I recently finished reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali's powerful book "Infidel." Ayaan's is an amazing, important life, and her story should concern women everywhere. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
In the West, it took a long while for women to gain the same rights as men had. And when I say "in the West" I could just as easily be saying, "under Christianity," which, in essence, includes both Catholicism and Prostestantism.
Unfortunately, under Islam, the so-called fastest-growing religion in the world (groan), women's rights still have a long, long....long way to go. "Infidel" is about the personal growth of Ayaan from small girl in civil-war-torn Somalia all the way to a seat in Parliament in Holland, and beyond.
The term "Muslim" is really not a monolithic one. Muslims from Morocco, for instance, may act and have customs somewhat different from Muslims in Somalia, or Muslims in Saudi Arabia, or the Philippines, or Bosnia, or the USA.
Some Muslims, however, still practice horrific brutality and subjugation of women. Should western nations tolerate the abuse, and honor killings, of women inside their borders because the immigrants religion, Islam, seems to condone - even command - the brutality? If a nation's laws outlaw violence against women, can those laws be nullified in the name of Allah?
Can tolerance be carried too far?
In 1994 Ayaan collaborated with Theo van Gogh on a 10-minute film called, "Submission: Part 1." I have embedded the film below. It was intended to be the first of a series of films Ayaan had in mind examining women and their treatment around the world. Some Muslims in Holland were so outraged by the film that, a few months after the films release, one of them killed Theo in broad daylight, slashing his throat, and left a note - a fatwa of sorts against Ayaan - stabbed into his chest. This is how the crazies deal with criticism of their Prophet and Islam.
Before you get too indignant at Islam, however, remember that it wasn't all that long ago that Christians were burning witches at the stake, and heretics before them. Islam needs a similar awakening.
There is a good review of the book in the New York Times here.