Thursday, March 19, 2009

April Book Club Selections

The Seniors Book Club will meet in the 2nd floor Training Room on April 15th to discuss Ayaan Hirsi Ali's autobiography Infidel.

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, [and] 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. While in transit to her husband in Canada, she decided to seek asylum in the Netherlands, where she marveled at the polite policemen and government bureaucrats. Ali is up-front about having lied about her background in order to obtain her citizenship, which led to further controversy in early 2006, when an immigration official sought to deport her and triggered the collapse of the Dutch coalition government. Apart from feelings of guilt over van Gogh's death, her voice is forceful and unbowed—like Irshad Manji, she delivers a powerful feminist critique of Islam informed by a genuine understanding of the religion. (Source: Publishers Weekly)

Follow these links for further information, including interviews with the author:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's biography on the AHA Foundation's website (established by Hirsi Ali and her supporters)

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Anderson Cooper 360
Ayaan Hirsi Ali interviewed on Swedish Television
Fareed Zakaria interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Articles written by Hirsi Ali for the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research:

"My view of Islam."
"Islam's silent moderates."
"Muslim women are the key to change."

And for balance, a critical review of the book published in The Economist.

The Monday Evening Book Club will meet in the Program Room on April 20th at 7 pm. This month we will discuss the 2009 Canada Reads winner The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill.

More information about this book ...