Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Born November 13, 1969
Mogadishu, Somalia
Known for Submission
The Caged Virgin
The Infidel
Occupation politician, author, film maker
Political party People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
Religion Atheist

Ayaan Hirsi Ali (pronunciation ; Somali: Ayaan Xirsi Cali; born Ayaan Hirsi Magan 13 November 1969<ref> Template:Cite web</ref> in Mogadishu, Somalia) is a Dutch feminist and politician. She is a prominent (and often controversial) author, film maker, and critic of Islam. She was a member of the Tweede Kamer (the Lower House of the States-General of the Netherlands) for the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) from January 30 2003 until May 16, 2006. The affairs surrounding her citizenship of the Netherlands indirectly led to the fall of the Second cabinet Balkenende. Hirsi Ali currently works at the American Enterprise Institute, a centre right American think tank.


[edit] Biography

[edit] Youth

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia into the Majeerteen sub-clan of the Darod clan. Her first name, Ayaan, means "lucky person" or "luck" in the Somali language. Her father, Hirsi Magan Isse, was a prominent member of the Somali Salvation Democratic Front and a leading figure in the civil war of Somalia. Although her father, who had studied in Italy and the United States, was opposed to female genital cutting, a Somali tradition, when Hirsi Ali was five years old her grandmother had the procedure performed on her while her father was abroad.<ref name="dangerwoman">Danger Woman, The Guardian May 17, 2005</ref>

When she was six, her family left the country for Saudi Arabia, later moving to Ethiopia and then to Kenya, where the family obtained political asylum. In Kenya she attended the English-language Muslim Girls' Secondary School in Nairobi under sponsorship of the UNCHR, where, for a brief period she received guest lessons from a fundamentalist teacher called Aziza. Following the invasion by the secular nation of Iraq of the Islamic republic of Iran, she sympathised with Iran, and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, and wore a hijab (full head-scarf) together with her school uniform. After secondary school she attended a secretarial course at the Valley College in Nairobi (near Yaya centre) for one year.

[edit] Pre-political career

Hirsi Ali arrived in the Netherlands in 1992. There is considerable lack of clarity about the events leading up to her arrival, because she has since admitted to making false statements in her application for asylum.

Hirsi Ali maintains that in 1992 her father arranged for her to marry a distant cousin living in Canada. Her family has denied this, however. It is not disputed that in 1992 she traveled from Kenya to visit family in Düsseldorf and Berlin, Germany. Others have put the story of her forced marriage in doubt.<ref>The Islamic Challenge: Politics and Religion in Western Europe, Klausen, J., New York: Oxford University Press, 2005; "She wasn't forced into a marriage. She had an amicable relationship with her husband, as well as with the rest of her family. It was not true that she had to hide from her family for years."</ref> After a brief stay in Germany, she decided to go to the Netherlands instead of Canada.

Once in the Netherlands, she requested political asylum and received a residence permit. It is not known on what grounds she received political asylum. Legally, since her first stop was in Germany, she should have applied for asylum there. Also she had already resided in and had been granted refugee status in Kenya, a safe country. In the Netherlands, she gave a false name and date of birth to the Dutch immigration authorities. She is known in the West by her assumed name, Hirsi Ali, instead of her original name, Hirsi Magan. On the advice of her aunt, she told the immigration authorities that she had come straight from Somalia, instead of Kenya where she had been living for eleven years. In Somalia there was a serious famine at that time and a civil war leading to the Operation Restore Hope by the United States. Due to these circumstances, asylum seekers from Somalia were routinely granted asylum on humanitarian grounds. Hirsi Ali received a residence permit within three weeks on arrival in the Netherlands.

After receiving asylum, she held various short-term jobs, ranging from cleaning to mail sorting. During this time she took courses in Dutch and a one-year course in Social Work. Following her initial studies, she studied political science at the University of Leiden until 2000. Between 1995 and 2001, she worked as an independent interpreter and translator for many years speaking for Somali women in asylum centres, hostels for battered women (an experience that has marked her deeply) and the National Migration Service.

She saw at firsthand the way certain practices she thought she had left behind in Africa continued in the West. While working for the NMS, she saw inside the workings of the Dutch IND migration system. She was heavily critical of the way the Dutch system handled asylum seekers. [citation needed].

[edit] Political career

After earning her masters in political science, Hirsi Ali became a fellow at the Wiardi Beckman Foundation, a scientific institute linked to the social-democratic PvdA, of which Leiden University Professor Ruud Koole was steward.

