Ayaan Hirsi Ali lives life with a security detail. She isn't a Monarch of some forgotten island, or a starlet fending off paparazzi. She is an intellectual, a writer living under protection, in the Democratic West. She has opinions, particularly about Islam, that make her a bit unpopular with cultural relativists and a certain bearded sword-wielding demographic. As such, goons provided at the expense of the Netherlands ensure goons provided at the expense of Muslim extremists don't whack Ms Ali. The Dutch seek to cut funding for Hirsi-Ali's security detail, leaving 5'3" 125lb former Dutch Parlimentarian to contend with the Bedouin death-squads alone. Cost aside, they haven't the appetite for Ms. Hirsi-Ali's 'shrill' condemnations of Islam.
Of interest to today's DN, the particulars of Ms. Hirsi-Ali's 'shrill' broadsides on the Muslim faith. Ms Hirsi-Ali contends that Islam shouldn't beat women, shouldn't categorically dehumanize or devalue women, and shouldn't barbarically circumcise pre-teen girls with chards of glass or, lacking any other sharp implement from a dumpster, the lid of a tin can. If her grotesque Western smugness didn't set you off there, then this should fry all your sensitivity sensors. She frequently suggests that western Democracy, rooted in equality and the Enlightenment, is better than a life of slavery and subjugation offered by Islam.
A convert's passion is often mistaken for a lack of intellectual depth; but this is not always so. The rigor of a true conversion, the painful betrayal by one's former beliefs and ultimate rejection of those beliefs for an alternative faith, scars for life. Such growth requires strength, intelligence and insight; the roots that ultimately take hold are as deep as the pain. Hirsi-Ali 's criticisms, like those of Salman Rushdie, are deadly not only because she dared criticise her former faith, but because her critique was so personal, so thorough, and so damningly accurate. It should be our honor to defend her in whatever manner she requires. Afterall, her critique was not specious or capricious. Rather, we hold the truths Hirsi-Ali speaks be self evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, including but not limited to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. No tin can lids, no beatings, just the Freedom to live one's life.
May the fervent convert forgive us our squeamishness, our fear, and our lapsed faith.