Betsy Speicher

Infidel

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Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Book suggested for rating by bborg.

What I most enjoyed, was following the thoughts that led her away from the values she had been brought up with. How was this woman able to do it, yet others around her not? She was a devout believer, seeing everything through a corrupted epistemology.Yet she was able to catch a glimpse of reality through that murky screen, then grasp it, to emerge free on the other side, looking back in dismay at the black hole she had emerged from.

The only reason I didn't give it a ten, was because I found it bothersome to keep track of all the names involved. This is a book well worth reading, and shows that we are truly masters of our destiny.

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I second Arnold's recommendation!

Heartily!

This is a powerful read indeed, not least of which because it reveals much of Miss Hirsi Ali's strength of mind -- her willingness to ask probing questions, to seek appropriate answers and to act upon them. I was most moved by the chapter in which she describes her arrival in Europe and the shock of wonder at the quality of life there as opposed to the world she had known.

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I'm reading it now, and noticed it had not been added for review yet. I'll post my thoughts once I've finished it.

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This is a good one!

It's inspiring to read about her transformation: from a Muslim believer, to one who had doubts, and finally to one who rejects religion. Always, she was willing to ask questions, and to follow her mind.

Also valuable is her documentation of the horrors of life in Islamic countries (especially for women and girls), which also underscores how courageous she had to be in order to escape, once she had rejected these evil ideas.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of the most courageous and inspiring individuals of our time.

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I'm the one who gave it a 6, and I feel I should explain. I was just a little disappointed in the book, as it was not as philosophical as I'd hoped. It was OK, but I didn't think it went into enough detail about her intellectual evolution. As for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, I give HER a solid 10. She is truly inspiring, and we atheists couldn't have a better representative. I really love her poised, calm, rational demeanor in her public appearances. Has anyone read other books by her? There's at least one other, but I haven't read it yet.

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I’ve rated it a 10. Parts of the book were very difficult to read. I felt faint reading about Miss Hirsi Ali's grandmother forcing excision onto her and her sister. And there was so much violence. I didn’t know if I would be able to finish it, except that there are such powerful conflicts (between individuals and within themselves) that I was spellbound at the same time. I don’t want to derail my own post with discussion about the detail and style of the book, but I thought it was a very well-crafted. The blend of contexts in the narrative of her childhood – her memories, the facts she’s later researched, and insights into her family – is incredibly rich.

I must disagree with a couple other comments here. As a child Hirsi Ali was devout in the sense that she practiced Islam to the letter, however she did not have the psycho-epistemology of a Muslim. Every step of the way she challenged the beliefs of Islam, wanted to understand them. She openly challenged inconsistencies – such as claims that Allah is just despite the treatment of women in the Quran – and desperately wanted an explanation for the poverty and war in Islamic nations (under the supposedly perfect divine law) and the wealth and prosperity of the “corrupt” West. Also, I found her commentary to be profoundly philosophical. The debates she’s had, both with Muslims who had the power to coerce her, and with others in Holland, cut to the heart of the issue.

Of course, I knew already that she was a brilliant speaker with a sharp mind. However I had no idea of all she accomplished and overcame in her life. I thought the book was insightful, provided a lot of information about Muslim culture I didn’t know, and gave a startling look at the danger it poses to those who will not submit. More people need to read this book. The world needs a wake-up call.

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More people need to read this book. The world needs a wake-up call.

I think they already received the wake-up call and unfortunatley hit the snooze button.

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I think they already received the wake-up call and unfortunatley hit the snooze button.

I don't think they ever woke up to the nature of who's warring against us. They want to believe it's a few "extremists". I thought it was terrible that Muslims were performing "honor killings" in Holland and the government didn't even want to track them for fear of seeming "racist". That in this free country people could be cutting up their daughters' genitals and murdering them for not remaining chaste. How can people tolerate that?? They shouldn't have needed a Hirsi Ali to tell them what Islamic does! They just blissfully ignored it all so they could feel better about themselves.

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As a child Hirsi Ali was devout in the sense that she practiced Islam to the letter, however she did not have the psycho-epistemology of a Muslim. Every step of the way she challenged the beliefs of Islam, wanted to understand them. She openly challenged inconsistencies – such as claims that Allah is just despite the treatment of women in the Quran – and desperately wanted an explanation for the poverty and war in Islamic nations (under the supposedly perfect divine law) and the wealth and prosperity of the “corrupt” West. Also, I found her commentary to be profoundly philosophical. The debates she’s had, both with Muslims who had the power to coerce her, and with others in Holland, cut to the heart of the issue.

Nicely put. I agree.

