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The Michael Shermer Show

A series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

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EPISODE # 156

Ayaan Hirsi Ali — Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights

Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Womens Rights (book cover)

Why are so few people talking about the eruption of sexual violence and harassment in Europe’s cities? No one in a position of power wants to admit that the problem is linked to the arrival of several million migrants—most of them young men—from Muslim-majority countries. In Prey Ayaan Hirsi Ali presents startling statistics, criminal cases and personal testimony. Among these facts: In 2014, sexual violence in Western Europe surged following a period of stability. In 2018 Germany, “offences against sexual self-determination” rose 36% from their 2014 rate; nearly two-fifths of the suspects were non-German. In 2017 Austria, asylum-seekers were suspects in 11% of all reported rapes and sexual harassment cases, despite making up less than 1% of the total population. This violence isn’t a figment of alt-right propaganda, Hirsi Ali insists, even if neo-Nazis exaggerate it. It’s a real problem that Europe—and the world—cannot continue to ignore. She explains why so many young Muslim men who arrive in Europe engage in sexual harassment and violence, tracing the roots of sexual violence in the Muslim world from institutionalized polygamy to the lack of legal and religious protections for women.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, Founder of the AHA Foundation and host of The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Podcast. Her new book Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights is published by Harper Collins. Her previous books include Infidel, The Caged Virgin, Nomad, Heretic, and The Challenge of Dawa. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, she grew up in Africa and the Middle East, before seeking asylum in the Netherlands, where she went on to become a member of parliament. Today she lives in the United States with her husband and two sons. Find out more at ayaanhirsiali.com.

Trigger warning: upon listening to this conversation, you should be triggered.

Shermer and Hirsi Ali discuss:

  • difficulties in collecting reliable data on sex crimes,
  • Is the problem a temporary downturn in the long-term progress of women’s rights?
  • why burying the problem because of political correctness only emboldens the Far Right,
  • what it’s like growing up female in a Muslim-dominated culture,
  • why Hirsi Ali is not embraced as a feminist by liberals and leftists,
  • why liberals are not feminists when it comes to women’s rights violations by Muslims,
  • What about conservatives who argue for female modesty & chastity?
  • why Germany’s understandable (given its history) openness to immigrants backfired,
  • the male evolved sex drive and what cultural factors best keep it in check,
  • What is the right balance between open and closed borders?
  • Should immigrants be forced or encouraged to integrate and assimilate into host countries?
  • why immigrants don’t always integrate,
  • how the law has failed women,
  • Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilization thesis,
  • Natan Sharansky’s Case for Democracy, George W. Bush’s foreign policy to spread U.S. style democracy to the Middle East, and the tribal resistance and failure of democracy there, and
  • what Hirsi Ali would advise the Biden Administration on immigration.

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This episode was released on February 9, 2021.

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