The Observations of a Lioness: A Review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s ‘Prey’

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book Prey is about Islamic immigration into Europe and how it affects women’s rights and safety in Europe. I recommend the book for those interested in the subject. It is a solid 11 hours on Audible and covers many countries and issues within a broad category.

Notably for an Audible book, she handled statistics in an audiobook form. She included a PDF file with statistics and graphs, something other Audible books desperately need. Additionally, Ayaan Hirsi Ali doesn’t get bogged down. The audiobook format doesn’t really work well for memorizing numbers. In addition to her PDF, she goes through the important statistics slowly and deliberately. 

To summarize the numbers, things look bad for integrating Muslims in Europe. In terms of both opinions and behaviors, Islamic immigration seems to pose serious difficulties to both the immigrants and European societies. With regard to free speech or women working outside the home, or in terms of behaviors like rates of crime and polygamy, Muslims do worse than Vietnamese. Sadly, even after a generation or two of living in Europe, Muslim populations on average aren’t doing as well. 

As fans of hers know, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has the most fascinating background. The parts of the book that interweave her personal story with the wider immigration story are by far the most interesting. She talks about the family conflict that her father’s polygamy caused and how she was encouraged to be violent in her community. It’s always nice to have a human face to understand larger social phenomena. 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is my spirit animal.

It’s surprising that she doesn’t talk more about Islam in this book. She makes a convincing case that Muslims fail to succeed in European society because of their religious faith and culture. Admittedly, this would be a difficult chapter to write but, like Charles Murray’s recent book on race, she describes differences without describing the causes. But why is always the hardest question and it makes sense to  focus on more manageable queries,  especially since she wants to establish as wide a tent as possible in order to address the problems.

The book is useful in that it clearly shows a problem with admitting Muslim communities in Europe with regard to the rights of women. It’s hard to argue with her concise data sets and arguments. In fact, throughout her book, she mentions how common it was for people to ignore such observations. I cannot say I am surprised. It feels illiberal to say that a particular religion isn’t compatible with democracy. It can appear in the distance like the old conflicts between Protestants and Catholics and the old European antisemitism that made Jews second-class citizens. However, like ignoring higher crime rates among Black Americans so as not to sound racist, ignoring a reality never advances good causes. 

Overall, I recommend the book for folks interested in the social tensions brought about by Muslims failing to assimilate into European society. However, who I really wish would read this book would be those who are most likely to ignore it. She makes a very calm and reasonable case that immigrants from Muslim countries increase the rates of sexual violence against women. What’s more, she addresses immigration from the perspective of LGBTQ people, Jews, and the native poor who are also adversely affected by uncontrolled immigration in Europe. Even the concluding chapter of her book is called “A Return to Gilead” referring to Margaret Atwood’s novel about the oppression and subjugation of women. 

It is with a heavy heart that I view the current Left as unable to grapple with this reality. As much as Europeans rightly make fun of America’s Wokeness, I can’t see the Left abandoning their condescensions for a fervent liberal universalism. For everybody else, the book is a good read.

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  1. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Living in downtown Cairo in 1979 through 1980 a full 12 months in   -not in the ex-pat suburb of Maadi – awakened me to the pathetic nature of socialism and the overall stagnation Islam seems to engender in a society. I had many friends and acquaintances and interactions with ordinary people, businesses and government.

    These are all – or mostly – very nice people who have a belief system that may well be healthy in it’s optimal state, something that is probably true for all major religions, but unlike Judeo Christian, Buddhist, it’s not conducive when it comes to the modern world. This is not to say the modern world is at the epitome of health either. I think our modern world has become decadent and spiritually oppressive in a myriad of ways, and is also arrogant and anti-human.

    In the socialized world of Egypt, education is ‘free’, bread and other food is subsidized by the government, jobs are guaranteed by the government – that is you get your free education in engineering and, since the private sector is almost non-existent, you can get a job as a government bureaucrat, where you won’t be easily fired, therefore you don’t have to do much of anything, thus creating more obstacles for everyone and nothing much gets done. The economic base lacks a middle class which is essential for economic vibrancy and health. The government wants to control everything. This remains true even when they understand it’s their biggest problem.

