The global conflict between the West and Islamism is being shaped by ideas—big, lofty ideas and fervent religious beliefs. Ultimately, though, like every war of ideas that has come before it, the struggle is one fought by people. To understand the nature of this conflict, we must look to the inside stories of the people on the front lines of the battle.
People like Ayaan Hirsi Ali. One of the most outspoken and controversial critics of Islam, her story is well known. She made headlines for years as a Dutch parliamentarian with African roots, a Muslim upbringing, and a message of contempt for a religion that she believes to be fundamentally at odds with the values of a radical enlightenment. Born and raised in a religious tradition which, in her view, came into its own with the attacks of 9/11, the 37yearold global nomad forged experiences in countries like Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia into a political agenda that earned her a steady flow of death threats, even in a political environment as pluralistic as multicultural Netherlands.But how did this daughter of Somalia bridge the thousand years of distance between the Iron Age into which she was born and the thoroughly modern existence that landed her at Time magazine’s annual dinner as one of the 100 most influential people of 2005?
The Dutch Tornado
In het nieuwe nummer van het Amerikaanse vaktijdschrift Foreign Policy staat een recensie van mijn hand van de biografie van Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hier is het begin: