Crocodile tears for Ayaan

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With Ayaan Hirsi Magan’s resignation after the exposure of her asylum grounds as largely false and her Dutch citizenship now in serious doubt, the hypocritical crocodile tears are beginning to flow in large numbers. Robert Spencer calls it “persecution”, the immigration minister Rita Verdonk “lamentable” and the politicians involved “despicable, black-hearted Dutch dhimmis” who “evidently want to take the greatest stateman they have produced in this age and send her back to Somalia and certain death”. Melanie Phillips talks of the Dutch being “in the throes of a pathological moral convulsion” and her downfall “a development that shames the Dutch people and should strike a chill throughout the rest of dhimmi Europe”. (More: Pickled Politics, MPACUK, CLOSER, Muslim Contrarian, Umar Lee, Izzy Mo, Crooked Timber.)

These people continually overlook salient facts about why Ayaan Hirsi Magan’s position has become untenable. The fact is that, having given a false name and age, her citizenship is invalid, and the lies she told when she applied for refugee status in the Netherlands meant she always was working on borrowed time. Had she declared that she came from Kenya, it is unlikely that she would have been admitted unless it was on grounds of political trouble there (as that was the time of the Moi dictatorship). Given that she lived for twelve years in Kenya, and had not merely used it as a staging post, and that her family disputed the various claims she made about being married off and fleeing an abusive marriage, it appeared that they had overlooked her dubious status for too long. She was no longer an asset, but a liability, and had to go.

Phillips acknowledged that AH Magan’s lying about her journey to the Netherlands “was wrong, and she shouldn’t have done it”, but insisted that “the fact that she was a refugee from Islamist oppression was true”. In what way? In that she had been married off against her will and had fled from that? Not according to her family. Furthermore, she could easily have followed her husband to Canada, and if she still found it oppressive, she could have made the same scene there that she ended up making in the Netherlands. Note her use of the term “Islamist oppression”: in what way was it Islamist? She further alleges that Ayaan Hirsi is “being broken and bullied out of the country by an unholy alliance of venomous leftists, spineless public servants — including those of a highly conservative disposition — and radical Islamists, all giving a victory to the forces of evil”. Again, those forcing her out are her former allies, whose anti-immigrant policies her anti-Islam campaigning benefited as long as people forgot that she was an illegal immigrant.

Furthermore, “it is oppressive to haul up someone in this way years after she has settled as a citizen”. Rubbish! The expulsion of illegal immigrants who have lived in the country since childhood, or who have borne children here, or were born here to illegal immigrants, are all known of in various European countries including the UK regardless of what an asset they have become in their local community - I mean real assets to the local community who mind their own business and pay their taxes (such as the Onibiyo and Kachepa families in the UK), not political troublemakers. It is all par for the unpleasant course of immigration control. There are many, many deserving exceptions, but when someone becomes an immigrant and then a citizen on demonstrably false grounds, and then makes a name for herself attacking an immigrant community, sooner or later it is to be expected that her past would come back to haunt her.

The excuse Ayaan Hirsi presented when giving her resignation speech yesterday therefore comes down to fleeing an unwanted marriage, and this is generally not considered a good reason for giving someone asylum unless the story is embellished somewhat - particularly when they already have residency for another western country. Does anyone think Europe should open its doors to every woman in the world with marital problems? As for the issue of FGM, it has no relevance to her asylum claim whatsoever: if she has already had it done, as she claims she did (arranged by her grandmother against her father’s wishes), then whether she lives in the Netherlands or Canada or Kenya will not change that.

Ayaan Hirsi’s campaign has been grist to the mill for everyone looking to demonise Islam and Muslims, and a great source of distress for not only “radical Islamists” but for anyone looking to defend the Muslim community itself. Put simply, she has dragged the community’s name through the mud by presenting all of the usual stereotypes, in some cases about matters which are particular to some parts of the world and not others (such as FGM, an overwhelmingly African practice which is also found among non-Muslim Africans and is unknown in most of the Muslim world). Some of the problems she talked of are real, but there are people working to address them from within the community, rather than use them as a political football by portraying all Muslims in a bad light. This article in The Nation (hat tip: Raz at Pickled Politics) demonstrates that many of those working to do the same in the Netherlands reject Ayaan Hirsi’s campaign:

