Ayaan Hirsi Ali er i Australia for å snakke om Opplysningstiden.

In her subsequent book, Infidel, she stepped up her attack on global Islam. And in Australia she’s been talking about the ideas of the Enlightenment.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali says the creed of Islam itself, rather than the way it’s practised, is the problem, because the ideas of Mohammed are incompatible with the ideas of liberal democracy.

(To Ayaan Hirsi Ali) Is Islam the problem or is fundamentalist Islam the problem?

AYAAN HIRSI ALI: Islam, as a creed, is the problem, depending on how you define the problem and I define it as the ideas of Mohammed are incompatible with the ideas that liberal secular democracies are based on.

And I also want to emphasise that it’s not Muslims as in individuals, because they’re varied, they’re very diverse. Some Muslims are a problem, some Muslims are not, some Muslims are apathetic, but Islam as a system of ideas is incompatible with liberal democracy as a system of ideas.

MARK COLVIN: And yet here in Australia we live next to an enormous, mainly Islamic country, which is slowly moving towards democracy which would seem to indicate that Islam itself is not necessarily a complete barrier to doing that.

AYAAN HIRSI ALI: Islam is a barrier to doing that, but your next door neighbour, which is the world’s probably largest Muslim country, started out after the decolonisation process as a secular democratic country, and right now we see two trends.

We see Indonesians who are evolving in their understanding and practice of democracy, but we also see Indonesians who are affected by the Middle East, and especially by the Islamic Radical Movement and who are choosing to introduce Sharia, or parts of Sharia, into Indonesia, and I think it’s that trend that Australia should not ignore. And it’s that trend that Indonesia itself should not ignore.

MARK COLVIN: If you go back to say, the 17th century in Europe, Christianity, both Protestant and Catholic Christianity, was essentially fundamentalist. And if you looked at the religion then of Christianity, you would have said, «This is a fundamentalist religion which can never evolve democratic states.» Why is Islam different?

AYAAN HIRSI ALI: Well, first of all, it’s not Christianity that produced the Enlightenment and all of that, there were perhaps Christians, but also individuals in Europe, in the United States and elsewhere, who proposed ideas to move away from religion and furnishing their lives and society by means of religious ideas and moved on secular ideas.

Why is Islam different from Christianity? I think one main difference is the separation of divine rule from secular rule. Islam does not allow it and I have not yet see a Muslim movement saying we should now move away or separate the two.

Ayaan peker på en diskrepans: muslimer reagerer ikke så mye når folk drepes, som når deres følelser krenkes. Dette er noe folk reagerer på.

AYAAN HIRSI ALI: Everyone followed the cartoon crisis, or the crisis about the cartoon drawings of Mohammed in Denmark. That led to an explosion of violence because large groups of Muslims still will not accept criticism of their religion.

Over and over again, when in the name of Islam, human blood is shed, Muslims are very quiet. When drawings are made or some perceived slight or offences given by writing a book, or making a drawing, or in some way criticising the dogmas of Islam, people take to the streets. We have all these leaders of the organisation of Islam, the countries who oppressed on people, coming to demand the people apologise.

And I think it’s this discrepancy that more and more people see as violence and intolerance and the lack of freedom inherent in the creed of Islam.

Political writer Hirsi Ali discusses democracy and Islam

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