Prey: Ayaan Hirsi Ali On The Relationship Between Immigration And Sexual Assaults In Europe

interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

To watch the video, click here.

TRANSCRIPT ONLY

Peter Robinson: An influx of immigrants to Europe from Muslim majority countries most of the immigrants, men. The effect on European women Ayaan Hirsi Ali suggests an answer to that question in the title of her new book, Prey. Welcome to Uncommon Knowledge I'm Peter Robinson. Ayaan Hirsi Ali grew up in Africa and the Middle East. She sought asylum in the Netherlands where she became a citizen and served in the Dutch Parliament then she moved to the United States. Ayaan Hirsi Ali became an American citizen in 2013. She is now a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Her new book, just published, "Prey." Immigration, Islam And The Erosion Of Women's Rights. Ayaan thank you for joining us.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Peter, thank you for having me once again.

Peter Robinson: Prey, let me quote you. "In my life "I have experienced the sexual discrimination, "Harassment and violence "That are commonplace in the Muslim-majority countries. "I have also on more than one occasion "Had to fend off the unwanted attentions "Of sexually overbearing Western men. "I can tell you which problem is worse." Close quote. Which problem Ayaan?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The problem with Muslim men and men from Non-Western societies is worse. But Peter before I say another word I want to make it plain that I'm not talking about all Muslim men or all Non-Western men or even all the men. But there is a subset there's a category of men who take pleasure in harassing women and in engaging in sexual misconduct and violence against women. And if you make that comparison between Western, modern Western men and Non-Western men I think the difference is blaring. One of the reasons why that's the case is because Western culture evolved to a point where that type of conduct is not tolerated, at least in the public space. And when it happens, it's condemned. Whereas the countries that I'm talking about and the societies that I'm talking about the Muslim majority countries when some men misbehave it's the women their victims who are told "You shouldn't have been "Where you've made yourself a victim of sexual violence."

Peter Robinson: Okay, so let's go through the, the sort of Thesis of the book or the main argument of the book what happened, and the result. And here's the "What happened part" The Disruption. Almost 3 million people have arrived illegally in Europe since 2009 close to 2 million in 2015 alone. I'm drawing all these statistics from Prey. A majority have come from Muslim majority countries and two thirds of these recent and illegal immigrants are male. And some 80% of them are under the age of 35. Why, why this enormous influx this wave of young male, young mostly male, largely male, Muslim immigrants to Europe?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: So the obvious reason is what, when you turn on your news, what you see, which is the breakdown of societies and in some cases the near breakdown. So for instance a country like Syria is completely broken down and it wouldn't surprise anyone that Syrians are leaving, if they can and if they can afford to and if they have the strength and usually it's young men who can. So a broken society like that one is generating a lot of people and the go to place is Europe. And that is what's in technical terms it's called The Pull Factors and Push Factors. So the push factors in places like Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Eritrea, so many different countries in Africa many different countries in the Middle East, the push factors are compelling. If you and I were there we would try and get out and go somewhere else. And then you have, the Pull Factors. And that is the continent of Europe, the United States other liberal Western societies that have societies that are a stable and predictable, but they also offer a minimum of living in this case, economic where at least you don't have to worry about food and shelter. And from there you can imagine if you were to be allowed to stay perhaps you could take a chance on building a life for yourself there. So the fact that people are moving from places where there's civil strife where there are wars and economic malaise to places that are stable that in itself is neither new nor surprising.

Peter Robinson: Can I, I just want to push on that point not push-backs and would push on the point a little bit. You identify two elements really one is the breakdown of society Syria is on the news all the time. But you've also got the longer term Demographic collapse of Europe. So that, the population growth of Native Europeans is below replacement level you've got Europe hollowing out. And in the Middle East and particularly Africa you've got enormously growing populations.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Right.

Peter Robinson: One place has higher living standards the other place has lower living standards. I mean, it almost it's a crude way of putting it but it almost seems like a question of thermodynamics there's just you, you ought to expect to flow from one to the other. Is that not the case that, I mean that in a certain sense you're writing "Prey" to say, even if Syria in part I'm putting this to you as a question. Even if Syria, even if every country in the Middle East and Northern Africa were put back together as a functioning society tomorrow there would still be push and pull factors. The issues you addressed would still need to be considered, correct?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: That is correct. And if you dive into the literature that's produced for at least, at least the last, the last 30 years if not longer by demographers in Europe, they would say, well populations in Europe are indeed shrinking. And women are not having children or they're not having enough children to replace that population gap. So immigration was then seen as, you know, a rational way of increasing that these populations that are shrinking on the places where you could get those populations or where they had population surplus. Middle East, Africa, South Asia, any of those countries where there are able bodied young people who are willing to work. They experimented with that for a long time and a lot of immigrants actually came into Europe and made their way. And, in that win-win situation but then there's this catch. So again, for the last 30 or 40 years there is one subset of immigrants that seem to have a very hard time assimilating into these various European societies. And that's why this conversation continues about well, is immigration really the answer to our shrinking populations maybe we should look elsewhere maybe we should look at alternatives. But in any case the point that you've just made has been made over and over again.

