Infidel Summary & Study Guide

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
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Infidel Summary & Study Guide Description

Infidel Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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This book is an autobiography of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's life, from childhood to becoming a Dutch citizen and a Member of Parliament. She chronicles through her rough childhood, which included moving around frequently from her home country of Somalia to Saudi Arabia and then on to Kenya. Her father was not present most of the time as he was fighting to free Somalia from the regime, which was in power. Her mother was extremely abusive, especially to her, but also to her younger sister. After being married off, she decides to change her life and runs away, escaping to the Netherlands and seeking refugee status on false grounds, which she obtains. She changes her life and beliefs as she becomes less Somalian and more Dutch.

Ayaan was born in Somalia in Mogadishu and spent her early childhood years there, living with her mother, brother, sister, and grandmother, while her father was in prison. When her father escapes prison, he lives in Ethiopia for a time before moving to Saudi Arabia. Her mother and the children move to Saudi Arabia to be with him, only to find that as they leave, a major insurgency takes place and Ayaan's father is again fighting the regime on the border of Somalia.

The family lives in a small apartment in Mecca for several years where it is difficult for them to move around freely because they do not have a man in the house. Her mother often becomes angry and beats her harshly. Eventually, her father joins them and Ayaan is very happy to be with her father, although this family time together does not last long.

The next move takes the family to Kenya, deeply against her mother's wishes. Her mother does not want to live in an Infidel (non-Muslim) country and is not happy in this place. Additionally, her father is soon swept away by the war again, leaving Ayaan and her sister, Haweya to bear the brunt of their mother's unhappiness and anger.

As Ayaan grows older, she becomes more conservative in her practice of Islam, though she continually struggles to find answers to her many questions. A brief stay with family back in Somalia does not answer these questions. Instead, Ayaan gets involved with her cousin, loses her virginity, and secretly marries him. She makes it back to Kenya just as Somalia is falling into heavy civil war. When her father finally joins the family in Kenya again, her mother is harsh, but Ayaan is overjoyed.

Her happiness does not last long however, as a distant relative, who is living in Canada, meets her father and arranges her marriage. Her brother and mother discover and then quickly hide information about her previous marriage. Although she is not happy with the decision, Ayaan is married to the Osman and awaits her visa to go to Canada.

They send her to Germany where she is waiting for her visa, but she makes a huge decision to run away to the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, she gains refugee status and begins to work hard to become an active part of Dutch society, going to school and learning the language. She eventually receives a degree in Political Science and begins working for a think tank for the Labor Party.

She finally decides she does not believe in God and focuses her energies on what she perceives to be the neglected women of Islam. She changes parties and runs for Parliament with the Liberal Party, as threats come in and as she continues to insult and speak out against Islam. She lives under tight security for months, as the threat on her life is seen as severe after a man she made a movie with is killed in broad daylight. She is kept safe, though secluded from friends and eventually assimilating back into Dutch life, only to be called out for lying on her refugee application. As the book ends, she maintains her Dutch citizenship and moves to the United States to work for a think tank in Washington.

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This section contains 678 words
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