Salman Rushdie and Sam Harris on "the first refugee from Western Europe since the Holocaust"

Linked earlier in Headlines but a tribute this stirring warrants a spot on the front page. Harris is, at the moment, probably America’s best known native-born atheist; the other guy, among his many distinctions, was the recipient last year of a personal apology from Hirsi Ali for ever having wanted to burn his book.

Hirsi Ali may be the first refugee from Western Europe since the Holocaust. As such, she is a unique and indispensable witness to both the strength and weakness of the West: to the splendor of open society and to the boundless energy of its antagonists. She knows the challenges we face in our struggle to contain the misogyny and religious fanaticism of the Muslim world, and she lives with the consequences of our failure each day. There is no one in a better position to remind us that tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.

Having recapitulated the Enlightenment for herself in a few short years, Hirsi Ali has surveyed every inch of the path leading out of the moral and intellectual wasteland that is traditional Islam. She has written two luminous books describing her journey, the most recent of which, “Infidel,” has been an international bestseller for months. It is difficult to exaggerate her courage. As Christopher Caldwell wrote in the New York Times, “Voltaire did not risk, with his every utterance, making a billion enemies who recognized his face and could, via the Internet, share information instantaneously with people who aspired to assassinate him.”…

There is not a person alive more deserving of the freedoms of speech and conscience we take for granted in the West, nor is there anyone making a more courageous effort to defend them.

Follow the link and note their argument about broken promises. The Dutch government, to its eternal credit, helped create Hirsi Ali. Now, by its abdication of responsibility for her welfare, it’s running the risk of destroying her.