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“A Dangerous Fanatic”

That's how The American Prospect's Sam Boyd characterizes Ayaan Hirsi Ali, more accurately described (IMHO) by the Jerusalem Post's Caroline Glick (and seconded by Ron Rosenbaum) as "The Bravest, Most Remarkable Woman of Our Times." Anne Appelbaum recently called her … Read More

By / November 2, 2007

That's how The American Prospect's Sam Boyd characterizes Ayaan Hirsi Ali, more accurately described (IMHO) by the Jerusalem Post's Caroline Glick (and seconded by Ron Rosenbaum) as "The Bravest, Most Remarkable Woman of Our Times." Anne Appelbaum recently called her "possibly the greatest womens' rights activist of our time," (the only quibble I have with Applebaum is that the question is not up for debate, she is the greatest womens' rights activist of our time), praise which earned Boyd's ire. In response to Ali Eteraz's latest missive, could you ask for a better example of the stark divide between the "decent" and indecent left?

Does Sam Boyd believe that Ayaan Hirsi Ali killed Theo Van Gogh? How about Pim Fortuyn? Does she represent a threat to anyone's security? How is Hirsi Ali — who suffered genital mutilation, child abuse, indoctrination in a totalitarian ideology — a "dangerous fanatic?" In the minds of leftists like Boyd (whose slandering of Hirsi Ali is even less charitable than Ian Buruma's "enlightenment fundamentalist" smear), the irrational, murderous, religious-inspired rage of fanatical Muslims (or any non-white, non-Western fanatic) can always be laid at the feet of the West. Robert Mugabe may have gone to far, but can you really blame him after so many years of British colonialism? And aren't the death threats against Ali at least understandable? She's a dangerous fanatic!

There's plenty of room to disagree with Hirsi Ali. I happen to believe that there is a peaceful, non-threatening version of Islam that is practiced by millions of people every day. I don't agree with Hirsi Ali when she says that "there is no moderate Islam" and advocates shutting down Muslim schools in the United States. But you know what? She knows a hellva lot more about Islam that either me, Sam Boyd, Ali Eteraz or anyone else opining in the blogosphere, and though I happen to disagree with her based upon my own understanding of Islam, I am not going to call this most courageous of 21st heroines a "dangerous fanatic."

Most importantly, whatever her views on Islam, they in no way impair her credibility as a feminist, her record as which, after all, is the subject of Applebaum's praise. This is a distinction that Boyd seems incapable of understanding.

Perhaps the folks at The American Prospect can enlighten us as to who the real "dangerous fanatics" are in addition to Ayaan Hirsi Ali; after all, they even have a Lyndon LaRouche groupie on their senior staff to aid them in that quest.

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