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Infidelby Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ali's memoir Infidel reveals an extraordinary woman who survived a harrowing early life, fled to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage, and was elected to that country's Parliament before death threats landed her under 24-hour guard. Not every reader will agree with her political and religious positions, but her intelligence, resilience, and courage are inspiring. I was deeply moved by her response, near the end of the book, to questions of what it is like to live with death threats. She recites her many brushes with death, from the moment of her birth onward, and concludes, "Even with bodyguards and death threats I feel privileged to be alive and free." It is to her credit that she dedicated herself to bringing that freedom to other oppressed women.
Synopses & Reviews
One of today’s most admired and controversial political figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali burst into international headlines following the murder of Theo van Gogh by an Islamist who threatened that she would be next. She made headlines again when she was stripped of her citizenship and resigned from the Dutch Parliament.
Infidel shows the coming of age of this distinguished political superstar and champion of free speech as well as the development of her beliefs, iron will, and extraordinary determination to fight injustice. Raised in a strict Muslim family, Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female mutilation, brutal beatings, adolescence as a devout believer during the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in four troubled, unstable countries ruled largely by despots. She escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she earned a college degree in political science, tried to help her tragically depressed sister adjust to the West, and fought for the rights of Muslim women and the reform of Islam as a member of Parliament. Under constant threat, demonized by reactionary Islamists and politicians, disowned by her father, and expelled from family and clan, she refuses to be silenced.
Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali’s story tells how a bright little girl evolves out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no other book could be more timely or more significant.
When it was first published in India, ninety-four-year-old Kondapalli Koteswarammas autobiography was acclaimed by the Telugu literary world. Koteswaramma is well known as the widow of Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, founder of the Maoist movement in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, and her life spans a tumultuous century of Indian politics that included the Independence movement, Communist insurrection, and the militant leftist Naxalite movement. A child widow at the age of five, she went on to marry Seetharamaiah and work for the Communist Party of India. She was later forced to live underground with her family in the difficult years of the late 1940s. Then Seetharamaiah deserted her and everything changed. Painfully, Koteswaramma worked to rebuild her life, only to face tragedy again when both of her children died as young adults. When many others would have given up, Koteswaramma responded by enrolling in school, taking a job, raising her grandchildren, writing poetry and prose, and eventually establishing herself as a thinking person in her own right.
Now in English, The Sharp Knife of Memory is a searing memoir that will resonate worldwide as it explores the nature of memory and gives a firsthand account of the arrival of womens political independence in India. That Indian women often face incredible suffering is known, but that they can fight back and emerge winners is exemplified in the life of Koteswaramma.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali captured the world's attention with Infidel, her coming-of-age memoir, which spent thirty-one weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of today's most admired and controversial political figures. She burst into international headlines following the murder of Theo van Gogh by an Islamist who threatened she would be next; and she made headlines again when she was stripped of her citizenship and forced to resign from the Dutch Parliament.
Infidel shows the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished--and sometimes reviled--political superstar and champion of free speech--the development of her beliefs, iron will, and extraordinary determination to fight injustice done in the name of religion. Raised in a strict Muslim family, Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female circumcision, brutal beatings, an adolescence as a devout believer, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in four countries under dictatorships. She escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she fought for the rights of Muslim women and the reform of Islam, earning her the enmity of reactionary Islamists and craven politicians.
About the Author
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, was raised Muslim, and spent her childhood and young adulthood in Africa and Saudi Arabia. In 1992, Hirsi Ali came to the Netherlands as a refugee. She earned her college degree in political science and worked for the Dutch Labor party. She denounced Islam after the September 11 terrorist attacks and now serves as a Dutch parliamentarian, fighting for the rights of Muslim women in Europe, the enlightenment of Islam, and security in the West.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Bloodlines
Chapter 2: Under the Talal Tree
Chapter 3: Playing Tag in Allah's Palace
Chapter 4: Weeping Orphans and Widowed Wives
Chapter 5: Secret Rendezvous, Sex, and the Scent of Sukumawik
Chapter 6: Doubt and Defiance
Chapter 7: Disillusion and Deceit
Chapter 8: Refugees
Chapter 9: Abeh
Chapter 10: Running Away
Chapter 11: A Trial by the Elders
Chapter 12: Haweya
Chapter 13: Leiden
Chapter 14: Leaving God
Chapter 15: Threats
Chapter 16: Politics
Chapter 17: The Murder of Theo
Epilogue: The Letter of the Law
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