This book is the sequel of Infidel, the author’s memoir. I reviewed it here. What I failed to discuss in my Infidel’s review was Ms Hirsi Ali’s families – Her father, mother, sisters and brother.
At the end of Infidel, the reader is left wondering, what happen to the family? The answer to that question is found in Nomad.
The author is a powerful storyteller. Her talent resides in the way she compels you to read more of her story page after page.
About the author
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is either loved or hated. With her there is no middle ground. Her champions are the west, since she glorifies their model and way of thinking. Her detractors are the Somalis and the Muslims in general and a third group of persons I call the liberal thinkers.Like I said in my review of Infidel, as a young Muslim woman myself, who came to the west, I don’t identify with most of the things she said about women, Islam and black Africa. I am forced to conclude that, the Islam she talks about, is only present, in Somalia. Sometimes, when you read her arguments, you have this feeling that she is being too simplistic. It’s not about choosing between Islam and atheism. It is more complicated than that. Women are still facing enormous challenges everywhere, even in her beloved west.
Somalia, Tribe and Islam
Now the issue of tribes and clans is very unique to Somalia. Your belonging to a particular clan determine your identity and your place in society. For a country, that is trying to create a national identity, that is problematic to say the least.
As a general rule, I am always suspicious of people who are adamant or who insist on generalization. People live through different times and circumstances. As such, talks of women and Islam should always be nuanced and put into perspective. I was quite shock at the way she describes her family in the book, especially her mother and her grandmother. In fact, I was really disappointed. She sounded like a heartless woman. Maybe I am just too much of an African, but I found it rather sad.
Ms Ali argues that Islam is a backward religion that needs to be adapted to modern times like the bible. Because the Quran was kept intact, Islam did not disintegrate like Christianism did. On another chapter, she pointed out that because of the alienation of Islam, Somalia is a backward country. If Islam was the root of all of Somalia’s problems, countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt would not prosper. Countries like Senegal, Mali, The Gambia, and Guinea would be more like Somalia. They are all Muslim countries and they are all different.I am a moderate Muslim; I don’t wear the Hijab neither my mother nor my grand-mother did. All the girls of my extended family went to school and most of them are working. They choose their own husband and no one has been circumcised. In short, we did not have the same experience of Islam at all. Now that brings us to this idea of how many type of Islam exist?
I would argue that because of her bad experience, she wants us all to quit Islam and become atheist. Or rather, she wants the government of Canada to ban Islam altogether. That would be against the rights of the people, wouldn’t it? Her opinions are rather skewed most of time.I think the point that shock me the most was her insistence that Islam can’t exist in the west. What is the West exactly? Europe? The US? Being a Muslim in Europe is quite different from being a Muslim in Canada or in the US.
Now as I mention on my review of Infidel, some of the things she said are true. Particularly on the conditions of women in Somalia. I don’t think honor killing or Female Genital Mutilation were brought by Islam. A perfect example would be 18th century England, where women had no rights, was forced to marry and was under the responsibility of the man of their families. But I absolutely agree with her that honor killing, female genial mutilation,rape, forced marriage are all unacceptable… But again, I am from a Muslim country and honor killing does not exist in our society, female genital mutilation is not a widespread practice and rape is criminal under any circumstances.
Ms Ali discussed extensively on the fact that Somalis men have problems adapting to moderns societies. For instance she said :”…This is the tragedy of the tribal Muslim man, and especially the first-born son: the overblown expectations, the ruinous vanity, the unstable sense of self that relies on the oppression of one group of people – women – to maintain the other group’s self-image…”
I prefer this book to the first one. I feel like in this book the harshness was toned down a little bit. And some points were discussed more in depth. I recommend you to read it. I would love to know what you think of it? Drop me a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org