Jeff Glor talks to Deborah Scroggins about, Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui
Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?
Deborah Scroggins: As a newspaper reporter in the 1980s and 1990s, I observed that women seemed to be the first to lose their rights when political Islam came to power in places like Iran and Afghanistan. Yet paradoxically women were among the biggest supporters of Islamism, or the political ideology that aims to bring the Muslim world under Islamic law. The most radical Islamists of all are, of course, jihadis like the ones who attacked the US on 9/11. After those attacks, I made up my mind to try to understand what their war against the West meant for Muslim women. Ultimately, I decided to follow two women who stood on opposite sides of the divide, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui.
JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?
DS: The amazing twists and turns these women's lives took. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, for example, was a Somali-born member of Parliament in the Netherlands in 2006. Then a Dutch television documentary raised questions about lies she had told the immigration authorities when she first entered the country. All of a sudden, the Dutch government announced that she was no longer a Dutch citizen. Hirsi Ali later got her citizenship back, but she decided to move to the United States for good. Aafia Siddiqui, on the other hand, went missing after being listed in 2003 as wanted by the FBI in connection with al Qaida. Then in 2008 she was captured in Afghanistan in bizarre circumstances and sent to the US to stand trial. Now she's serving an 86-year sentence in federal prison.
JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?
DS: I was about to join the US Foreign Service before I got a job as a journalist, so I guess that's what I would be doing.
JG: What else are you reading right now?
DS: I recently finished Deborah Baker's haunting book, "The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism", about the former Margaret Marcus, a Jewish-American woman who converted to Islam in the 1960s and became an Islamic ideologue under the name of Maryam Jameelah despite suffering from mental illness. It's a biography, but it's also a mystery and a page-turner.
JG: What's next for you?
DS: Something new and fun, I hope.
For more on, "Wanted Women" visit the Harper Collins website.