‘Infidel’stresses Islam to come out of mental cage

By and large, all religions are repressive. Some religions, however, provide more space and freedom for agreements or disagreements and debates and discussions but Islam is the one such religion that does not yield even an inch of disagreement. There is no room for any debate or discussion in it. You must blindly follow what has been ordained to you. The punishment for apostasy in Islam is death and nothing less. This is the crux of the ‘Infidel’, the unputdownable autobiography of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which is an international bestseller. Hirsi Ali, now 48-year-old was born in Somalia, the most poverty-ridden country in the world. She is the first daughter of her father’s second wife. Her father left her mother in the lurch, with three children, to marry a Kenyan woman. Her mother was deserted by her first husband also but then she was then issueless which qualified her to marry her father, who was a political activist and living in exile for fear of being persecuted by the authoritarian regime of Somalia. Hirsi Ali has had to live in Islamic countries like Somalia, Yemen, Ethiopia and in Christian/Muslim country Kenya. She had to undergo the most barbaric practice of vaginal excision, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), to ensure the virginity until her marriage.
Her first marriage with her cousin was a flop which lasted only for a few days. The second marriage was arranged by her father with Kenyan Canadian, which also did not last for more than a week. She became a refugee in Holland, contested election to win to become the member of the Dutch Parliament. Now she lives in the USA and is married to Niall Ferguson, a British historian.
Hirsi Ali was a devout Muslim but when she read the philosophers like Immanuel Kant, Spinoza, Leibnitz and political thinkers like Voltaire, her eyes and brain got opened and she found to her utter dismay that how Islam has mentally caged more than nearly two billion people across the world. She says in her famous book ‘Infidel” that ‘Islam is like a mental cage. At first, when you open the door, the caged bird stays inside: it is frightened. It has internalised its imprisonment. It takes time for the bird to escape, even after someone has opened the doors to its cage.’
The fear of Islam is visible even in the most developed countries of the world particularly after the horrible incident of 9/11 in America and now the entire civilised world is face to face with the menace of Islamists. The ISIS and other Wahabi Islamic outfits have posed the greatest threat and danger to the humanity and civilisation. It has made the situation explosive even in a country like Holland, where even prostitution and soft drugs are licit. Where euthanasia and abortion are practised, where men cry on T.V. and naked people walk on the beach and the Pope is joked about. But people are afraid of speaking against Islam which, in her words, epitomises barbarianism. She further says that ‘Islam is the only religion which divides the society into ‘US’ and ‘THEM’-if you do not accept Islam you should perish, which further says that if you do not go out and fight against ‘THEM’, God will punish you severely and put others in your place’. Therefore, ‘whenever you meet the polytheists, kill them, besiege them and ambush them. Whenever you meet unbelievers, strike them in the neck’.
She has quoted Osama Bin Laden, who declared that ‘do not take Jews and Christians as friends; they are allies only to each other. Anyone who takes them as an ally becomes one of them.’ The Hadith says, ‘the hour of judgement will not come until the Muslim fight the Jews or kill them.’ Hirsi Ali avers that a religion which is so intolerant towards others can never be the religion of peace and brotherhood. In Islam, the relationship of an individual to God is one of total submission like that of a slave to master. To Muslims worship of God means total obedience to Allah and total abstinence from the thoughts and deeds that HE has declared forbidden in Quran. Hirsi Ali is intrigued that Allah is constantly referred in the Quran as the ‘most compassionate and most merciful’ but why does HE not allow a little debate?
There is no freedom to the woman in Islam as she has been declared to be the ‘tillage’ of man. She has to remain veiled as the skin of her body if seen to a man, brings Satanic tendencies in him. Therefore, she must ensure that the man is not consumed by the Satanic forces by seeing any part of the woman’s body. And that is why; Muslim women are supposed to have no faces. Women should cover their bodies even in front of a blind man, even in their own houses, that women must have to remain in the care of men, that women should obey their husbands, that women are worth half a man, that to abjure her faith is the worst kind of disobedience to God; because she comes from the lowest, most impure element in society. A Muslim woman must obey her husband, that if you refuse your husband and he rapes you, that is your fault. Allah says that husbands should beat their wives if they misbehave; it is in Quran. (page244 of her Infidel). Here Hirsi Ali becomes pensive with thought and says that the societies which do not respect the rise of the women are bound to remain poor and disturbed.
This is why, the societies, which have belief in equality of man and woman find themselves paralysed with pain at such state of affairs in Islamic countries. Hirsi Ali has told many things about Prophet Mohammad in the book. For instance; he remained in monogamy until the age of 50, when his first, who was 15 years senior to him died. He married his adopted son’s widow and also to his friends six-year-old Aisha but consummated the marriage when she became nine. He had many wives, at least nine or ten.
Hirsi is of the view that with the development of science and technology and spread of modern education among women, their shackles will get broken as only the educated women can be the harbinger of freedom.
The book is absorbing and must be read by the Muslims intelligentsia. As a matter of fact, the Muslims from the democratic countries like India should come forward to see that the equity of men and women are respected, and primitive religious laws are done away with. And only then the society will leapfrog from fossilized time zone to the most vibrant and dynamic space. Modern education gives wings to fly and it should not be clipped. Will Muslims hearken her plaintive call?