Saturday, March 9, 2013
Infidel (Ayaan Hirsi Ali)
I found this book at Costco and took it down south with us. I wondered if it might be pretty heavy reading for the beach, but I quite enjoyed it. Ayaan tells the story of her oppressive upbringing in a strict Muslim family, surviving civil war, moves to four different Muslim countries, female circumcision, repeated beatings by family members, and a forced marriage. Ayaan escaped to Holland (I enjoyed reading about her experiences there, and some people/places/groups that she mentions were familiar to me), where she eventually became involved in politics. Following threats and attempts on her life, she finally settled in the United States.
I was concerned when I opened the book, and it began with an 8-page foreword by self-proclaimed "anti-theist" Christopher Hitchens, praising Ayaan for not only defying her Muslim upbringing, but for coming to realize the ridiculousness of religion as a whole and throwing off the shackles of belief in any deity. This worried me that the book might become a diatribe against God, but the concern was unfounded. Yes, Ayaan does, unfortunately, renounce all religion and belief in God, but it is not done with the passion and vitriol that Hitchens undoubtedly would have wished.
This was a fascinating look into life under Muslim rule, was well-written, and a worthwhile read.