“When I came to the Netherlands, the West was free and tolerant.”

When Hirsi Ali came to the Netherlands, the West was free and tolerant. When Indo-British author Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses sparked debate about the limits of free speech in 1989, the West stood up for the fundamental rights of its citizens. At that time, British Prime Minister Margreth Thatcher protected the Indo-British writer, despite completely different political views, after the Iranian head of state Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him. Although Rushdie’s book was criticized in Western countries, freedom of speech was never an issue.

This changed fundamentally in the early years of the 21st century. After the murder of Dutch director Theo van Gogh in 2004 and later the attack on the editorial office of Charlie Hebdo, Western societies and the media were horrified. Since then, however, voices have increasingly been raised that, in principle, show understanding for the concerns of the radical Islamists. The tenor was that where religious feelings are hurt, freedom of expression ends.

“Today, freedom of expression in the West is no longer threatened only from outside.”

According to Hirsi Ali, freedom of expression in the western world is now being threatened primarily by the “Woke” movement. Adherents of Wokeism claim to have an “awakened” awareness of social, sexist, or racial discrimination. With their theories, they want to “unmask” power groups and the structures set up to maintain their power, Hirsi Ali explained. The “Woke” movement allegedly advocates the protection of minorities in the name of equality and anti-racism, for which purpose they divide society according to characteristics such as race, gender, sexual orientation or disability. However, this in turn leads to a new racist view and weakens social cohesion.

“Wokeism divides us into hostile factions. It weakens our hard-won freedom and trust in each other.”

The real goal of the “Woke” movement is socio-political power, said Hirsi Ali. It is already impossible to hold a public debate on socially relevant issues in the USA without having to fear losing one’s job. Those who refuse wokem ideas are threatened with ostracism, a shitstorm and social death. The political scientist says that Wokeism is now a greater threat to freedom of expression than radical Islam.

Hirsi Ali demands that the West remembers its values ​​and fights to preserve a free society. She advocates challenging woke theories. So not to ban them, but to examine them and refute them argumentatively – i.e. to expose them to freedom of speech.