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Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui

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The author of Emma’s War offers a compelling account of the link between Muslim women’s rights, Islamist opposition to the West, and the Global War on Terror, as explored through the experiences of two fascinating female champions from opposing sides of the conflict: Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali and neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui. With Emma’s War: An Aid Worker, A Warlord, The author of Emma’s War offers a compelling account of the link between Muslim women’s rights, Islamist opposition to the West, and the Global War on Terror, as explored through the experiences of two fascinating female champions from opposing sides of the conflict: Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali and neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui. With Emma’s War: An Aid Worker, A Warlord, Radical Islam and the Politics of Oil, journalist Deborah Scroggins achieved major international acclaim; now, in Wanted Women, Scroggins again exposes a crucial untold story from the center of an ongoing ideological war—laying bare the sexual and cultural stereotypes embraced by both sides of a conflict that threatens to engulf the world.


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The author of Emma’s War offers a compelling account of the link between Muslim women’s rights, Islamist opposition to the West, and the Global War on Terror, as explored through the experiences of two fascinating female champions from opposing sides of the conflict: Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali and neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui. With Emma’s War: An Aid Worker, A Warlord, The author of Emma’s War offers a compelling account of the link between Muslim women’s rights, Islamist opposition to the West, and the Global War on Terror, as explored through the experiences of two fascinating female champions from opposing sides of the conflict: Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali and neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui. With Emma’s War: An Aid Worker, A Warlord, Radical Islam and the Politics of Oil, journalist Deborah Scroggins achieved major international acclaim; now, in Wanted Women, Scroggins again exposes a crucial untold story from the center of an ongoing ideological war—laying bare the sexual and cultural stereotypes embraced by both sides of a conflict that threatens to engulf the world.

30 review for Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This was really interesting, and at some point I'd like to read her other book Emma's War, which looks like a similar approach but with a more limited scope that might work more neatly with Scroggins's method. That's not to say that her method didn't work here, only that the results of this book are a bit messy and strange. I'd describe the Scroggins "thing," based on having read this book and on glancing at reviews of Emma's War, as a focus on the lives of individual women in order to illuminate This was really interesting, and at some point I'd like to read her other book Emma's War, which looks like a similar approach but with a more limited scope that might work more neatly with Scroggins's method. That's not to say that her method didn't work here, only that the results of this book are a bit messy and strange. I'd describe the Scroggins "thing," based on having read this book and on glancing at reviews of Emma's War, as a focus on the lives of individual women in order to illuminate complex issues that constitute the confounding geopolitical clusterfucks of our world today. The title claims this book's about "Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror," but it's really about what's been going on for the past decade or so with that "Islam v. the West" thing you might've heard of, and about women in Islam, women in the West, Islamist terrorism, anti-Muslim persecution, the West's ideas about Muslims, and a whole bunch of other stuff I wouldn't have had the patience to read 468 pages about if it weren't cleverly structured around these two women's parallel but unconnected lives. I felt that while this book seemed to fail in superficial ways, in fact it was a success. Its seeming failure is that I still have no real understanding of what drives religious fundamentalists to kill people aside from their just being nuts, and I attained no special understanding of what it's like to be Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani-born, MIT-and-Brandeis educated mother of three who was the only woman on the United States' most-wanted terrorists list. I also don't understand Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Dutch-MP-cum-American-neocon and professional Islam-hater. Scroggins really seems to loathe her and to believe that Hirsi Ali is motivated just by ruthless opportunism, but while all Scroggins's criticisms seemed justified, mustn't the truth be a bit more complex? But no matter! Scroggins was never able to interview Siddiqui or Hirsi Ali (though she talks to a lot of people who knew them), and by the end of the book both women are still enigmas. But this winds up not being a problem at all, because Wanted Women isn't so much about either of these women as it is about what's going on around them and the intense response they provoke in others. The beginning of this book was really fascinating to me, as a provincial American who hasn't traveled much outside this country and who certainly has never lived anywhere else. The world that Hirsi Ali and Siddiqui grew up in is much more complicated than my all-American bubble: they and others like them are born in one country, raised somewhere else for awhile... then they move to a new country, then wind up in another. They're constantly crossing borders, not just to visit, but to live, and these borders are significant: one of the main focuses of the book is culture shock; another is that old "clash of civilizations," which may just be the same thing as culture shock in more hyperbolic terms and on a grander scale. What I felt was most useful to me in this book was its perspective on how the lunacy of individuals comes to matter because of how the wider culture responds. Hirsi Ali hating Islam has a massive impact because of the historical and cultural moment when she does it. Siddiqui's story is a bit opaque and hard to follow, but this opacity is itself a gut-wrenching indictment of my own country's outrageously dishonorable and often illegal "War on Terror," and her story concretely illustrates some of the repercussions of the way that this war has been fought. In the end, I didn't care that much that neither woman made much sense to me, and it seemed that really their personal lives were a bit beside the point. Scroggins surprised me by not trying to make either figure sympathetic: I knew nothing about Hirsi Ali prior to reading this, beyond seeing Infidel on remainder tables in bookstores, but this feels like a brutal takedown job. And of course, it's probably not easy or even tempting to make a rabidly antisemitic radical Islamist jihadi sympathetic to an audience of readers like me, but Scroggins is (I thought) oddly sympathetic to Siddiqui's ex-husband, who was by all accounts a batterer and, in my view, suspiciously naive about his wife's bloodthirsty aspirations. But the book worked, maybe because it wasn't so much a dual biography as it was a set of binoculars for looking at some of the hard to see stuff that's going on right now in the world. No one here comes out looking great: not Hirsi Ali, not Siddiqui, but also none of the countries they've lived in or the various political factions they've been aligned with or despised by. I'd venture to say, though, that I feel I understand the dynamics of these countries, cultures, and despisers a bit more than I did before, which is helpful because I felt really confused, and it's good to have some sense of what's going on around you even if it isn't so great.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michele bookloverforever

