She’s back – but perhaps not for long

by Ingrid Robeyns on October 3, 2007

Last weekend, I had a friend visiting who is a Washington-based journalist. She told me that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the interesting new woman in town, who receives lots of attention for her outspoken views. I responded that I didn’t have the impression that the Dutch were sad that she left. Perhaps in the Netherlands people were a bit tired of hearing her views which never covered any shade of gray but were always rather black-white, provocative, and, at least in the opinion of some, unnecessarily insulting and divisive.

So what a surprise when the news came that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has returned to the Netherlands. Apparently the Dutch state is no longer willing to pay for her security in the US, which it has been doing since she moved to Washington. According to the “Dutch newspapers”:http://www.nrc.nl/anp/binnenland/article780539.ece/Hirsi_Ali_bereid_beveiliging_zelf_te_betalen, she is willing and planning to raise funds for her security in the US, but was not allowed to do this before she had a Green Card. That Green card she received a week ago, but this implied she only had one week’s time to raise the funds, before the Dutch funding of her security in the US ended. Now that she’s back on Dutch territory, the Dutch State is again protecting her, and as soon as she has raised enough funds, she wants to go back to the US.

According to the Dutch radio, she is not entitled to private protection by the US government when she is on US territory – with or without Green Card. So I was wondering…. since Hirsi Ali is a “Resident Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute”:http://www.aei.org/scholars/scholarID.117,filter.all/scholar.asp, can’t they pay for her security as part of her secondary employment conditions?

{ 93 comments }

1

Barry 10.03.07 at 2:23 pm

“…since Hirsi Ali is a Resident Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, can’t they pay for her security as part of her secondary employment conditions?”

Hmmm…..if I were a dishonest, warmongering b*stard with no compunctions at all, I just might wonder if such a person was worth a cost of (guessing) $200K/year on up alive, or was of more value as a Tragic Martyr to the Evils of IranianIslamofascism?

I mean, it’d a be a tragedy if she was to come to harm at the hands of an IranianIslamofascist, and I’d talk my voice hoarse urging massive bombing raids against Iran, but this tragedy just *could* be the tipping point in the War Against the Axis of IranianIslamofascism.

Alternately, if her life was in actual danger, this might have invoked the Neoconmen principle of ‘scr*w the troops’.

2

Ray 10.03.07 at 2:27 pm

barry took the words right off my fingers.

3

abb1 10.03.07 at 2:31 pm

Does she get bodyguards in the Netherlands as a former MP?

4

franck 10.03.07 at 2:39 pm

Doesn’t the Dutch state have an obligation to protect its citizens? Particularly current and former MPs, one of which was recently assassinated?

What’s the back story here, exactly? Are you mad at her for speaking her mind, for costing Dutch taxpayers, for going to America, or for going to AEI? This post is utterly unsympathetic to her and quite snide, and it would be useful to understand why?

5

Ingrid Robeyns 10.03.07 at 2:51 pm

Sorry, the post didn’t mean to be snide. I am indeed unsympathetic to her methods. But I do think she needs to be protected. The question is who should pay for it. I am unsure on whether the Dutch state needs to pay for each of its citizens that are treatened everywhere on earth. I don’t say the Dutch state shouldnt’; I just am unsure about where the limits are. Apparently the kind of protection she has as a Dutch citizens she would not have as a US citizen, though this is just from the news. (to the best of my knowledge, she received this protection so far as citizens, not as a former MP. There are other citizens who have been threatened who are not MPs and who also recieve protection. Whether the level of protection differs, I don’t know).

Dutch citizens and politicians are divided on the question whether she would be entitled to protection paid for by the Dutch state even if she moves (semi-) permanently out of the Netherlands. (Off the top of my head, the latest poll says about half of the Dutch believe she should, the other half she shouldn’t be entitled when she is abroad). I have no firm opinion on this, but would love to hear some arguments pro and con both views.

btw, Franck, there have been two political murders (Fortuyn and Van Gogh), but I don’t think they were MPs (though Fortuyn surely would have been elected), or am I now completely turned mad?

6

pedro 10.03.07 at 3:14 pm

I do not agree with Hirsi Ali on policy matters (and I do agree with much of what Ingrid writes, by contrast), but having grown up in a country for which I feel little love and with the culture of which I do not identify in the least, I can’t help but to be sympathetic to her. To abstain from using provocative and offensive rhetoric is harder for us who find ourselves in the minuscule minority among our compatriots than it is for people to whom national (or ethnic) culture mark in less viscerally distasteful ways.

7

Dan Simon 10.03.07 at 4:18 pm

I am indeed unsympathetic to her methods.

I’m very curious as to which methods, exactly, you’re referring to. As far as I know, her only “methods” are speech and filmmaking. Are there others that I’m unaware of?

Perhaps you meant to say, “I am indeed unsympathetic towards her opinions.” That’s certainly your prerogative–her opinions are, after all, quite controversial. (I disagree with many of them myself.) But given that her life is in serious danger simply because she has dared to criticize a religion, I would have expected at least a bit more Voltairian concern for the free expression of unorthodox ideas. Then again, it seems some orthodoxies are more sacred than others…

8

john b 10.03.07 at 4:18 pm

@ Pedro – I can’t say I’ve noticed anything particularly viscerally distasteful in Dutch culture, but each to their own…

9

dw 10.03.07 at 4:29 pm

The Green Card has a kind of “use it or lose it” provision. If you stay out of the US for more than six months you have to prove to the immigration authorities that you’re not abandoning your US residence. If you go out of the US for more than a year then you have to get what’s called a “re-entry permit”. Otherwise you lose your Green Card and have to reapply all over again. I hope Hirsi Ali consulted an immigration lawyer before taking this step. See http://www.kkeane.com/greencard-faq.shtml

10

Kevin Donoghue 10.03.07 at 4:29 pm

Doesn’t the Dutch state have an obligation to protect its citizens?

Surely not, when they are outside its jurisdiction, which is the case here. I’m amazed that anyone should suggest such a thing. How is that supposed to work?

11

franck 10.03.07 at 4:56 pm

Ingrid,

You’re right – I was counting Pim Fortuyn as already an MP, though of course he would have been elected if he hadn’t been assassinated.

I don’t understand what you mean when you say you don’t agree with her methods. What methods, precisely?

John B,

Several people have claimed that there is too much emphasis on conformity in Dutch culture – see Van Gogh, for example. That can definitely be stifling for people who don’t agree with the consensus.

12

franck 10.03.07 at 4:57 pm

Kevin,

I’m sure the Dutch government provides protection for current and former government ministers when they go abroad, when the situation is deemed to warrant it.

13

abb1 10.03.07 at 5:07 pm

Advocates and propagandists use methods.

14

bi 10.03.07 at 5:07 pm

(Weird… Dan Simon is advocating that Ayaan Hirsi Ali cling to the apron strings of the Nanny State(tm)! I thought he’d say that all she needs to do is to buy a gun. Guns guns guns!)

