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Ayaan Hirsi Ali versus Timothy Garton Ash
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A fiery debate on the compatibility of Enlightenment principles and Islamic fundamentalism is currently taking place in the USA, continental Europe and in the Swedish newspaper Expressen.
On the one side stand Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Paul Berman, and on the other Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash. Timothy Garton Ash is one of Britain’s most prominent public intellectuals, famous not least for his critical analysis of communism in former Eastern Europe.
Timothy Garton Ash has controversially compared Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s defense of Enlightenment values to a kind of Islamic fundamentalism. He has described her views as representing “Enlightenment fundamentalism“. Also, he has stated that if Ayaan Hirsi Ali would have been an unattractive woman, she would never have gained such a large public acclaim.
Will Timothy Garton Ash stick to his guns and maintain that Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s beauty is pivotal for her public interest and keep referring to her views as “Enlightenment fundamentalism”?
Will Ayaan Hirsi Ali attack Timothy Garton Ash at his soft spot – his being an intellectual, white, middle aged, middle class man? Taking turns, Timothy Garton Ash starts the debate.