Shangara Singh Flora
Ayaan Hirsi Ali Lecture Analysis
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s argues that Islamic culture and Western culture are in fact so
fundamentally different, that they are bound to clash.
The fundamental doctrines of the two cultures are composed of different beliefs, values,
and morals, which ultimately contradict one another. The western culture places high importance
on reason and logic, whereas the Islam culture places emphasis on religion, the teachings of Allah,
and the prophet Mohammed. To approach the Islamic culture and its difference with logic would
be pointless because the culture is derived through religious grounds rather than logical tenets.
Furthermore, Western society places a lot of importance on living life in the present, whereas
Islamic culture believes in the ‘hereafter.’ She also notes that unlike the west, which somewhat
allows people to do as they please, the Islamic culture designates all those who do not follow Islam
as ‘enemies’. Consequently, many Muslims see it as their divine duty to convert these ‘enemies’,
and if this fails, to engage them in holy war. This can lead to animosity between these two tenets
seeing as both lifestyles are differently orientated.
Ayaan takes an inductive standpoint toward her argument. Her intent is to build a
foundation for Islam and then explains the fundamental religious context of Islam which is used to
guide one’s life. At first, as she slowly introduces her concept, it makes it difficult to determine her
viewpoint on the topic. She begins the lecture by first listing the different aspects of the Islam
ideology. The listeners are taken back to a world where Islam is originated from. She draws
distinctions between Western culture and Islamic culture such as the concept of life and death with
angels resting upon your left and right shoulder as you make a day to day decision. This way,
rather than the listener jumping to conclusions, he/she is able to rationalize it, and make sense of
what she’s trying to say.
in many situations, all the facts are never revealed, especially if it weakens your argument.
In Ayaan’s case, she often makes one reference; Saudi Arabia. Here the bias comes from the fact
that Saudi Arabia is a country that mostly practices extremist views. This is why she blames every
corrupted Muslim society on Islam. Near the beginning of her lecture, she begins talking about the
different obligations that one must meet to be a “good” Muslim, such as not to eat pork, and to
abstain for sex before marriage. She refers to the angels on the left and right shoulder that record
all good and bad things. She continues to pitch forth the ‘hereafter’ segment about how “enemies”
deserve death. These enemies are described as those individuals that do not believe in this faith,
for example Christians or Jews. These examples actually support her argument against Islam
because one knows that he/she does not need to practi