Karima Belhaj is the director of the largest women’s shelter in Amsterdam. She’s also one of the organizers of the “Stop the Witchhunt!” campaign against what she sees as anti-Muslim hysteria. On the day we talked, she was despondent. Arsonists had set fire for the second time to an Islamic school in the town of Uden. A few days later a regional police unit warned that the rise of right-wing Dutch youth gangs potentially presents a more dangerous threat to the country than Islamist terrorism. “The rise of Islamism is not the problem,” Belhaj said. “The problem is that hatred against Arabs and Muslims is shown in this country without any shame.” With her message that Muslim women must give up their faith and their families if they want to be liberated, Hirsi Ali is actually driving women into the arms of the fundamentalists, said Belhaj: “She attacks their values, so they are wearing more and more veils. It frightens me. I’m losing my country. I’m losing my people.” If Belhaj was sad, another “Stop the Witchhunt!” organizer was angry. Like Belhaj, Miriyam Aouragh is a second-generation immigrant of Moroccan background. A self-described peace and women’s activist, Aouragh was the first in her family to attend university. She’s now studying for a PhD in anthropology. She scoffs at the idea that Hirsi Ali is a champion of oppressed Muslim women. “She’s nothing but an Uncle Tom,” Aouragh said. “She has never fought for the oppressed. In fact, she’s done the opposite. She uses these problems as a cover to attack Islam. She insults me and she makes my life as a feminist ten times harder because she forces me to be associated with anti-Muslim attacks.”

With regard to violence, it should be pointed out that attacks by Muslims on individual westerners in the west for insulting or attacking Islam are very rare indeed - while murders and violent incidents arising from petty personal slights, or even less than that, are very common. The bark of the Muslim community in the west is somewhat worse than its bite. FGM is on the decline, a point often missed in any debate in which it is cited, and while women do tend to have less freedom than white middle-class western women, their existence is rather more dignified than a lot of other western women. Religious Muslims do not tend to refer to women as bitches and ho’s (ghetto Arab youths influenced by American gangsta culture may do, however). Perhaps some Muslim women realise that “westernising” their ghettoes in Paris or Amsterdam is more likely to bring them drugs, gangsterism and yob culture than a comfortable, “liberated” middle-class life.

A number of Ayaan’s fans accuse the Dutch of cowardice and of rejecting her because they are somehow afraid of “Islamofascism” or “the jihad”, hoping they will go away if the messenger is removed, as if either are capable in Holland, or anywhere else in Europe, of much more than displays of blind anger or the occasional bomb (with a bit of help from their buddies abroad). The suggestion that her departure is a loss for the Netherlands, let alone for Europe, is laughable. Her new audience of religious reactionaries, neo-cons and inveterate, dishonest anti-Muslim bigots are welcome to this shrill Uncle Tom type. Let us hope that we in Europe can raise the tone of the debate on immigration and containing extremism, both within the Muslim community and elsewhere.

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  • Well said.

  • Shamil

    Note her use of the term “Islamist oppression”: in what way was it Islamist?

    Melanie still feels it necessary to resort to political coorectness which is odd because she’s already basically said that she thinks islam is the problem.

    So not only is she is a schizophrenic pseudo-conservative zionist she’s also not brave enough to stand up for her convictions.

  • Imran

    Good riddance to bad rubbish!

  • Ayaan will be what America loves most when she comes; a black face telling whate people what they want to her about her own kind.

  • C L O S E R - Land of Confusion

    It is remarkable how many references there are to Hirsi Ali as a beautiful woman. I agree with these men (?), don’t get me wrong but why is that important? It’s very rare to see such a comment for a man. Does it contribute to her authority?…

  • Old Pickler

    Hirsi Ali has never “condemned all Muslims”. She raises some very important issues about Islam and the oppression of women within the Muslim community. These questions should be addressed.

    Religious Muslims do not tend to refer to women as bitches and ho’s

    Not in so many words. However, their condemnation of women who choose to be sexually free is the exact equivalent. Especially given the almost complete absence of condemnation of the same behaviour in men. By this I include polygamy, which is legally sanctioned promiscuity, and divorce, for men only, by repudiation, which is likewise legally sanctioned promiscuity.

  • anonymous

    Take care of the oppression of women in your non-muslim societies before you start raising “very important” issues “about Islam and the oppression of women within the Muslim community”.

    Sort out your rape problems, increasing prostitution, domestic violence, pornography, family breakdown, high divorce rate, murder, violent crimes, homosexuality, adultery, fornication, high rate of abortion, teenage pregnancy from illicit sex (single parent problem), housing/homelessness, drug abuse, alcoholism, aids, etc.

    As you can see, there’s more than enough to keep you busy. When you make some progress on these, then you may go ahead to liberate the “Muslim community”.