15

Stuart 10.03.07 at 5:08 pm

DW, I imagine if she seriously considers that her life is threatened that might be more important to her than losing the green card.

16

Dan Simon 10.03.07 at 5:21 pm

(Weird… Dan Simon is advocating that Ayaan Hirsi Ali cling to the apron strings of the Nanny State™! I thought he’d say that all she needs to do is to buy a gun. Guns guns guns!)

That’s because you know less than nothing about me, and yet feel free to infer all sorts of laughably incorrect things based on your own cartoon vision of the world, in which everyone is as stupidly dogmatic and partisan as you are.

I have always believed that the preservation of law and order is a primary function of governments, and that the proliferation of firearms among the populace tends to make that function more difficult, not easier. However, feel free to preserve a caricature of me in your head that believes the opposite–I’d hate to see you driven crazy trying to grasp a tiny smidgin of political complexity.

17

Keith 10.03.07 at 5:29 pm

I hear there are a few former Blackwater Security Force Personnel who might need a job.

18

Shelby 10.03.07 at 5:38 pm

What protection does the Netherlands provide to former MPs in general? Is it acting pursuant to a law, or to political pressure or moral belief? And how much protection does Ali reasonably need in the US? Round-the-clock bodyguards are expensive, and may be more than the AEI can reasonably afford as a bennie for a Resident Fellow. (I don’t mean it’ll bust their account, but if it triples their total expenses for her that’s probably unreasonable.)

I don’t think her beliefs or the specific things she’s said have much bearing on this discussion, but I’d be happy to hear why I’m wrong on this issue.

19

Katherine 10.03.07 at 5:38 pm

Dan Simon @ 7, I imagine that the methods being referred to are the way she makes speeches and films. I mean, Michael Moore makes films, but I dare say the various people who criticise him for propogandising would say that they are critical of his methods, no?

20

Other Ezra 10.03.07 at 5:44 pm

Not to change the subject, but how did she get a green card so fast? I thought the process takes years. Maybe they mean an H1-B visa?

21

Brett Bellmore 10.03.07 at 5:57 pm

“and that the proliferation of firearms among the populace tends to make that function more difficult, not easier.”

True. Of course, we have a term for societies set up to make the job of the police easier: “Police states.”

I’d echo Katherine’s point: It most assuredly is possible to object to a journalist or documentarian’s methods, independent of their views, and Moore certainly is a prime example of somebody whose methods are offensive. But I would like to know in what way her methods offend, knowing nothing of the lady save that she’s been threatened.

22

Bloix 10.03.07 at 6:01 pm

“I didn’t have the impression that the Dutch were sad that she left.”

Given that the government was involved in a scandalous effort to strip her of citizenship and deport her in order to shut her up, I can imagine that there are many Dutch who would prefer to put her behind them.

23

bi 10.03.07 at 6:28 pm

“I have always believed that the preservation of law and order is a primary function of governments …” — Dan Simon

…except when a government is protecting hate speech you don’t like? Oh, sorry, I forgot Ayaan Hirsi was merely spewing hate speech against the _Islamic_ religion, not the Jewish religion. So obviously she deserves more rights.

And is Brett Bellmore seriously saying that Ayaan Hirsi Ali just needs to buy a gun? Wow, this is getting fun already.

24

Ernst 10.03.07 at 6:39 pm

To shelby and others:
The Netherlands provide no protection standard protection at all for current or former MP’s, former ministers or, former prime ministers.

Up until the political murder of Pim Fortuyn the only persons in the dutch government that had standard protection was the royal family. Since 2001 key members the cabinet are standardly provided with protection. MPs, pundits and political activists are protected according to their need.

The cost of the protection offered to Ayaan Hirsi Ali is currently unknown but probably exceeds 1 million Euro’s a year. Her protection consisted of six Bodyguards and armored transport. The filmmaker van Gogh was offered similar protection but declined.

To Dan Simon:
Her methods were indeed limited to speech and filmmaking. However both in content and presentation she provocative. She tried to draw attention to her viewpoints by deliberately being controversial. A good example is the photo op style visit she made to an islamic school where she told 9 to 10 year old girls that it was absolutely wrong to believe in Allah.

While she certainly introduced important topics into the public debate the manner in which she did so was reminiscent to that of the UCLA and PETA. Heavy handed, unnuanced and off putting to people who could have been allies to her cause.

25

Ernst 10.03.07 at 6:51 pm

To Bloix:

She had broken several immigration rules that would have resulted in the automatic removal of her citizenship had she been a regular refugee. The minister responsible was part of the same party and inhabits a similar idealogical part of the spectrum.

In fact the government involvement consisted meanly of bending the rules so that she could retain her citizenship. Almost all of the refugees that had run afoul of the same rule either lost their citizen status or never were awarded citizenship until the current amnesty.

26

Brett Bellmore 10.03.07 at 6:52 pm

“And is Brett Bellmore seriously saying that Ayaan Hirsi Ali just needs to buy a gun?”

I seriously said that the fact that something might inconvenience the police is not reason enough to restrict it, that the convenience of the police is not our highest goal.

She might indeed want to buy a gun, but I would scarcely suggest that she JUST needs to do that. They’re not magic talismen, after all.

27

abb1 10.03.07 at 7:02 pm

I absolutely love ‘talismen’ as the plural of ‘talisman’.

28

Alan Peakall 10.03.07 at 7:11 pm

Ernst,

Did you mean the ACLU? As a state college, I would have thought that the University of California, Los Angeles was kept in line by FIRE :-)

29

Bloix 10.03.07 at 7:32 pm

Ernst – she was an elected member of Parliament. The rule she broke was that she lied about her true name and her date of birth. At the time she was being pursued by family members and was in fear of losing her life in an honor killing. She publicly admitted the truth four years before any effort was made to strip her of citizenship. Because of the incompetent manner in which the affair was handled, the government fell. So I don’t think it’s surprising that some Dutch people would prefer it if Ali stayed away.

30

pedro 10.03.07 at 7:36 pm

@john b

When did I say anything about the Netherlands? As far as I’m concerned, Hirsi Ali bears scars from her upbringing in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Ethiopia.

31

Sock Puppet of the Great Satan 10.03.07 at 8:08 pm

” Dan Simon is advocating that Ayaan Hirsi Ali cling to the apron strings of the Nanny State™! I thought he’d say that all she needs to do is to buy a gun. Guns guns guns!”

Let the market sort it out. She should sell bonds securized on her future non-royalty earnings, and purchase life insurance (payable in the case of non-violent death) equivalent to present value of future earnings (using the implicit return on capital from the price of the bond), and covenant the bond purchasers will receive the value of the life insurance if she dies naturally.

