In a recent interview, Ayaan Hirsi Ali therefore notes:
My first participation in this debate between Islam and the West was after Sept. 11, 2001. All the Western people were trying to explain [the attack] away, saying Islam is a religion of compassion, it is a religion of peace, it is a great civilization, and all the things that are done in the name of Islam, they are done by a small minority that hijacked this religion. It is all hijacking, it is not Islam. This premise still underpins American and European foreign policy. Back then we had Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaida and Taliban. It was all fringe. There were 19 men who took airplanes and crashed into the twin towers and the Pentagon. This was a small group of men who were pathological and they twisted Islam to fit their pathology. Now instead of a small group of 19 boys there are millions.. . . .
When I was a little girl, the Islam that I believed in was transmitted to me by my grandmother, who could not read or write, and by my mother, who also could not read and write. It was absolutely not political. There was no interest in politics, in government, in power. For them it was very spiritual. What it meant was that there would be a moment when the hardship would end. I had never heard the word 'caliph.' We recited the Quran but we didn't know what we were saying. Only really important men went to the mosque. Women didn't go to the mosque. Everyone around me was Muslim, it was our identity, but there was nothing even close to what Hamas is now.Then my family moved to Saudi Arabia and for the first time I saw women covered from head to toe in black. Every two or three meters there was a mosque. Five times a day there was a call to prayer. On the streets there are police who are called the police who command right and forbid wrong . . . .
My grandmother's Islam was something of her own. You can argue that it was not friendly to women, but it was not a political movement seeking to transform the world in its own seventh century image . . . .The problem with negotiating with Hamas is that they have a vision, a certain kind of utopia. And for that utopia to be realized, the State of Israel must be completely destroyed. Shariah law has to be established, ideally, all over the world. You can never trust a Jew, you can never trust a Christian. That is the utopia. Women have to behave a certain way, they have to be locked up, it is very totalitarian . . . .
You asked me about the Islam of Hamas. It used to be the Islam of Saudi Arabia. It used to be very small, relatively, in the modern world. But because of oil money it has now become so profound and so powerful and so widespread. And so disruptive, first and foremost, to Muslims. The people who suffer the most are Muslims. If this type of Islam ceased to exist, the first people to benefit would be Muslims . . . .
In the Hamas narrative, which is also the Wahabi narrative and the Salafi narrative, you get to ecstasy and self actualization after you die, not before you die, don't be silly. So now you have millions of people who welcome death, and that is very confusing for Westerners to understand . . . .Around the time that Israel became independent, Spain, Italy and Greece were also coming out of various forms of dictatorship and they were very poor. Fast forward to the 1980s, and you see that they were building infrastructure. They built a network of tunnels, but these were tunnels built to connect the countryside to the cities or one country to another country, so there would be more trade, more contact. You look at Hamas and you think that they've worked so hard, spent so much money, spilled so much human blood and treasure on building these tunnels, but what is the objective? To destroy and to be destroyed. That is the philosophy of death . . .
Not unless Islam there is a true reformation of Islam, an irreversible change where Muslim leaders distance themselves from parts of the Quran, from this emphasis on life after death. This needs to happen on a scale where there is a leadership that wants that change and a fellowship that wants to go along with that change and that is extremely difficult for Islam because there is no central leadership . . .
In the end, then, the problem is spiritual.
And , I can freely add, the answer is also spiritual -- the gospel.
Which, truly received, brings peace.
But it seems that the only way we will begin to listen to it, is when we are so sickened by our madness and evil that we discover that we need to turn away from that which leads only to death.North and South, East and West, Black and white, Arab and Jew. But then, it seems that across the Middle East millions are waking up to that hope. END