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Infidel

by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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Readers with an eye on European politics will recognize Ali as the Somali-born member of the Dutch parliament who faced death threats after collaborating on a film about domestic violence against Muslim women with controversial director Theo van Gogh (who was himself assassinated). Even before then, her attacks on Islamic culture as "brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women" had generated much controversy. In this suspenseful account of her life and her internal struggle with her Muslim faith, she discusses how these views were shaped by her experiences amid the political chaos of Somalia and other African nations, where she was subjected to genital mutilation and later forced into an unwanted marriage

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ISBN: 0743289692
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...prayer mats on the sand five times a day and faced Mecca, chanting the Quran. But now, on the Arabian peninsula, where the Prophet Muhammad received Allah's revelation, my mother learned the ritual ablutions. She learned to cover herself with a plain cloth and pray-- standing, sitting, prostrating, turning right and left: the ballet of submis- sion to Allah. In the desert, nomad women were not covered. They worked, and it is hard to work under a long veil. While my grandmother herded and cooked, she draped herself in a roughly woven long cloth, thegoh, leav- ing her arms, hair, and neck bare. In my grandmother's day, men were commonly present while women breast-fed their children; if there was anything arousing about seeing a few inches of female flesh, the men never showed it. My mother had no protector in Aden--no father, no brother. Men leered and bothered her on the street. She began wearing a veil, like the Arab women who robed when they left their houses in a long black cloth...

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