Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel is One of the Most Important Books I’ve Ever Read

infidelWell after my discussion of freedom of speech and censorship, I could not speak of a more important book. No not just important- but IMPORTANT (in caps!)

I don’t really read bios as a rule- I read a famous one earlier this year and just shrugged my shoulders at it. But this- this was different.

To say Ayaan Hirsi Ali is remarkable is an understatement. For those of you that do not know who Ayaan Hirsi Ali is I would describe her thus: a refugee, an intellectual and a former member of the Dutch parliament. Above all, she stands up for freedom of speech- at great personal risk- if you don’t know who she is, you should check her out. I’d say she is one of the most important people in the world.

Now, if you have ever heard Ayaan Hirsi Ali speak you will know she is softly spoken- but at the same time delivers hammer blows of world shaking magnitude in what she says. This book is written in the same lyrical style. Though it took some time to get into, once I did, I found it was completely absorbing and compelling- I was obsessed with it. It was one of the most addictive of books I have ever read.

As for the content, the abuse she suffered is horrifying, but this is in no way a despairing work. It is a book about finding your courage. As I have already said, Ayaan Hirsi Ali being is an admirable woman and dare I say it, she is one of the most courageous women that has ever lived.

I cannot shy away from how controversial people find this book- yet I have to share it- I cannot hide from my own mind and fail to talk of something of this magnitude. This is a book for anyone who believes in free speech. It is to society’s shame that it is radical to support a woman who stands up for civil rights, women’s rights and freedom of speech. It is up those of us who feel otherwise to raise our voices when we can against this outrage.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

 half bananahalf bananahalf bananahalf bananahalf banana

That’s all for now! Have you read this book? Do you plan to? Are you a fan of Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Let me know in the comments!

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38 thoughts on “Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel is One of the Most Important Books I’ve Ever Read

  1. Nicola Alter says:

    I haven’t read it because like you I also don’t usually read biographies… but it looks like I should consider making an exception for this one! I have read about her online and seen her on TV – she seems like an amazing, brave and inspiring person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      haha yes- thank you!! Yeah it really is incredible- although it’s not without its price- I was just telling someone else how she’s spent years living under a fatwa (since 2004 I believe!) which means she has had to be in hiding and have constant protection. But she’s such an incredible woman that despite all this, she still speaks out!

      Like

  2. Comic City says:

    Thanks for this. I found this an exciting read. I very much disliked some of her work as parliamentarian, and very much disliked others. I find her stories more powerful than her conclusions on religion in general (as I remember it years ago), but I have assigned parts of it in a class.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      You’re welcome. Thanks for your comment- I’m coming at this from a very different angle, as I find I agree with a lot of what she has to say. I find her a very reasonable individual and her conclusions quite fair- but as I said, I’m coming at this from a different angle.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Anne says:

    Oooh, this is a tough cookie for me! I used to have a very strong dislike for Ayaan Hirsi Ali when she was still a member of the parliament here. Mostly because of her radical views on Muslims. While I can only applaud her for standing up for herself, I didn’t like the way she basically called every Muslim a retard. She should have the freedom to say so, though! And I the freedom of not liking it :D. When Theo van Gogh was murdered, I suddenly found myself to have a lot more compassion for her, though I’m still not agreeing with her political views. I believe she was also the first woman here who spoke openly about being mutilated as a child because of the Somalian circumcision practices. Now that is truly horrific and I remember clutching my own fanny pack when she described the procedure :/. I haven’t kept up with her after she moved to the US but I see she’s been doing a lot of good things over there. Together with your enthusiasm of her book, I should probably give it a go sometime ;).

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      That’s fair- it’s more complicated if she’s been your politician (there’s a difference between liking someone in theory and in practice- I feel like UK politicians are always proving that!). I’m only familiar with what she’s said after that, and I’ve never heard her call all Muslims names, just that she disagrees with the religion in its current form and needs a reformation- which is no different to things maajid nawaz says (I don’t know you’re familiar with him?). As far as I’m aware she criticises ideas not people. Haha but of course you have the freedom to not like what she (or anyone!) says. But I would encourage you to read her book because it’s an eye opener. (And i get what you mean- she does include a description of fgm right at the beginning- it’s brutal and horrifying :/ )

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anne says:

        Oh definitely! Some of the foreign politicians seem reasonably cool to me as well, but that’s easy for me to say because they’re not in charge of my country :D. One of her quotes from the early ’00’s is “The Islam is not retarded, but a lot of Muslims are”. I think she was still in a dark place back then, though, and we all say things we might not have meant literally during those kinds of times. (I didn’t know Maajid, but I just Googled him 😉 ). I most definitely will because I’m very intrigued now! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Streed's Reads says:

    I have read three of her books, so I have some catching up to do given that she has written a couple more since my last Ayaan Hirsi Ali read. I read “Nomad,” “Infidel,” and “The Caged Virgin.” They were read a few years ago, but I am now beginning to post reviews of them on my blog. Her message is important; and, her best friend “Theo Van Gogh (spelling?) was savagely murdered because of his support for having the same ideals.

    Like

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ah yes- I have even more to catch up on, because this is the first book I’ve read by her, even though I’ve been aware of her for years. Are her other works as good as this? I’m definitely gonna have to check out your blog then! Yes one hundred percent agree! What’s awful is he wasn’t just murdered for sharing her ideas, but for supporting her. So terrible.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Streed's Reads says:

        “Nomad” and “Infidel” were consistently high-caliber for me. I felt that “Caged Virgin” faltered considerably, though her intentions were good and the message was consistent with her previous works. Definitely looking forward to reading “Heretic” and her newest one, too. Agreed, re: Theo’s slaughter. I do not think that the two of them were already under protection at that time. Its possible that she was, but he was not. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        • theorangutanlibrarian says:

          Ah fair enough- I will bear that in mind!And e too. Yeah, according to her, she was under protection at the time because people had already been threatening her life- but he was not because he didn’t think anything would happen in the Netherlands. :/

          Liked by 1 person

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