    Interesting and puzzling. Apparently, the author regards Ayaan Ali as a wanna be...a glory hound not really interested in her avowed war on Islam's oppression of women. The author however seems really in awe of Aafia Siddiqi, an Islamic fundamentalist who ended up working for Al Queda against America. Personally, I was struck by the fact she described Aafia as "pale skineed" early in the book. Now, many things may be said about the other woman in the book, Aayan..but "pale skinned" is not one of Interesting and puzzling. Apparently, the author regards Ayaan Ali as a wanna be...a glory hound not really interested in her avowed war on Islam's oppression of women. The author however seems really in awe of Aafia Siddiqi, an Islamic fundamentalist who ended up working for Al Queda against America. Personally, I was struck by the fact she described Aafia as "pale skineed" early in the book. Now, many things may be said about the other woman in the book, Aayan..but "pale skinned" is not one of them. Aayan is a striking black woman from Somalia by way of Saudi Arabia and Kenya. Aafia is a devout, if not fanatical, muslim from Pakistan. Both are women of color. The author believes that Aayan is an opportunist and Aafia an effective weapon of Al Quaeda. However, in my opinion, the more I hear of Aafia and her world, the more I believe that Aayan is correct that you cannot reason with true believers because true believers do not reason or warp the facts to suit their own perception of reality. Aayan did make the horrors of genital mutilation known to the world and the simple fact that the Koran does endorse and propose the subjugation of women. I've read the Koran. I've read about how women should be treated. No thanks. I'll take modern western thoughts on the female of the species anyday. Women in the west have been fighting subjugation, oppression, repression for several centuries. Apparently, muslim women are just beginning their journey out of oppression...first, they have to realize they are oppressed. That's what Aayan was all about, trying to make them aware of their own oppression. Unfortunately, many times the unknown is more to be feared than the known world of oppression and many oppressed identify with their oppressors, especially if they are told from birth that Allah wants them this way and they sin against Allah whenever they rebel and are headed for hell and face death if not shunning and abandonment if they rebel. Me, I'll take realistic Aayan over deluded, violent Aafia anyday of the week. I feel sorry for Aafia's delusional life which is now in a US prison for the next 86 years for her attempted murder of 6 US soldiers who were trying to rescue her from an Afghani jail for questioning on her AlQuaeda involvement in a proposed attack in the US.

