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I just picked this book up Wednesday night. I finished it Thursday night.

This is an incredible book. This woman is truly heroic. Her story is fascinating, and the transformation she made is astounding.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a prime example of a person using reason to change her life.

I highly recommend this book. I hope to find The Caged Virgin this weekend.

Ayaan is currently working in the US at AEI, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. You can read some of her short articles there.

Although Ayaan stresses how the world needs to wake up and see how poorly Islam treats woman, and how dangerous this religion is, she also asserts in her book that the reason it is like this is because of the lack of respect for individual rights. By the time I got to the later portion of the book, I had to keep checking the cover - is Ayaan or Ayn talking? I was worried when I started this could be just another activist that is only concerned with women's rights, but that isn't the case at all. She makes a great case against a way a lot of Western countries become too tolerant of evil acts, defending their lack of inaction by "respecting" a groups cultural roots.

This book is easy to read, and I had a hard time putting it down.

I encourage anyone that has time to pick up the book from their local book store or library. It truly is worth reading. I just bought her first book "The Caged Virgin" yesterday afternoon, and I am now reading it. I am interested in others that have read the book and what their thoughts are?

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I enthusiastically second the recommendation of Infidel.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a remarkable woman. First, growing up in an Islamic culture, she was able to, on her own, figure out what's wrong with Islam, and then follow her mind wherever her thoughts led her. Few people have the courage to do this: question beliefs they've been brought up with (and have been taught that disobedience will lead to horrible consequences), and figure out the answers on their own. And then, to speak the truth, openly, when people who do this against Islam are reguarly threatened and worse, is a rare and admirable act.

Second, it's clear from her writings that, though she (and many other people in her culture) has been the victim of quite a lot of unjust treatment (even physical abuse), her positive outlook and joy of living has not been broken. I got the feeling reading the whole book that here is a person who sees life as a wonderful adventure. Considering what she's had to go through, this is remarklable.

Finally, she really does understand lots about what's wrong with the West's meek response to the threat of Islamic totalitarianism. She has not been taken in by multiculturalism at all, for example.

A very inspiring book. I am sure we'll be hearing more from her.

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  • 2 months later...

As mentioned by the original poster, several of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's articles and speeches can be read on the American Enterprise Institute's web site. I just read Values Matter and it is a great piece of writing on how non-Western immigrants can best intergrate into Western countries. Not surprisingly, she does not support throwing money at them through social programs. Rather, she states that;

Fortunately, an ever-growing number of European leaders accept that such values as individual freedom and responsibility, curiosity, rationality, hard work and tolerance are the key to success in a liberal society. But such values are the result of years of grooming and practice. Education and peer influence make it easier for immigrants to acquire such values and integrate rapidly.

I find it immensely encouraging that an individual can be so successful and intellectually courageous after coming from an environment so stacked against individual thought and achievement.

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An excellent book about a remarkable woman detailing how rational mind can slowly emerge from religion. The second book is an autobiography of sorts which Caged Virgin is more of a series of essays addressing treatment of women in Islam. Infidel is a much meatier book and is more introspective on the part of Ali. I enjoyed reading this book because it mirrors my experiences, although her circumstances were much more trying.

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  • 7 months later...

I just read "Infidel", which is Hirsi's autobiography, and I echo the opinions expressed above. The book is the most enjoyable type of biography, because it is about a heroine. So, one gets the informative historical information inside the context of a story of heroic achievement. A "must read".

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Infidel is a great book and Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an incredible woman. Her intellectual journey is amazing. Here is what I wrote on my blog about Infidel:


The face of reason confronts Dark Age primitiveness. That summarizes Infidel, the autobiography of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The face of reason is hers, the beautiful, intransigent face that appears on the cover of her book.

Ms. Ali was born in Somalia. She grew up in that country, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Her father fought for a better government in Somalia but he, along with all of the people close to her, were Muslims. Primitivism meant female genital circumcision, which she endured without anesthesia at age 6. Primitivism meant Muslim Brotherhood imams preaching fundamentalism. Primitivism meant women wearing restrictive hidjabs. Primitivism meant having to endure forced marriages and beatings from your husband, if he so chose. Primitivism meant an oppressive clan network that reached all the way into European countries.

Rejecting the primitiveness of her background, Infidel is the story of Ms. Ali’s personal unfolding, and her discovery of the Western values of free speech, the right to one’s own life, and religious freedom. By the end of the book, Ms. Ali declares herself an infidel, since she rejects the Islamic faith that she grew up with. She rejects all religious faith. Step by step over the course of her life, Infidel shows her make the conclusions that brought reason into her life.

For that, for the ideas she publicly stated as a member of Parliament in Holland, for a movie she made, and ultimately for this book, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has had a death sentence placed on her. Like Salman Rushdie, a fatwa is on her life. The director of her movie, Theo Van Gogh, was already murdered in cold blood on the streets of Amsterdam.

Today, Ms. Ali lives in the freest country on earth, the United States. Her book is a warning to us of the nature of the Muslim enemy we fight. Islam is not a religion of peace; it is a religion of unspeakable evil.

UPDATE OCTOBER 2007: Ms. Ali has left the United States after the Dutch government, which had been paying for her protection, stopped doing so. Apparently because Ms. Ali is a Dutch citizen, the U.S. did not take up the slack and offer her protection. By returning to Holland, Ms. Ali can presumably once again be protected by her country.

Question: Has the U.S. government ever spent taxpayer money to provide security protection to this foreign citizen? You can see him on the right side of the picture holding hands with our President. That man is Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. If a double-standard does exist, could it be that the U.S. government is unwilling to protect someone like Ms. Ali, who is an "infidel" and denounces Islam, while offering protection to our "ally" who financially and morally sponsors terrorism against us? Ms. Ali is our ally and the man walking with the President is not. Until we learn that, and it becomes the basis of official government policy, we are gravely at risk. Islam's persecution of Ms. Ali and her flight from this country is a metaphor for what we all face until we gain the wisdom and courage to defend our values.

Edited by Galileo Blogs
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  • 4 weeks later...

To me the book is very eye-opening in regards to how PC advocates want to label terrorists as "extremists" when a significant portion of the Middle East participates in and accepts such a hostile anti-human culture. The fact that one of her associates was murdered because she wrote a book criticizing their religion by describing real events that occurred in her life just goes to show how evil these people are. She has nothing but the utmost respect from me; it was a great book and an eye-opening one at that.

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  • 4 months later...

I finished Infidel a few days ago, and I can attest to how riveting a read it was. It was particularly interesting to read her philosophical evolution, from a devout slave of a death cult to a strong, fiercely independent defender of individual rights. While she does seem to hold some mixed premises, it would not surprise me in the least to see her complete her development and embrace Objectivism.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a truly heroic woman, a beacon of light and reason in our self-destructive, politically-correct world. To me, her name is synonymous with bravery.

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