Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s 2007 bestseller Infidel recounted her harrowing journey fleeing her nomadic childhood in Somalia, an arranged marriage and an anonymous religious life. She escaped to Holland as a political refugee, attended college there and worked as a translator for immigrant. Before long, Ali became a member of the Dutch Parliament, tackling such politically explosive issues as the problems Muslim assimilation into democratic cultures.

Ali’s advocacy now has global reach and she is even one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people. For all of her personal and political success, her life hasn’t gotten any easier. For starters there is still jihad against her and she has to travel with bodyguards.

Her new book Nomad| From Islam to America, is about Ali’s emotional journey casting off her old life becoming a ‘citizen’ of the world. Ali is very critical of Islamic teachings as they are used as a tool of enslavement, especially for Muslim woman. She is equally critical of governments who offer no alternative to young Muslims to be integrated into the societies.

After her infamous film Submission produced by Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who himself was murdered on the streets of Amsterdam, Ali had to flee her Holland and live in hiding. Her Dutch citizenship was even temporarily revoked (later reinstated) because an opposing politician was trying to win an election.

As a young woman, Ali was becoming more radicalized as a Muslim, but she eventually renounced her faith. She compares shedding her hajib as being released from bondage and that women who are forced to live by the Quran as it is practiced by militant Muslims are considered chattel and incubators for male heirs.

Her narrative in Nomad begins with the illness and death of her father and attempts to reconnect with her estranged family. Even on his deathbed her father tries to convince her to return to cast off her infidel ways and return to the Islamic world. Ali has limitless compassion for family members and writes of guilt she feels at bringing shame on them and at not being able to live up to their expectations, but, ultimately, she loves freedom more.

 

 

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