The opposite of dissimulation

Reviewing two recent books on Anders Breivik and Islamophobia in Norway, Adam Shatz writes in The London Review of Books:

They form part of a much broader network, an anti-Islam international that extends from Scandinavia to the United States and includes such figures as Lars Hedegaard… Oriana Fallaci… Daniel Pipes, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer; and – the maître à penser of the ‘Eurabia genre’ – Gisèle Littman, a British woman of Egyptian-Jewish origin who lives in Switzerland and publishes under the pseudonym Bat Ye’or. (It’s striking how many Eurabia theorists write under pseudonyms when you consider their attacks on Muslim dissimulation.)

What is dissimulative about the pen name Bat Ye’or? Google offers a translation straight away: the name means “daughter of the Nile” in Hebrew. It makes clear the author is female, Jewish, and Egyptian-born. Gisèle Littman is all three. Her pseudonym is an elegant way to convey, rather than conceal, basic facts about her.


  1. Personally I find the “Eurabia” idea exaggerated, but it’s disingenuous to wonder why critics of Islam would use pseudonyms after the Rushdie Affair. After all, there was an assassination attempt on Hedegaard. Plus, it appears, most of the writers in that list use their real names.

    • That idea seems close to a conspiracy theory but then I have not read the foundational text(s). Unfortunately Adam Shatz brushes it aside disdainfully without much discussion at all.

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