    Enter Islam that says basically, don’t worry it’s the will of Allah and keep praying and submitting.

    Speaking of submission, it’s all submission until it’s not. We all must submit to Islam, if you don’t then we will make your life miserable. They seem to be great at accepting the political and economic world as it is, but the spiritual and cultural world is primal and must be addressed immediately and harshly. Islam is super conservative. It’s ironic how the left embraces many of their causes with ought further consideration of what Muslims actually believe – not even theologically, but casually by default.

    Most Muslims , like most Christians are not practicing, in the same way as we might think. There are people in Europe and America who claim they are not at all religious and may be actual atheists, but transplant these people in most muslim countries and they will soon realize they think quite differently. That’s because they are enculturated  in Judeo-Christian values.

     

     

    • #1
  2. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Good review. AHA is a total mensch (or whatever the female equivalent is).

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  3. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Henry Castaigne: To summarize the numbers, things look bad for integrating Muslims in Europe. In terms of both opinions and behaviors, Islamic immigration seems to pose serious difficulties to both the immigrants and European societies. With regard to free speech or women working outside the home, or in terms of behaviors like rates of crime and polygamy, Muslims do worse than Vietnamese.

    These conclusions fall in the “water is still wet” category. A cursory examination of the origin countries is all that’s required; tables of stats are decorative. Like much of social science, great effort is expended in discovering the obvious.

    The tragedy is that even though these facts are both obvious and backed by quantitative data, they will have exactly zero effect on policy. Antisocial immigration will continue apace, or even accelerate, under the creepy smile of Mumbly Joe and his minions. Feelings don’t care about your facts.

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  4. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Good review. AHA is a total mensch (or whatever the female equivalent is).

    I do not agree, at least based on my admittedly limited knowledge of her other views.  As I understand it, she is an atheist, and a pretty radical feminist, and seems to be pretty strongly in the pro-homosexuality camp.

    I do appreciate her courage in speaking the truth about Islam. 

    However, I generally find her views to be a greater danger to the United States than the views of Muslims, though I consider both to be incompatible with the type of traditional American society that I favor.

    Sometimes, the adversary of my adversary is also my adversary.  

    I must confess to a sense of schadenfreude when observing the Euro-Lefties suffering the consequences allowing massive Muslim immigration, due to their denial of the nature of Islam and their elevation of Muslims to a fairly high position in the intersectional hierarchy.

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  5. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    As I understand it, she is an atheist, and a pretty radical feminist, and seems to be pretty strongly in the pro-homosexuality camp.

    She is something of a second wave feminist but she is skeptical of the trans fad and she is girlfriends with Christina Hoff Summers. She is an atheist but like Douglass Murray she is something of a Christianist. She recognizes at least in an intellectual sense that our rights are derived from G-d.  She does love gay dudes though. 

     

    • #5
  6. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Like much of social science, great effort is expended in discovering the obvious.

    The tragedy is that even though these facts are both obvious and backed by quantitative data, they will have exactly zero effect on policy. Antisocial immigration will continue apace, or even accelerate, under the creepy smile of Mumbly Joe and his minions. Feelings don’t care about your facts.

    This where her Ayaan’s femininity really shines. She makes an emotional as well as an intellectual case. Usually I disdain human emotion but I do appreciate it when it is combined with rigorous research and thought. 

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  7. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I think I know the “why.” When you get your theology wrong (believing God to be totally capricious and cruel) and your human anthropology wrong (Muslim men > Muslim women >> non-Muslim men >> non-Muslim women, etc. . ), you’re bound to experience serious dysfunction and a lack of human flourishing. Like leftism, Islam is ill-suited to liberal, advanced society, but where leftism errs on the side of licentious, decadent totalitarianism, Islam errs on the side of religious totalitarianism. Both are incompatible with the (formerly) Judeo-Christian West.

