Uncommon Knowledge: Ayaan Hirsi Ali On The West, Dawa, And Islam

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali joins me to discuss her new book, The Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Contain It, and her views on the challenges facing Western civilization in regards to political Islam. She argues that Islam needs to be separated into two different parts, one part of religion and the other part, political philosophy. She concedes that many aspects of the religious part of Islam are peaceful but argues that the political side is much more concerning due to its focus on Dawa, which means “to plead or to call non-Muslims to Islam.” This call to convert people to Islam is what she argues was a driving force behind the spread of Islam throughout history.

Earlier this year Ayaan Hirsi Ali was called before Congress to testify on her book The Challenge of Dawa. She discusses her testimony and that although she was invited by a Democrat senator to speak “about the ideology of radical Islam,” the Democrats present didn’t ask her a single question because they were likely uncomfortable with what she had to say about Islam. She argues that just as Western civilizations have defeated dangerous ideologies in the past, she is optimistic that Western civilization will succeed against political Islam for, as she says, “[Jihadis] can’t destroy us without permission.” She says if we take the fight to the “battlefield of ideas” we can defeat radical Islamic ideologies with Western beliefs.

More about Ayaan here. 

There are 13 comments.

  1. Member

    The founder of Islam didn’t separate the “religion” from the political model. The first disciples didn’t separate them. That problem will not be purged by willful revisions. History will not be erased. It will always be there for the devoted to reaffirm.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali herself represents the problem. She is secular… which is to say, practically agnostic. Thus, she does not provide an example of peaceful and tolerant Islam. She does not speak to true believers.

    I put “religion” in quotation marks because it is used so vaguely in such considerations as to be meaningless. Explain why Islam is a religion and communism is not. The fundamental beliefs which drive people and shape their habits cannot be divorced from social participation and politics.

    • #1
    • August 8, 2017 at 8:52 am
    • 1 like
  2. Member

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a treasure. All strength to her.

    • #2
    • August 8, 2017 at 10:20 am
    • 3 likes
  3. Thatcher

    Peter,

    When dealing with something as large as 1.5 billion people, what one is searching for is a tactic that can work to gain control over that which is most dangerous to our own survival. I have again and again tried to redirect our attention away from concepts like terrorism or radicalization. These are Western ideas that do not accurately describe the phenomena itself and leave us vulnerable and confused. As Jihad is the ultimate metastasization of the threat to the West, I have felt it is the place to start. Whenever we see that black flag we know that those who are under it must be killed or they will kill us. This approach is top-down and can only work on the worst part of the problem that already has manifested itself. What I didn’t have, up until now, was a bottom-up approach that would allow us to attack the roots of the problem. Ayaan has provided us with this and it is the concept of Dawa.

    Dawa is the overall hyper-aggressive strategy of Islam that Mohamed innovated in Medina. It includes Jihad as its natural ultimate expression. If actual Jihad is rated at DEFCON 5, then Dawa must require a lesser but still substantial level of alert. Any Islamic institution, say the Muslim Brotherhood, that is intensely invested in Dawa is surely a long term threat and without question may be participating in immediate support of Jihad. Ayaan is most helpful and everyone should take notice.

    I wanted to make an often unnoticed Historical point. Islam was still trying to invade Western Europe in the 17th century. The Enlightenment didn’t happen until the 18th century. One could easily make the argument that until Islam was no longer a physical threat, Enlightenment ideas could not be put into practice. Ayaan points out that Islam’s Dawa is in no way compatible with Enlightenment ideas. Either we start fighting for Enlightenment ideas and that means fighting Islam’s Dawa or we will backslide and lose the Enlightenment itself. As I have pointed out repeatedly, Marxism is not progressive but regressive. It is backsliding into Feudalism with a pseudo-scientific ideology as a cover. That is what we face and Bernie Sanders’ version is no different. Venezuela is our latest object lesson.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #3
    • August 8, 2017 at 10:20 am
    • 3 likes
  4. Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    One could easily make the argument that until Islam was no longer a physical threat, Enlightenment ideas could not be put into practice

    OK, somebody please prove that it’s easy.

