The ultimate misfit rebel tells all

We’ve read (okay, skimmed) a lot of books over the last few years that attempt to decipher the ongoing war between fanatical Islamists and the rest of us, but none is as engrossing, moving, and enlightening as Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new memoir, Infidel (out 2/6).

Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born former member of the Dutch Parliament and an outspoken critic of Islamism. Since the 2004 assassination of Theo van Gogh, the filmmaker with whom she made Submission (see the link below), about the abuse of women in Islamic culture, she’s lived largely in hiding.

When this book comes out next month, it’ll be hailed as a profile in courage. Yes, absolutely, but it’s also, simply, a gripping, astonishing story — of a strict Muslim childhood; of embracing and then rejecting religious dogma; of seeking asylum; of rising to international political prominence. It’s hard to imagine that a more urgent, essential memoir will be published this year.

“>BUY Infidel (Free Press; 353 pages, hardcover)

“>VIEW Submission (The nearly 10-minute film, subtitled in Dutch, has mostly English voiceovers. Its stark narrative focuses on four women who “depict restrictive verses from the Quran.” Before its release, Hirsi Ali writes in Infidel, Dutch bureaucrats dismissed her security concerns — and one said, in reference to the actress who is partially disrobed, “Couldn’t you have found a better-looking chick?”)

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