Inspired by the Atheist Manifesto (Atheistisch Manifest) of Leiden philosopher Herman Philipse, she renounced Islam and became an atheist. During this period she began to formulate her critique on Islamic culture, which she put to words in a book De Zoontjesfabriek ("The Son Factory"). After the publication of this book, she received the first threats on her life.

After some disagreements with the PvdA about the lack of security measures in November 2002, she asked Cisca Dresselhuys (the editor of the feminst magazine Opzij) for advice. Dresselhuis introduced Hirsi Ali to Gerrit Zalm, the parliamentary leader of VVD and party member Neelie-Smit Kroes, current European Commissioner for Competition. Hirsi Ali agreed to switch to the VVD and stood for election to the parliament. She was staying abroad and put on the payroll as an assistant of the VVD parliamentary party between November 2002 and January 2003. From January 2003 to June 2006 she worked as a shortlisted MP for that party. She was forced to step down as an MP when minister Verdonk (also VVD) announced that the Dutch nationality of Hirsi Ali had to be considered as invalid because Ayaan admitted in a television interview that it had been acquired using a false name and a false date of birth.

Because of her statements about the Islamic prophet Muhammad in a Trouw interview, a discrimination complaint was filed against Hirsi Ali on April 24, 2003. The Prosecutor's office decided not to prosecute her, because her critique did "not put forth any conclusions in respect to Muslims and their worth as a group is not denied..<ref> Ayaan Hirsi Ali niet vervolgd, Volkskrant, April 24, 2003 </ref>

Hirsi Ali wrote the script for Submission,<ref>Submission, on Google Video 2005-04-29</ref> a short, low-budget film directed by Theo van Gogh, renowned for his inflammatory views on Islam. The film criticized the treatment of women in Islamic society. One woman was provocatively dressed in a semi-transparent burqa, under which texts from the Qur'an were projected on her skin. The texts referred to the alleged subordinate role of women. Other women in the film showed signs of physical abuse. In addition to writing the script, Hirsi Ali also provided the voice-over. The release of the film sparked much controversy, as well as violent reaction, when radical Islamist Mohammed Bouyeri, a member of the Hofstad Group shot Van Gogh in an Amsterdam street on November 2, 2004. A letter pinned to Van Gogh's body with a knife was primarily a death threat to Hirsi Ali. The [[AIVD|Dutch secret service raised the level of security of Hirsi Ali after the incident.<ref>Klausen, JBattling the racists, Expatica, May 12, 2006</ref>

Earlier that year, the group "The Hague Connection" produced and distributed the rap song Hirsi Ali Dis on the Internet. The lyrics of this song included violent threats against Hirsi Ali's life. The rappers were prosecuted under Article 121 of the Dutch criminal code, because they hindered the execution of Hirsi Ali's tasks as politician. In 2005 the rappers were sentenced to community service and a suspended prison sentence.<ref> Werkstraf voor 'Hirsi Ali-rappers', nu.nl, 27 January 2005 </ref>

After the incident, Hirsi Ali went into hiding in the Netherlands, and even spent some time in New York, a situation which lasted until January 18, 2005, when she returned to parliament. On February 18, 2005, she revealed the location of herself and her colleague Geert Wilders, who had also been in hiding. She demanded a normal, secured house, which she was granted one week later.

On November 16, 2005, Hirsi Ali reported being seriously threatened by the Imam Sachemic FAA. This Imam, who worked in a mosque in The Hague, announced on the Internet that Hirsi Ali would be "blown away by the wind of changing times" and that she could anticipate "the curse of Allah".

In January 2006, Hirsi Ali used her acceptance speech for the Reader's Digest "European of the Year" award to urge action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and to say that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad must be taken at his word in wanting to organize a conference to investigate objective evidence of the Holocaust. "Before I came to Europe, I'd never heard of the Holocaust. That is the case with millions of people in the Middle East. Such a conference should be able to convince many people away from their denial of the genocide against the Jews."<ref>Geen Iraanse atoombom toelaten, De Standaard. (Dutch)</ref>

She also said that "so-called Western values" of freedom and justice are universal; that Europe has done far better than most areas of the world at providing justice, because it has guaranteed the freedom of thought and debate that are required for critical self-examination; and that communities cannot reform themselves unless "scrupulous investigation of every former and current doctrine is possible."<ref>Ayaan Hirsi Ali betreurt zelfcensuur Europa, De Standaard. (Dutch)</ref>

In March 2006 a letter she co-signed entitled MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism with eleven other individuals (most notably Salman Rushdie) was published in response to violent and deadly protests in the Islamic world surrounding the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.

