A fierce critic of Islam and a champion of the West, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born former member of the Dutch parliament and the author of the international bestseller Infidel , whose courage in the face of Islamist death threats made her an icon for millions of Westerners who believed she was attacked for speaking out on behalf of women. An American-educated neuroscientist born in Pakistan, Aafia Siddiqui is a virulently anti-Western Islamist with ties to al-Qaeda whose alleged imprisonment by the CIA and conviction in the New York City courtroom for attempted murder made her a heroine to millions of Muslims. Using the lives of these two intelligent and charismatic women, acclaimed journalist Deborah Scroggins offers a unique, illuminating and provocative portrait of the role women have played in the conflict between radical Islam and the West. She traces the origins of both women's revolutionary zeal from their childhoods in Africa (Hirsi Ali) and Pakistan (Siddiqui) to their first encounters with the West in the 1990s, to understand how and why they became ideological opposites. She reveals how myth has clouded the reality of who these women really are, exposing the political machinations that have transformed each into an icon for her side. Ultimately she shows how both women were driven as much by the desire for a life of passion, ambition, and adventure as by their political agendas, and explores the tremendous consequences for themselves and for others that resulted from their choices. A powerful, startling work that is an eye-opening picture of our time, Wanted Women unravels the delusions held by both the Western and the Islamic worlds about women and warfare and lays bare how sexual stereotypes on both sides are actively shaping the battle between these two cultures today.
A journalist and nonfiction author, Deborah Scroggins holds a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University. Her first book, Emma's War: An Aid Worker, A Warlord, Radical Islam and the Politics of Oil, was translated into ten languages and won the Ron Ridenhour Prize for reflecting the values of truth-telling and social justice. Scroggins has also written for Vogue, Granta, The Nation, the Sunday Times Magazine and many other publications. As a foreign correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she won two Overseas Press Club awards, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and a Sigma Delta Chi award for her coverage of Africa and the Middle East. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.