Peter Robinson: And now the effects of this wave of immigration. These are some very raw statistics. France has 17% increase in rapes from 2017 to 2018. Germany, victims of rape and sexual coercion. We can, you you write about how difficult it is to figure out quite what's happening in these statistics but, it's a category that the Germans have created called Sexual Coercion. These victims have risen by 41% in 2017 alone. Sweden a 12% increase in reported sex offenses in 2016 and you also note a sharp increase in sexual crimes in England and Wales. Young Muslim males arrive and sexual crimes increase. Oh, is it as simple as that? Is that it's causation is direct as that?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: No, it's not as simple. It's not as simple as that and causation is absolutely not as direct as that. And there was a lot of sexual violence and misconduct against women going on before this influx of say 2015. Where do I begin because you've put so much out there. Thank you. So the first thing is it's not true that all of the new arrivals engage in any kind of misconduct, sexual or otherwise. So again, it's a relatively small group that is responsible for these various crimes. There are also, this is the second point that I make in the book. There are also immigrants or the children of immigrants from Muslim majority countries who were already residing in these countries that are responsible for a large portion of these types of crimes. Then, I would say the next point to be made here is that women tend not to report rapes, harassment, coercion. So if you're looking, and this is in the process of writing this book trying to get the statistics, trying to get the testimonies of women was about the hardest thing. Because in so many of these countries if you are a victim of sexual violence it is, every obstacle is put in your way. So that any kind of, any kind of statistic you have is just that clearly the tip of the iceberg. So there's more going on than we know. Another point, when collecting statistics these governments fear that if they collect data points such as immigration status or skin color, or religion or nationality that they're going to empower the far-right groups. And so here is why you can't really talk about causation and correlation with confidence. You can say this, here is the work that I have done here are the conclusions that I have reached. But if we had more openness from these governments and if more cases were reported by victims then we would have a much better picture.

Peter Robinson: Well, let's, I'd like to take just a moment to consider your method in writing the book. Because reviews are already starting to come out in which you're being attacked as slapdash or bigoted.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: I read the book. This is a work of, this is a honestly, the, half of the book is an extremely meticulous work of sociology. Is that not- You spent what, two years you and two research assistants-

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Right.

Peter Robinson: You traveled all three of you you and your research assistants traveled to every single country that you mentioned.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: You come through statistics you interviewed legal experts, police, women-

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Politicians.

Peter Robinson: Politicians, all right I just want to stress this, that it's, it's beyond a careful. This is not a polemic it's beyond careful. It's a serious work of sociology is the way I would describe it. Is that fair?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah well I would- That's fair and we did it with very limited resources and it need not have been that way. I mean, any of those countries they have the resources for doing this type of research. But because they've got their hands tied with all of these fears about what could happen if we found out about the truth. I think that is really why the data gathering has become difficult, the data gathering itself is politicized.

Peter Robinson: I see.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: I've spoken to one of my colleagues Professor Ruud Koopmans he's right now in Germany he has done a lot of empirical research on integration. And he makes comparisons between people from different parts of the world who come into Europe and who come into Western, Non-Western groups. And he asks himself the question, why are for instance Lebanese Christians in Sydney well assimilated, but Lebanese Muslims. So these are people who come from the exact same circumstances-

Peter Robinson: Yes.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: And they come to the exact same circumstances. Why is one group successful and the other, why is the other group struggling and he has done it for so many different countries. So I think that there is an inkling when it comes to the people who make policies and the media around them that there is something about these two value systems one inspired by Islam, the other inspired by Christianity and there's this value system that clashes and this clashes around such issues, as the freedom of speech-

Peter Robinson: Right.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The place of the government but then in subject of this book, also "The Attitude to Women." So it's a problem that I would say hampers data collecting. But it can be done.

Peter Robinson: Right, so let's take if I may unless you'd rather take some but just one example of I say just one example, but in some ways it's the most notorious example but it's such a vivid illustration.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: That I'd like to mention it. And that of course is the event that took place on New Year's Eve in 2015 in Cologne. Which is, which I should say you yourself described that as the worst single incident to arise from this set of events that you're describing the influx of young Muslim men and then sexual, could you just describe, describe what happened.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: So it's New Year's Eve 2015/2016 we're in a place called Cologne. There are, the way people in Germany celebrate is they go out and have fun until midnight. And it's called Sylvester Night, all right, named for Saint Sylvester of way back. And suddenly young women find themselves encircled by large numbers of men who begin to rob them they take their cell phones, they take their wallets and then subsequently, they start groping them. They start, you know it's very difficult to talk about it.

Peter Robinson: Of course.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: It's easier to write than to talk about it.