As the purchasers of the bond will only lose the value of their investment if she dies a violent death, they will therefore have a financial incentive to prevent her being offed by said Islamofascists, and therefore will provide the appropriate level of security from, say, Blackwater, to protect their investment.

See, easy wasn’t it? No need for the dead hand of gubmint.

32

The Navigator 10.03.07 at 8:19 pm

You know, bi, I followed that link, fully expecting to find something making Dan Simon out to be a fool or hypocrite, but what I really found was a condemnation of what he viewed as hate speech, coupled with reservations about having the government ban said speech:
There are, it is true, serious, plausible arguments for eschewing legal restrictions on hate speech: [listing several such]. But none of these contradict the simple fact that hate speech is unambiguously evil. It encourages and cultivates violence and other forms of direct harm, and should be shunned and condemned without reservation or mitigation

There’s no call for the government to ban speech here. In fact, Dan’s view seems entirely congruent with that of the ACLU: the response to hate speech is more speech, including speech pointing out and condemning the hate. So what’s the problem? Where’s the hypocrisy or double standard?

33

Sebastian Holsclaw 10.03.07 at 8:26 pm

“I mean, Michael Moore makes films, but I dare say the various people who criticise him for propogandising would say that they are critical of his methods, no?”

To our knowledge has Moore been subjected to serious death threats such that he requires 24 hour protection? I know he maintains the standard celebrity “get out of the way, someone important is coming through” detail but have people actually tried to kill him?

I somewhat surprised by the lack of sympathy for her. She has been subjected to death threats in a country with two very recent, high profile political murders of people with similar views. To my knowledge she has done nothing more than be sharply outspoken, and unwilling to be shut up by Muslim groups which want to silence her. (And I mean SILENCE, not just keep her from attending a speech at Columbia). What exactly is it that she has done to inspire so much snark from people who are normally committed to free speech?

I’ve repeatedly heard that she is “too much” of something, but no one ever brings out particulars. She told kids that they shouldn’t believe in Allah? Is that really the best example you have? Is that it?

34

Dan Simon 10.03.07 at 8:39 pm

However both in content and presentation she provocative. She tried to draw attention to her viewpoints by deliberately being controversial.

There’s an obvious analogy to consider here: Salman Rushdie. When the fatwa was issued against him, there were those in Britain and elsewhere who argued that his “provocative” and “controversial” condemnations of “Margaret Torture” and her government made him unworthy of the government’s protection. I did not agree, and fortunately, neither did Margaret Thatcher herself.

Then there was abortion provider Barnett Slepian, who was murdered by an anti-abortion terrorist. Plenty of Americans considered Slepian to be not just a holder of “provocative” or “controversial” opinions, but an actual murderer. Nevertheless, the provision of extra security to abortion clinics following the murder was completely uncontroversial, as far as I recall.

Now, I’d hate to think that folks here who would consider Rushdie and Slepian worthy of protection because they happen to agree with the provocative, controversial opinions associated with that particular pair of vicitms, are happy to throw Ms. Hirsi Ali to the wolves because they don’t care for her views. There’s a higher principle here than partisan politics: not allowing an assassin’s veto.

except when a government is protecting hate speech you don’t like?

I’m grateful that you actually read my blog, but a bit disappointed that you failed to understand it. In that post, my brief mentions of government protection for free speech rights were all approving. My main topic was social tolerance of bigotry, which I strongly oppose.

I haven’t yet heard anyone here directly accuse Ayaan Hirsi Ali of bigotry. The worst that has been said is that she’s “provocative” and “controversial”–euphemisms, I now suspect, for “I don’t agree with her”. Regardless, even if her speech were bigoted–heck, anti-Semitic, even–I would support her being protected against credible death threats. There may well be people around here with politically partisan double standards on this issue, but I’m not one of them.

Of course, we have a term for societies set up to make the job of the police easier: “Police states.”

No, “police state” is normally used only to refer to those states where police powers are used to forbid all political opposition to the government. Every government in the world, including the most democratic ones, takes at least some measures to make the job of the police easier. In most cases, limiting the weaponry legally available to civilians is one of those things. That doesn’t make every state in the world a “police state”.

35

abb1 10.03.07 at 8:42 pm

Hmm, Sebastian.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayaan_Hirsi_Ali#Social_and_political_views
…In this interview, she also made it clear that in her opinion it is not “a fringe group of radical Muslims who’ve hijacked Islam and that the majority of Muslims are moderate. […] Violence is inherent in Islam—it’s a destructive, nihilistic cult of death. It legitimates murder.”

Replace ‘Islam’ with, say, ‘Judaism’ and see what reaction you get from people who are normally committed to free speech. In Europe you’ll probably end up in jail.

36

Walt 10.03.07 at 8:45 pm

Before we have fifty more comments of attempted gotcha by the weird right-wingers who inhabit Crooked Timber: Ayaan Hirsi Ali deserves to be protected by the government of whatever country she currently resides in. The people send her death threats should fuck off. The people who think you shouldn’t be allowed to saying anything bad about Islam are big whiny babies who should be handed hankies and told to shut the fuck up.

37

luci 10.03.07 at 8:54 pm

“I’m very curious as to which methods, exactly, you’re referring to.”

I’m not familiar with A.H. Ali, but I assumed Ingrid meant Ali was a demagogue, a la Al Sharpton perhaps?… A person can agree with another’s basic factual assertions, but disagree with their presentation, or emphasis, timing, motivation, etc.

“Then again, it seems some orthodoxies are more sacred than others…”“hate speech is unambiguously evil. It encourages and cultivates violence […] and should be shunned and condemned without reservation or mitigation”

But then, at Mr. Simon’s site, I see LGF endorsed at the top of a list of “Good Amateur Bloggers”… So I take it a couple favored orthodoxies can come into conflict, occasionally…

38

luci 10.03.07 at 8:56 pm

wow, I screwed up the above comment somehow. Someone can delete it, or ignore.

39

matt mckeon 10.03.07 at 9:00 pm

I rather agree with Walt.

40

abb1 10.03.07 at 9:00 pm

Hmm, Walt. But is it obvious that she deserves six bodyguards and armored transport, all government-paid? What about some KKK Grand Dragon, what would he deserve under similar circumstances?

41

Dan Simon 10.03.07 at 9:14 pm

Replace ‘Islam’ with, say, ‘Judaism’ and see what reaction you get from people who are normally committed to free speech. In Europe you’ll probably end up in jail.

What on earth are you talking about? Your vile anti-Semitic spew is all over this blog–and mine–and as far as I know, you’ve never even been banned, let alone threatened with death. (It’s only people who call out anti-Semitism who get in trouble around here, I’m afraid.)

But then, at Mr. Simon’s site, I see LGF endorsed at the top of a list of “Good Amateur Bloggers”

Yes, LGF’s a great source of information. I wouldn’t venture into the comments there–plenty of nasty stuff, without a doubt–but I don’t blame the proprietor of LGF for them, any more than I blame Crooked Timber for Abb1.

