Synopses & Reviews
A riveting look at militant Islam, Muslim womens rights, and the war on terror—brought into focus through two lives on opposite sides: activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali and religious extremist Aafia Siddiqui.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born former member of the Dutch Parliament and the author of the international bestseller Infidel, was raised as a Muslim fundamentalist in Kenya. A feminist, political analyst, writer, and fierce critic of her former religion, she champions the West in what she insists must be a war against Islam. Hirsi Alis personal tale of courage in the face of constant threats from violent, fanatic enemies has won the admiration of millions in America and around the world.
Aafia Siddiqui, a native of Pakistan, moved to the United States to pursue a doctorate in neuroscience. A decade later, she returned to Pakistan, where her involvement with al-Qaeda, including her marriage to one of the 9/11 plotters, led the CIA to regard her as one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world. Her disappearance, capture, and conviction in a New York City courtroom for attempted murder have earned her, too, admiration across the globe—from millions of radical Islamists.
Reconstructing the histories of these two women, award-winning author and journalist Deborah Scroggins weaves a provocative true-life thriller from two separate but strangely parallel lives in a time of bitter battle. Based on remarkable original research and reporting, Wanted Women traces their origins to explain why they chose opposite paths and how each has risen to become revered and reviled as an international symbol of her beliefs. Scroggins reveals controversial details about Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui, and about the political machinations that have transformed them into emblems of a civilizational struggle. Wanted Women provides an illustrative take on our time, stripping away the illusions—about women, war, faith, and power—that have distorted the conflict on both sides.
"For Scroggins (Emma's War), two women who, despite a 'weird symmetry' in their lives, embody the split among Muslims regarding the West and the war on terror. Ayaan Hirsi Ali 'fights only with words' against Islam, calling it a 'destructive, nihilistic cult of death,' while there are numerous indicators that Aafia Siddiqui was preparing for a mass attack on America and the 'enemies of Islam.' on the scale of 9/11. Somali-born Hirsi Ali, saying she was fleeing a forced marriage, sought asylum in Holland in 1992. Siddiqui came from a middle-class Pakistani family before moving to America to study at MIT and Brandeis, becoming a fanatical proponent of jihad. In Holland, Hirsi Ali joined Parliament and emerged as one of Islam's harshest critics, which has gained her both admirers and enemies who threaten her life. Siddiqui traveled in the same circles as 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and became the most wanted woman in the world; she disappeared for four years before being arrested in 2008. Scroggins illuminates not only the disconnect between the West's often one-dimensional perception of Islam and its multifaceted reality but the schisms within Islam itself. This meticulously researched, skillfully narrated account offers a nuanced look at political Islam and the 'war on terror' through the eyes of two women on the front lines." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“This meticulously researched, skillfully narrated account offers a nuanced look at political Islam and the “war on terror” through the eyes of two women on the front lines.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Scroggins research is wide-ranging and impeccable, and she keeps readers on the edge of their seats with her compelling prose. If we can understand Siddiqui and Ali, then we will have a better chance of understanding the war on terror.” Booklist (starred review)
“Riveting.” Marie Claire
“Gripping and finely textured. . . . By flipping between the two lives, the book cleverly shows how both women were influenced by successive events in history. . . . It does add greatly to the understanding of several interlocking conflicts, some grand and geopolitical and others intimate and personal.” The Economist
“While the parallels are fascinating, the books strength is in its clear-eyed yet sympathetic storytelling. Somehow Scroggins manages to convert a mountain of research into a fast-paced, truly gripping pair of stories.” Boston Globe
“Wanted Women reads like a mystery as one event unfolds into another. . . . Thought-provoking and thorough, Scrogginss comprehensive book offers a unique perspective on the tensions between Islam and the West as seen through the life stories of two very different and influential women.” Christian Science Monitor
“Scroggins, with her journalistic doggedness, does a remarkable job of reporting and reconstruction, and WANTED WOMEN serves as a valuable contribution to contemporary history, recounting two ways in which a modern womans identity can be hers for the makingeven if the outcome is tragic.” New York Times Book Review
“Scroggins attempts to give a thorough biographical treatment to two women who remain enigmas, despite their status as public figures. The book alternates between each womans story, making for riveting suspense. . . . A fascinating story that reflects this polarized era.” Washington Post
The author of Emmas War offers a compelling account of the link between Muslim womens rights, Islamist opposition to the West, and the Global War on Terror, as explored through the experiences of two fascinating female champions from opposing sides of the conflict: Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali and neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui. With Emmas War: An Aid Worker, A Warlord, Radical Islam and the Politics of Oil, journalist Deborah Scroggins achieved major international acclaim; now, in Wanted Women, Scroggins again exposes a crucial untold story from the center of an ongoing ideological war—laying bare the sexual and cultural stereotypes embraced by both sides of a conflict that threatens to engulf the world.
About the Author
Deborah Scroggins is the author of Emma's War, which was translated into ten languages and won the Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize. Scroggins has written for the Sunday Times Magazine, The Nation, Vogue, Granta, and many other publications, and she won two Overseas Press Club awards and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award as a foreign correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She divides her time between Barnstable, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.