The bravest woman I know—and I know plenty, including Margaret Thatcher—is the Somalian-born writer and former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is presently under a fatwa sentence of death for her apostasy from the Muslim faith. When the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was shot eight times in 2004, a paper stuck into his corpse with a knife stated that Hirsi Ali would be next. While that would push most of us into hiding for the rest of our days—including me, I’m perfectly ready to admit—Hirsi Ali has resolutely continued to make public appearances promoting the cause of female liberation in the Muslim world.
Women’s liberation is something one might also have expected The New York Times to laud and support, yet the review there of Hirsi Ali’s latest book, Nomad: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations, by op-ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, was instead–unforgivably in my view—entitled “The Gadfly,” and subtitled, “Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s second memoir is as provocative as her first.”
This should be especially offensive to women, whether they’re liberal or conservative. I guess championing women’s rights is great except when it runs into a critical view of the Muslim faith.
I wonder if Kristof would react the same way if the critique was directed towards Christianity or Judaism? Something tell me the answer is no.