(I used to list Crooked Timber on my blogroll, but took them off my list when several of their bloggers banned me from their comments. I admit that I do rather blame them for that.)

42

Sebastian Holsclaw 10.03.07 at 9:16 pm

“Replace ‘Islam’ with, say, ‘Judaism’ and see what reaction you get from people who are normally committed to free speech.”

Replace ‘Islam’ with, say, ‘Christianity’ and you get a pretty normal and vocally expressed view among many intellectuals. And they don’t get serious death threats so we aren’t even forced to decide whether or not they would then be deserving of protection. Soooo, what was your point exactly?

43

Walt 10.03.07 at 9:19 pm

Dan, abb1 has in fact been banned from posting on I/P threads on this blog.

abb1, does Ayaan Hirsi Ali need six bodyguards and armored transport? I don’t know — I can’t assess the level of threat. In principle I’m not opposed to it. I would also not be opposed to it for a KKK grand wizard, in the unlikely event one ever faced that level of threat.

44

abb1 10.03.07 at 9:41 pm

abb1 has in fact been banned from posting on I/P threads on this blog

…quite unfairly, I might add.

Frankly, I don’t remember reading anywhere at all a public statement characterizing any mainstream religion – other than Islam – as a “nihilistic cult of death” or anything close to it. If you maintain that this is a “normal and vocally expressed view among many intellectuals”, I’d like to see some evidence.

45

jayann 10.03.07 at 10:56 pm

Ayaan Hirsi Ali deserves to be protected by the government of whatever country she currently resides in.

I don’t think anyone here’s argued she doesn’t (except indirectly), the question surely is why the Dutch should have to pay (as they’ve now refused to do) if she resides elsewhere. If the US government provided protection, fine. (Also if she can get the money for protection, again, fine.)

46

Shelby 10.03.07 at 10:59 pm

I don’t remember reading anywhere at all a public statement characterizing any mainstream religion – other than Islam – as a “nihilistic cult of death” or anything close to it. If you maintain that this is a “normal and vocally expressed view among many intellectuals”, I’d like to see some evidence.

I don’t know about “nihilistic,” but here goes.

Joel Stein: “I’d never realized how much of a death cult Christianity is.” link (Link is to critical commentary with quotations; original not available.)

Benjamin Noys’ introduction to Georges Bataille says “Christianity is a cult of death.”

Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times, “This agenda is synergistic with the entertainment culture of Mr. Bush’s base: No one does the culture of death with more of a vengeance – literally so – than the doomsday right.” link

In 1935(!), John Lewis wrote in Christianity and the Social Revolution (page 302), “Christianity became a cult of death rather than the sanctification of life.” link

Kate Ingold in one of Salon’s blogs says “In fact, I think Christianity, particularly radical, fundamentalist Christianity, is a cult of death.” link

47

Sebastian Holsclaw 10.03.07 at 11:19 pm

Consider that the frame of the post was “I responded that I didn’t have the impression that the Dutch were sad that she left. Perhaps in the Netherlands people were a bit tired of hearing her views which never covered any shade of gray but were always rather black-white, provocative, and, at least in the opinion of some, unnecessarily insulting and divisive.”

48

jayann 10.04.07 at 12:00 am

Sebastian, I did consider the frame of the post and also the views of various commenters. (I don’t take to Hirsi Ali myself; but that’s another matter.)

49

c.l. ball 10.04.07 at 1:05 am

The UK provided security for Rushdie outside the UK for some time, but after ten or eleven years it was downgraded and he picked up some of the tab. It is unclear whether he hires security now at Emory or whether Emory provides it. Someone who has seen him around Emory would notice even a two-person detail.

Of course, Rushdie faced the potential of Iranian-funded if not actual Iranian government assassins, who were presumed behind many murders of Iranian opposition figures in Europe in the 1980s and 1990s. Ali faces the lunatic fringe, which while dangerous is not as dangerous as a government hit squad.

Providing 24-hour protection is expensive, and while AEI is well-endowed, it would be quite an expense to do this. Even if you had just one armed guard for her, which would not be much you’re talking about $350-600,000 per year, depending on the hourly rate ($40-65). More experienced guards would probably charge over $100 per hour, and there are 8,760 hours in a year.

The US government rarely, if ever, provides 24-hour security to private individuals outside of federal witnesses, except for the spouses or families of officials granted to 24-hour security details, which is under 50 people.

Recall Richard Clarke’s comment in his book that on 11 or 12 Sep. 2001 he suggested that then NSA Rice take a security detail with her to go to her Watergate apartment to shower, implying that normally she did not have one when not traveling on official business.

50

Laleh 10.04.07 at 1:44 am

Ayaan Hirsi Ali *is* a bigot. And a liar. There have been a number of reviews that have pointed out great inconsistencies in a variety of her stories. The only reason she gets so much press is because her particular brand of bigotry -anti-Muslim- is ever so fashionable on the right *and* on the left today. AND she is attractive (you keep seeing references to how beautiful she is in stuff people write about her, from Buruma to Hitchens). So, the combination of anti-Muslim bigotry and damsel-in-distress narrative proves irresistible.

And I also want to know how on earth she managed to get a Green Card so quickly? Is this like Martin Indyk being made a citizen and a US ambassador in the space of weeks?

51

Laleh 10.04.07 at 1:46 am

And might I add, the lies to which I object are not the ones she told to get assylum in the Netherlands, but the ones she seems to keep on spinning about her dark oppressed childhood.

52

Brett Bellmore 10.04.07 at 1:59 am

“Every government in the world, including the most democratic ones, takes at least some measures to make the job of the police easier.”

And in police states, “it makes the job of the police easier” is the end of the matter, the justification that trumps everything else. In (classical) liberal societies, that’s barely the beginning of a justification.

53

SG 10.04.07 at 2:24 am

Shelby, those quotes are a bit disingenuous. I haven’t looked at Stein because you said it was a discussion not the original quote, but here are the others:

Noys: The full quote is “Christianity is a cult of death which denies the power of death through the resurrection and through the imposition of religious meaning on death”. Somewhat different meaning in full, wouldn’t you say?

Rich: is not talking about christianity itself but the “doomsday right”

Lewis: This quote is from the chapter “communism and religion” and is presenting an opinion about a development in christian scholarship during a particular time period, and its effect on radicals in seminaries. It is not talking about christianity as a whole.

Ingold: this is an essay comparing christian ideas to the (she claims) constant refrain that buddhism is a “cult of death”. She also talks about a generalised Western “culture of death”, attaches the cult of death to the far-right of christianity, and also discusses death culture in Judaism and Islam. So it is a broader discussion than a smearing of the religion.

