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Ayaan Hirsi Ali On Egypt

By Matthew Yglesias on February 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm

"Ayaan Hirsi Ali On Egypt"

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Ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali warns us to be very afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power in Egypt. And maybe she’s right. But it’s difficult to take her word for it. After all, she thinks that Islam in general needs to be extirpated from the planet:

But surely she must see, I counter, that the majority of British Muslims are moderates? Sitting in her publisher’s office in an elegant grey-flannel trouser suit and pearl earrings, she fixes me with her lucid brown eyes. “If the majority are moderates, why did the Muslim community never take to the streets to abhor the 7/7 bombers? Why is it that the only time we see Muslims protesting en masse is when Islam is allegedly insulted, like with the Danish cartoons, or the Pope’s comments?”

“I’ll tell you why: because Islam is the new fascism. Just like Nazism started with Hitler’s vision, the Islamic vision is a caliphate – a society ruled by Sharia law – in which women who have sex before marriage are stoned to death, homosexuals are beaten, and apostates like me are killed. Sharia law is as inimical to liberal democracy as Nazism. Young Muslims need to be persuaded that the vision of the Prophet Mohammed is a bad one, and you aren’t going to get that in Islamic faith schools.”

That’s not really a worldview that leaves you with a lot of practical policy options vis-à-vis Egypt. I mean, it’s a great big country full of Muslims. Maybe in 50 or 100 years, folks like Ali and I who don’t believe in God will persuade Egyptians that we’re right. But in the short to medium term, there’s no real alternative to Egypt being governed predominantly by avowed Muslims. And if Islam as such is “the new fascism” then what’s the point in worrying about the Muslim Brotherhood in particular?

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