Originally posted November 22, 2014.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali—known for her critical views of Islam—is a Somali-born writer, activist and founder of the AHA Foundation, which works to defend women around the world from religious and cultural oppression. You may recall that, last spring, Brandeis University revoked its invitation to award Ms. Hirsi Ali an honorary degree at its commencement ceremonies after protests by students and faculty. Ms. Hirsi Ali’s greatest cause is women’s liberation, especially Muslim women, but protesters at Brandeis accused her of being “Islamophobic.”
Read here from the WSJ’s Notable & Quotable Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s view of living in America.
From remarks by Somali-born writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali at the Independent Women’s Forum’s Women of Valor Dinner, Nov. 19:
It is a hard fight. It’s extremely difficult, day after day, when you face people and say, “If Sharia law is taken to its logic this is what things are going to look like” and you come across people who say, “you got it all wrong.”
I had a Q&A in a setting like this one with the vice president of our country. He said, “ISIS had nothing to do with Islam.” I said, “I beg to differ.” He said, “Let me tell you one or two things about Islam.” I politely left the conversation at that. I wasn’t used to arguing with vice presidents. . . .
I come from a culture and background, and I spent my youth, in an environment where everything and absolutely everything reminded me of being a woman, being female, and being inferior.
And I didn’t realize until I came to the West that we actually are first and foremost not collectives. We are individuals. We are individual girls with our different characters, with our likes and dislikes. And before you assume the collective, assume the individual. That is the greatest thing about the idea of America.