You haven’t done the cause any favours there. The quote as presented by Ayaan Hirsi Ali here is much nastier, appearing to single out Islam for a vicious claim. And “nihilistic” IS an important part of that claim, also very much at odds with the attitudes of any of the Muslims I have ever met.

I don’t care though if Ayaan Hirsi Ali wants to smear the religion of her own upbringing. It is certainly not discriminatory or bigoted to attack the religion which raised you. Which, incidentally, is what all the authors you quote are probably doing – they were most likely raised in Christian societies and have every right to talk about them as scornfully as they want. If only more people raised in those societies would…

54

abb1 10.04.07 at 6:20 am

Yeah, Shelby, imagine that you tell any of the authors of your quotes: hey, look out of the window, see all these people out there, 80% of them are Christians, do they look like they belong to a nihilistic death cult? What do you think their response would be?

And now read what she is saying. She is not being metaphorical, and she emphasizes that her characterization applies to the whole religion, not just radical fringes. This is quite extraordinary, if you think about it.

55

Ingrid Robeyns 10.04.07 at 10:08 am

With “methods” I meant to refer to the methods she has chosen to voice her views. Ernst (@24) calls them “Heavy handed, unnuanced and off putting to people who could have been allies to her cause.”. I think this is exactly right, and I think her methods have been counterproductive, and have done more damage than good.

Look, I don’t believe in God. In my ideal world, there would be no religions. So qua content, my normative views may end up being close to Hirsi Ali’s (though she sees the world in much too simple terms and has no eye at all for nuances and ambiguities). And I do think governments and civil society and individuals should do whatever they can to decrease the number of fanatics who are violent and want to impose their views on others.

But I think Hirshi Ali’s “methods” did nothing to reach these goals. She has alienated the first and second generation immigrant Muslims from mainstream Dutch society, she has stigmatized all muslims by pretending as if one cannot be a moderate/liberal muslim (I’m sure a strict reading of the Bible or the other whole books would allow one to draw the same conclusion, whereas no-one says that Catholicism cannot but be violent, for example), and by hardening the societal climate, she has made it more (rather than less) difficult for people from different ethnic origins and religions/beliefs to meet and get to know eachother and become more tolerant for eachother’s views. In addition, several organisations in the Netherlands (including, for example, organisations of muslim women, and muslim feminists), are working slowely to change the views of other muslims. Hirshi Ali makes it more difficult for those women to do their work, by causing defensive reactions among Muslisms who are trying to change attitudes step by step. If you try to do this in a radical provocative way, you only make people defensive and they will not even listen to you, since you start by insulting them. That’s why I oppose her methods.

Having said all that, she does need to be protected. In an ideal world, there would be no idiots trying to kill her. In an ideal world she would also have received much less media exposure and she would not have been given the platform to cause the above unwanted effects. But the world is not ideal, and the media like to hear black-white statements, and the world is full of religious fanatics. So in that non-ideal world, she needs protection. Full stop.

The question is who should pay for it. Is it not the case that normally the government should protect the people (not just citizens) that are on its territory? So the US state should protect her. But they have refused to do this for the last year. Is it then fair to let the Dutch state, i.e. the Dutch taxpayers pay? And, — admittedly this was a bit of an bit ironic joke, but if the AEI’s ideology is for less state spending, can’t they pay for her, since she is doing so much important (ideological) work for them?

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abb1 10.04.07 at 10:17 am

abb1, does Ayaan Hirsi Ali need six bodyguards and armored transport? I don’t know—I can’t assess the level of threat.

I don’t know, I guess the question is whether it’s reasonable to expect the government to provide security consistent with the lifestyle you enjoy.

If I were the sheriff, I’d certainly assign a cop to watch her apartment and to walk her to the nearest supermarket and back. If the threat level is high, hey, there’s always protective custody – nice and safe jail cell. You achieve this level of notoriety, that’s the price you pay.

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Alex 10.04.07 at 11:00 am

ISTR that when she quit Holland, the wankosphere was full of people shouting that the Dutch government was unwilling to protect her against (*assumed threat here*), due to Teh Jihad Chill.

So actually, the Marechaussee or whoever has been trailing her around Georgetown all this time? Does AEI make a habit of inviting presumably armed foreign agents to operate in Washington D.C?

Anyway, I always thought that America Alone TM was free of the Islamic Menace?

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Brownie 10.04.07 at 11:42 am

Sorry, the post didn’t mean to be snide.

The post might not have, but you certainly did.

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Charlie Stross 10.04.07 at 1:04 pm

On the subject of bodyguards, I’d just like to note that “six bodyguards and an armoured vehicle” isn’t excessive. If you consider there are 168 hours in a week, it really takes a minimum of four people on a 40 hour working week to provide cover — and then there are sick days and vacation days to consider. “Six bodyguards” basically boils down to one person on duty, 24×7, and a second person available at the same time for a couple of hours every day.

As for an armoured vehicle, the presumed threats to Hirsan Ali include men with guns, and/or a car bomb. It’s possible to live in den Haag or Amsterdam without a car, but that’s not really the case in Washington DC. Also, moving around by vehicle rather than on foot reduces the window of time during which she is exposed to the presumed threat. So the armoured vehicle probably saves money, compared to the expense of additional bodyguards.

I’m a bit surprised asbout the cost of the bodyguards (>$100K in salary per year, each?) but that’s another matter.

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Sock Puppet of the Great Satan 10.04.07 at 2:45 pm

” I don’t know—I can’t assess the level of threat.”

Given that her collaborator Theo Van Gogh was offed, I’d say it’s pretty easy to assess the threat level to her.

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Shelby 10.04.07 at 4:36 pm

I don’t really have much of an opinion one way or the other about the whole “Christian cult of death” thing — I was just struck by the ridiculousness of saying that no one had ever used a “similar” term for any major religion bar Islam. Of course they have, as I showed. If you want to quibble that they didn’t really mean it, or that they used the phrase in a less totalizing way than Ali, then that’s a different claim.

Regarding the “level of threat,” Van Gogh’s murder certainly shows that the threat is real, but doesn’t tell us the level: does it mean a full-time bodyguard is merited, or just an alarm system and a policeman on call? Or a twenty-man squad and three armored cars?

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abb1 10.04.07 at 4:52 pm

Fair enough Shelby. Still, “normal and vocally expressed view among many intellectuals” sounds like a gross exaggeration.

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Katherine 10.04.07 at 5:50 pm

Re comments 21 (brett belmore) and 33 (Sebastian Holsclaw) – you have somewhat expanded upon what I was saying. Please do try to limit yourself to what I said, rather than what you wish I said or want me to have said.

All I said was that one can criticise someone’s methods without being against free speech and free expression.

What I didn’t do (and what you seem to have assumed that I did, in a way that inaccurately bolstered your own positions) was actually express an opinion on whether Michael Moore or Ayaan Hirsi Ali actually are propogandists or not. Please don’t misquote or misappropriate my words.