  3. 5 out of 5

    K

    Writing-wise this was more of a three-star book, but I give it four stars for content. I'm not sure that someone who lacks my fascination with the subject would have the patience to wade through 400+ pages of mediocre journalistic writing, but my interest was maintained consistently throughout. This book reconstructs the lives of two iconic women who were born Muslim and followed radically different paths. Both were born in Near Eastern countries and intersected with the west, became impassioned Writing-wise this was more of a three-star book, but I give it four stars for content. I'm not sure that someone who lacks my fascination with the subject would have the patience to wade through 400+ pages of mediocre journalistic writing, but my interest was maintained consistently throughout. This book reconstructs the lives of two iconic women who were born Muslim and followed radically different paths. Both were born in Near Eastern countries and intersected with the west, became impassioned symbols of their respective positions, and aroused a great deal of controversy. Those who read Infidel will recognize Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who sought asylum in Holland after a turbulent African childhood and became a Dutch politician. I was less familiar with Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who went to the States to pursue a B.A. at MIT and completed her doctorate in neuroscience at Brandeis. Hirsi Ali became an outspoken anti-Islam activist; Siddiqui became an Al Qaeda operative who was imprisoned for her activities. Although Siddiqui's story gradually grew on me, the one that really captured my attention was that of Hirsi Ali. I know that one should suspend one's disbelief when reading a memoir; despite this, I found Infidel highly compelling and took Hirsi Ali's narrative at face value. I had heard here and there that Hirsi Ali was actually a controversial figure, but didn't understand this until I read Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui. One of my favorite reading experiences is reading someone's memoir followed up by an observer's account of the person. For example, my enjoyment of Truth and Beauty was greatly enhanced by my having first read Autobiography of a Face. Unfortunately there aren't many opportunities to do this; reading Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui after reading Infidel was one such experience. The contrast between the way that Hirsi Ali depicted herself and her story, and what Deborah Scroggins shared from her journalistic research, was fascinating. It was also interesting to contemplate the strengths and weaknesses of Hirsi Ali's expressed views and approaches to advocacy. Hirsi Ali is clearly a strong, opinionated woman who has the courage of her convictions but also alienates many people who could potentially support her crusade. Many of the negative reactions to Hirsi Ali seemed legitimate; although her concerns about Islamic fundamentalism are shared by many, she is lacking in nuance and quite extremist in her own way. Scroggins also made an interesting point about the parallels between these two figures. Both of them were adopted as highly visible icons, even viewed as martyrs by many of their fans. Both of their life stories are a mix of fact and fiction, with a lot of unknowns. Again, I don't know if this is a book with mass appeal but given my preexisting interest in the subject, I found it a rewarding read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Socraticgadfly

    This is a great twin biography/history, kind of like a pair of Plutarch's "parallel lives." Indeed, Scroggins notes that it's possible Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui could have cone in each other's directions; Ali herself has said so. Beyond the general parallels, the thing I most noted about Ali is that it's more obvious than ever, from this book, why she threw her lot in with the neocons politically and the Gnu Atheist "philosophically." Both groups, and Ali, tend toward absolutism in their This is a great twin biography/history, kind of like a pair of Plutarch's "parallel lives." Indeed, Scroggins notes that it's possible Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui could have cone in each other's directions; Ali herself has said so. Beyond the general parallels, the thing I most noted about Ali is that it's more obvious than ever, from this book, why she threw her lot in with the neocons politically and the Gnu Atheist "philosophically." Both groups, and Ali, tend toward absolutism in their interpretation of various events. And also, while Ali is perhaps not quite Sarah Palin, Scroggins makes clear that she has a love of the limelight and publicity too. While she is still a sympathetic figure to some degree, she's less so to me than she was before I read this book, and she wasn't totally sympathetic then. Siddiqui is less well-known; in fact, despite her trial and conviction, I knew very little about her. That said, an MIT graduate of graduate school becoming one of al-Qaeda’s top female backers is indeed a caution … a caution in part to the Ali types who want to say that all Islam is fundamentalist, and that it’s fundamentalist because of its backwardness. Scroggins also offers a peek or two at Pakistan’s ISI and just how closely connected it may have been to Siddiqui.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    I found this to be a very interesting read. Both women are caught in the cultural and political movements of our time as they move throughout the world. The book does not praise either woman too much. It is good to note that the author was not able to interview either woman for the book. I think that by mirroring Ayann with Aafia it does demonstrate that those who are so fundamentally determined to promote Western values and are completely against Islam may have different tactics than Islamist j I found this to be a very interesting read. Both women are caught in the cultural and political movements of our time as they move throughout the world. The book does not praise either woman too much. It is good to note that the author was not able to interview either woman for the book. I think that by mirroring Ayann with Aafia it does demonstrate that those who are so fundamentally determined to promote Western values and are completely against Islam may have different tactics than Islamist jihadis, but are close to two sides of the same coin. This is not to say that the incendiary words of Ayaan are equal to the actual alleged violence of Aafia, but their simplistic arguments and solutions do mirror each other.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jael