Peter Robinson: Yes.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: They engage in various acts of sexual misconduct against these women. And about-

Peter Robinson: And the event is taking place in large numbers?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: In large numbers-

Peter Robinson: And it's taking place in public.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: In public yeah.

Peter Robinson: All right.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: And it is, it's the encirclings that you'll find a victim or victims a number of men will encircle and then they will engage in, you know, trying to put their hands in every orifice of the victim of the woman that they have encircled. Now, if you're in Egypt for instance this thing has a name it's called Taharrush it's called The Rape Game. Men go out-

Peter Robinson: The Rape Game.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The Rape Game, The Rape Game and an incident like this actually happened to a journalist, an American journalist who was covering the Arab Spring when Mubarak, the former President of Egypt was being escorted out by these huge protests that were taking place in Tahrir Square in Cairo. She went to cover that with her colleagues and that exact same thing happened to her. She was encircled by a large number of men and she was incredibly fortunate to come out of that alive. And recover and tell the tale. So for Americans listening to this if you want the perfect description of what happens to the victim, just google Lara Logan and listen to that interview where she tells in detail exactly what it is that happened to her. And that's why I found it the most shocking incident in that, not only do we now have men with this terrible misogynistic attitude toward women coming from countries where they're used to doing that but they are behaving in that same way they are playing the rape game. And-

Peter Robinson: In the heart of Europe.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: In the heart of Europe, in Cologne And then what follows is about 660 women go ahead and report what happened to them. And it's then, the way the institutions react the way the police react. Some of the women are saying, "We are appealing to the police "But they're looking away." And obviously it becomes this political scandal. And I don't know if you remember one of the statements that the men made about it's in the book, but something about the women not wearing high heels or in any case that same response that I was used to when I lived in those countries, where when things go wrong men misbehave it's the woman's fault.

Peter Robinson: The woman's fault.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: It's the victim's fault so that came along. And if you then look at the number of convictions 660 women had the courage to go ahead and say, "Okay we have to report this." And I think in the end about 50 were, 50 made it to prosecution or 50 were convicted I've got to look it up. But that is, that's just to illustrate how these institutions are either not well prepared.

Peter Robinson: Right.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: And if even when these things happen over and over again as in many countries, very little has changed.

Peter Robinson: Now you, I'm going to quote "Prey" again. "In 1969 the Swiss-American psychiatrist "Elisabeth Kubler-Ross "Published 'On Death and Dying,' very famous book "Which introduced the world to the now-famous "Five stages of grief in terminal illness: "Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance." "I, I Ayaan Hirsi Ali "I sometimes think that Europe is stuck in stage one."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: So, you go over there with research assistants and you begin to look for statistics and the statistics are, harder to find them they should be.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Right.

Peter Robinson: You look at the follow-up the official reaction to the incident in Cologne in which more than 600 women came forward and reported sexual harassment and worse to the authorities.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: In one night.

Peter Robinson: In one night in one event.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: And The Mayor of Cologne seems to be dismissive in at least one remark, the police response is slow and spotty and the Europeans, how can it be when Ayaan comes along and starts asking questions, the official response is in effect, "Stop asking those questions."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Right.

Peter Robinson: "We don't want "To know the answers." How can this be?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: How can this be or some of the politicians senior civil servants saying "We acknowledge that there is a problem, "But, and we would like to talk to you "But could you please not quote me?" And so there's this fear that it's really bad for your career if you tell the truth about these things. The issues of immigration Islam these issues are so sensitive and so volatile that the people who are, the leaders who are supposed to be addressing the problems that you know, unwittingly come out of these confrontations, these encounters, are saying "Don't quote me, don't say my name."

Peter Robinson: Did you write about your experience when you were living in the Netherlands. You were an elected official yourself you were a member of the Dutch Parliament and you also did some work translating, as a translator. That police work quote, "The vast majority of police I worked with "As a politician and translator were committed "To tackling the problem of sexual violence. "But police find themselves caught in a bind "As demand for their services increases "But insufficient resources hold them back." So the police who are right there and see what's happening day to day, want to do something about it.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yes.

Peter Robinson: But Europe refuses to permit them well, per permit them to take the action they had, they consider necessary, is that right?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yes if you decrease the resources as the demand goes up that's one way of discouraging police from doing their jobs. And if you also refuse to prosecute after they've done all the detective work then cases are dismissed. And then the prosecutors themselves are told, "Hold it there, this is enough." And you have some really good dedicated journalists who do investigative work around this. And the Editors in Chief call them back and say "This is just going to help the far-right and the populists "And assign them a different story." And you know, you, this is what you find. Once you get into the nitty gritty of why is, it seems to me to be so easy. You know, young men are coming in every single person who asks for asylum is sitting in front of a civil servant and is being asked questions. And at some point they are given what I would call firsthand information about here's your identity card you have to show up for this kind of medical checkup you have to show up for your allowance, stuff like that. And in those one-on-one encounters wouldn't it be just so easy if you then gave them that information and say, "Our attitude here to women "Is really different from where you come from. "And here's what is expected of you in terms of norms." We could put together programs like that so that everyone is informed and is on the same page. And that those people who are coming in just now could know what the consequences are. if they cross the line. But that's not done instead, you take resources away from the police.

