Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui
By Deborah Scroggins
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780060898977, 560pp.)
Publication Date: January 2012
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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A riveting look at militant Islam, Muslim womens rights, and the war on terrorbrought into focus through two lives on opposite sides: activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali and religious extremist Aafia Siddiqui.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born former member of the Dutch Parliament and the author of the international bestseller Infidel, was raised as a Muslim fundamentalist in Kenya. A feminist, political analyst, writer, and fierce critic of her former religion, she champions the West in what she insists must be a war against Islam. Hirsi Alis personal tale of courage in the face of constant threats from violent, fanatic enemies has won the admiration of millions in America and around the world.
Aafia Siddiqui, a native of Pakistan, moved to the United States to pursue a doctorate in neuroscience. A decade later, she returned to Pakistan, where her involvement with al-Qaeda, including her marriage to one of the 9/11 plotters, led the CIA to regard her as one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world. Her disappearance, capture, and conviction in a New York City courtroom for attempted murder have earned her, too, admiration across the globefrom millions of radical Islamists.
Reconstructing the histories of these two women, award-winning author and journalist Deborah Scroggins weaves a provocative true-life thriller from two separate but strangely parallel lives in a time of bitter battle. Based on remarkable original research and reporting, Wanted Women traces their origins to explain why they chose opposite paths and how each has risen to become revered and reviled as an international symbol of her beliefs. Scroggins reveals controversial details about Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui, and about the political machinations that have transformed them into emblems of a civilizational struggle. Wanted Women provides an illustrative take on our time, stripping away the illusionsabout women, war, faith, and powerthat have distorted the conflict on both sides.
Deborah Scroggins is the author of Emma's War, which was translated into ten languages and won the Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize. Scroggins has written for the Sunday Times Magazine, The Nation, Vogue, Granta, and many other publications, and she won two Overseas Press Club awards and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award as a foreign correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She divides her time between Barnstable, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.
“Scroggins, with her journalistic doggedness, does a remarkable job of reporting and reconstruction, and WANTED WOMEN serves as a valuable contribution to contemporary history, recounting two ways in which a modern woman’s identity can be hers for the making—even if the outcome is tragic.”
-New York Times Book Review
“Scroggins attempts to give a thorough biographical treatment to two women who remain enigmas, despite their status as public figures. The book alternates between each woman’s story, making for riveting suspense. . . . A fascinating story that reflects this polarized era.”
“Gripping and finely textured. . . . By flipping between the two lives, the book cleverly shows how both women were influenced by successive events in history. . . . It does add greatly to the understanding of several interlocking conflicts, some grand and geopolitical and others intimate and personal.”
“While the parallels are fascinating, the book’s strength is in its clear-eyed yet sympathetic storytelling. Somehow Scroggins manages to convert a mountain of research into a fast-paced, truly gripping pair of stories.”
“Scroggins’ research is wide-ranging and impeccable, and she keeps readers on the edge of their seats with her compelling prose. If we can understand Siddiqui and Ali, then we will have a better chance of understanding the war on terror.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“This meticulously researched, skillfully narrated account offers a nuanced look at political Islam and the “war on terror” through the eyes of two women on the front lines.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Wanted Women reads like a mystery as one event unfolds into another. . . . Thought-provoking and thorough, Scroggins’s comprehensive book offers a unique perspective on the tensions between Islam and the West as seen through the life stories of two very different and influential women.”
-Christian Science Monitor