    Until a few months ago, I had never heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Aafia Siddiqui, two Muslim woman juxtaposed in a biography by Deborah Scroggins. Ali, who was born in Somalia, grew to reject her Muslim upbringing as an adult. Siddiqui, who was born in Pakistan, embraced her Muslim upbringing, but from my point of view took it to the extreme. Wanted Women: Faith, Lies & The War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali & Aafia Siddiqui delves into the lives and similarities of these women. I didn't Until a few months ago, I had never heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Aafia Siddiqui, two Muslim woman juxtaposed in a biography by Deborah Scroggins. Ali, who was born in Somalia, grew to reject her Muslim upbringing as an adult. Siddiqui, who was born in Pakistan, embraced her Muslim upbringing, but from my point of view took it to the extreme. Wanted Women: Faith, Lies & The War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali & Aafia Siddiqui delves into the lives and similarities of these women. I didn't see any concrete similarities between the two. They're both women, they were both raised as Muslims and they are both polarizing figures. But they took very, very, very different paths in their lives. Ali came of age when Somalia was at war, leading her to seek and gain refugee status in Kenya. But living and working there was not enough, she aspired to have a new life in the Netherlands. Ali eventually became a prominent politician in Holland. How and why Ali came to live in Holland seem to be in dispute. She says she went there to escape an arranged marriage and possible death by an honor killing. Her former husband tells a different story, claiming Ali used him to gain entry into Holland. Her own family says Ali's claims weren't true. What's Ali's defense? It's not totally clear because she refused to speak with Scroggins for this book. But in several media reports, Ali gave conflicting accounts of her past. I didn't know what to believe here, but perhaps Ali's own books offer an explanation. Ali used her political career to make several attacks against Islam. To her, Islam suppressed women's rights. She wanted women to reject Islam and embrace Western ways. She even went so far as to call the prophet Muhammad a pedophile. Everyone has the right to speak their mind, but sometimes you really have to think before you speak. Making an inflammatory claim like that is just asking for trouble. I was just stunned how she couldn't see that. Her radical views led to her needing bodyguards. Her own family distanced itself from her claims. Siddiqui is on the other side of the spectrum. She was born in Pakistan, but college-educated in the U.S. She married and had three children. Her husband, Amjad, became a doctor. Outwardly, people might assume she was pursuing the "American" dream but that was not the case. Siddiqui embraced Islam way more than her husband wanted. She believes Jewish people are the cause for the problems of the world. She believed in violent action to bring about change. Her husband tried to play along, thinking she wasn't serious. Her views eventually tore them apart. There didn't seem to be any chance at reasoning with her. Everyone who is isn't Muslim is somehow the enemy. After her divorce, the U.S. alleges Siddiqui was in contact with the mastermind behind 9/11, eventually marrying a relative of his. The U.S. also alleges she helped plan another attack, one that never came to fruition. I say "alleges" because based on what I've read I'm not sure what to believe. In the years following 9/11, Siddiqui was either in hiding or in a secret prison. Nobody knows for sure or they just aren't telling. She magically appeared again in 2008 after outcry from her family, the media, and Pakistani officials. It just seemed to be a little too convenient. She was captured by Pakistani officials and then tried to kill U.S. military officers, but she was the only one battered, bruised and had a gunshot wound. It just didn't add up for me. Regardless of what I believe, Siddiqui is serving 86 years in a U.S. Federal prison. I don't agree with her views, but the circumstances that brought her to a U.S. court just seem suspect. Could she have eventually done something harmful if she wasn't in custody? Probably. I'm just not a fan of the suspect methods used here. I believe the U.S. had her in custody for years and when their hands were forced, a case was fabricated. U.S. officials probably weren't sure how to use her. She wasn't going anywhere, just admit you have her in custody and find a legal way to use her as a source of information to prevent further attacks. It's cases like this that make people hate the U.S. The book shows very well how faith can shape who you are. It is a well-researched and interesting read. Scroggins never interviewed either woman, but still manages to paint a vivid picture of both. Rating: Superb Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (HarperCollins) in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    This is, frankly, an amazing book: I was familiar with Hirsi Ali before I read this book, and had somehow never heard of Aafia Siddiqi, but I was definitely intrigued by the idea of Al Qaeda's #1 female operative, or whatever she was called. But more than telling these two stories, linked or otherwise, what Scroggins has done is use their stories to tell two related stories that as a fascinated outsider, I can't get enough of. Hirsi Ali allows Scroggins to tell the story of the struggles of Islam This is, frankly, an amazing book: I was familiar with Hirsi Ali before I read this book, and had somehow never heard of Aafia Siddiqi, but I was definitely intrigued by the idea of Al Qaeda's #1 female operative, or whatever she was called. But more than telling these two stories, linked or otherwise, what Scroggins has done is use their stories to tell two related stories that as a fascinated outsider, I can't get enough of. Hirsi Ali allows Scroggins to tell the story of the struggles of Islamic integration in the West, especially the Netherlands, and Siddiqi's story gives license to explore the rise of Islamist ideas in South Asia, especially the murky world of Pakistan. Scroggins tells both stories very well, amassing just a treasure trove of information along the way and laying it out in the clearest way imaginable. This, in spite of some real writerly challenges: the structure of the book means chapters alternate from one woman to the other as they move through similar time frames-- but for four years and more, Siddiqi is completely missing: how does one address her experiences during that time? Here, Scroggins follows the hints about Siddiqi in the press and also travels herself, becoming a kind of stand-in. An ingenius solution, and a really remarkable book. Most highly recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Fadillah

