Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Plan to Change the Islamic World

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born Muslim apostate turned Dutch politician turned American intellectual, is the author of a recent book entitled Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now. Michael Totten writes in his review:

[U]p until a few years ago, Hirsi Ali thought Islam was unreformable. And something of an intellectual industry has sprouted up in the West for making that case. Somewhat surprisingly, however, she claims that the Arab Spring—botched as it was—proved her wrong. While it facilitated the rise of some Islamist and jihadist movements, it also gave millions of Muslims an opportunity to renounce them. Islamists came to power in Tunisia and Egypt, for example, but were quickly removed in spasms of buyer’s remorse. Hirsi Ali cites a 2014 Pew Research Center poll surveying 14,000 Muslims worldwide showing that huge majorities, almost everywhere, fear the [Islamists]—92 percent of Lebanese, 80 percent of Tunisians, and even 75 percent of Egyptians. It remains to be seen whether or not those majorities become the catalysts of a reformation.

In the meantime . . . Islamic State controls vast swaths of Syria and Iraq, and is expanding into Libya and Yemen. Bombs rip through markets in Baghdad. Foreign oil workers are beheaded in Libya. Cartoonists and Jewish citizens are assassinated in Paris; café patrons are taken hostage in Sydney. The majority of the world’s Muslims may stand aghast, but the perpetrators are adherents of Islam—no matter who admits it.

Most Muslims are still in denial because the ramifications of recognizing these monsters as their co-religionists are staggering. But, as Hirsi Ali notes, they’ll eventually have to face the truth. What’s more, the rest of us have a part to play in pressing the issue. “If Muslims simply refuse to renounce jihad completely,” she writes, “then the next best thing would be to call their bluff about Islam being a religion of peace.”

Read more at Commentary

More about: Arab Spring, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Islam, Islamism, Moderate Islam, Politics & Current Affairs, Religion

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy