Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Interviewed by Avi Lewis

The below tape goes back to 2007, but bears viewing at any time. Ayaan Hirsi Ali (one of my heroes) was interviewed in Toronto by left-wing Canadian broadcaster Avi Lewis, who, as you can tell from viewing this clip, has a very low opinion of America. In this interview on Lewis' show, "On the Map"", watch as he tries to nail Ali who, in her quiet, gracious way, disarms him intellectually.

Has this guy Lewis ever been in the United States?

You should also note that Ali is able to match wits with her opponents in English, which is not her native language. This guy Lewis, however, strikes me as not having wits. Lewis is married to left-wing feminist author Naomi Klein, who, for some strange reason, is hailed by the American and Canadian left. This past May, UC Santa Barbara Professor William Robinson (another far-left guy) spoke at UC-Irvine (I was present) and kept referencing Naomi Klein as a source for several of his statements. Strikes me as kinda weird that someone would quote Naomi Klein in speaking about world events.

"....and that's according to Naomi Klein."

Well, anyway, as far as Lewis is concerned, that's what happens when you try to argue with someone who is speaking from her own life experiences. Lewis should have known better.



Siarlys Jenkins said...

I don't have any heroes any more. Every time I commit to one, I find that they have been wrong about something, and that they have all too human flaws. Hirsi Ali isn't all that great. The interviewer is much worse. He indulges in cliches and axiomatic assumptions worthy of Fox News, except of course that his unproven axioms are opposite to those of Sean Hannity et. al.

Hirsi Ali has experienced submission of women to men, and confuses this with submission to God. They are distinguishable. She has to described the Old Testament as almost obsolete, in order to distinguish the gruesome precedents for equally oppressive measures found there, from what the al Qaeda demagogues find in the Qu'ran.

I wouldn't expect this woman to remain a Muslim. I wouldn't question the faith, humanity, or good citizenship of my American Muslim friends just because this woman, and others like her, have had bad experiences in the name of Islam. Incidentally, female genital mutilation is not common in the Arabian peninsula, outside of Yemen, or anywhere across Asia. It is indigenous to some areas of Africa, not all, and is currently defended by African born-again Christians who live in cultures where it is traditional.

It is true that those who murder doctors in the U.S. are arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned. However, to say that the acts she rightly condemns are inherent in the faith of Islam could have been easily disproven, by anyone with a tad more competence than this narcissistic egoist who interviewed her. America's flaws can and should be presented and considered -- but glib rhetoric doesn't cut it.

Gary Fouse said...


Fox News is the wrong analogy. The people at Fox News love America. This guy is more like Keith Olbermann. He agrees with many of Olbermaqnn's views. (I am not implying that Keith hates America).

How can you say that you would not expect any woman to remain a Muslim when the price of apostacy is a death warrant? What she has done takes incredible courage.

Yes, I am generally aware of the demographics of female genital mutilation, but there are other practices that are a problem within Islam as they relate to wsetern societies.-honor killings, shariah law, the legal status of women, the interpretation of rape, death for apostacy, the hadith regarding the final judgement and the Jew, dhimmitude, etc.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I too count Ali as one of my heroes for the same reason that Gary cites - her incredible courage. Ironically, it's the same reason why I consider Malcolm X as one of my heroes. It was the courage that it took for him to speak the truth - even though he knew all too well that it could cost him his life. This is pretty much the same situation with Ali.

I have other heroes, too, but most of them are creative types like William Shakespeare and Stan Lee (how's that for a broad spectrum?) Are my heroes flawed? Absolutely. Even after Malcolm's pilgrimage to Mecca, he still said a lot of things with which I don't agree. I also find myself sometimes disagreeing with Ali. To me, that's beside the point. It's their willingness to speak truth in spite of grave consequences is what inspires me and makes me realize that we human beings are capable of that kind of courage.


Lance Christian Johnson said...

Regarding the following that Siarlys wrote:

Hirsi Ali has experienced submission of women to men, and confuses this with submission to God. They are distinguishable.

See, there's the problem. They are not distinguishable because the only way we know how to submit to God is from what men have either told us or have written down. The will of God is always suspiciously in line with the will of whoever is in power.

I can't really argue with somebody and try to tell them that God doesn't exist, as it involves me having to prove a negative. However, I have a much easier time arguing when somebody tells me that they know what that God wants. And don't point to The Bible, the Koran, or even The Call of C'thulhu, as those were all clearly written by men who lived in a more primitive age. Do many of the lessons apply to today? Yes. But the same can be said about The Odyssey and nobody's telling me that it proves that not only Zeus is real but that we know what he wants.


Lance Christian Johnson said...

The one point I do agree with from Siarlys is the notion that this guy is essentially a leftist equivalent of the yahoos on Fox News. The irony that always escapes you, Gary, is that Kieth Olbermann is simply the flip side of the same coin as those conservative pundits you like so much.

But back to Ali, I think that she's an important voice in today's religious discussions. She doesn't represent the whole story, but nobody else is telling it like she is and from her unique perspective. (Mainly because when people from her perspective try, they get killed.)

Gary Fouse said...


There is no flip side to Keith Olbermann's coin.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

The fact that Fox News is staffed with people who love America doesn't change the fact that their style, their disregard for truth and evidence, their pungent advocacy of their chosen mythology, are just about identical to the cretin who interviewed Hirsi Ali. God help America if that were all the love our country can inspire.

Lance is correct that any human being who demands submission to themselves as a stand-in for God is unworthy of obedience. Nor can I prove to Lance's satisfaction that there is a God, or that the book of Genesis has some passing resemblance to what that God accomplished. However, it is possible to be a devout Muslim, that is, one who practices Islam, submission to God, without either being oppressive toward others, in or out of the faith, and without being obsequious to men who claim to speak for God. Ditto for Christianity, Judaism, etc.

Millions of Muslims could rightly and understandably reject Hirsi Ali's blanket critique of Islam. Some thousands of Muslims who think they know what God wants and have a right to enforce that vision on the rest of us also reject her critique, for different reasons. A sane, well-informed, sober, interviewer would have developed these distinctions.