    Believe me when i say that scroggins brilliantly put on a tale of two brilliant and brave women in one whole book. I read all ayaan's books past few years and yes, i lauded her audacity in speaking her own mind but i felt some of it is debatable. This book, in my opinion, might be a bit critical towards Ayaan than Aafia but that's exactly what i'm looking for : someone to point out that Ayaan can be inconsistent and irrational in voicing out her opinion. Aafia, on the other hands, i never heard Believe me when i say that scroggins brilliantly put on a tale of two brilliant and brave women in one whole book. I read all ayaan's books past few years and yes, i lauded her audacity in speaking her own mind but i felt some of it is debatable. This book, in my opinion, might be a bit critical towards Ayaan than Aafia but that's exactly what i'm looking for : someone to point out that Ayaan can be inconsistent and irrational in voicing out her opinion. Aafia, on the other hands, i never heard of (perhaps, i just flipped a newspaper and passed by the news of her) is possibly a very strange story to read. She is a very educated girl and to add up, even an excellent and bright student. How she let herself tangled in the fight so called 'jihad' really puzzled me. It really a waste of talent for a girl like her involve in such destructive path of fighting for her religion (where i, myself as a moderate muslim felt it was really wrong!) . Overall, this is very enlightening piece of reading if you wanted to know more about this 2 women who are so opposite as one is fighting for her religion and the other one is so ferociously against her religion.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sagheer Afzal

    I am very sorry but I feel that upon having read this book and various articles about Aafia Siddiqui, that I can't join the chorus of Muslims who see her as a symbol of American brutality. The facts speak for themselves and they don't need much elaboration. Her obsession with Jihad killed her youngest son and devastated the lives of her other two children. The world did not sway with her activism; all it did was land her in jail for the rest of her life. And the one of the bit of world in which I am very sorry but I feel that upon having read this book and various articles about Aafia Siddiqui, that I can't join the chorus of Muslims who see her as a symbol of American brutality. The facts speak for themselves and they don't need much elaboration. Her obsession with Jihad killed her youngest son and devastated the lives of her other two children. The world did not sway with her activism; all it did was land her in jail for the rest of her life. And the one of the bit of world in which she could have had an influence: her family, was left shattered and traumatised. I have re-read this book almost one year later and have discovered a serious flaw. Despite all the facts at her disposal the author does not say whether or not Prisoner 650 at Bagram Prison was Aafia Siddiqui. At the very least she could have enlightened the reader.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This was a very interesting book as it compared the lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Infidel fame and Aafia Siddiqui, the only women to have made the most wanted list in the war on terror. It examines the lives of these women who both come from Islamic pasts and how they chose very different lives. It provide insight on Ayaan's life that was not presented in her book and introduced me to Aafia. The only thing preventing this book from getting five stars is it gets a limitless bogged down for time whe This was a very interesting book as it compared the lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Infidel fame and Aafia Siddiqui, the only women to have made the most wanted list in the war on terror. It examines the lives of these women who both come from Islamic pasts and how they chose very different lives. It provide insight on Ayaan's life that was not presented in her book and introduced me to Aafia. The only thing preventing this book from getting five stars is it gets a limitless bogged down for time when the writer has keeps rehashing that nobody knows where Aafia is for the time as she tells the story of Ayaan's issue with her Dutch citizen ship. Otherwise a page turner and a must read for people interested in the Muslim word and women in it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    It started well, but I completely lost interest about halfway through. The first section, about how the women's upbringings shaped their views and later actions in life, was interesting. The second section became much too detailed in the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and much too speculative about Aafia Siddiqui. You could tell that one was a figure in the public eye and one was in hiding, and it made the author's method of short chapters alternating women much too choppy. I don't even think I can fi It started well, but I completely lost interest about halfway through. The first section, about how the women's upbringings shaped their views and later actions in life, was interesting. The second section became much too detailed in the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and much too speculative about Aafia Siddiqui. You could tell that one was a figure in the public eye and one was in hiding, and it made the author's method of short chapters alternating women much too choppy. I don't even think I can finish this one; it's not worth my time. This book was on the Economist's list of best books of 2012. Disappointing!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I really enjoyed this book. I read "Infidel" and found it compelling, but I found it lacking in balance. Some terrible things happened to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but Islam was not responsible for all of it. I found the comparison between Ayaan & Aafia fascinating. I was expecting this to be a dry book, but it was quite compelling. I really enjoyed this book. I read "Infidel" and found it compelling, but I found it lacking in balance. Some terrible things happened to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but Islam was not responsible for all of it. I found the comparison between Ayaan & Aafia fascinating. I was expecting this to be a dry book, but it was quite compelling.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    See http://www.BillDahl.net for the review See http://www.BillDahl.net for the review