    • #7
  8. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Good review. AHA is a total mensch (or whatever the female equivalent is).

    I do not agree, at least based on my admittedly limited knowledge of her other views. As I understand it, she is an atheist, and a pretty radical feminist, and seems to be pretty strongly in the pro-homosexuality camp.

    I do appreciate her courage in speaking the truth about Islam.

    However, I generally find her views to be a greater danger to the United States than the views of Muslims, though I consider both to be incompatible with the type of traditional American society that I favor.

    Sometimes, the adversary of my adversary is also my adversary.

    I must confess to a sense of schadenfreude when observing the Euro-Lefties suffering the consequences allowing massive Muslim immigration, due to their denial of the nature of Islam and their elevation of Muslims to a fairly high position in the intersectional hierarchy.

    Atta boy, Jerry.

    You know, sometimes it’s actually possible to appreciate and admire someone without agreeing with them 100% about everything.

    • #8
  9. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Good review. AHA is a total mensch (or whatever the female equivalent is).

    I do not agree, at least based on my admittedly limited knowledge of her other views. As I understand it, she is an atheist, and a pretty radical feminist, and seems to be pretty strongly in the pro-homosexuality camp.

    I do appreciate her courage in speaking the truth about Islam.

    However, I generally find her views to be a greater danger to the United States than the views of Muslims, though I consider both to be incompatible with the type of traditional American society that I favor.

    Sometimes, the adversary of my adversary is also my adversary.

    I must confess to a sense of schadenfreude when observing the Euro-Lefties suffering the consequences allowing massive Muslim immigration, due to their denial of the nature of Islam and their elevation of Muslims to a fairly high position in the intersectional hierarchy.

    Atta boy, Jerry.

    You know, sometimes it’s actually possible to appreciate and admire someone without agreeing with them 100% about everything.

    That’s how I feel about Jerry and most people on Ricochet. No need to agree with the book or the author. It’s still a good read.

    • #9
  10. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I do not agree, at least based on my admittedly limited knowledge of her other views.  As I understand it, she is an atheist, and a pretty radical feminist, and seems to be pretty strongly in the pro-homosexuality camp.

    Well she is married to a man, so she doesn’t seem to be opposed to heterosexuality.  I have only read one of Ayaan’s books and listened to a handful of her podcasts, so if she is a radical feminist I haven’t come across those sentiments.  But maybe you and I have different opinions of what “radical” means.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    However, I generally find her views to be a greater danger to the United States than the views of Muslims, though I consider both to be incompatible with the type of traditional American society that I favor.

    A lot of us are incompatible with the society that you favor.  I’m sure I’m a worse person than Ayaan Hirsi Ali is.

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  11. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I do not agree, at least based on my admittedly limited knowledge of her other views. As I understand it, she is an atheist, and a pretty radical feminist, and seems to be pretty strongly in the pro-homosexuality camp.

    Well she is married to a man, so she doesn’t seem to be opposed to heterosexuality. I have only read one of Ayaan’s books and listened to a handful of her podcasts, so if she is a radical feminist I haven’t come across those sentiments. But maybe you and I have different opinions of what “radical” means.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    However, I generally find her views to be a greater danger to the United States than the views of Muslims, though I consider both to be incompatible with the type of traditional American society that I favor.

    A lot of us are incompatible with the society that you favor. I’m sure I’m a worse person than Ayaan Hirsi Ali is.

    I assume that all of you are worse than Ayaan Hirsi Ali with the exception of Sawadeetka and Dr. Bastiat on a good day ;) In all seriousness, Ayaan Hirsi Ali lets Christians be Christian in a classically liberal sense. 

    So Jerry, how do you manage a society filled with conservatives like yourself and Luciferian transhumanists such as I? The only way I can figure is to leave such matters up to the individual, the community or the local government. 

    You may not like homosexuality but do you really think you can arrange a society where you can police people in their bedroom? It might be a good idea to discourage bad sexual ideas but I worry if the Federal Government is interested in my junk. 

    • #11