I admit that for a long time I had my reservations about Ayaan Hirsi Ali and specifically about Submission. Her experience of Islam has been very different than mine, but that does not invalidate either of our experiences. After watching the video and actually reading her own words in Infidel, I wanted to share a passage because I believe her work is extremely important.
"When I approached Theo to help me make Submission, I had three messages to get across. First men, and even women, may look up and speak to Allah: it is possible for believers to have a dialogue with God and look closely at [Her]. Second, 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. The third message is the film's final phrase: "I may no longer submit." It is possible too free oneself--to adapt one's faith to examine it critically, and to think about the degree to which that Faith is itself at the root of oppression.
I am told that Submission is too aggressive a film. Its criticism of Islam is apparently too painful for Muslims to bear. Tell me, how much more painful is it to be these women, trapped in that cage?"
~ Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel, adapted by The Girl God to reflect God as Her
I learned a great deal from this book and am very grateful to have read it. I hope there can be more dialogue in all faith traditions, amongst feminists and believers and unbelievers. I hope that we can come together more, because our goals are ultimately the same, and our methods should be secondary.
My deepest hope is that we all have the ability to chose and/or scrutinize our own path, whatever that may be. And in that process that we are able to speak our highest truths without fear of persecution or death.