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mq 10.04.07 at 6:06 pm

Just going on record to say Abb1’s a great commenter and I have no idea why he was banned by one CT poster.

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ERS 10.04.07 at 9:57 pm

As to the level of threat, I can vouch that almost anyone who works with “honor” killings is a target for threats. And Ayaan Hirsi Ali has taken on a whole lot more than that. Still, she probably knew she was banging on a hornet’s nest when she began to take on Islam.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
“Reclaiming Honor in Jordan”

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quintin hoare 10.05.07 at 7:20 am

Sixty-five comments to date – several complacently ignorant about Ayaan Hirsi and her work; others quick to distance themselves from her supposed views; many snide, dismissive or frankly hostile – not a single one showing any evidence of having read her wonderful autobiography ‘Infidel’, one of the most inspiring and educative books I have read in years, which provides the essential background to understanding the stance she came to adopt after entering politics in Holland, and especially following the murder of her collaborator Van Gogh. ‘Provocative’ – since when is this a term of condemnation? ‘Propagandist’ – are there no values or beliefs that should be propagated? The Islam that Ayaan Hirsi condemns is the kind that scarred her own life and continues to scar the lives of countless female children and women, the kind that appeals to the Koran as unquestionable authority, the fundamentalist Islam that is unfortunately espoused not by some small minority but in much of the Muslim world. Islamic fundamentalism is not alone, other fundamentalisms can be equally pernicious, nor are all Muslims fundamentalist. But fundamentalist Islam is a danger everywhere in the world, both where it rules and where it influences disatisfied minorities. Ayaan Hirsi is an ally in the fight against it, a brave voice on the side of reason, and she deserves whatever protection is necessary.

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Donald Johnson 10.05.07 at 12:02 pm

I haven’t read her either, Quintin, but the problem appears to be that she condemns all of Islam, not just the fundamentalist variety. Look at the quote abb1 provided. If she said that, she’s not the person you portray her to be.

She still deserves protection, of course. (Obvious point added because otherwise I’m sure some rightwinger would assume the worst if I didn’t.)

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Ingrid Robeyns 10.05.07 at 12:27 pm

Quintin Hoare (@66); I’ve read quite a bit by Ayaan Hirshi Ali, in particular her many OpEds and interviews when she lived in the Netherlands. And I have spent hours listening to her on radio and television. In those statements, she had a very strong tendency to speak of One Single Islam, not making any room for different streams or interpretations. As I said at the very beginning: In her world it’s either black or white, and there are no shades of grey. I know there are more politicians and ideologists in the USA who like this kind of black and white talk, but in my opinion that rethorical/argumentative strategy doesn’t serve world peace or more tolerance or anything else worthwhile striving for. It may, perhaps, be good to get something on the political agenda, but it shouldn’t be more than a one-off to draw the attention. That stage we passed ages ago.

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Shelby 10.05.07 at 6:13 pm

Perhaps so, Ingrid, but on balance I think Ali does more good than harm in calling attention to the evils some do in the name of Islam. She may be using a broader brush (maybe even much broader) than would be ideal, but I still think it’s preferable to silence.

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Donald Johnson 10.06.07 at 1:56 am

Yeah, if Ali didn’t say all of Islam was evil there would be total silence about the evils perpetrated in its name.

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zdenek v 10.06.07 at 8:25 am

ingrid robeyns : “..but in my opinion that rethorical/argumentative strategy doesn’t serve world peace or more tolerance or anything else worthwhile striving for ”

This is a strange view. Suppose a next door neighbour abuses his family ( say this involves rape of the girl-children ) exactly once a month and only on Sundays and I criticise this practice by carelessly saying ‘fair amount of abuse is going on at that house , the man is a monster and I think it should stop ‘.

Does it follow ( using ingrid logic ) that my criticism is not worth making just because I do not take better care with my ‘argumentative/rhetorical strategy ‘ ?

No, but then why nit pick and why the hostility to my criticism ? Surely the best explanation why someone might take Ingrid’s line and object to my criticism of my neighbour is that they do not believe that the abuse I report takes place/is serious or they do not share my view that the type of abuse is objectionable ?

Ingrid seems to be committed to something like that too : Ayaan Hirshi Ali view is false ( no abuse takes place ) or it is true ( abuse does take place ) but there is nothing wrong with such treatment of girls in that house ( it is no abuse it is only ‘abuse’).

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-- jvankw 10.06.07 at 4:44 pm

I may be wrong but understand Ingrid’s point to be that Hirsi Ali has firmly embraced the “clash of civilizations” by her reductionist rhetoric. And I agree this does not serve world peace and tolerance (you know the good stuff that takes human dignity as its guiding principle).

As for green cards, etc. there’s always room here for ideologues with the “right” stripes. Since she decides to become a permanent resident of another country (emphasis on permanent), I don’t see why the Dutch should continue pay for her security while abroad.

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Rosie 10.06.07 at 8:49 pm

In sum, Ali is too shrill and she has the wrong friends.

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Doc Rampage 10.07.07 at 2:05 am

All of this concern about Ali’s rhetoric strikes me as a bit too precious. How many of you who claim to dislike her because her words are too harsh or she paints with too broad a brush take exception when someone on the left makes harsh comments about the Republican party or the Catholic church or fundamentalist Christians? Are all Replicans war-mongers? Do all Catholics want to enslave women to childbirth? Do all fundamentalist Christians want to turn the US into a theocracy?

This is just rhetoric, and unless you can show a record of challenging over-the-top rhetoric from your own side, I suspect that this is just an attempt to sound impartial when you really just don’t like what she is saying.

Which is amazing. If Ali were speaking about fundamentalist Christians instead of Muslims then her leftists critics would be idolizing her instead. The Right has been watching with amazement for the last half-dozen years as the Left continuously defends Islam for the very things that they spent the previous 50 years condemning Christians for. Enslavement of women, forcing their morality on others, intolerance of other religions and cultures, religious wars. We have arguments trying to figure out what it is that the Left really believes, because they keep contradicting themselves.

So let me ask you, if you get more stoked up about defending prisoners who fight for an organization that blows up school buses full of children from mere rough treatment than you do about defending a woman who is under threat of death for merely speaking out against the oppression and violence against women of her own culture, how are you a liberal?

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James Robertson 10.07.07 at 5:01 am

Far be it from anyone on the left to ask why she needs protection, or who she needs protection from.

Say, if you criticized the Catholic church, or an evanagelical church, you wouldn’t have anything to fear, right?

That might be enough to make you think, if you were actually capable of thought…

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Bruce 10.07.07 at 5:10 am

I must say that I’ve enjoyed reading the well informed and well written postings of the readers here. It’s a breath of fresh air in the tone of those who may disagree on a subject compared to many other places I’ve been. I’ve also learned quite a bit about Hirsi and what had happened in the Netherlands that led to her arrival here in the US. For all of that, I thank you all.
For my part, I’m anxious to see what answers I see to doc rampage’s post since it’s a point of view that has had a place in mind since the beginning. I know that brett and shelby carried portions of that point of view for a while, but I think doc really lays it out.
Thanks again to everyone and our hosts at Crooked Timber.