    • #4
    • August 8, 2017 at 2:09 pm
    • Like
  5. Thatcher

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    One could easily make the argument that until Islam was no longer a physical threat, Enlightenment ideas could not be put into practice

    OK, somebody please prove that it’s easy.

    Ret,

    I didn’t mean to make it sound easy. Making arguments means seeing a logical pattern that seems likely after a reasonable familiarity with the information. Proving arguments is something more difficult. Modern historical monographs are usually 500 pages of narrative, one or two thousand footnotes, and 100+ pages of an appendix with sophisticated statistical analysis.

    There is little academic interest in answering questions like this one and therefore funding the project. This idea goes counter to the narrative of the left. It implies that Western Civilization’s moral religious values are foundational. It implies that multi-culturalism is not only not true but dangerously not true.

    Given this intellectual climate, I guess I don’t feel like waiting for a miracle before I throw an idea out that has enough merit to be considered. I didn’t mean to make it sound easy. Sorry.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #5
    • August 8, 2017 at 2:46 pm
    • 1 like
  6. Thatcher

    What a delightful woman. Thank you for sharing her with us Peter.

    • #6
    • August 8, 2017 at 3:18 pm
    • Like
  7. Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    She is secular… which is to say, practically agnostic.

    I believe she is an atheist. Agnosticism is where you don’t know if there is or isn’t a G-d.

    She is still a fantastic thinker regardless. Listen to her take down the snowflake intersectional crowd.

    • #7
    • August 8, 2017 at 5:40 pm
    • Like
  8. Coolidge

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali herself represents the problem. She is secular… which is to say, practically agnostic. Thus, she does not provide an example of peaceful and tolerant Islam. She does not speak to true believers.

    Your assessment is absolutely wrong – look at her record.

    • #8
    • August 8, 2017 at 9:31 pm
    • Like
  9. Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    The founder of Islam didn’t separate the “religion” from the political model. The first disciples didn’t separate them. That problem will not be purged by willful revisions. History will not be erased. It will always be there for the devoted to reaffirm.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali herself represents the problem. She is secular… which is to say, practically agnostic. Thus, she does not provide an example of peaceful and tolerant Islam. She does not speak to true believers.

    I put “religion” in quotation marks because it is used so vaguely in such considerations as to be meaningless. Explain why Islam is a religion and communism is not. The fundamental beliefs which drive people and shape their habits cannot be divorced from social participation and politics.

    That’s not what I heard. She is not saying we can change them, convert them, separate religious Islam from political Islam, rather that we have to exclude them, take away their tools, their leverage, suppress it.

    • #9
    • August 9, 2017 at 4:31 am
    • Like
  10. Member

    Even more than her incisive intellect, is her powerful charisma.

    • #10
    • August 9, 2017 at 4:33 am
    • Like
  11. Contributor

    Brilliant interview, Peter. I admire Hirsi-Ali tremendously, and even though I thought I knew a lot about Islam, I learned a great deal. I had heard the term Dawa, but didn’t know what it meant or its implications. Thank you this opportunity to hear from her and for your incisive questions.

    • #11
    • August 9, 2017 at 10:31 am
    • Like
  12. Coolidge

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Mark Steyn (on demographics, at least): Far too irrefutable to be interesting, and irrefutable in ways that will never allow them to be Popular Kids(tm).

    • #12
    • August 9, 2017 at 5:31 pm
    • Like
  13. Coolidge

    I’ve seen Ayaan Hirsi Ali a couple times on Tucker Carlson, but it wasn’t until listening to this interview that I looked her up and found out she is married to Niall Ferguson. Talk about a Hoover Institution power couple!

    • #13
    • August 15, 2017 at 10:16 pm
    • Like