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How can Muslims deal with Islamophobia?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali woman who has been perceived as a Muslim-hater, is once again in the limelight

Samar Fatany

Published: Updated:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali woman who has been perceived as a Muslim-hater, is once again in the limelight after the release of her latest book “Heretic,” in which she continues her relentless hostility toward Islam.

Fox News, CNN, BBC, ABC, The New York Times and most of mainstream Western media have extensively highlighted her anti-Muslim views.

Her previous book, “Infidel,” which bashed Islam, became a bestseller in 2007 and today “Heretic,” another release bashing Islam, will probably be a big hit among the Islamophobes of the Western world.

There is no such thing as “political Islam.” There is Islam and there is politics

Samar Fatany

Hirsi Ali began her career in the Netherlands where she gained asylum in 1992 under false pretenses. She renounced her religion and blatantly attacked the Holy Qur’an saying that it is not a holy document.

She wrote: “It is a historical record written by humans. It is one version of events, as perceived by the men who wrote it 150 years after the Prophet died.

“And it is a very tribal and Arab version of events. It spreads a culture that is brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women, and harsh in war.”

Defaming Islam

The writer also collaborated in 2004 with Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh to produce a documentary defaming Islam called “Submission.”

The film portrayed violence against women in Muslim communities in a most obscene and vulgar manner. A Dutch Muslim radical afterwards stabbed the producer to death and threatened to kill Hirsi Ali.

The incident of course made her more popular and Time magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in 2005.

After a spat with Dutch authorities over the false pretenses under which she gained asylum, Hirsi Ali became a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a fellow with the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Harvard Kennedy School but retained her Dutch citizenship.

‘Difficult to talk about peace’

In my opinion, it is sad how America’s intellectual elite has very conveniently ignored Hirsi Ali’s past history of deceit and has vehemently promoted her abusive language against Islam.

Hirsi Ali wrote that “the religion of Islam had to be ‘defeated’…Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful.”
“It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now…. There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.” She also perceivably defended the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik who killed 77 innocent people in Norway claiming that he had “ no other choice but to use violence.”

Support for Hirsi Ali

She received a standing ovation in Germany after she warned against “political Islam” in Europe and America and justified Breivik’s actions out of fears that Europe will be overrun by Islam.

In the U.S., people like Bill Maher, the host of the political satire program that consistently demonizes the Muslim community, the late Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Pamela Geller and many other liberals, neo-cons and “New Atheists” use Hirsi Ali and people like her to incite against Muslims and defame Islam.

The Somali author became an American citizen and acts as an authority in defending Muslim women’s rights. But how can she talk about the emancipation of Muslim women when she is rejected and condemned by all for her blasphemous role in the Western world? She keeps harping on about the issue of genital mutilation which is not an Islamic practice, but a tradition that is ignorantly adopted by some Muslim communities. The practice is illegal and is officially banned by all Muslim countries.

There is no such thing as “political Islam.” There is Islam and there is politics. Muslims stand united with the West in condemning terrorists, speaking out against injustices and criticizing corrupt leaders; however, they will not stand for humiliation of their faith and identity.

Muslim-haters do not seem to understand that no amount of bashing or demonizing can weaken the faith of one billion Muslims.

The majority of Muslims are proud people who are comfortable with their religion. It is a source of spiritual comfort and strength.

A Muslim will not forsake his religion to integrate with Western values that contradict Islamic principles and ideals.

Sectarian conflicts and political wars that have erupted within the Muslim world are instigated by extremists who use religion to promote their agendas and liberals who are corrupt and selfish.

Struggling

The vast majority of Muslims are struggling to fight corruption, ignorance, disease and poverty. They are not struggling with their faith, but rather they are struggling to eliminate man-made laws in order to survive and live an honorable life of dignity.

Advocates of peace have a responsibility to promote multiculturalism and global coexistence. Racist Islamophobes who have vested interests in widening the divide between Islam and the West should be shunned and marginalized. We must all take a stand to save humanity from the advocates of hate before it is too late.


This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on April 4, 2015.

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Samar Fatany is a Chief Broadcaster in the English section at Jeddah Broadcasting Station. Over the past 28 years, she has introduced many news, cultural, and religious programs and has conducted several interviews with official delegations and prominent political personalities visiting the kingdom. Fatany has made significant contributions in the fields of public relations and social awareness in Saudi Arabia and has been involved in activities aiming at fighting extremism and enhancing women’s role in serving society. She has published three books: “Saudi Perceptions & Western Misconceptions,” “Saudi Women towards a new era” and “Saudi Challenges & Reforms.”

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.