Uncommon Knowledge — audio edition
About This Show
Updated every two weeks, the Uncommon Knowledge podcast brings you fascinating discussions with today's biggest thinkers. View full episodes at http://www.hoover.org/uk Also check us out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UncKnowledge.
Most Recent Episode
Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the West, Dawa, and Islam
Recorded on July 12, 2017
Ayaan Hirsi Ali joins Peter Robinson to discuss her new book, The Challenge of Dawa: Political Islam as Ideology and Movement and How to Contain It, and her views on the challenges facing Western civilization in regards to political Islam. She argues that Islam needs to be separated into two different parts, one part of religion and the other part, political philosophy. She concedes that many aspects of the religious part of Islam are peaceful but argues that the political side is much more concerning due to its focus on Dawa, which means “to plead or to call non-Muslims to Islam.” This call to convert people to Islam is what she argues was a driving force behind the spread of Islam throughout history.
Hirsi Ali argues that American political philosophy and classical liberalism are young philosophies in comparison to the fourteen centuries of Islamic political doctrine and that its age and layered-ness are often underestimated by Western minds who are more familiar with younger political philosophies. She discusses the critiques of the philosopher Karl Popper of communism and fascism and how they relate directly to the ideologies of Islam. She argues that the language of appeasement often used toward radical Islamic terrorism is too gentle and that discussions of how to deal with Islam need to be considerably franker.
Earlier this year Ayaan Hirsi Ali was called before Congress to testify on her book The Challenge of Dawa. She discusses her testimony and that although she was invited by a Democrat senator to speak “about the ideology of radical Islam,” the Democrats present didn’t ask her a single question because they were likely uncomfortable with what she had to say about Islam. She argues that just as Western civilizations have defeated dangerous ideologies in the past, she is optimistic that Western civilization will succeed against political Islam for, as she says, “[Jihadis] can’t destroy us without permission.” She says if we take the fight to the “battlefield of ideas” we can defeat radical Islamic ideologies with Western beliefs.
About the Guest
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1969. As a young child she was subjected to female genital mutilation; as she grew up she embraced Islam and strove to live as a devout Muslim. But she began to question aspects of her faith. One day, while listening to a sermon on the many ways women should be obedient to their husbands, she
Rated 5 out of
Peter Robinson does a great job as an interviewer. He's always done his homework and you can always know he'll help you learn about the subject. He seeks truth, not gotcha moments.
Date published: 2014-02-04
Rated 5 out of
Best production podcasts ever
Informative, accurate, and thoughtful comments on current events. Nice to hear a carefully considered point of view.
Date published: 2014-01-07
Rated 4 out of
Reliably Informative and Engaging
Peter Robinson and his trademarked "Last Question" always make for interesting interviews. He knows how to stay out of responses, letting guests make answer questions at length, but he also knows when to steer guests back to the original topic for discussion. His best interviews are normally with Thomas Sowell, though I loved the one he did with Harvey Mansfield. For the unaware, Sowell and Mansfield are famous conservative academics. The show features a strongly conservative focus, normally featuring the best the American right has to offer.
Perhaps one issue with Robinson, however, is that he is a bit too deferential with his guests. While I certainly would not enjoy him tearing into guests--there's enough of that on the 24 Hour Cable News networks--I would like him to press harder when a guest makes a questionable assumption. Also, the variety of guests could be wider. Robinson too often pulls out of the Hoover Institute, where he and the show are located. The effect is something of a public relations wing for the HI, though you have to follow the show closely to notice.
For those who do not know, Robinson is somewhat infamous for posing his "last question" five or six times before he is really finished. By this, I do not mean he poses the same question so many times but that he discovers his last question opened up a new question he simply has to ask. If you aren't keeping track of the time passing while listening to the podcast, you know you have about ten or twenty minutes left (out of forty to fifty) when Robinson first says he's asking his "last question."
Date published: 2013-12-10