Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, wasn’t on my reading list. But someone lent me the book just before I began my reading break. In the wake of our country’s debate about the niqab, this book was a must-read. Ayaan writes from within Islam; she lived it, and suffered under it. I quote from Ayaan’s book (p 349): When people say that the values of Islam are compassion, tolerance, and freedom, I look at reality, at real cultures and governments, and I see that is simple isn’t so… The rigid interpretation of the Quran in Islam today causes intolerable misery for women. Through globalization, more and more people who hold these ideas have traveled to Europe with the women they own and brutalize, and it is no longer possible for Europeans and other Westerners to pretend that severe violations of human rights occur only far away.”
We have heard the arguments that women who choose to wear the niqab or the hijab do so by their own free will; that this is their choice. Ayaan would respond to this assertion with this analogy: the caged bird, when the door to its cage is opened, does not immediately dare to leave.
No religion offers the good news of Christianity; no other religion places such a high value on all image bearers of God; no other religion offers the free grace that comes from the hand of a loving God.