I realized that the real crux of the matter, and the truly paralyzing aspect for the liberals around me, was simply that — her courage. To the Hollywood community, a community that did not even have the courage to list Theo Van Gogh during the 2005 Oscar ceremony as one of the people in film who had died that year, a woman willing to continue espousing her deep convictions after being threatened with death by the same people who had murdered her colleague was utterly confounding. And for someone like me, a person who writes from behind a mask, not even for fear of death but of the economic retribution I might face from the supposedly tolerant community in which I live and work, the evening I spent in a room with Ayaan Hirsi Ali was all the more humbling.
Also about Ayaan Hirsi Ali - A wanderer from Islam with a message for the West
Why are so many liberal intellectuals, social democrats and feminists so silent on the more noxious features of Islam – the fierce intolerance toward unbelievers, the repression of individual freedom, the routine abuse of children, the misogyny, the forced subservience of women? “It’s the seduction of totalitarianism,” she says. In her view, Western defenders of Islam are the intellectual heirs of those highly intelligent men and women who used to heap praise on Comrade Stalin. “It’s a blind spot that left-wing intellectuals have always had.”
Ms. Hirsi Ali’s own history is a horrifying study in female subjugation. Her grandmother and mother hit her often. At 5, she was held down, screaming, as her genitals were mutilated. (She has nothing but contempt for feminists who urge us to understand this brutal practice in its cultural context.) She was regularly beaten by her brother, the enforcer of family morals. After being married off by her father to a Toronto cousin she had never met, she escaped to the Netherlands.
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