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zdenek v 10.07.07 at 10:36 am

72 : “I may be wrong but understand Ingrid’s point to be that Hirsi Ali has firmly embraced the “clash of civilizations” by her reductionist rhetoric. And I agree this does not serve world peace and tolerance (you know the good stuff that takes human dignity as its guiding principle).”

This is just a restatement of Ingrid’s view and not a defence of it. The weakness of her view is that it is exposed to a reductio which says that if Hirsi Ali is wrong because she is too shrill in her ‘rhetoric’ then so is Thomas Clarkson the abolitionist or Solzhenitsyn or Steve Biko whose rhetoric is similarly over the top often .

But since we do not say that these ‘shrill’ critics were wrong, because they were shrill, we ,by same logic, cannot say that Hirsi Ali is wrong just because she is shrill. Right ? This shows that the argument from shrillness doesn’t work.
And as should be obvious much the same point can be made about what Ingrid says about peace not being served By Hirsi Ali’s rhetoric.

But this interestingly raises the following problem for understanding Ingrid’s position : since explanation tracks justification , once it is shown that her belief that Hirsi Ali is wrong, is without justification ( the reductio offered above ), we have also shown, that it is without explanation. That is to say, since there is no justification for the view there is no explanation of the view , and it is held as a rationalization of her criticism of Hirsi Ali.

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abb1 10.07.07 at 1:12 pm

But since we do not say that these ‘shrill’ critics were wrong, because they were shrill, we ,by same logic, cannot say that Hirsi Ali is wrong just because she is shrill.

And, by same logic, those who criticize AIPAC are no different form those who say that the Jews are a nihilistic sect hellbent on running the world. If it’s true that AIPAC is wielding significant influence, then the ‘shrill’ version can’t be wrong, right?

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Doc Rampage 10.07.07 at 5:46 pm

That’s a good point, abb1. There actually is a point at which rhetoric becomes so shrill and outrageous that it shows its speaker to be outside the bounds of civil discourse. But has Ali passed that point? You use the example of someone using Nazi-style rhetoric to attack jews, but the problem is that this rhetoric isn’t an exaggeration of the truth, it is an outright lie. Judaism isn’t out to rule the world in any significant sense.

By contrast, there is a very significant sense in which Islam is a death cult: polls consistently show very high support for suicide bombers among Muslims all over the world. A party known for its suicide bombers won an election in Palestine. Polls show that if there were open elections in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or various other Muslim nations, the terrorist-promoting parties would win handily. In dozens of countries around the world where Muslims are a majority, other religions are persecuted and where Muslims are a large minority, there are home-grown Muslims terrorist trying to intimidate the majority. Let’s not get into the argument of whether the Koran objectively promotes the subjugation or women or war against other religions, but the most influential interpreters of the Koran in Islam today argue that it does so teach, and there is very little dispute from these hypothetical moderate Muslims that we are always hearing about but seldom from.

I’m not saying that all Muslims are evil people, but that there is overwhelming evidence that Islam is a force for evil in the world today. And if you are going to respond with indignation to that statement, please include a link to where you responded with indignation when someone said that Christianity is a force for evil. If you spend any time on the internet, you’ve had plenty of opportunities to do that.

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abb1 10.07.07 at 8:44 pm

There are over a billion Muslims on earth, DR; some cult. Go find any anti-semitic site on the Web and they’ll explain to you in very similar terms why the Jews represent an evil nihilistic cult.

It’s never a good idea – to demonize a large group of people based on some arbitrary criterion; but when your target group is this large – 1 – 1.5 billion people – it’s just plain stupid.

But if you absolutely must do it, find a smaller group. Try Wahhabism or something. Yeah, Wahhabism is an evil cult destroying the civilization – I remember it was a popular mantra a just few years ago.

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Daniel 10.07.07 at 9:38 pm

“The question is who should pay for it…..”

Oh those niggardly Dutch.

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Doc Rampage 10.08.07 at 1:21 am

Abb1, as the only one with the courage to answer me, I’ll try to answer you in detail:

Go find any anti-semitic site on the Web and they’ll explain to you in very similar terms why the Jews represent an evil nihilistic cult.

Actually most of the anti-Semitic sites wouldn’t bother with that stuff, they would just quote the Koran. But those that do try to show how the Jews have been doing evil things depend on wild conspiracy theories. This is not at all what I presented. All of the facts I used are well-known and confirmable by a small amount of research. I suspect that this is why you didn’t actually try to address any of my facts.

It’s never a good idea – to demonize a large group of people based on some arbitrary criterion; but when your target group is this large – 1 – 1.5 billion people – it’s just plain stupid.

I eagerly await your links to the times that you have made the same point about intemperate language against Christianity, the religion of 2.1 billion people. Until then, I don’t think that even you buy this point, so I won’t bother refuting it.

But if you absolutely must do it, find a smaller group. Try Wahhabism or something. Yeah, Wahhabism is an evil cult destroying the civilization – I remember it was a popular mantra a just few years ago.

Nothing much has changed on that score. Wahhabist-financed mosques are still one of the primary sources of Muslim terrorists. If you dispute this, then you will need an argument. Sarcasm is not a recognized argument form*.

*But sarcasm can be rhetorically effective when done with a bit of delicacy and in support of an actual point.

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Bruce 10.08.07 at 6:09 am

I guess for the Dutch it goes something like this:
“I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to your death, your right to say it”

Just trying to be rhetorically effective with sarcasm. Delicately, of course.

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abb1 10.08.07 at 6:24 am

DR, anti-semitic sites don’t quote Koran, anti-semitism is an overwhelmingly Christian/European phenomenon. Also, what you used in your islamophobic tirade are mostly not facts but fantasies, and when they are facts they are irrelevant. For example, you apparently find suicide bombings more objectionable than, say, aerial bombings – but that’s just silly, of course. And Old Testament, of course, also promotes subjugation or women and war against other religions; read it sometime.

I eagerly await your links to the times that you have made the same point about intemperate language against Christianity, the religion of 2.1 billion people. Until then, I don’t think that even you buy this point, so I won’t bother refuting it.

OK, you got it: demonizing all Christians is wrong and stupid. Now you can respond.

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Doc Rampage 10.08.07 at 6:48 am

Abb1, first, if you think that some of my assertions were false or irrelevant then you should be able to list them.

