August 8, 2006 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - As noted in our previous coverage of Ayaan Hirsi Ali - whose status at the highly regarded American Enterprise Institute might be best be charitably described as "unclear" - the former Dutch MP does not seem to possess the traits normally associated with high level research.
As her most recent interview in the Jerusalem Post, Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Israel makes abundantly clear, her understanding of the broad backdrop of issues that surround her core interest in radical Islam is hardly rigorous - "superficial" to use her own words.
More troubling however is Ali's moral relativism which in conservative circles is strongly thought to be a barrier to developing a clear understanding of the clash of cultures promulgated by the Islamists.
"From my superficial impression, the country also has a problem with fundamentalists," she says. "The ultra-Orthodox will cause a demographic problem because these fanatics have more children than the secular and the regular Orthodox."
From this single statement much can be gleaned.
Does Ms. Ali realize that Israel is currently in a shooting war with Iran's proxy army Hezbollah, and that making statements of an inflammatory nature might be considered ill-advised?
Why would she employ the term "fanatics" to describe Israel's most devout Jews? Is this indicative of the type of mindset beneficial to dispassionate research?
Who exactly is Ayaan Hirsi Ali?
From a Feb 6, 2006 interview in Der Spiegel we learn that she has endorsed the charges leveled by the Islamists against Theo Van Gogh's film "Submission" that led to his murder by Mohammed Bouyeri, which is strange considering the fact that she not only wrote Submission's script, referring to it as "her film" - but more importantly - she owes her entire [post housecleaning] career to her association with that piece of now blood-tinged celluloid.
"Der Spiegel - Many have criticized the film as being too radical and too offensive.
Hirsi Ali: The criticism of van Gogh was legitimate. But when someone has to die for his world view, 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."
Where is Ali's complicity in this criticism which she now so freely accepts but only upon the condition that it be relegated to the dead film maker? Given Ali's caustic characterization of Mohammed as a "pervert" because of his taking of a 6 year-old bride - Aisha - one must wonder why she feels herself exempt from the same criticism leveled at Van Gogh.
Central to the AEI's flirtation with Ali, had to be the belief that she would provide literate criticism of Islam, from a religious insider's perspective.
However Ali has rejected Islam and now considers herself an atheist, rejecting all notions of organized faith, especially in the case of supposed fundamentalist excesses.
This poses a very real problem for AEI and others looking to this woman for inspiration.
Specifically how can Ali serve in the capacity of an adjudicator in such matters? Hasn't she has rejected the black robe and taken up a much broader sword?
"...I think that most people who say they believe are at the core atheists. They avoid the question if they really believe in God and lose themselves in derivation. We need to start a debate in Holland about the question: Does morality come form us, people, or is it given from God? And then we need to analyse the actions of [Dutch PM] Jan Peter Balkenende, Have you ever listened closely to him? He is always talking about Biblical norms and values, not about the things God asks us to do or avoid. Balkenende the scientist the man who has to learn to refute in order to come to a certain truth, believes that the world was formed in six days? That Eve was made from Adam's rib? That does not exist. Scientists do not believe it. I am completely convinced that Balkende is not a Christian..." - January 25, 2003 - translated by Beila Rabinowitz from the Dutch newspaper, Trouw
In a brief conversation yesterday with Veronique Rodman, AEI's Director of Communications she indicated that the offer of a position to Ms. Ali is not yet a done deal as Ali's "citizenship issues" still cloud any potential alliance.
Rodman has not returned our follow-up telephone call, nor has she responded to a series of question we directed her way via email. Regardless, she may want to discuss this matter with her boss Christopher DeMuth, president of AEI who writes on AEI's website:
The Dutch government reinstated Ayaan Hirsi Ali's citizenship on June 26 in response to widespread criticism of its earlier decision. Then, on June 29, the government itself fell when a coalition party withdrew its support in protest over the earlier decision. In the meantime, Ms. Hirsi Ali had accepted an appointment from the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.; she will begin work as a resident fellow at AEI in September. - Some Transatlantic Challenges
So is she is...or is she isn't?
With AEI's apparent confusion - feigned or real - on this matter in full public display now we suggest that they withdraw the offer to Ali since she has neither the temperament nor the intellectual gravitas necessary for successful scholarship - in our opinion Ali is a train wreck just waiting to happen.
We believe that AEI understands the delicacy of its high wire act and are desperately searching for an exit strategy that will cause as few waves as possible - an action made all the more difficult given Ali's penchant for publicity and well known capacity for vituperation.
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