Peter Robinson: And this point you just made about "expectations." You write in Prey about the story of a young Bangladeshi who's sentenced for raping a 15 year old girl enormity was suspended. And the, and you quote a legal expert who explained that the criminal was allowed to walk free because he had been, this is quoting "Prey" "Deeply influenced by the culture of his country "Where women are relegated to the status as sexual object." Close quote.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: So The French Legal System. Used the system of values, admitted the system of values in Bangladesh as exculpatory-

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Right.

Peter Robinson: In a certain sense they said, "Well, those are-" They permitted, they granted a validity to a straightforwardly misogynistic culture in the middle of France. And just-

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: And they've done that. It's staggering. And it's, they've done that in Germany too. And it is kafkaesque in the sense that when a book like "Prey" is published or an essay or a news report explaining that this has to do with the culture of the perpetrator. Everyone comes out and says this has nothing to do with culture it has nothing to do with religion. So on one hand a narrative is being pushed that it has nothing to do with culture but then when it gets to the level and this is what defense lawyers are for when they're defending their clients then they drag in culture and say, "He couldn't know better. "He comes from Bangladesh." Or he comes from Afghanistan or Iraq or Somalia. "Where he comes from, this is how, "This is what things look like. "So we can't send him to prison "We can't punish him we can't convict him "Because of his culture."

Peter Robinson: Can I ask about one other mechanism that would tend toward, I don't know I don't want to, it's not for me to sit in judgment on European culture of course but they would tend toward a certain temerity here you mentioned that the centrist politicians who after all run Europe or they certainly run all of Western Europe are concerned about empowering the far, what they call The Far-Right but what about getting votes? What about getting votes the population, as I understand you would know this in great detail, but as I understand it there are already certain cities in the Netherlands, Rotterdam is one where the political structure is largely controlled by Muslims. So politicians in the center, politicians- Politicians in the center have an incentive to get the, we're talking about the illegal immigrants but there are legal Muslims and they want their votes. Is that part of the mechanism or am I overstating that?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: I think it is definitely a part of that because it, it seems as if we are focusing right now on the influx of new immigrants of 2015 or let's even go as far back as 2009. But let's even go as far back as, you know first generation, second generation that now in some larger cities have become yes, a demographic that if you are a politician you would like to please because you want their votes. And this is the case in parts of London it's the case in parts of Paris it's the case in parts of Rotterdam, Utrecht Amsterdam, The Hague. So that component of trying to win votes the votes of the Muslim demographic is part of the story. Definitely.

Peter Robinson: All right. So, I'll come in a moment to the part of "Prey" in which you argue what is to be done, suggestions. But first the underlying concern you and I have spoken so far about specific acts of harassment and sexual violence. But your concern is actually more systematic and more wide reaching than that grave as that concern is in itself. Quoting you in "Prey." "If European leaders "Continue to stick their heads in the sand, "Then I believe that within a decade or two "There will be a meaningful roll back of women's rights." Explain that Ayaan if you would.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Well I explain it in the book as once you go and visit some of the neighborhoods that where the demographic has flipped. So you have more Muslim immigrants in these neighborhoods and sometimes really large Suites of Towns. What you see is an absence of women. And, that may seem surprising until you actually walk on the streets and sit in those cafes and there are just no women. And I have spoken to two women who tried to, who had the courage to actually go and confront men in, on a street like that and in a cafe, they tried to make a documentary and say, "Look at this Women Free Zones, Women Free Space." And they try to, they want, dress in any provocative way they would dress, you know, what any European woman would wear. They had hidden cameras and one of them would read in a park and you have to see is, all these young men come staring and getting close as she's reading a book and it's like children visiting a zoo. They're looking at this woman as if you have never seen a woman before.

Peter Robinson: This is taking place in Western Europe.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: This is taking place in Paris.

Peter Robinson: In Paris.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah, of all places, yeah. So, and then she does the same in Belgium and other places and she goes to one of these neighborhood cafes and she sits down with her friend and the men come out and they ask the women to leave. "You are not welcome here, leave." And they have an exchange. And in the exchange, she says, "But this is, "This is France, this is Paris." And she says, what is the name of the neighborhood do you think she says it is, and then she mentioned some neighborhood in Algeria and he says, "That's what it is. "You get out of here." And, that's 10-20 years as that, if integration doesn't happen if assimilation doesn't happen, those streets will become neighborhoods those neighborhoods will become towns. And you can see the slow roll back of women's rights. And I've seen the exact same scenes in Sweden in parts of Germany and parts of the UK all of these pockets where women just no longer go. And the women who still remain there if they are not Muslim they're with their own relatives who are not allowed that they themselves are imprisoned by their own families in those places. But the Non-Muslim local white women who lived in those neighborhoods left, those who could afford it left. The ones who are still there are the ones who can't afford to go. So this isn't just a story of the Erosion of Women's Rights. It's also a story of social class.

