Somali-born political activist Hirsi Ali argues in this contentious account that liberal immigration policies have led to an influx of young Muslim men bringing regressive cultural ideas and sexual violence to Europe.
There are few women in the world who generate as much animosity, and as many accusations of hypocrisy, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She denounces Islam for its absolutism and intolerance, and then vilifies the religion of more than one billion people as a 'nihilistic cult of death.' Her own history perhaps makes her antagonism understandable — she was forced into genital mutilation as a child in Somalia, fled to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage and, as an adult, has seen her life threatened by Muslim extremists so many times and with such credibility that she travels with security. But she herself rejects that framing as sexist and presumptuous ... Her latest project only amplifies these incongruities ... But this is the one-two punch of Prey : Swear allegiance to Western liberalism, then push ideas and policies that would undermine it. It’s a dizzying rhetorical style, and succeeds only in knocking out straw men ... If readers didn’t know any better, they would come away with the impression that most sex crimes in Western Europe are committed by Muslim migrants against European female strangers. They aren’t — the men who pose the biggest threat to European women are the same category of men who pose the biggest threat to women everywhere: men whom women know ... This knee-jerk oversimplification is particularly frustrating coming, as it does, from a steely woman of great intelligence ... Even a reader like myself — a reader who delights in a little happy blasphemy, yearns for greater secularism and unapologetic atheism, and welcomes the skewering of misogynist fundamentalists of any religion (taboos and tolerance be damned) — couldn’t find much to cheer here. Like the fundamentalist religious views she and I both detest, Prey is too absolutist to be credible ... It’s Hirsi Ali, though, who does exactly this: She finds stories of individual Muslim immigrants who commit heinous crimes, and by suggesting those stories are broadly representative, uses them to justify curtailing the opportunities afforded to the whole group. This is not, as she suggests, a feminism of standing up for the rights of women. It is a feminism of reaction — and one that would undermine the very liberal values Hirsi Ali begs feminists to protect.
Ms. Hirsi Ali acknowledges that her focus on Muslims risks the wrath of sensitivity monitors, but she presses on, arguing that it is best to rob xenophobic parties of a monopoly on the debate by bringing 'this issue out of the taboo zone.' ... She proposes a raft of solutions, all entirely sensible. Europe must work harder to integrate migrants and must find ways to tie welfare benefits to proof of assimilation. Successful Muslim migrants—of whom there are tens of thousands—must be put forward as role models and exemplars ... Some of Ms. Hirsi Ali’s solutions, however worthy, are impracticable, being projects that require vast transnational cooperation ... Yet Prey is far from an exercise in futile consternation. It is, instead, a courageous and bracing book, even as it makes a reader’s heart sink. Ms. Hirsi Ali will win no friends among the virtuous elites, for whom her entire discussion is forbidden. But she is playing her part in a rebellion that could shape the fate of Europe.
An outspoken critic of Islamic extremism identifies a threat to women's safety ... Women’s rights activist Ali mounts a scathing critique of migrant Muslim men who perpetrate sexual violence against women throughout Europe. Between 2014 and 2017, when immigration increased dramatically, the author provides evidence that rape and sexual assault increased, as well, enacted by men coming from cultures in which women are often exploited ... Although Ali stresses that she does not want to fuel populist arguments for closed borders, she vigorously argues for reforms that will mitigate the 'causal connection' between migration and sex crimes ... An impassioned analysis sure to incite controversy.