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Wanted Women

What the West can learn from two fiercely intelligent Muslim women who took opposing paths in life.


Wanted Women
By Deborah Scroggins
539 pp.

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How do two women – both in their 30s, highly intelligent, and raised as Muslims – develop radically different ideas about militant Islam and its treatment of women?

This was the question journalist Deborah Scroggins set out to answer in Wanted Women, her six-year investigation into the lives of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui and Dutch-Somali politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In “Wanted Women,” Scroggins (who is also the author of the award-winning 2002 “Emma’s War,” about a British relief worker who married a Sudanese warlord), covers events from before the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 up through the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and on to the present. She provides readers with a behind-the-scenes look at the war on terror as seen through the lives of two women who played prominent yet deeply contrasting roles in that war.

Scroggins’s exploration began after reading the headlines about the beheading of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Van Gogh’s murder was directly linked to a controversial film, “Submission,” which portrayed fictional Muslim women discussing the “rapes, beatings, and incest they have suffered at the hands of Muslim men.” Van Gogh had directed the movie and Hirsi Ali had written it.


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