Review Date - 2011-01-28

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an autobiography of a Somali woman born in 1969 in Mogadishu. Her family went through hardship not only economical, but was torn between superstition and the beliefs of her father who studied abroad. Ayaan's grandmother made sure that the common practice of excision was performed on the five year old girl against the wishes of the parents.

Everyone's life was dictated by Islam and it is fascinating to follow Ayaan's story as she prays, does chores, struggles with her brother, reads everything she can put her hands on and tries to make sense of it all. Forced to in refugee camps many times on the boarders of Ethiopia and Kenya, she became fluent in Arabic, Somali, Swahili, Amharic and English. While her father was living with his third wife and children, he arranged marriage for Ayaan with a distant cousin. The fact that Ayaan did not know him and did not want to be married was irrelevant. This forced marriage was the last drop for her before seeking political asylum in the Netherlands. After diligently studying the Dutch language, she could earn her living as a translator for refugees. This way she had many opportunities to compare life in Somalia with life in Europe. She actually becomes a Member of Dutch Parliament! A fascinating read!!

Bela Hermanek