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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

One woman's stand against Islamic extremism

I've been casually following the brouhaha over the Dutch publication of caricatures of Mohammed, which has lit a firestorm of protest in the Islamic world. The recent events bring to mind the horrific murder last year of Dutch director Theo van Gogh (descendant of the artist van Gogh) by extremists because of his involvement in Submission, a movie that depicted the oppression of Muslim women. I knew that the writer of the movie had gone into hiding, but I had no idea she was a Somalian woman named Ayaan Hirsi Ali, nor did I know that she is a member of the Dutch parliament.

Salon has an interview with Ali regarding the recent protests, and she expresses a lot of disdain for the Islamic faith. Whether she is courageous or foolhardy (probably both) does not diminish the fact that someone needs to speak out against this extremism which has manifested in the horrendous terrorism the global community has experienced for the last decades, all in the name of fanaticism.

Like Salman Rushdie did following the fallout from his book, Satanic Verses, Ali went into hiding after receiving numerous death threats. One of the threats was actually pinned to the body of van Gogh. But she has re-emerged and refuses to allow fear to cower her right to speak out.

Ali is currently working on a sequel to Submission. When asked by Salon whether she would be uncompromising in this film as she was in the previous one, Ali doesn't hesitate to say yes. Although everyone involved with the film will retain their anonymity for protection, they will continue with the project in the name of free speech. Ali hopes to premiere the film this year.

She concedes that her first film may have been too critical of Islam. But she rails against van Gogh's assassination. "...when someone is killed for his worldview, what he may have done wrong is no longer the issue. That's when we have to stand up for our basic rights. Otherwise we are just reinforcing the killer and conceding that there was a good reason to kill this person."

Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 2/07/2006 06:22:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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