by Barney Zwartz
16th April, 2012
via The Age
WESTERN liberals, crippled by political correctness, guilt and a romanticised view of Islam, are leaving atheists and Christians bereft in the ”Arab winter”, human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali says.
Ms Hirsi Ali, no stranger to controversy, told an audience of several thousand at the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne, that it was Christians and conservatives who led the way in defending free speech and rights. ”Why is it that secular liberals in the West fail to help? Are they so insecure about the morals they live by and by which they raise their children?”
She said elections following the overthrow of dictators had produced Islamist governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, with Islamists also gaining power in Libya and Yemen. ”The plight of Christians is going to be dire. They are killed, their churches destroyed, the women are raped. This is also the plight of Muslim minority sects.”
She blamed political correctness, white guilt over former colonialism that was actually racist because it did not hold non-whites to the same standards, and a view of Islam as romantically primitive (the noble savage).
Ms Hirsi Ali, who has for a decade been accompanied everywhere by bodyguards, provocatively suggested it was too much to expect a billion Muslims to become atheists, so they should convert to the much more benign Christianity ”as a halfway house on the path to enlightenment”.
Outside the Melbourne Convention Centre, two dozen Muslims from Dandenong Mosque chanted ”burn in hell” and waved inflammatory placards.
”We just want to have a conversation, and tell them it is illogical to say there is no God,” said one of the protesters, Shafeeq.
Security guards locked the doors, but many atheists used a nearby alternative to engage the Muslims in furious debate.
Sam Harris, one of the ”four horsemen of the anti-apocalypse”, said his foundation had helped fund Ms Hirsi Ali’s protection when the Dutch government stopped paying. ”I went out to the moderate Muslim community to get help, and the push back was vile. The real problem is that religious moderates provide a space in which religious extremism is flourishing,” he said.