Are These 2 Reasons to Reform Islam Convincing Enough?
Author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali says she doesn't buy into the major worries about Islamophobia.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Dutch-American feminist filmmaker and political writer. She is author of several books, the latest of which is Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now. She is also founder of the AHA Foundation, a former fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a former member of the Dutch parliament.
Ali is a vocal critic of Islam whose writings often focus on the religion's subjugation of women. Her work is controversial and has resulted in numerous death threats. In 2004 Ayaan gained international attention following the murder of Theo van Gogh. Van Gogh had directed her short film Submission, a film about the oppression of women under Islam. The assassin left a death threat for her pinned to Van Gogh's chest. This tragic event, and Ayaan’s life leading up to it, are all chronicled in her best-selling book, Infidel.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: In the United States of America, I see that Muslims as individuals, as organizations, as a community are present everywhere. If anything there's more listening to them than less of listening to them. I want to juxtapose that with the plight of Christians and Jews and Atheists and ex-Muslims and gays in the Muslim world. I'm not talking about the war-torn places; I'm talking about the places where there is order and the way Muslim societies respond to that. And if I were a vocal Muslim individual or a vocal Muslim organization, I would use my energy to highlight what we as Muslims, those of us who were brought within Islam in our own countries are doing to Christians and various sects of women and Jews and all that. So, I have to be quite honest with you, I don't buy much of this whole victim thing.
Then there's another metric. In places where people are oppressed and persecuted, people don't go there. Christians are fleeing Muslim countries. Muslims are flocking to originally Christian countries. I'm not a Christian. I'm not religious in the least. I'm an atheist. But it's a mere observation. So I think in a way these organizations are playing not only non-Muslim Americans, but they're also playing the Muslim communities that they target to make them feel that they're victims of some illusion, some form of persecution that they are not in order to band them together and then manipulate them. And it's up to us to investigate these things.
I remember in the Netherlands, a band of Muslim women saying we've been spat upon. And we said, "Who did the spitting?" And we looked into it. Nobody did the spitting. She said ultimately the woman who said she was accused said, "I thought he was going to spit on me, but it didn't happen." Women who were saying, "We were looked at differently," well, if you cover yourself from head to toe in black you are going to attract attention. I know a little bit about Islam. The whole idea of covering the Muslim woman is based on so that you as a woman may not attract attention. If you find yourself in a society where people are not covered from head to toe in black and you cover yourself from head to toe in black, you are going to attract attention. So if people look at you, it may not be because they hate you or they want you out of the country; it may be because you are interesting. You are just as if you have walked off a Darth Vader set. That's probably why they're looking at you. I think we need to have this sort of honest conversation with them instead of indulging that I am a victim of. But obviously they're hiding and this is what we're seeing in our own society that all kinds of segments of people in our society feel that they are a victim of this or a victim of that in the freest society in the world. If you're victimized in America, goodness me, how would you have survived the rest of the world?
Author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali says she doesn't buy into worries about Islamophobia in the United States. Ali doesn't think it's as big a problem as it's often lain out, and that the treatment of Muslims in America far surpasses the treatment of Christians, women, Jews, et al. in traditionally Muslim countries. Furthermore, she subscribes to a theory that manipulative interest groups encourage Muslims in America to feel victimized.
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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