Storm Around Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been making news for her controversial stance on Islam and feminism since she first wrote Infidel in 2007. As she tours Australia she is sparking more controversy around her new book, Nomad.

In a review in the Age, former publisher Hilary McPhee called her latest memoir “a depressing absence of hope or empathy” and Hirsi Ali herself “a one-woman band against her own culture, a hero to herself as well to the men who worship her.”

There was considerable backlash. Andrew McIntyre struck back at McPhee for “ringing the lepers bell” faulting “her analysis of the role Islamic cultural values play in creating poverty, illiteracy and rural conservatism.”

Hirsi Ali is used to dividing debate. The New York Times review of Nomad called the book “engaging and insightful in many places, [it] exemplifies precisely the kind of rhetoric that is overheated and overstated.”

Hirsi Ali herself appeared on ABC’s Life Matters, talking about immigration, human rights and her own struggle to understand her family and her culture. She says “I feel like most Western feminists have actually sided with the tyrants.”