  14. 4 out of 5

    Saad Abdulmahmoud

    This book is really een eye opener. Two women, almost same age came to the West at the same time. They went opposite directions. The book explored the role of faith (the role of Islam) at their lives. The author explained the difference the same events played at their lives. The author showed the real explanations of the meaning of the events in comparison to the media coverage of the same events. The author also showed what what the followers of both women made of the events. You can’t understan This book is really een eye opener. Two women, almost same age came to the West at the same time. They went opposite directions. The book explored the role of faith (the role of Islam) at their lives. The author explained the difference the same events played at their lives. The author showed the real explanations of the meaning of the events in comparison to the media coverage of the same events. The author also showed what what the followers of both women made of the events. You can’t understand one without the other. The virgin and the whore. Bikini in Pakistan and Burka in de US. Both women are product of our time. The time of migration. They are icoon for their followers. Their legend is attractive than their reality (p. 405). The auteur followed Ayan an Aafia for 6 years. The author realised: though they are opposite to each other the way they viewed the Islam, they have more on common. They are like a mirror image to each other. Is fascinating to hear the author saying the development of the two women could have being different opposite wise. This contingency makes it difficult to follow the debate. For me personally I was able to follow Ayan’s Dutch period fully. The situation - polarisation at the Netherlands is not changed yet. Many politicians claimed to continue the legacy of Ayan like Wilders and Baudet. The author mentioned the same names I would expect to find in books about Islam: Maududi, Sayyid Qutb, Hassan Al Banna en Bin Laden. Also Mahmoud Mohammed Taha and Al Naim and Fatima Mernissi should always be included if spoken about modernisation of the Islam. She also mentioned the names of people I expected to find related to Ayan Dutch period. I really enjoyed this book. Please read it with open eyes and critical mind. The book will help to understand the deep structure of the conflicts of our time. I also read her boek : Emma'S Oorlog liefde, verraad en dood in Soedan. What’s next?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Milena

    4.5/5. Scroggins' examination of Hirsi Ali and Siddiqui is a fascinating look at two women who responded very differently to the role of Islam in their life, and to two very different extremes. I read a number of Hirsi Ali's books and used her work in my classes but Scroggins' take on Hirsi Ali's life gave me a new perspective through which to view her work. The format of the book is interesting in that it provided a direct contrast between the two women as it moved chapter by chapter from one t 4.5/5. Scroggins' examination of Hirsi Ali and Siddiqui is a fascinating look at two women who responded very differently to the role of Islam in their life, and to two very different extremes. I read a number of Hirsi Ali's books and used her work in my classes but Scroggins' take on Hirsi Ali's life gave me a new perspective through which to view her work. The format of the book is interesting in that it provided a direct contrast between the two women as it moved chapter by chapter from one to the other. Sometimes this was off putting, but overall, a great book that was often difficult to put down.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Monica Meagher

    This book alternates the subject between the two women with each chapter. While I liked the idea of the alternating chapters, it made it hard to follow at times. I also felt like some chapters were there just to provide that pattern and weren’t necessary to the story. This book would have been just as impactful with quite a bit of editing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Abdul

    While this book offers portraits of two important women, the narrative is skewed towards what the author wants us to see. Good work, nonetheless.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christine Bowker Osborne

    This fantastic book is a duo-biography of two Muslim-born women one of whom rejects her faith and the other who becomes a jihadist. The first is the famous Somali atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the second is the lesser known Pakistani-born Aafia Siddiqui, US educated nuclear scientist and Islamist. I had read author Deborah Scroggins award-winning book Emma's War and as soon as I saw her name on Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror, I bought it without a second's hesitation. Nor was I disap This fantastic book is a duo-biography of two Muslim-born women one of whom rejects her faith and the other who becomes a jihadist. The first is the famous Somali atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the second is the lesser known Pakistani-born Aafia Siddiqui, US educated nuclear scientist and Islamist. I had read author Deborah Scroggins award-winning book Emma's War and as soon as I saw her name on Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror, I bought it without a second's hesitation. Nor was I disappointed. I salute the vast amount of research undertaken by Scroggins, her balanced views of both women (neither of whom would meet with her) and above all the cracking writing which makes for suspense throughout the 468 pages. While the two lives are discussed in alternate chapters, one never becomes confused. Scroggins idea of keeping the chapters short, sometimes only a thousand words, works well. In the end it remains unclear the exact circumstances surrounding Siddiqui's activities except that she was closely associated with al-Qaeda operatives including the notorious Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of 9/11. (I was shocked to read her second marriage was to his nephew). The section on Aafia's black handbag (following her capture in Afghanistan) alleged to contain two pounds (!) of sodium cyanide, USB sticks of planned operations, maps and diagrams in her own handwriting of biological attacks, is somewhat dubious, but convicted by a US court in 2008, she was sentenced to 86 years in prison. Hirsi by her own admission was a great liar and while clearly intelligent she comes across as scheming and self important. While many of her views on Islam are ringing true, as a result of the deceptions cited by Scroggins, I am left with no desire to read Infidel, Ali's ghost-written memoir, but I will certainly buy her latest book Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation now (published 2015). I want to congratulate Scroggins not only for her fine writing but for her copious end notes and whoever compiled the meticulous index. Finally I feel that Harper Perennial might have found a better printer. At times the text almost runs off the bottom of the page for which the designer also bears responsibility. Paperback edition: 2013. ISBN 978-0-06-089898-6

