I have a google alert on the name "Ayaan Hirsi Ali". I'm interested to find out what kind of publicity can be gained by abandoning Islam and adopting far-Right pseudo-liberal politics. Each day, I receive at least 3 places where Hirsi Magaan (her real name) is referred to. Mostly these mentions are in far-Right blogs where she is promoted as some poor suffering brave woman forced to seek sanctuary and faced with the burden of counting so much cash from her best-selling autobiography.
Yep, it's a tough job but someone has to do it.
One such blog mention sent to me today is at this blog. I almost vomited when I read the references to bravery. Seriously, what planet are these loopy bloggers living on? I couldn't help but leave this response ...
There is nothing brave about people like Ibn Warraq and Ayaan Hirsi Magaan (Hirsi Ali is the false name she used to defraud Dutch immigration authorities).
The fact is that Ms Hirsi Magaan travels freely around the world, with little or no threat from anyone.
I myself interviewed Ms Hirsi Magaan when she was in Sydney for the Sydney Writers' Festival. I sat within 30 cm of her, and no guards were present.
However, ultra-Right cultural warriors determined to generate war with anyone not as culturally chauvinistic as them will always paint the Hirsi Magaans as brave.
There are Muslims working within Muslim communities seeking genuine reform.
They risk their lives trying to work within the communities. They don't take the easy (and lucrative) option of just giving up on their faith and communities and seeking (often by dishonest means) "refuge" in Western countries.
I myself have received death threats because of stands I have taken. What do I do? Do I go crying to Daniel Pipes begging him to write a column about my bravery? Do I seek refuge in the EU under a false name? Or do I quietly struggle on?
Real struggle is carried on without behaving like a drama queen in a neo-Conservative pantomine. But I doubt readers of this and other far-Right blogs will appreciate that.
Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf
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