Friday, 8 August 2008


I have just finished reading Ayan Hirsi Ali's book, Infidel. This is her memoir. She tells of growing up in a Muslim home in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya. She speaks of running away en route to Canada to meet up with the man she was forced to marry. She becomes a refugee in the Netherlands. Here she comes face to face with the West, the evil society she was taught to fear and to hate. What she finds instead is a peaceful, clean, prosperous society where the government doesn't beat you and even the police are kind. She begins to question everything she has been taught about the west and the answers she finds lead her away from Islam, away from religion and tragically also away from God. She concludes that the peace, prosperity and kindness she finds in the West is a triumph of reason over religion.

What do you think? Is she right about reason? Is it only the Enlightenment (the triumph of reason) that has shaped our modern world? What about the Reformation? What has produced the relative peace we have in the West?

It is a riveting read, another eye-opening account of life in a world with which I am so unfamiliar. I would recommend this book, particularly as a motivation to think through the history of our modern society and the philosophy upon which it is based and also as a motivation to pray for our muslim sisters, not that they may know the freedom that reason brings, but that they may know the freedom that Christ brings.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Rachael, I (Katie) have also just finished reading Infidel. My eyes were opened to the world in which so many Muslim women live, clearly not just in Saudi and Somalia, but also in the Netherlands and the West. It struck me how recent this was written (last year) and how this treatment of Muslim women is happening NOW not just centuries ago. Her rejection of her religion wasn't too surprising, but it was interesting that she still held the morals she had learnt in Holland as important to her way of life - ie peace, kindness, patience. I agree that she has missed the influence of the Christian faith on the West, and perhaps she thought of Christians as fundamentalists - an idea she was escaping (I'm thinking of her political view of all religious schools). I was similarly disappointed that she didn't discover the freedom Christ brings and turned to the philosophers of the past to answer her questions about humanity and God. I'd love to see what she is up to now, and how her attempts to protect abused Muslim women is going.
It has been a useful book to read as we prepare for o/s mission. If we end up in Africa shortly, I wonder how prominent we will find the mistreatment of Muslim women?