Yesterday I came across a video on YouTube of a debate between Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Tariq Ramadan. Ramadan is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood), and he was raised in Switzerland and is a professor at Oxford University. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Dutch MP who immigrated to Holland from Somalia and is now a prominent anti-Islam activist (I'm not going to call her an intellectual because she isn't).
Anyway the debate in the video was about Muslims in Europe. Ramadan's argument was that it was possible to be a European and to be Muslim. Hirsi didn't really have a main argument (as usual), she just kind of kept making random points. What struck me about her ideas is 1) the fact that she thinks the Qur'an was written by humans and 2) that God doesn't exist. So why exactly does she feel she can debate about Islam? If she isn't a Muslim/doesn't believe in God, then why is she even speaking from a perspective of being a believing Muslim?
Yes, she went through a lot, but maybe she should see that it's not because of ISLAM that she was circumcised etc, but because of PATRIARCHY and the MISINTERPRETATION of Islam. Which is exactly what Ramadan said: he pointed out that his only problem with her is that she essentializes Islam and puts all Muslims in one category, as opposed to saying "some Muslims do this and it's wrong".
There was a point when Ramadan was saying something and she actually started giggling like a 4-year old. In a debate. He clearly got annoyed and when he finished she was like "sorry I don't follow you", and then he told her off.
There was also a point where she said that Bin Laden was more consistent than Ramadan, which is why more Muslims these days choose to follow Bin Laden (an extremist) as opposed to Ramadan (a moderate). Obviously Ramadan was confused as to why he wasn't "consistent" and apparently what she meant was that Bin Laden's rhetoric was simpler. Yes, and? Does that mean he's right? Ugh!!
I don't understand why Hirsi is even considered an academic/scholar/intellectual. She has a BA, whereas people like Ramadan have PhDs, have written scholarly books, and have been to pretigious universities. That doesn't necessarily make him smarter but judging from this debate and from his books, as opposed to her books and the movie she co-wrote (Submission), there is a vast difference in intelligence between them.
Sadly, Hirsi obviously appeals to the Western media, who love to hear a Muslim putting down Islam. Oh well. Hopefully one day they'll realize how shallow her arguments are, and they'll start to listen to Muslims who actually 1) believe in God, 2) believe the Qur'an came from God, 3) don't giggle in debates, and 4) have a moderate IQ.
Here are the 3 videos that make up the debate: