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Ayaan Hirsi Ali: t is time to banish wishful thinking about Islamism

 Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Financial Times, 8 February  2012

Ayear ago many western commentators were celebrating an Arab spring. The internet generation personified by Wael Ghonim, the Google marketing executive, would take over power from military dictators and absolute monarchs in democratic elections.

Those of us who warned that political Islam would be the principal beneficiary of elections in north Africa and the Middle East were dismissed as scaremongers.

Ever since 9/11, opinions in the west have been sharply divided on the popularity and legitimacy of political Islam. A minority – and I am one of them – argued that Islamism as a political doctrine was held by the mainstream in most of the House of Islam and particularly among Arabs; that violence was inherent in Islamist theory; and that if Islamists won state power they would not deliver prosperity.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of ‘Infidel’ and ‘Nomad’

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