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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[…]

Nuclear weapons and religious fanaticism is a dangerous combination, Ali says.

Question: When you read the newspaper and watch the news, what issues stand out for you?

Transcript: Nuclear weapons in the hands of fanatical religious people who think that the day of judgment is around the corner. I think for people to understand it, they should probably see pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and that was pretty much a primitive bomb. The bombs that they are trying to make now are far more advanced and can kill far more people, and with consequences for decades for the places that are . . . that will be affected. Someone like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current President of Iran, has made it very clear that he is able . . . he is willing and he is able to acquire that bomb, and he is going to use it. He has declared war on the state of Israel. When the leader of one country tells the leader of another country, “I’m going to wipe you off the map,” that, according to international declarations, is a declaration of war. Ever since he came to power, he made it very clear – pretty much like Hitler when he came to power – that he was going in that direction. Now the first reaction was understandable, where you see, “We should negotiate this man. Let’s understand what he has to say.Let’s talk to him. Let’s use sanctions,” and so on. But you always have to have that military option – the option of force on the table. And my criticism of the European Union leadership is that that is off the table.

Question: Do you believe Ahmadinejad would use nuclear weapons if Iran acquires the capability?

Transcript:Yes. He has made it very clear that he is going to use it. And not only that. He is already financing and disrupting the U.S. policy and western policy in the Middle East. And he is trying to become very dominant in that region. And so he is someone who is very much . . . He’s very self-assured because the usual mode of detriment, you know . . . deterring someone from doing something, which are always material and worldly, are things he doesn’t believe in. He welcomes death. And in that region, it’s not the . . . I’m not saying that everyone there believes that; but part of the radical Islamic doctrine is to believe that things will be better in the hereafter. So people welcome death. Not all of them, but many of them and those engaged in that welcome death. Which means the old forms of deterring people from doing things such as acquiring a bomb or using it – that the old methods – the sanctions and so on – that’s not something that’s going to make any impression on him.


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