AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIRS: Infidel

By Schwanitz, Wolfgang G. | The Middle East Journal, Summer 2007 | Go to article overview

AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIRS: Infidel


Schwanitz, Wolfgang G., The Middle East Journal


Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. New York: Free Press, 2007. xii + 354 pages. $26.

Reviewed by Wolfgang G. Schwanitz

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's radical critique on Islam was a wake up call in die Nedierlands that culminated in the murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004. Two years later, the author came to the United States, where she is pursuing research at the American Enterprise Institute. In her latest book, Infidel, a New York Times bestseller, she explains how this all happened.

But this book is more than an autobiography. It reflects contents and structures of civilizations. This illuminates her unique life. Born in 1969 in Mogadishu, Somalia, she experienced harsh turns from nationalism to Islamism during time she spent in Nairobi, Kenya; Jedda, Saudi Arabia; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Just nine years before her birth, during the Year of Africa, a clutch of European colonies attained their independence. Yet, in a number of these cases, military rulers seized power. In her home country, Somalia, the dictator Siad Barré embraced communist ideology, thereby provoking an Islamist backlash by the tribes. Thus, the tribes protected the male order against socialist experiments.

Hirsi Ali's own clan went through this. At first, she was inspired by the liberal Islam of her father, who had studied at Columbia University. Later, having been exposed to Wahhabism, which her mother had adopted in Jedda, Hirsi Ali became a Muslim Brotherhood activist. But as a teenager, Hirsi Ali failed to find ready answers to questions such as why a married woman has to be submissive to her husband and why her words count for only half of his in a court of law. Hirsi Ali's restless mind, touched by English literature and Hollywood, was too developed to submit to the life of a Caged Virgin (the title of her previous book).

As she was to be married to a Canadian Somali against her will, Hirsi Ali fled from Africa to Europe. To obtain asylum in the Netherlands, she altered slightly the story of her past. Thereafter, she worked and studied political science at the University of Leiden. She learned, among other things, about how married couples can and do live as equals.

The author discusses how the native Dutch and immigrants interacted. She observes that Muslim immigrants, though regarding themselves as superior to their infidel counterparts, nonetheless struggled and often failed in their daily lives. Some who were unable to cope with the daily load of work and with integration simply withdrew - leading lives of indolence and dependency, playing upon Europeans' guilt, and relying upon allegations of "racism" to extract what they wanted.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIRS: Infidel
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.