Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Help Ayaan Hirsi Ali
[Update: Corrected information for potential donors can be found here.]
Via HBL, I learned this morning that, as Sam Harris reports in The Los Angeles Times, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is being thrown to the dogs of Mohammed by the Dutch Government.
As you read this, Ayaan Hirsi Ali sits in a safe house with armed men guarding her door. She is one of the most poised, intelligent and compassionate advocates of freedom of speech and conscience alive today, and for this she is despised in Muslim communities throughout the world.This puts it mildly. The Dutch have effectively issued a fatwa for the death of one of their own countrymen.
[After being persuaded to return to the Netherlands and winning public office there,] Hirsi Ali was immediately forced into hiding and moved from safe house to safe house, sometimes more than once a day, for months. Eventually, her security concerns drove her from the Netherlands altogether. She returned to the U.S., and the Dutch government has been paying for her protection here -- that is, until it suddenly announced last week that it would no longer protect her outside the Netherlands, thereby advertising her vulnerability to the world. [bold added]
[Update: The below information has bee superseded by that found here.]
As published on HBL by someone who recently corresponded with her office (and as seen here), an email from Hirsi Ali's office explains how you can help.
Hello,[Update: The above information has bee superseded by that found here.]
You are receiving this email because you have written our office before expressing admiration for Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her work. Thank you again for your support -- receiving such expressions from friends and strangers alike provides Ayaan with much strength and encouragement.
As most of you have probably heard, the Dutch government decided last week to stop funding her security. Effective immediately, she must now raise her own funds to finance her very expensive private security.
We are in the process of setting up different vehicles through which those of you interested in supporting Ayaan and her work may contribute to her security funding:
(1) The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust -- a private trust fund that will be entirely dedicated to financing Ayaan's security. This fund is able to begin accepting donations immediately. Check donations can be made out to the name of the trust, and sent to my attention at the American Enterprise Institute, 1150 Seventeenth St., N.W., Washington, DC. (Please note that this fund can only accept money from within the United States, and that donations to this fund will not be tax deductible.)
(2) A public U.S. charity (501(c)(3)) that will support Muslim dissidents around the world and, among other things, provide financial support for their security -- including Ayaan's. As we are still in the process of establishing this charity, tax deductible donations to it can, for the time being, be made out to American Enterprise Institute and mailed to the attention of Christopher DeMuth, president of AEI, with a cover letter stating the purpose of the donation. (Please note that this fund can also only accept money from within the United States.)
(3) Donations to Ayaan's security from outside the United States can be wired to Haweya, B.V., a special purpose vehicle managed by Ayaan's lawyers in Amsterdam. All funds received will be spent on Ayaan's security and to support her projects with Muslim dissidents. All receipts and expenditures by the company are being checked by public chartered accountants.
The banking details you will need to transfer money to this account are as follows:
P.O. Box 94 510
1090 GM Amsterdam
Account number: 4732822 with Postbank NV, Amsterdam
IBAN number: NL61PSTB0004732822
BIC code bank: PSTBNL21 Postbank NV, Amsterdam
With most sincere gratitude,
Office of Ayaan Hirsi Ali
American Enterprise Institute [minor edits, link added]
As of this morning, I am unable to find a web site specifically pertaining to these efforts, nor does Hirsi Ali's blog make note of it. If anyone happens by who learns of any new developments on this before I do, please drop me a line so I can provide an update.
A Bit of Opera
Adrian Hester, making a couple of opera recommendations in an email, pointed me to the above YouTube video of Renee Fleming singing "Ain't it a pretty night" from Susannah.
"They will know we are Christians by our love." (Part II)
Awhile back, I fell for a very good hoax, in which a letter to the editor of a newspaper, supposedly by a fundamentalist Christian, blamed atheists for all of America's problems and ranted that America should "stomp out" atheists. Commenting on this purported display of Christian "love", I said the following:
When I consider the role that ideas have in shaping human action, and consider the belief systems of others, I am basically indifferent to the choices others make as to what they believe. As I see it, it's their life, and if they want to screw it up, it's their business. I become concerned only when it becomes evident that such people, applying their beliefs to politics, act on their wish to end my political freedom (i.e., to endanger my ability to live by my own lights).Upon learning that the letter was a hoax, I added in an update that, "Based on personal experience, I can easily imagine some people being jealous that they hadn't thought of this missive on their own."
Thus, in exact opposite fashion to the the Christian epistle linked above, I never call for the political persecution of those whose beliefs differ from my own; when I criticize the beliefs of others such criticism is based on facts and logic; and I am comfortable in the knowledge that my ideas will win out in a free marketplace of ideas. This letter-writer obviously feels threatened by the fact that some people think for themselves and her expressed response is to act against them with force.
Now, thanks to Joe (and Ari Armstrong), "some people" need no longer remain jealous. Nor must I rely any longer on vague memories of the palpable hostility some Christians have exhibited when confronted with the psychological trauma of a person who refuses to take orders from their imaginary friend.
Christian exemplar Doug Giles, in a column titled "How to Shut up an Atheist if You Must", makes the hoax letter to the editor sound like the voice of sweet reason. I'll crib Armstrong's excerpts, although they hardly begin to do justice to this rant, Doug Giles, or his faith:
... Suck, for you thick atheists, is a slang word which means to make or to be really, really crappy (kind of like how our culture becomes anytime you guys mess with it). ...Not that I especially prize such vulgar terms as the ones in bold from the above passage, but unlike Christians, I do not regard their use as especially immoral. And yet here is a man who does, and who damns atheists for being immoral on the grounds that one must have religion to have morality -- using these very words! So much for religion as bringing about morality. I guess Giles "crapped on" himself there.
...prissy anti-Christs... pissy God haters... no-God numb nuts... comfortable and cocky atheist...
[E]verywhere I go and speak -- be it in conferences, on the radio, on television or in print -- I'm going to encourage the tens of thousands of Christians I address that every time and everywhere they get crapped on by an atheist with unfounded arguments to open their mouths and slam dance them with facts found in these two new brilliant books from Regnery [by Dinesh D'Souza and Robert Hutchinson]. [my bold]
Some people never get past diapers in terms of their intellectual development....
Armstrong adds: "For Giles ... arguments become weapons of propaganda, intended not to win an honest and spirited debate, but to 'shut up' the other side." Indeed. And this is because Giles is hardly a man confident in the correctness of his views or interested in unearthing the truth.
I said this before and I'll say it again:
[Those who take religion seriously] scare me for the exact opposite reason I scare them. They want to physically "stamp me out"; I simply remind them of all the questioning and thinking that they have shirked for their whole lives.I thank Doug Giles for expressing his views on reasoned debate and for providing such an excellent example, in the form of his essay, of how ugly the lack of intellectual confidence that comes with the abandonment of reason can be.
Today: Minor edits.
10-29-07: Added update to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.