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I must disagree with a couple other comments here. As a child Hirsi Ali was devout in the sense that she practiced Islam to the letter, however she did not have the psycho-epistemology of a Muslim. Every step of the way she challenged the beliefs of Islam, wanted to understand them. She openly challenged inconsistencies – such as claims that Allah is just despite the treatment of women in the Quran – and desperately wanted an explanation for the poverty and war in Islamic nations (under the supposedly perfect divine law) and the wealth and prosperity of the “corrupt” West. Also, I found her commentary to be profoundly philosophical. The debates she’s had, both with Muslims who had the power to coerce her, and with others in Holland, cut to the heart of the issue.

If you ever read the book "Mig Pilot", you will see a similar transformation. A Mig pilot of the most advanced fighter the Soviets had, did a run and landed in Tokyo, wondering if he would survive the arrival. It became obvious from his explanations, that he had been a true believer in the Communist system. He had accepted everything he had been told. It was his very devotion to his beliefs that caused him problems - he believed them. Thus, when all around him he saw corruption and inefficiency, he tried to report it as an anomaly. Slowly he came to see these were not isolated instances, but endemic, that reality was in conflict with what he had been taught. He had to escape. He felt that the 'evil dark forces' of the West could be no worse, and if they were, he would kill himself.

Like Hirsi, it took some time for him to accept that the new world around him was genuine. Now if you ask what drove these two to escape, one can safely say that it was not because they had a thoughtless acceptance of what they had been taught. On the contrary, it was their very devotion that made them see the faults. They so believed, that they looked for confirmation of those beliefs. When the confirmations failed, it was then that the path they had once taken, lost it's appeal.

My point is not that Hirsi was a non thinking follower, but that she had to care enough about her beliefs, to challenge them. That is what set her apart. While others paid mindless lip service to what they had been taught, she cared enough to try and verify what she had been taught. If she hadn't cared, she may not have tried.

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I must disagree with a couple other comments here. As a child Hirsi Ali was devout in the sense that she practiced Islam to the letter, however she did not have the psycho-epistemology of a Muslim. Every step of the way she challenged the beliefs of Islam, wanted to understand them. She openly challenged inconsistencies – such as claims that Allah is just despite the treatment of women in the Quran – and desperately wanted an explanation for the poverty and war in Islamic nations (under the supposedly perfect divine law) and the wealth and prosperity of the “corrupt” West. Also, I found her commentary to be profoundly philosophical. The debates she’s had, both with Muslims who had the power to coerce her, and with others in Holland, cut to the heart of the issue.

If you ever read the book "Mig Pilot", you will see a similar transformation. A Mig pilot of the most advanced fighter the Soviets had, did a run and landed in Tokyo, wondering if he would survive the arrival. It became obvious from his explanations, that he had been a true believer in the Communist system. He had accepted everything he had been told. It was his very devotion to his beliefs that caused him problems - he believed them. Thus, when all around him he saw corruption and inefficiency, he tried to report it as an anomaly. Slowly he came to see these were not isolated instances, but endemic, that reality was in conflict with what he had been taught. He had to escape. He felt that the 'evil dark forces' of the West could be no worse, and if they were, he would kill himself.

Like Hirsi, it took some time for him to accept that the new world around him was genuine. Now if you ask what drove these two to escape, one can safely say that it was not because they had a thoughtless acceptance of what they had been taught. On the contrary, it was their very devotion that made them see the faults. They so believed, that they looked for confirmation of those beliefs. When the confirmations failed, it was then that the path they had once taken, lost it's appeal.

My point is not that Hirsi was a non thinking follower, but that she had to care enough about her beliefs, to challenge them. That is what set her apart. While others paid mindless lip service to what they had been taught, she cared enough to try and verify what she had been taught. If she hadn't cared, she may not have tried.

Well said, Arnold. I add, for emphasis, that she wanted to understand for herself, not for the good opinion of others. A genuine individual.

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My point is not that Hirsi was a non thinking follower, but that she had to care enough about her beliefs, to challenge them. That is what set her apart. While others paid mindless lip service to what they had been taught, she cared enough to try and verify what she had been taught. If she hadn't cared, she may not have tried.

Actually I would say that she cared enough about reality that she challenged her beliefs. I'm not devoted to my beliefs as an end in themselves, I'm devoted to them because they're true. I think your example is a good one also. The pilot fought for Communism only because he was mistaken about the nature of reality. Once he realized his error, his beliefs fell apart. That will only happen if belief is based on reason, as opposed to faith. Many Muslims care so much about their beliefs that they are willing to kill and die for them, but because that belief is based on faith it can never lead them to renounce sharia or jihad.

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