Anne Applebaum on Ayaan Hirsi Ali, "the infidel Europeans love to hate":
Curiously, what seems to rankle Europeans most is the enthusiasm with which Hirsi Ali has adopted their own secularism, and the fervor with which she has embraced their own Western values. Though this is a continent whose intellectuals routinely disparage the pope as an irrelevant dinosaur, Hirsi Ali's rejection of religion in favor of reason, intellect, and emancipation seems to make everyone nervous. Typical is the British feminist who complained that not only does Hirsi Ali paint "the whole of the Islamic world with one black brush," she also "paints the whole of the western world with rosy tints," which is of course far more objectionable. [...]
In America, the phenomenon of the flag-waving first-generation immigrant is a familiar one. In Europe, such a thing is unknown. Maybe once Europe gets used to the idea—a Muslim immigrant who embraces Western culture with the excitement of the convert—they'll like Hirsi Ali better. And, if they're lucky, others will follow in her footsteps.
Update: It's not only Europeans who have a problem with Hirsi Ali, it seems. From Newsweek:
If her coming-of-age story—and the saga of her nomadic family, who moved from prewar Somalia to Saudi Arabia, then Ethiopia and finally Kenya—were allowed to breathe on its own, "Infidel" would prove an eye-opening look into the plight of African Muslim women. But throughout the book, you can't help but feel manipulated, rather than moved. In describing the 9/11 hijackers, she comes up with an inflammatory conclusion tailor-made for her right-wing constituency: "It was not a lunatic fringe who felt this way about America and the West. I knew that a vast majority of Muslims would see the attacks as justified retaliation against the infidel enemies of Islam." [...]
Hirsi Ali is more a hero among Islamophobes than Islamic women. That's problematic considering she describes herself in "Infidel" as a woman who "fights for the rights of Muslim women, the enlightenment of Islam and the security of the West." How can you change the lives of your former sisters, and work toward reform, when you've forged a career upon renouncing the religion and insulting its followers? Hirsi Ali says overhauling Islam is not her responsibility: she just lays out "the facts" and leaves it to others to go about fixing this supposedly broken faith. But her facts are often subjective: at one point she characterizes "every devout Muslim who aspires to practice genuine Islam" as a follower of the Muslim Brotherhood. That may have been true in Hirsi Ali's experience, but it hardly speaks for the globe's 1.3 billion other followers. It's ironic that this would-be "infidel" often sounds as single-minded and reactionary as the zealots she's worked so hard to oppose.