Islamic reform activist and New York Times best-selling author Ayaan Hirsi Ali claimed that promoting free speech is the only way to defeat jihadism in a recent interview with conservative writer Benjamin Weingarten.
Ali — who was raised in an Islamic household in Somalia before becoming an atheist — cautioned Weingarten that Western culture must not refrain critiquing Islam, especially when doing so might be deemed “Islamophobia.”
“Here’s a weakness that I have discovered with those who are pushing the [the violent, supremacist Islam practiced by Muhammad at Medina],” Ali posed to Weingarten. “Their idea is so weak, it is so bad, it is so fragile, that a cartoon, a little movie, a naked woman, anything can make it implode and collapse.”
In fact, Ali argues that Islamic culture coined the idea of “Islamophobia” in order to protect the religion from said criticism.
“So our only weapon and our only defense is to really defend freedom of speech, freedom of expression, our freedoms. So when they come around and say ‘Islamophobia, legislate against free speech,’ we are not to fall for that,” she adds.
Ali further adds that stifling critical thinking and the questioning of convention is what allows Islamic culture to keep more young people from reaching the same conclusions she has.
“I was raised in a Muslim household, I am to all intents and purposes, I could have been any of those Muslims out there, but once I was exposed to critical thinking and I started to think critically about what is in the Koran and what Mohammed says, what all these people say, I reached a conclusion that is not attractive to clergymen in Saudi Arabia,” she continued.
“I don’t have their resources. I don’t have their political power. But here’s one thing I have: I have the power of reason. And that’s something they can’t take away from me or all the other Muslim individuals that they seek to indoctrinate.”
You can watch Ali’s entire interview with Weingarten below.