Getting the chance to interview Ayaan Hirsi Ali at the 2012 Presidential Conference in Jerusalem was one of the highest of the many highlights I’ve had writing for Power Line over the past (nearly) 14 years. (I posted a photo of her with me after the interview along with my retrospective on the conference even though the contrast was…not to my advantage.) I admire her intelligence, her eloquence and her bravery. We need her voice. As a black woman, having escaped from Somalia and Islam, she is of course anathema to the left and its Islamist friends.
The New York Observer has posted Jeff Robbins’s a fine appreciation of Ms. Ali. Robbins makes a point close to my heart about the uses of “Islamophobia.” Robbins writes:
[Ms. Ali] finds herself battling the stubborn, unrelenting forces that would have her censored. The efforts to tar her with the tried-and-true epithet of “Islamophobic” come both from powerful Muslim enterprises that would like to squash her like a bug and some on the left, for whom a narrative of the Muslim world as victims and the West as victimizers is precious and comfortable. They regard Ms. Hirsi Ali as trouble. She is, after all, a Muslim-born woman who personally experienced the very abuse that she criticizes. The 46-year-old is also a superb writer, a winning speaker, inarguably courageous and telegenic to boot. She is an atheist as well. For those who wish to suppress criticism of the plight of women under Islam, she is, in short, a disaster.
Robbins goes out of his way to make another point that is lost among the ignorati. I mean especially those reporters and pundits covering related stories among the mainstream media who unfailingly describe CAIR as “a civil rights organization,” even though the facts about it have been publicly known for years:
In mosques and at diverse sites across the Internet, instructions are delivered to punish non-believers, dissenters or even potential skeptics, and justifications for violence in the name of Islam are conveyed. These practices, Ms. Hirsi Ali says, are pervasive, unrelenting and extremely well funded by Muslim countries, wealthy donors and institutions, and it is bizarre to pretend otherwise. “It is time to drop the euphemisms and verbal contortions,” she has written. Ms. Hirsi Ali and others who have called for a more realistic assessment of the link between promotion of Islamic law and violence against women are routinely accused of being bigots, Zionist stooges or mouthpieces for the far-right. In America, where she sought refuge ten years ago, Ms. Hirsi Ali has been attacked by organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which manifestly does not want her speaking out and writing and thereby gaining publicity and potential traction for her views. Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s spokesman, accuses her of being “one of the worst of the worst of Islam haters in America, not only in America but worldwide.”
This is hardly surprising: While other Muslim dissenters have privately expressed disgust for what they believe is CAIR‘s obstruction of the U.S. government’s efforts to counter Islamic extremism, they do not wish to do so publicly. But Ms. Hirsi Ali has no such reticence, and has characterized CAIR as “an American front for the Muslim Brotherhood.”
She is hardly alone in that view….
Please read the whole thing here.