Sunday, December 26, 2010


One of the gifts I received this Christmas was a book called Nomad  by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It is a book I have been wanting after reading her earlier book called Infidel. The author is — or shall I say — was a Muslim who managed to leave the culture as an adult — at risk of life and limb. She claims that many young Muslim girls are still being circumcised, even after immigrating to western society. In countries like Canada, the United States and even Britain and Holland, where female circumcision is against the law, the practice still continues. So I wonder to myself: how can such a barbaric rite be a practice that anyone might want to retain from their culture?
Ayaan's response in the book suggests that it is the men who desire circumcised women. Yet, she further states that often the women who are conditioned to choose "cutting" for their daughters. In Ayaan's case, her grandmother determined the rite appropriate for Ayaan and her younger sister. The grandmother believed that girls who still have a vulva, clitoris and labia are considered "unclean" and that no self-respecting, honorable Muslim man would want to marry such a woman. In fact, the girls and women who have been circumcised are taught to be proud of their doll-like smoothness "down there." Shocking?
How can a culture move so far away from what is normal and natural? Even by their own "creationist" belief, the belief in female circumcision flies in the face of what was naturally created.
Most westernized cultures might likely be repulsed, feeling that an unnatural practice like female circumcision couldn't possibly happen here. It is a foreign culture and surely Muslims would desire to stop such a barbaric practice once they came to Canada where they could learn healthier ways to live.
According to the author, such a transformation is most often not the case.
It seems like the Muslim culture brings its traditions to its new land.
A type of enslavement...?
Ayaan Hirsi Ali suggests three institutions that could ease the transition into Western citizenship:
  • The first is public education
  • The second is the feminist movement
  • The third is the community of Christian churches
I agree on the first two suggestions; nevertheless, having been a member of a "community of Christian churches," I question her third suggestion. Ali is herself an atheist, but she has encountered many Muslims who say they need a spiritual anchor in their lives. She has met Christians whose concept of God is a far cry from Allah. Valid points, of course.
A group that immediately comes to mind is the Jehovah's Witnesses. I was a member of their so-called Christian church that considers itself to have moderate and conservative views. They claim to be loving. They go door-to-door looking for people who desire to live like Jesus. But, their outward posturing is deceptive.
Jehovah's Witnesses, who declare themselves to be conservative are really not conservative at all, if you were to look a little deeper. This religion has a "pretense" of being loving. They have one set of rules for outsiders and quite another set of rules for their members. While their members might not attach bombs to themselves, they have other extreme reactions to suppress dissension. Their way of dealing with "apostates" like me (because I left their "most loving" religion) is to condition their members to such an extreme degree as to cause the children and friends of "apostates" to shun and treat us as dead.
So, now I ask: Is cutting off your family members much different from cutting away body parts? Cutting away your children is just as painful and scarring (emotionally) as is female circumcision (physically). Is shunning a "loving" or "Christ-like" behavior? If one were to look a little deeper into moderate Christianity one might discover that much of so-called moderate Christianity is a far cry from the definition of "Christ-like."
How can a religion move so far away from what is normal and natural? Even by their own "creationist" belief, the belief in familial shunning flies in the face of what was naturally created.
While I agree with much of Ayaan’s philosophy, I suggest that if she herself cannot adopt a western Christianity, it may be for good reason. However, I would not recommend the community of Christian churches as a solution to her sisters’ spiritual longings.
One may wish to examine how much "conditioning" goes on in a religion before rushing into becoming a member. Personally, even as a westerner where everyone believes Christians are "moderates," I see over and over again how dangerously divisive religion can be.

Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2010. Permission is granted to copy and re-distribute this transmission on the condition that it is distributed freely.

1 comment:

  1. Although it is from last year, I think you may find this book review useful. The author comes from a Muslim perspective and reviews her works. The link is here ... it is good to hear other opinions and ideas. Such as the claim that Muslims are (or are not) to engage in female genital mutiliation.

    Hope you find it interesting.