Peter Robinson: Hmm, all right, "Prey." "By treating this as a minor problem "And hoping it will go away quietly, "European leaders have succeeded "In making immigration one of the dominant political issues "Of our time. "My purpose in writing this book "Is to urge Europeans to act differently "Before it is too late." Before it's too late. Ayaan is there time? Are you all ready, are you, is this is you, you present Prey as a warning but there are moments when it almost feels like a, a death, notice an obituary.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: I mean is there a time there is time of course. If it becomes, if these issues make it to a priority level when it comes to policy-making. So if you look at your agenda-setting theories you say if it becomes a priority in any of these countries it looks like President Macron is taking it on. So now it's a subject on presidential level but the question is, is he doing it just because there are elections next year, or does he really mean it. It could be both. He may want to win the election but he may also have come to see that that then would probably be the last election a centrist wins if he doesn't do anything about these issues. Having said that, can it be done? Because that's the question that everyone wants to know. And that's takes me to COVID-19. In January of 2019 we had no knowledge most of us of an emerging pandemic. And as information came in drips and drabs our governments did things that were unthinkable I'm talking about liberal governments.

Peter Robinson: Yes, that's right.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The lockdowns and the limitations of the freedom of, of movement and the shutting down of large parts of the economy. So if our governments right now in Europe and elsewhere wanted to make this a priority they could do it. They could put the resources out they could say, this is what, this is how we're going to do it and they could win the confidence of the voters. But right now I think, we're still for so many of these governments paradoxically COVID has given them an excuse to say "But we can only talk about COVID right now. "So wait until COVID is past us." And then when COVID is past us they're going to say "Wait until we re-open the economy." And then when the economy is doing well they'll find something else. So-

Peter Robinson: Mmhm, so Ayaan, let me quote "Prey" I'll I'd like to, you write a book we're having a brief conversation this is like trying to reduce an ox to a bouillon cube, but let me let-

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Thanks.

Peter Robinson: Let's take a few of your suggestions the way you argue Europe ought to address the problem, quote "Rather than focusing on where people come from "And their motivations for leaving you're writing about Granting Asylum or Permitting Immigrants.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: "I believe the main criterion "For granting residents should be how far "They're likely to abide by the laws "And adopt the values of their host society" close quote. And here are what your critics are already saying. More to come surely because the book is just out. They're saying, "Oh right, here's the game. "Ayaan Hirsi Ali says of course it's all right "To permit Muslims to immigrate to Europe, "But only if they agree to become "Good lukewarm European Christians "Or dedicated enlightenment European Atheists. "Let the Muslims in "As long as they agree to cease to be "Really and truly Muslim."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Well, that's of course rubbish. That's not what- That's not what I'm saying, but that's and I would say that in fact what you just said is in the spectrum of criticisms that belongs to the milder, milder sorts. What I have been accused of-

Peter Robinson: And I'm putting a few of these up for you Ayaan just so that you can bat them down in public and do a nice square job of it. Go ahead.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah, I'm saying where there is, it doesn't matter whether the people who are coming in are Muslim or not. But where there is a clash of values. Those people coming into a society would have to agree to adopt the prevailing norms. And if you want me to spell those prevailing norms it's about for instance, the equality of men and women the attitude to women. But it is the acceptance that we live in a free society and everyone is held accountable everyone is responsible for their actions including the government. You do your best to learn the language and make a living. If you can meet all of these criteria and you can be vetted on who can meet that, those were the people that I would, these are the people I would select.

Peter Robinson: All right.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: There's nothing wrong with that selection. America has been doing it for a long time and it is one of the things that makes it great. The Asylum System, as it exists today it's just not designed for these large numbers of people who are moving in the hundreds of thousands or millions from place to place. This was designed for people behind, during the cold war behind the wall who were being in danger of being persecuted by these Eastern European Communist Governments. There wasn't, there wasn't a gap in culture and if anything, those seeking asylum in the West were in fact doing so because they were drawn as magnets to the culture and the norms of the West. So there wasn't going to be an integration problem. Anyway all of these things have to be discussed but the people who are against me and against this book are saying, let's not go there.

Peter Robinson: Ayaan you also write that Europe must address the push factors. The reason so many millions have flood the Middle East and Northern Africa, "Prey." "The half-baked transatlantic intervention in Libya "And the belated and inadequate US intervention in Syria "Have had disastrous results "As has the effective abandonment of Iraq." All things that the United States did. "EU member states "Must be willing to engage in leadership and if necessary "To intervene militarily "In order to restore order in international conflict areas." So Ayaan is saying that the European Union needs to pull itself together produce a vigorous and self confident military and diplomacy that is capable of intervening successfully where even the superpower United States failed. But of course I think back to to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s the reason The United States Air Force ran bombing missions over Serbia was the, because the Europeans couldn't even pull themselves together to handle a problem on their own continent. In other words, this makes marvelous sense. It's just never going to happen Ayaan.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Well I guess it will happen when they are flooded with young men coming from all of those places that they don't want to get involved in. And when the United States of America says "It's your own backyard, "It's your problem, figure it out."