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    I'm afraid that life is far too short to waste time with books that don't grab your attention and hold it. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes me too long to realize that's the case, and I dither around on finishing something until I finally wake up and grab something better. Wanted Women is the story of two women raised in the Islamic faith, who ended up with diametrically opposed ideas about the role of women in Islam and the role of Islam in the world - Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui. One of I'm afraid that life is far too short to waste time with books that don't grab your attention and hold it. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes me too long to realize that's the case, and I dither around on finishing something until I finally wake up and grab something better. Wanted Women is the story of two women raised in the Islamic faith, who ended up with diametrically opposed ideas about the role of women in Islam and the role of Islam in the world - Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui. One of them ended as a crusader for women's rights in a moderate version of Islam, while the other seems to have joined the ranks of jihadis promoting violence worldwide in support of creating a global Caliphate. I'm certain that Deborah Scroggins spent a great deal of time doing extensive and exhaustive research into the lives of both women, as well as the history of their motivations and motives, but I simply could no longer justify spending time reading her work. If you're deeply interested in such things (and I have read Hirsi Ali's writings, so I thought I might be), you'll probably enjoy this.

  20. 5 out of 5

    G. Kretchmer

    Overall I found the book tremendously informative. I learned a great deal about Islamic fundamentalism, female genitalia mutilation, and the broader Muslim culture. I also learned about two remarkable women whose lives were changed because of this religious sect, one of whom is now serving out her life in an American prison while the other is enjoying fame and success in her field. Deborah Scroggins certainly did her homework, sometimes to the extent of endangering her life, and my only complain Overall I found the book tremendously informative. I learned a great deal about Islamic fundamentalism, female genitalia mutilation, and the broader Muslim culture. I also learned about two remarkable women whose lives were changed because of this religious sect, one of whom is now serving out her life in an American prison while the other is enjoying fame and success in her field. Deborah Scroggins certainly did her homework, sometimes to the extent of endangering her life, and my only complaint is that she included too many extraneous facts and names so that at times the text was hard to follow and distracted from her primary focus. I highly recommend this for anyone wanting to learn more about "al wala' wal bara'," or love and hate in the way of Allah.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paul Lunger

    Deborah Scroggins's "Wanted Women: Faith Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi ali & Aafia Siddiqui" is a dual biography involving 2 of the more infamous women in the war on terror. The book itself is a little hard to follow & probably should've been done as 2 separate stories or for that matter in 2 parts as she chronicles the lives of these 2 different women & their involvement in the war on terror & the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Scroggins's tale is a bit uneven in spots, Deborah Scroggins's "Wanted Women: Faith Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi ali & Aafia Siddiqui" is a dual biography involving 2 of the more infamous women in the war on terror. The book itself is a little hard to follow & probably should've been done as 2 separate stories or for that matter in 2 parts as she chronicles the lives of these 2 different women & their involvement in the war on terror & the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Scroggins's tale is a bit uneven in spots, but does pack enough of a punch plot-wise & with history itself to fill in more of the info on the rise of Al Qaeda & the attacks of 9/11. Not the best of works, but not bad either.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Biswajeet Deb

    Interesting book conflating journeys of two devout Muslim women. The book was more investigative for Aafia and opinionated for Ayaan and consequently reveals a slight denunciation of Ayaan and for some reason a slight admiration for Aafia. The length of some of the chapters are so small that it makes it untidy and uneven. Nevertheless the reports on Aafia seem to be carved very meticulously and deserves great commendation especially for the courage of a western woman to go to Pakistan amid the cu Interesting book conflating journeys of two devout Muslim women. The book was more investigative for Aafia and opinionated for Ayaan and consequently reveals a slight denunciation of Ayaan and for some reason a slight admiration for Aafia. The length of some of the chapters are so small that it makes it untidy and uneven. Nevertheless the reports on Aafia seem to be carved very meticulously and deserves great commendation especially for the courage of a western woman to go to Pakistan amid the current environment and persist. Next stop: Emma's War.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nuzhat