  • H

    Pickler, in what way is polygamy the same as promiscuity. When a man, if he so chooses, gets married to four women, does he sleep with them and then promise to ring them the next day? Does he pick them up from some bar, take them to the imam to get married and then divorce them the next day? If not, then this is not promiscuity.

  • Old Pickler

    Sort out your rape problems, increasing prostitution, domestic violence, pornography, family breakdown, high divorce rate, murder, violent crimes

    In the West, rape, domestic violence and murder are recorded as crimes, which is why it looks as if there is a lot of it. In Muslim countries rape goes unreported because the victim, not the perpetrator will be punished. Domestic violence is regarded as a man’s right, and not considered a crime. Likewise murder if it is an “honour killing”.

    Prositution is allowed in the name of Muta or temporary marriage. And some of the greatest users of internet porn are in Saudi Arabia.

    Muslim countries and communities have everything we’ve got wrong and plenty more besides.

  • H

    Pickler, if I understand correctly, your problem isn’t with Islam itself, but rather the practices of certain muslim societies. The reason I say this is because everything you just listed above is not part of the sharia. For example, honour killing, muta and punishment for being raped have all been condemned in the Qur’an and Hadith, so in fact Islam agrees with everything you had just said.

  • Old Pickler

    For example, honour killing, muta and punishment for being raped have all been condemned in the Qur’an and Hadith, so in fact Islam agrees with everything you had just said.

    If so, then fine, but why is it wrong of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or of me, to criticise these practices? If they are against Islam, then Muslims should be supporting what Hirsi Ali says instead of condemning her.

    As I understand it, Muta, or temporary marriage, which in my view is little more than prostitution, is condemned by most Sunnis, but is allowed by Shiites. Are Shiites not proper Muslims? (I’m not asking that in a hostile way, but just for information.)

  • H

    Well it depends on what you mean by proper muslims. Sunnis regard shias as muslims, but there is still a serious difference with regards to some theological points of belief. And going back to the issue at hand, muslims would have supported Hirsi Ali if she was against those practices you had listed, however, she went about it by insulting the religion of the very people who suffer from these things. Added to this her horrendous insults against our Prophet (alayhi salat wa salam), what did she expect, that the muslims would hail her efforts. We would rather back the people who actually work to create some understanding of these issues rather than someone who thinks a good protest would be to write verses of the Qur’an on the back of a naked woman. That is just plain immature.

  • George Carty

    What is the origin of the extreme misogyny in Afghanistan and much of Pakistan? Is it a twisted interpretation of Qur’an and Hadith, or is it of pre-Islamic origin (Alexander the Great, perhaps)?

  • Shamil

    What is the origin of the extreme misogyny in Afghanistan and much of Pakistan? Is it a twisted interpretation of Qur’an and Hadith, or is it of pre-Islamic origin (Alexander the Great, perhaps)?

    Why stop there?

    Why not include India as well. Women are treated badly in most places. I’m more worried about countries where women are killed in large numbers for fun like Mexico and Guatemala.

  • Imran

    “Why not include India as well. Women are treated badly in most places.”

    Well in Indian/Hindu culture females are seen as being lower then males in the caste hierarchy. This has led to a massive male-female gender imbalance in India- due to the widespread practices of female infanticide, feoticide and sex selective abortion.

    Also, India was home to the “honourable” practice of “sati” or self-immolation.

    All practices which Islam strongly condemns.

  • anonymous

    Where there does this lady get all of her erroneous facts from. In Saudi you can hardly even get a decent connection to view non-porn sites, not to talk of state-controlled internet.

    Go to the UK office of statistics and let them englighten you about the stats on some of the issues I have listed above.

    Stay there.

  • George Carty

    The reason I didn’t mention India is that I didn’t expect there to be any significant Hindu influence in Afghanistan. In the pre-Islamic era Afghanistan was usually ruled by the Persians.

    Then again, didn’t the Mughals come from Afghanistan originally? Perhaps Hindu traditions found their way back to the old Mughal homeland…

  • Shamil

    The reason I didn’t mention India is that I didn’t expect there to be any significant Hindu influence in Afghanistan. In the pre-Islamic era Afghanistan was usually ruled by the Persians.

    Then again, didn’t the Mughals come from Afghanistan originally? Perhaps Hindu traditions found their way back to the old Mughal homeland…

    You’re missing the point. Gender equality is not an anthropological norm.

    You can’t trace gender inequality to a few sources. It’s everywhere.

  • DrM

    pRickler is babbling nonsense as usual. The bnp reject just makes up stuff to force an argument.