Peter Robinson: The question here is a question of self-defense. Of European National Security- I mean is that serious as the way you see it.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: It's that serious and I think the assumption was always whatever goes wrong in those places it's America's problem. Because America is the World's Policeman and a lot of American voters are saying, "We are not." So regardless of who goes into the White House, Senate and Congress the American voters are saying, "Bring our troops home. "We don't wanna have anything to do with them." And as you know from the previous administration even NATO was told you know, you've got to pull your own weight. And so if, it's like asking the European, the EU to come and help us with what's going on in Central Asia and South America and say, "You know we're having floods of people "Caravans coming from El Salvador and Honduras, "And you know, you come and help us. "We can't figure it out ourselves." They'd laugh at you if you did that.

Peter Robinson: Yes.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: And I think it is time that Europeans just get the heads up from the details of an ever closer union that in some ways is falling apart if you take Brexit as an example. Instead of looking at the wider world and looking at the big picture I'm trying to see what they can influence in Africa and South Asia and the Middle East. That's their backyard and if those places fail and those demographies are very young they are going to make, beating a path to Europe. And with the numbers we're seeing now are actually relatively small. Think about it Peter when, you know, post COVID we start getting to the stage of food shortages.

Peter Robinson: Yes.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: And some of those fragile economies fall apart. You can imagine the number of people who will be attempting to cross the Mediterranean.

Peter Robinson: You also argue that Europe must address the pull factors the reasons that so many from the Middle East and Africa go to Europe, "Prey." "A crucial part of the overhaul "Is reconsidering the attractiveness "Of Western Europe's generous welfare states." Close quote. And of course the answer to that Ayaan, my friend is that Europe no longer defines itself by colonial conquest no longer even in terms of economic dynamism all the big tech companies are American they've gotten used to that idea not even by intellectual attainment anymore really all the world's great universities research universities are in the United States one or two in Europe of course, but most of them in the United States. Europe defines itself by this four and five decade post-war, post-second World War's Two struggle to create a good and decent and humane society. And they have done so. And the welfare state is central, not just to, not just to administrative questions but to Europe's very, Western Europe's very sense of itself. I argued a moment ago, it's as, of course I'm putting these things crudely but this is to give you a nice clear shot at them. I argued a moment ago that you were in favor of letting Muslims in-

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: As long as they were no longer Muslim. Now you're arguing with, Europeans can, can address the problem but only as long as they cease to be Europeans. As Europeans presently define themselves you see the point I'm making.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yes, they define themselves as having a welfare state and having created welfare states that indeed, I have to tell you are impressive, right? New in human history and quite impressive in some countries more than others. But then as you know, you either you choose either to be a welfare state or an immigration state. You can't have it both.

Peter Robinson: Right.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: And I think it was Milton Friedman who made that point. And I think they're now being confronted in reality with what that entails. And again, I know there are large numbers that have come in, in 2015, but we haven't even seen the numbers yet if things continue as they are. So we'll see how long the welfare state lasts.

Peter Robinson: Ayaan and her critics. This is Douglas Murray our friend Douglas Murray, writing just last week and he cites a hostile and inaccurate New York Times review of your book Prey and notes that you're being attacked online. He mentions that hosts of yours who have invited you to speak are coming under pressure to cancel your speaking engagements on and on it goes. Douglas Murray writes "Ayaan Hirsi Ali "Is not an easy person to cancel. "She has survived the brutal murder "Of her colleague Theo van Gogh, Who was killed by an Islamist in the Netherlands when you and he were working together on a documentary. "She has lived through more than "Two decades of serious threats to her life "And fled more countries than many people have visited. "Perhaps it is for these reasons, "Rather than in spite of them "That she generates such hatred "From what used to be called 'liberal' quarters." Close quote. Is Douglas right, is there something about you- As distinct from your arguments, is there something about you that particularly enrages progressives?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: I think perhaps not just me, but anyone with my background my skin color, who doesn't fall into line who doesn't fall in line, who, you know, doesn't convert to the Orthodoxy of The Woke is seen, they're hostile to such person. So it's not just me and of course, you know, I, I choose to think for myself I'm not going to convert to anyone's orthodoxy. I'm more attracted to common sense and critical thinking. And I think, I think for a lot of people that's frustrating. The woman in the New York Times who wrote that review if you read the review it's in between the lines it's like, "Why she's, "She's supposed to be one of us. "Why is she doing other things, you know." And she doesn't say it that way but that's kind of what the takeaway is.