    I enjoyed readig this to find out more information about both women. I know I wanted to read Infidel by Ms. Ali about her life, but had never gotten around to it and now I doubt I will. The author, I felt,describes the women and their respective lives really well and in detail for the first 2/3 of the book, but the last years are only briefly described as the details are still fuzzy and unclear in the case of Aafia and less contentious in Ali's case. Interesting and easy read. I enjoyed readig this to find out more information about both women. I know I wanted to read Infidel by Ms. Ali about her life, but had never gotten around to it and now I doubt I will. The author, I felt,describes the women and their respective lives really well and in detail for the first 2/3 of the book, but the last years are only briefly described as the details are still fuzzy and unclear in the case of Aafia and less contentious in Ali's case. Interesting and easy read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    This parallel biography of two women was a good idea, but it reads a bit choppy and there are no grand revelations or insights on how two smart women went in radically different ideological directions. The author did manage to bump my respect of Ayaan Hirsi Ali down a notch (probably needed) but I think she is overly harsh of Ayaan (really hung up on how she used a ghostwriter for her autobiography.) I found Aafia's story hard to follow. This parallel biography of two women was a good idea, but it reads a bit choppy and there are no grand revelations or insights on how two smart women went in radically different ideological directions. The author did manage to bump my respect of Ayaan Hirsi Ali down a notch (probably needed) but I think she is overly harsh of Ayaan (really hung up on how she used a ghostwriter for her autobiography.) I found Aafia's story hard to follow.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    A fascinating comparison between two Muslim women, one who renounces her faith as misogynist, one who embraces it as an al-Quaeda warrior. The chapters alternate between the two women's lives; sometimes this format is bothersome and tediously interferes with the rhythm of the story. But it's a good read -- an important read. A fascinating comparison between two Muslim women, one who renounces her faith as misogynist, one who embraces it as an al-Quaeda warrior. The chapters alternate between the two women's lives; sometimes this format is bothersome and tediously interferes with the rhythm of the story. But it's a good read -- an important read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    A fascinating look at two Muslim women and the very different paths their lives take. This book includes an amazing amount of research and sheds a light on Islam, women's roles in Islam, and the war on terror. It's compelling; I didn't want to stop reading because Scroggins is such a good writer and brings to life the women and the people she encounters while researching this book. A fascinating look at two Muslim women and the very different paths their lives take. This book includes an amazing amount of research and sheds a light on Islam, women's roles in Islam, and the war on terror. It's compelling; I didn't want to stop reading because Scroggins is such a good writer and brings to life the women and the people she encounters while researching this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    "Two women, one from Somalia and the other from Pakistan, are born in the heart of conservative Islam into families of some prominence and move to America. Once there, they take radically different paths. One is now an admired public intellectual; the other is serving an 86-year prison sentence in Fort Worth, Texas." from Economist review "Two women, one from Somalia and the other from Pakistan, are born in the heart of conservative Islam into families of some prominence and move to America. Once there, they take radically different paths. One is now an admired public intellectual; the other is serving an 86-year prison sentence in Fort Worth, Texas." from Economist review

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kash

    The author did an excellent job of presenting each of the women's flaws and strengths in a factual manner, following an easy chronological pace. It is obvious that the author has certain biases. Would be very interesting to have the same synopsis from the eyes of a Western Muslim which seems to be the opposing sides the two women seem to fall on. The author did an excellent job of presenting each of the women's flaws and strengths in a factual manner, following an easy chronological pace. It is obvious that the author has certain biases. Would be very interesting to have the same synopsis from the eyes of a Western Muslim which seems to be the opposing sides the two women seem to fall on.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anne Speckhard

    Deborah Scroggins is a very thoughtful author, I really liked following her view of things in the Netherlands and how one woman went one direction and the other another. Having lived in Belgium seven years and interviewing second generation immigrant Muslims throughout Europe--some of them extremists, it brought up a lot of memories. I liked it alot.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Very interesting, compelling reading. I loved the alternating chapters, and was never disappointed to switch from one to another. I do find it interesting that the author has so much disdain/dislike for Hirsi Ali; I imagine it was hard to spend so much time writing about someone you can't stand. Very interesting, compelling reading. I loved the alternating chapters, and was never disappointed to switch from one to another. I do find it interesting that the author has so much disdain/dislike for Hirsi Ali; I imagine it was hard to spend so much time writing about someone you can't stand.

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