Second, I certainly think that suicide bombers who target civilians are more objectionable than aerial bombings that target military and infrastructure sites. Don’t you? Of course if the US were using planes to deliberately bomb schools and hospitals in order to terrorize the populace, that would be horrible, right? But that’s exactly the kind of targets that suicide bombers go for. American bombs are military weapons: they are used to destroy the enemy’s power to make war. Suicide bombers are terrorist weapons: they are used to terrify people into submission. Surely you have enough moral compass to see the difference here. You do, don’t you?

Third, I find your last sentence unconvincing. I just don’t believe that you have ever defended Christians the way that you leaped to defend Muslims. Now, if you are a Muslim, then I guess that is excusable, but if consider yourself a person of the Left, then you really need to find some plausible reason for the double standard –at least if you are at all interested in maintaining intellectual respect.

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abb1 10.08.07 at 7:35 am

But the US did bomb schools and hospitals. Rather recently, in fact, most in-famously during the cleansing of Fallujah campaign in 2004. And I don’t remember a single case of suicide bomber targeting a school or hospital.

Also, obviously Hamas and other organizations in Palestine and elsewhere would prefer to target the military with modern weapons. But of course they don’t have any modern weapons and military targets are well protected, so your condemnation pretty much amounts to the demand that those with superior military should be able to do whatever they want to everybody else.

Incidentally, isn’t it lucky that by a sheer coincidence you find yourself on the side with a superior military? Is this how your moral compass operates? I suspect it is.

It doesn’t matter who I am and what I consider myself. And didn’t leap to anything; notice that this is a thread about Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Sorry, but your insinuations don’t help your case.

…if you think that some of my assertions were false or irrelevant then you should be able to list them.

Some of your assertions I did address, others are too rhetorical to address (“terrorist-promoting parties”?), others are just wrong: “In dozens of countries around the world where Muslims are a majority, other religions are persecuted“. I know only one Muslim country where other religions are persecuted – it’s Saudi Arabia.

And, of course, you failed to establish the cause and effect, the relevance. Why do some Muslims support terrorism? Is it because they are Muslims or is it because they feel persecuted and powerless, or is it for some other reason or a combination or reasons?

Again, this is exactly how anti-semites operate: they list a bunch of names of bankers and media figures and say: see, the conclusion is obvious. You seemingly dismissing any other possible explanation out of hand is just as problematic, in my opinion.

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abb1 10.08.07 at 8:25 am

BTW, DR, tell me what kind of generalization and shrill this story should justify:

Recently, the press carried a story about a woman who was beaten on a Jerusalem bus for refusing to move to the rear to make way for one of the male travelers. Miriam Shear, an Orthodox Jew, reported that she rides the bus daily to pray at the Western Wall at sunrise. While the bus line she travels is not defined as “sex-segregated,” the custom, primarily since the majority of travelers are haredim has been that women usually sit in the back, while men sit in the front.

In a recent interview, Shear reports: “Every two or three days, someone would tell me to sit in the back. I was always polite and said: ‘No, this is not synagogue. I am not going to sit in the back.'”

Shear then goes on to report how on one morning a man got onto the bus and demanded her seat, even though there were other empty ones – both in the front and in the back of the bus. When Shear refused to get up, the man said: “I am not asking you – I’m telling you,” at which point he spat at her. She was cursed, slapped and beaten – with nary an objection by others on the bus, including the cowardly bus driver.

Or should this one be addressed in a more balanced and nuanced way? Tell me, brother.

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Kevin Donoghue 10.08.07 at 9:11 am

Sez Bruce: I guess for the Dutch it goes something like this: “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to your death, your right to say it”

Actually the Dutch are saying that the provision of security for people living in America is the responsibility of Americans. If Ayaan Hirsi Ali wants to benefit from the Voltaire doctrine she had better remain in the Netherlands.

For Ali’s once and future hosts, on the other hand, it goes like this:

“We heartily applaud your bigotry but don’t fool yourself that we are going to pay a cent for your security. Paying taxes is against our principles and anyway useful idiots are not a scarce resource. However, rest assured that if you are murdered the propaganda value of the event will be exploited to the full. Hell, we will probably ask the USAF to paint your name on a bomb.”

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Bruce 10.08.07 at 4:53 pm

I have always felt that government officials deserved security so that they could be protected from everything from wackos to foreign agents while they do their jobs. But I can certainly understand that being limited to the Netherlands as opposed to an open ended commitment. Didn’t her neighbors in the Netherlands complain about the security and get her evicted at one point?

Are the once and future hosts the ones in the Netherlands or here in the US? I suppose it could be both… If she does get murdered by Muslim extremists for her outspoken point of view with a note stabbed to her body and all that, would reporting that really be propaganda?

Some people think she’s inflammatory and bigoted (wasn’t she raised a Muslim?), and others think she’s the voice of warning the West desperately needs to hear as a wake up call to who and what we’re dealing with.

I feel that either version deserves protection. If that protection resides in the Netherlands, then that’s where she ought to be.

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Bruce 10.08.07 at 5:18 pm

abb1-
Here are a couple of stories about suicide bombers attacking hospitals and schools. I chose from Iraq and from Afghanistan. There are others. The second one of them also talks about a double suicide bombing at a school. After the first explosion, he followed all the kids into the bomb shelter and detonated there…

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/ISL302004.htm
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/02/07/iraq.main/index.html

The military does their best to limit damage to schools, hospitals, mosques and churches. However, if they’re being attacked from those locations or they are serving a military purpose, then they must be attacked like any other position.

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abb1 10.08.07 at 6:04 pm

I don’t know, Bruce. One of your links is an attack on soldiers – something you guys consider praiseworthy, the other one on some policemen outside a hospital, I guess that should be OK too. In the end it doesn’t matter; both sides kill people, though one side kills many more people; guess which side it is.

You already decided that your side does their best to limit damage and the other side are monsters, and people on the other side feel exactly the same way, only the opposite.

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Bruce 10.08.07 at 8:00 pm

I certainly never said anybody was a monster.
Sorry that I used the wrong link about the school bombing, but it doesn’t sound like you need to see it.
I consider the extremists mis-guided. They obviously have families and people who love them and they love. But I think that they, suicide bombers, are being used, often attacking innocent people, to score obedience from the local community and headlines here in the US to convince us to despair, give up, and retreat.
It’s the people training, arming, directing, and sometimes hand cuffing somebody to the steering wheel of a car bomb, that we’re after.
Everyone deserves freedom from oppression and terror. The freedom to speak openly. The freedom to be religious, or not be religious. The freedom to pick their own leaders.
I don’t think the other side sees it that way.

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abb1 10.09.07 at 7:17 am

Your logic is circular. You call the violence perpetrated by the official bad people ‘terrorism’ and then say that they are bad people because they use ‘terrorism’.

In fact, the official good people perpetrate most of the violence and cause most deaths and fear. The official good people’s violence is delivered by different means, but it’s no less ‘terrorism’ than the official bad people’s violence. It’s designed to convince them (i.e. not us) to despair, give up, and retreat.

You need to be more impartial and consistent.

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