Peter Robinson: Right. Right well let me quote one, just one line from that review in the New York Times by a reviewer called Jill Filipovic. And she writes this, quote "Like the fundamentalist views "That Hirsi Ali and I both detest.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: So-

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah, yeah.

Peter Robinson: She continues to say "Prey is too absolutist-" Too absolutist this careful meticulous book that-

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: All right, she says, "It's too absolutist to be credible." Close quote. What's going on there?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Well you have to say something because when you read that sentence, you have to ask yourself, have you has she really had the book? All right she has read the book has she read the book with an open mind? And I think it just, the book doesn't fit into whatever's going on at the moment in the New York Times. There's a fantastic piece in, I think it's called the Manhattan Institute where, I forget the name of the author but he's describing what happened to the New York Times. And he says they made a shift away from journalism to something called Post-Journalism.

Peter Robinson: Post-Journalism, yes. It's a brilliant article I agree. We'll link to it when we put up the show on YouTube we'll link it-

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Please put that link up. And I think once you read that you understand, Oh, actually this isn't personal. This is about making money it's adapting to the digital age. And maybe the younger people in the newsroom actually subscribe to the ideology and believe in this stuff. But the, on the level of, you know, the money making management level-

Peter Robinson: Right The Business Model-

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The Business Model that they are for post-journalism. I think it's a dangerous way to go but I thought it was a brilliant article. So, we're not going to see anything sensible soon.

Peter Robinson: Let me, this is one more of your critics although in my judgment this is a critic who's trying to make a larger and fairer point. But it gets to something profound. Two quotations, the first is from Prey. This'll take me a moment to set up but I'm going to set it up and then just give it to you. Prey, "Nothing else so clearly distinguishes "Western societies from Muslim societies today "As the different ways they treat women. "The inferiority of women- This is a very strong statement but it's in your book. "The inferiority of women is enshrined in holy law "In the Muslim world." Close quote. Now this is Rula Jebreal, Salon This is several years ago before Prey came out, but this, it was, it's still relevant. "Saudi Arabia and its state religion, Wahhabism "Sought to enforce a puritanical, "Literalist interpretation of Islam that codified "Violence against women. "That's the Islam that Hirsi Ali knows, "But she conflates it with the beliefs of a billion Muslims "Who see the violence she and many other women have suffered 'As abominable violation of Islamic tenets." Close quote. So you're onto something but you're onto only a little corner of Islam.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: And you should, you should be more more broader in your view of Islam. You're in a certain sense as saying you're ignorant of wider Islam. It's understandable because of your specific background and upbringing.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Right.

Peter Robinson: We shouldn't mistake it there's an ignorance of real Islam.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: Ayaan.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Well, I think she should then read "Heretic" the book before "Prey." And there, I actually describe the diversity of Muslims and how big that is. I don't make a distinction between different Islams. I make a distinction between different Muslims. Islam was founded by Muhammad and in the early years, first 10 years he was preaching a religion of peace and charity. And then, and he had got up to about 150 followers and then he went to Medina and he established a political movement with a militia. And he started to convert people by giving them a choice between converting to Islam or the Sword. And he not only converted all of Arabia but he and his then later descendants, you know, expanded to almost all corners of the world. And there are today, today, Muslims whom I call Mecca Muslims, who when they invoke Islam, only think about Muhammad in Mecca. She's right, those people who invoke Muhammad in Mecca are peaceful most of them. And many of them may not be misogynistic and I think that's what she's going about. But there are a growing number of Muslims I call Medina Muslims the ones who invoke Prophet Muhammad in Medina. Who do exactly what I describe and how you describe Saudi Arabia and all other places. And I just want to give her a little interesting thing to think about. The ruler of the United Arab Emirates has demonstrated over and over again that he wants to modernize his country. He's now one of the first, I think to establish formal relations with Israel.

Peter Robinson: Yes.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: To, you know diversify his economy away from oil and integrate it into the wider economy. He's brought in tourism, he's put a lot of public relations, money and effort and diplomacy into saying, "Look at us, we are different. "We are not hostile to modernity." Yet here he is, kidnapping his daughters and holding them against their will having his wife sneak away and living in hiding in London. So these things are very difficult to shake off but maybe Rula Jebreal might want to give that a thought and tell us, "Hey, why is she silent about it?" And about that kind of application of Islam and Islam belief, that would be interesting. But also why I haven't spoken to Rula Jebreal regarding this book, but I'd also like to know what she thinks of the victims of the book. That was something that annoyed me when I finished reading Filipovic's review It said, "She doesn't give any thoughts "Not even a single line to the victims described in the book "The women who tell their stories, those testimonials." And I think that's, that's very interesting, why is that?

Peter Robinson: Ayaan just a couple of last questions. You had a column in the New York Post as we record this, it was just last week. Here's one sentence. "There is much that the United States can learn "From the European experience." Close quote, now we have immigration. Debate after debate after debate over what kind of immigration overwhelmingly our immigration comes from Latin America. So it shares the Christian heritage at least that, there's a difference of course between Protestant Christianity and the settlers of New England and the Spanish Catholicism. And so it's still-

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah.