On April 27 a Dutch judge ruled that Hirsi Ali had to abandon her house - a highly secured secret address in the Netherlands. Her neighbours had complained that living next to her was an unacceptable security risk to them although the police had testified in court that it was one of the safest places in the country due to the many personnel they had assigned there.<ref>The Caged Virgin - Holland's shameful treatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Christopher Hitchens, May 8, 2006</ref>

Hirsi Ali is currently working on a successor to Submission, which will probably deal with the position of homosexuals in Islam.

[edit] The citizenship controversy

On May 15, 2006, officials of the Netherlands government cast doubt on Hirsi Ali's status as a Dutch national, because she provided false information in her application for refugee status in the Netherlands. She later used the same false information when she applied for, and was granted, Dutch citizenship. The Dutch minister of immigration and integration, Rita Verdonk, moved to annul her citizenship, a move that was later overridden on the urging of Parliament.

In May 2006 the Dutch television program "Zembla"<ref>De heilige Ayaan, Zembla, May 11, 2006 (Includes streaming video)</ref> reported that Hirsi Ali had given false information about her real name, her age and the country she arrived from when originally applying for asylum in the Netherlands. The program also presented evidence that she was untruthful about the main reason for her asylum application being forced marriage.

Hirsi Ali admitted that she had lied about her full name, her date of birth and the manner in which she came to the Netherlands. However, several sources, including her first book The Son Factory, which was published in 2002 stated her real name and date of birth, and Hirsi Ali also publicly stated her real name and date of birth in a September 2002 interview published in the political magazine HP/De Tijd.<ref>Liberals don't care Hirsi Ali lied to get asylum in 1992, Expatica, May 12, 2006</ref><ref>Hirsi Ali verlässt die Niederlande, Der Spiegel, May 15, 2006</ref><ref>Hirsi Ali will die Niederlande verlassen, Tagesschau, May 15 2006</ref> and in an interview in the VARA gids (2002).<ref>Astrid ontmoet Ayaan (PDF), VARA TV Magazine, December 7, 2002</ref> So these details were considered by many to be public knowledge. Furthermore, Hirsi Ali has asserted that she had made full disclosure of the matter to VVD officials when she was first invited to run for parliament in 2002.

Media speculation arose that she could lose her Dutch citizenship because of this 'identity fraud', rendering her ineligible for parliament. In a first reaction Minister Rita Verdonk<ref>Onderzoek bepleit naar Hirsi Ali, NOS, May 13</ref> said she would not look into the matter, but after Member of Parliament Hilbrand Nawijn officially asked her for her position, she declared that she would investigate Hirsi Ali's naturalisation process. This investigation took three days. The findings were that Hirsi Ali never received Dutch citizenship after all, because she lied about her name and date of birth. Hirsi Ali had stated that she was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born in 1967, but she is actually Ayaan Hirsi Magan, born in 1969. Therefore the Dutch government's position is that Hirsi Ali's Dutch citizenship is invalid and declared null and void.

On May 15, 2006, after the broadcast of the "Zembla" documentary, news stories erupted saying that Hirsi Ali is likely to move to the United States in September 2006. There she is expected to work on her book Shortcut to Enlightenment and work for the center-right think tank American Enterprise Institute.<ref>Hirsi Ali to leave Netherlands for job with US think tank, Expatica, May 15</ref>

On May 16, Hirsi Ali resigned from Parliament after admitting to lying on her asylum application. On that day she gave a press conference<ref>Press conference Ayaan Hirsi Ali, VVD Website, May 16, 2006</ref> in which she restated that although she felt it was wrong to be granted asylum under false pretences, the facts had been publicly known since 2002 when they were reported in the media and in one of her publications. In the press conference she also restated that she spoke the truth about the reason for asking asylum which was the threat of forced marriage despite the claim to the contrary in the Zembla program by some of her relatives. The reason, she stated for resigning immediately were not the continuous threats, making her job as a parliamentarian "difficult" but "not impossible" but the news that the Minister would strip her of her Dutch citizenship.

