When Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was cruelly murdered in Amsterdam in 2004 by a Muslim enraged at his criticism of Islam, it was a stark reminder of the dangers of challenging a hard-line Islamic worldview - even in Western countries. It also changed the life of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, van Gogh's collaborator on the film about the institutionalized Islamic oppression of women that had offended his murderer.
And the latest effect of that dramatic change is Hirsi Ali's new book, Infidel.
The book is a powerful and riveting biography, an eye-opening and heart-rending story of a Muslim girl who survived brutal beatings and forced marriage to become a champion of human rights against Islamic oppression.
So, isn't rather strange that such a book (now a best seller) from an independent, strong, freedom-loving woman of color, a book dealing especially with sexual repression, is getting such lukewarm (even hostile) reviews from many in the American press?
Well, perhaps it isn't so strange when one considers the book makes such a direct (and effective) assault on the politically-correct attitudes of the intelligentsia towards Islam.
Here is an intriguing article from the Guardian (U.K.) about Hirsi Ali herself and here are a couple of the more positive reviews of the book from, respectively, the Washington Post, the Sydney Morning Herald, and Christopher Hutchin's review in the Times (U.K.).