Peter Robinson: They share the same fundamental founding culture. So what is it that we have to learn from the European experience.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: That the idea of multiculturalism, which by the way in a different guise, but it's the same idea is now prevailing in the United States. So in the U.S we call it Woke in Europe they call it Multiculturalism they call it Moral Relativism, Postmodernism it's an ideology with many different names. But Europeans made a choice when they couldn't, when when the tensions of integration first started to crop up and they made that choice of applying the philosophy of multiculturalism, that you can hold onto your values and follow your norms and your customs and your religious edicts and so on. But at the same time become a part of the European fabric. And I think that is not the case in America and was not the case. American immigration was always selective to begin with. And to this day it's still largely selective. So the conversations we have in America about immigration are almost not, never about assimilation. Yes, there are conversations about entitlement there are conversations about, you know, legal versus illegal border control, but it's never about whose you know, which legal system and which norm system is the prevailing one. It might come now with The Woke. But that-

Peter Robinson: In reaction to The Woke is what you're suggesting. So you're, you said a moment ago that it would be a simple matter they would require it would require a political will but be a relatively simple matter for every immigrant to sit down across from an official, and in the official you could even say "Here are 10 principles-." And you could hand them a little, some advertising agency could come up with 10 principles to bear in mind and they wouldn't be really you ought to learn English you ought to understand something about the constitution you ought to understand the essentials of American history.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: And if you break the law you are out. And I have seen very sad documentaries, documentaries that I've found. I was sad for the person in question. I was sad for the whole thing, because it takes people a lot of time and money and energy and waiting and waiting to come to America their dream country. So this man does that. And while in America, he breaks the law. And when he breaks the law, he's deported, he's taken back to El Salvador. And that, you know, stories like that are very rare in Europe. And in America I think-

Peter Robinson: I see.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: If you break the law there is no sympathy for you the institutions or the economy is designed in such a way that it attracts immigrants and immigrants who become quickly successful they adapt quickly. And if one's State's economic rules and regulations are too complex you just go to a different State. And the criminal justice system is designed to have the most heterogeneous population in the world. And so, you don't, you know, you're not going to be acquitted in the United States of America on grounds of culture if you rape a woman. You're going to prison for a very long time. That's what I mean by the, everything is, American The Immigration System in America is not only selective but I think it also pushes people once they are here to make it or they'll break.

Peter Robinson: I was once the setting doesn't matter, but I happened to be standing within earshot as a young man introduced himself to Greg Abbott, The Governor of Texas. And he said, "Governor, "I just moved to Texas." And the governor immediately said, "Well, "If you came here to go on welfare "You're gonna have a hard time of it "Because our welfare system isn't that generous." Yeah.

Peter Robinson: "You came here to, "If you came here to work "You're gonna do just fine and welcome to Texas."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Right.

Peter Robinson: That's the attitude.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: That is the attitude. And in the States where that's the attitude the immigrants who choose to go there succeed and succeed very quickly. So the conversation we have in the United States of America about African-Americans. So the descendants of slaves who are here and how they're left behind and the inequality and the issues of racism and so on. It's, that's sort of the kind of conversations that Europeans have when they're talking about their Muslim immigrants.

Peter Robinson: I see, I see. Ayaan last question here's Tunku Varadarajan reviewing Prey in the Wall Street Journal. Actually it's in the interview with you in the Wall Street Journal. "Ms. Hirsi Ali will win no friends "Among the virtuous elites, "But she is playing her part in a rebellion "That could shape the fate of Europe." Close quote. Ayaan what do you wish? Do you hope that such a rebellion takes shape and simply restores the status quo ante in Europe to the early two thousands? Or what is your deepest wish for the role of women in Europe?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: So for the role of women I would like it to be, to be preserved in the sense, you know, it's really quite something that the Europeans achieved when it came to women feeling absolutely safe in the public space. So, that I think we have to well, it's not the case we have to go back and make sure that, that, that is the case, not only for wealthy middle-class women and in their neighborhoods, but for all women including Muslim immigrant women. When it comes to what should we be doing about the people who have already been allowed to stay in Europe, but who are not integrated I think we have to demand integration and make it possible and push them into it so, they should adopt the American model not the Americans adopt the European model of Generous Welfare States.

Peter Robinson: I'm sorry, go ahead I didn't want you to cut you off.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Yeah sorry, I wanted to thank Tunku Varadarajan for the accurate rendering of what I've said in his review of the book. So-

Peter Robinson: See if misrepresentation, Tunku played it fair.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Played it fair, yeah.

Peter Robinson: Ayaan Hirsi Ali author of "Prey" Thank you.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Peter always fantastic to talk to you, thank you.

Peter Robinson: A great pleasure. For Uncommon Knowledge The Hoover Institution and Fox Nation, I'm Peter Robinson.