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Malala versus Ayaan Hirsi Ali: why is one beloved and the other reviled?

Why Evolution Is True

Among atheists vilified by other atheists, a list that of course include Sam Harris, we find an unlikely candidate: Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She is in fact on the list of “The 5 Most Awful Atheists” compiled by the bottom-feeding site Alternet. (The others are Bill Maher, Penn Jillette, S. E. Cupp, and of course Sam.) While I might be persuaded to add Cupp based on her politics (she’s an atheist who “aspires to faith” and has said she’d never vote for an atheist President), I’m sure there are many atheists far more awful than these five, and several of them—including Hirsi Ali—should be on the list of “Most admired atheists.”

I was thinking about why Hirsi Ali is so reviled by atheists and yet Malala Yousafzai (henceforth called “Malala,” as she’s widely known) is not only a hero, but also won the Nobel Prize. And yet they have some notable similarities:…

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