The Somali-Dutch infidel and nomad AYAAN HIRSI ALI (Ayaan Hirsi Magan Isse Guleid Ali Wai’ays Muhammad Ali Umar Osman Mahamud, born 1969) smuggled and battled her way out of Somalia and through the Dutch Parliament to wage trickle-down war against bad thinking. She is secular reason’s youngest and toughest champion, sharing stages with Dawkins, Harris, and (no longer) Hitchens. Intellectually, religion didn’t seem worth the wit of mocking until Rushdie’s Satanic Verses garnered fatwah and exiled him underground, while armchair leftists didn’t speak up. As theists work to roll back the Enlightenment, they paused to honor Hirsi Ali with her own fatwah — stuck to the murdered body of her friend, Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. In Infidel and Nomad, she lights up petty bourgeois acceptance of idiotic differences — there are more ways we’re all alike than different. Why are we plodding in mud of your supernatural daddy vs. mine? She opposes the moderate appeasement strategy that says “not all of religion is crazy, only the really crazy parts.” Let the Germans have Poland again? Never! And yes, it’s that serious.
On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: George V. Higgins.
READ MORE about members of the Reconstructionist Generation (1964–73).