Islam as we know it.”

I believe it will take an act which dwarfs 9/11 to finally get the West’s attention, but when that happens the gloves will come off and Islam will be dealt with as was Nazism. Unfortunately, it will take a more serious act of terrorism. Our generation’s “Pearl Harbor” has already been forgotten by most, and the current course of the Iraqi war is tiresome, so we want to quit. Can’t happen . . . won’t happen. They won’t let it. This is a battle between religions, and a battle about civilization.

If you have not yet been introduced, I’d suggest you go to memritv.org/ and click on favorites. Then choose the video of the interview with Waffa Sultan. You can read an abbreviated transcript of that interview at memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=1050. Sultan is another strident supporter of the westernization of Islam, and like Ali a convert to agnosticism. Also, like Ali she is now in the United States.

Posted by respeto at August 26, 2006 12:51 PM