The feminism I once championed — and still do — was first taken over by Marxists and subsequently “Stalinized.” It was then conquered again by Islamists and “Palestinianized.” I and a handful of others maintained honorable minority positions on a host of issues. In time, women no longer mattered as much to many feminists — at least, not as much as Edward Said’s Arab men of color did. The Arab men were more fashionable victims who had not only been formerly “colonized” but who, to this day, are still being “occupied” by allegedly “apartheid”–intentioned Jews.
While most of my generation of feminists have long ago retired, died, fallen ill, or have continued to rest visibly on their own earliest laurels, I continue to champion universalist values and to resist the death-grip of multicultural relativism.
But my cohort have influenced the media. Thus, I am not at all surprised to see that Deborah Scroggins has just written a book titled Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafiya Siddiqui. Truly, she has got to be kidding. Alas, I am afraid that she is serious.
Recently, the New York Times gave a relatively glowing review to this new work. According to critic Dwight Garner, the two women are “such opposites that, as the author memorably observes, ‘Like the bikini and the burka or the virgin and the whore, you couldn’t quite understand one without understanding the other.’”
Garner continues: “If you are wondering who is the bikini (and thus the whore) in that formulation, Ms. Scroggins leaves little doubt that it is Ms. Hirsi Ali, whom her book relentlessly attacks.”
Hirsi Ali is indeed “wanted”— but by misogynist Islamists whom she exposes and opposes. Siddiqui, “Lady Al Qaeda,” was indeed “wanted” and is now in prison for attempting to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan for al-Qaeda. In 2003, the FBI “named her as the only known female operative of al-Qaeda.” In 2010, Siddiqui, a devout Muslim and a Brandeis-educated Pakistani, was sentenced to 86 years in jail.
Which of the two women do you think Scroggins prefers? The brave feminist freedom fighter Hirsi Ali, or the pro-Islamist and terrorist Siddiqui? Scroggins finds a “weird symmetry” between the two. Of all the false moral equivalents with which I am forced to live, this rankles quite a bit. But Scroggins sees them both as “rebels,” as sister-equivalents.
Siddiqui became a rabid antisemite. And a terrorist. This does not bother Scroggins as much as Hirsi Ali’s “imperiousness” and “egomania” does — that, and the fact that Hirsi Ali accepted a perch at the (conservative) American Enterprise Institute. From Scroggins’ point of view, the fact that Hirsi Ali has embraced universal human rights, outlined a pro-Western critique of political Islam, and supported the war in Iraq renders her something of a war criminal.
Maybe Scroggins even views Siddiqui as the true freedom fighter.
As a student in America, Siddiqui joined the infamous Muslim Students Association and fell under the spell of one of bin Laden’s own mentors who ran a Muslim charity in Brooklyn, New York. Siddiqui’s second husband’s uncle was none other than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man who planned 9/11. Apparently, the kindly uncle-in-marriage gave up her name to interrogators. However, Siddiqui and her children had disappeared. She was not found until 2008, wandering around in Afghanistan with bomb-making formulas in her possession as well as plans for mass casualty attacks. Under questioning she picked up a gun and shot at her captors.
Scroggins and her supporters have argued that Siddiqui is both mentally ill and/or that she was brainwashed by al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups which, in turn, led to her mental illness. (Siddiqui could be mentally ill.) Nevertheless, Scroggins and her supporters absolutely refuse to criticize a terrorist group that routinely sacrifices their own women, children, and men without remorse or that exploits the mentally ill among them.
This 2012 book may be rooted in an earlier essay which appeared in the pages of The Nation magazine in 2005 (subscription required to read.) At the time, I could not believe what I was reading. Scroggins took off after the heroic and besieged Hirsi Ali. Her piece was funded by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute. The essay was titled “The Dutch-Muslim Culture War: Ayaan Hirsi Ali Has Enraged Muslims with her Attacks on their Sexual Mores.” Scroggins did not view Hirsi Ali as a hero but rather as a reactionary and a traitor who left the Left Labor Party and became affiliated with the political “center right” in Holland.
Scroggins saw Hirsi Ali as part of an anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, and anti-Islam faction that included the assassinated filmmaker Theo Von Gogh and politician Geert Wilders who dared argue that Muslims “assimilate” to the more “humane” and “higher level” European culture.
Obviously, Scroggins believes that Europe should return to the anti-infidel 7th century instead.
Scroggins judges Hirsi Ali by the politically incorrect company she keeps rather than by whether she is telling the truth. Scroggins condemns Hirsi Ali for revealing that the prophet Mohammed was a pedophile because he married a six-year-old girl and then consummated the marriage when she was nine years old. (Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff has recently been found criminally liable in Austria for telling this rather inconvenient truth.)
In classic left-feminist fashion, Scroggins attacks Hirsi Ali for “putting all the blame on Islam” instead of blaming “patriarchal customs”; for ignoring the work of Muslim feminists who have “shown that Islam’s sacred texts can be interpreted in more female-friendly ways”; and for failing to focus on the “role the West has played and continues to play in assisting the rise of the Islamist movements.”
Thus, according to Scroggins, Hirsi Ali’s main thought crime is her refusal to blame the West for its history of imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, and racism. Obviously, Scroggins has not read the excellent works of Ibn Warraq (reviewed in these pages) and the work of Salim Mansur (which I will shortly review). Both are men of color, Muslims by birth, who understand the long history of Islamic imperialism, colonialism, racism, slavery, censorship, and real gender and religious apartheid. Like Hirsi Ali, both men understand the danger of “multicultural” societies in the West which encourage immigrants not to assimilate and which keep women, especially Muslim women, subordinate and enslaved.
However, contrary to all reason, Scroggins views Hirsi Ali’s passionate and feminist defense of both Muslim women and European and Western culture as “contributing” both to the rise of Islamism — and paradoxically, to anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiment. Scroggins quotes an unnamed Muslim woman who sees Hirsi Ali as “nothing but an Uncle Tom.”
Scroggins then argues that “there have been many more attacks against Dutch Muslims than on non-Muslims.” She gives no sources, statistics, studies, or proof.
But “Islamophobia” is also a fashionable concept, far more so than is “Israelophobia” or “Judeophobia.” Scroggins does not care as much about the lethal sexism that Hirsi Ali decries as she does about the Muslim right to colonize the West, face-veil its women, censor, sue, even murder Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents, and convert infidels by the sword.
Am I am “alarmist”? You bet I am. But that’s because I know a thing or two. Clearly, Scroggins and her kind do not.