The New Yorker carried last week an attack on freedom fighter Ayaan Hirsi Ali that borders on the obscene in its extenuation of evil and denigration of those fighting against it: "Islamismism: How should Western intellectuals respond to Muslim scholars?," by Pankaj Mishra.

Mishra begins by asking some questions, to which he clearly believes that Hirsi Ali has supplied the wrong answers:

Was the prophet Muhammad a pervert and a tyrant? Does Islam promote terrorism and enslave women? Does Islam oblige its followers to wage jihad on Westerners whose roots lie in the secular Enlightenment? Should Muslims consider converting to Christianity? For the Somali-born writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the answer to all these questions is a resounding "Yes!" Hirsi Ali, who renounced Islam in her thirties, speaks from experience of bigotry and intolerance among her former co-religionists: she was genitally mutilated as a child in Somalia, briefly radicalized by a preacher of jihad in Kenya, nearly forced into a marriage, threatened with death in the Netherlands by the Muslim assassin of her collaborator, the filmmaker Theo van Gogh, and is still hounded by murderous fanatics in her new home, America….

There is a great deal wrong with this right at the outset. Pankaj Mishra is suggesting that Ayaan Hirsi Ali believes "Muhammad was a pervert and a tyrant," and that Islam promotes terrorism and enslaves women, and all the rest of the charges above, because she experienced "bigotry and intolerance among her former co-religionists," was "genitally mutilated as a child in Somalia," was "briefly radicalized," and so on. In other words, if she hadn't had such terrible personal experiences with Islam, she wouldn't regard it with such a gimlet eye today.

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