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Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Infidel (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,2091481,732 (4.21)194
Authors:Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Info:Free Press (2008), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Wishlist, History, Favorites (inactive)

Work details

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (2007)

  1. 30
    In the Land of Invisible Women by Qanta Ahmed (krazy4katz)
    krazy4katz: A perspective on women's place in Islam from a modern, western muslim woman who experiences life in Saudi Arabia. Her ideas about the Koran are polar-opposite.
  2. 20
    Slave: My True Story by Mende Nazer (howelson)
    howelson: Another strong woman. Mende Nazar survives slavery in Africa and the United Kingdom.
  3. 10
    Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef (krazy4katz)
    krazy4katz: This book has a similar view of Islam, and is also a very intense perspective of life in a culture that does not permit diverse thought.
  4. 00
    Jesus, Jihad and Peace: What Does Bible Prophecy Say About World Events Today? by Michael Youssef (ElizabethWard)
    ElizabethWard: Both books take an honest look at Islam - one from a Christian perspective, the other from an atheist (former Moslem's) perspective.
  5. 00
    Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: How each woman, in two different religions, escaped from the binding expectations of her own religion's fervent religious requirements and expectations. Both are excellent autobiographies.
  6. 00
    Why I Am Not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq (Anonymous user)
  7. 00
    My Isl@m : how fundamentalism stole my mind--and doubt freed my soul by Amir Ahmad Nasr (TomWaitsTables)
  8. 00
    Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: both are memoirs written by brave women who chose to stand up for themselves and not agree to be sacrificed for some traditional concept of “family honour.” Both women over came considerable odds to get an education, and now are using their brains and experience to assist others.… (more)

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» See also 194 mentions

English (138)  Dutch (4)  Danish (2)  French (1)  Hebrew (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (147)
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
There's only one word to describe the author: brave. To be stepped on and squashed and humiliated and down-trodden and to keep popping up with maximum drive is nearly beyond comprehension. She's a good writer, not a great one, but her story tells itself. I'm devouring religiously-opressed-female memoirs. There's something important to be learned from them. This book is up there with its message of perseverance. ( )
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |

A powerful autobiography, painful to read at every chapter. Ali has become famous for renouncing Islam and shining a harsh spotlight on the lives of women in Muslim context cultures all over the world. (Here is a recent op-ed piece by her.) Much of what she says isn't popular, Nick Kristof, for example reviewed her most recent book and her anti-Islamic remarks very harshly.

This is truly a rags-to-riches story. Ali was born into an unstable family in an unstable country (Somalia) and spends most of her life as a refugee. She recounts her life as a Muslim Somali growing up in both "Christian" Kenya and in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Female circumcision, beatings from her mother and one of her Koran instructors, family killed and dislocated in civil wars, a harsh life without much love. Ali escapes an arranged marriage and takes refuge in Holland, where she puts herself through school and eventually becomes a member of parliament. Now she's a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (unfortunately making her an enemy of the political Left).

If you have an interest in the plight of Muslim women, then this book is a must-read. If you're interested in what folk, every day Islam looks like and how rigid militant Islam has evolved in places like Somalia then this is also an informative book.

I highly recommend the audio version which is read by the author. The most important books to read are the ones that are the most difficult to keep reading. This was a tough book to finish.

In a related note, I would love to see a conversation between Ali and Ziauddin Sardar.

4.5 stars out of 5. ( )
  justindtapp | Jun 3, 2015 |
What a story! This memoir takes the author from Somalia to Saudi Arabia to Kenya to Holland, from religious Islam to atheism, from a strict Islamic girlhood to parliament in Holland. Such honesty and such courage. ( )
1 vote gbelik | Apr 30, 2015 |
There are a few books that are so significant to me that they changed the way I think about a subject. This is one. ( )
1 vote anitatally | Jan 29, 2015 |
I found this autobiography of Ayaan Hirsi Ali totally fascinating. It amazed me how this woman proceeded as a child in Somalia from a family of devout Muslims to the atheist activist member of the Dutch parliament that she eventually became.

Her story takes us on travels through Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. It shows us the progression of her change from a devout Muslim to an atheist. It lays bare the facts of Islam which bind it to religious beliefs from centuries ago making it almost a contradiction in the modern world and to human rights. Ironically, it also gave me more of an understanding of the way Islam is practiced in the modern world and why.

I was also astonished to learn of the large Muslim population in the Netherlands and what upheaval Ali's progressive agenda for women's rights gave to the Dutch parliament. Being the liberal country that the Netherlands is, what surprised me even more was that, by protecting immigrants' rights, that country was inadvertently giving free rein to abuse of women for such acts as infibulation, wife beating, forced marriages, forced body covering, and honor killing.

This is a brave book in the way that it exposed Ali to fear for her life due to those Muslims who intend to kill her for being an "infidel". She has dedicated her life to making this world a better place for all women. She also gives us food for thought as to how religion can work for us or against us as we incorporate it into our daily lives and to what extent we do that. ( )
1 vote SqueakyChu | Dec 8, 2014 |
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Hirsi Ali, Ayaanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hitchens, ChristopherForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743289692, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:08 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells her life story. An advocate for free speech and women's rights, Hirsi Ali lives under armed protection because of her outspoken criticism of the Islamic faith in which she was raised.

(summary from another edition)

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