After a long and emotional debate in the Dutch Parliament all major parties supported a motion, requesting the Minister to explore the possibilities of special circumstances in Hirsi Ali's case. Although Verdonk remains convinced that jurisprudence does not leave her any room to consider such circumstances, she decided to accept the motion. During the debate she astonished MPs by claiming that Hirsi Ali still has Dutch citizenship during the period of reexamination. Apparently the decision she made public, wasn't a decision after all, but merely a report of the current position of the Dutch government. Hirsi Ali still has six weeks to react to this before any final decision about her citizenship is taken. Verdonk was heavily criticized for not acting more prudently in a case that has so many political implications.

Apart from a Dutch passport, Hirsi Ali does still have a Dutch residency permit (similar to a Permanent Resident Card) on the grounds that she is a political refugee. According to the Minister, this permit cannot be taken away from her since it was granted more than 12 years ago, in 1992.

In a reaction to the announced move, former VVD leader Hans Wiegel stated that her departure "would not be a loss to the VVD and not be a loss to the Tweede Kamer".<ref>Moslims blij met vertrek Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Elsevier, May 15</ref> Wiegel said that Hirsi Ali was a brave woman, but that her opinions were polarizing. Former parliamentary leader of the VVD, Jozias van Aartsen, was more positive about Hirsi Ali, saying that it is "painful for Dutch society and politics that she is leaving the Tweede Kamer".<ref>Van Aartsen: Vertrek pijnlijk voor Nederland, Telegraaf</ref> Another VVD MP, Bibi de Vries, claimed that if something were to happen to Hirsi Ali, some people in her party would have "blood on their hands." Laetitia Griffith succeeded Hirsi Ali as parliamentarian.

Christopher DeMuth (President of the AEI) has confirmed in a letter that recent events in the Netherlands will not affect the appointment. On May 16 he stated that he was still looking forward to "welcoming her to AEI, and to America."

United States Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick has later stated that "we recognise that she is a very courageous and impressive woman and she is welcome in the US."<ref>America to welcome Hirsi Ali with open arms, Expatica, May 18 2006</ref>

On May 23 2006 Ayaan Hirsi made available to the The New York Times<ref>Somali in The Hague Faces a More Personal Attack, New York Times, May 23, 2006</ref><ref>Brieven bevestigen risico's Hirsi Ali, nu.nl, May 30</ref> some letters she believes provide insights into her 1992 asylum application. In one letter, her sister warned her that the entire extended family was searching for her (after fleeing to the Netherlands) and in another letter her father denounced her.

Rita Verdonk

On June 27, 2006, the Dutch government announced that Hirsi Ali would keep her Dutch citizenship.<ref> Brief minister Verdonk over naturalisatie mevrouw Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Rita Verdonk, June 27, 2006</ref> On the same day a letter was disclosed in which Hirsi Ali expressed regret that she had misinformed Minister Verdonk. Apparently Hirsi Ali was allowed after all to carry the name Hirsi Ali because the Dutch government believes that Somalis are allowed to carry the name of their grandfather according to Somali family law. As it turned out, her grandfather used the last name Ali until his thirties and only then switched to Magan. The fact that this grandfather was born in 1840 complicated the investigation. [citation needed] Also, the issue of the false date of birth on retrospection was not that important according to the Minister.

Later in the same day Hirsi Ali through her lawyer and in television interviews made a statement declaring that she signed the letter which was drafted by the Justice Department under duress.<ref>a translation of the letter</ref>

She felt she was pressured into signing the statement in exchange for the passport but that she agreed to do this, swallowing her pride and in order not to complicate her pending visa application for the US (although to this date she still carries her Dutch passport, despite the upheaval). An intimate friend of Hirsi Ali, Leon de Winter presented in his weblog<ref>Israël is de frontstaat in de oorlog tegen het islamitische fascisme, Leon de Winter, August 8, 2006</ref> a detailed account of events taking place on June 27 leading to Hirsi Ali signing the statement confirming in his view, the involuntary nature of her action.

In a special parliamentary session on June 28 questions were raised concerning the alleged coercion of the Hirsi Ali statement by minister Verdonk, the dismissal by the minister of the false date of birth as a relevant issue and whether Somali law prevails over Dutch law.

The ensuing political upheaval on June 29 ultimately lead to the fall of the Second Balkenende cabinet.

[edit] Political views

Hirsi Ali is a member of the VVD, a Dutch political party that combines right wing views on the economy, foreign policy, crime and immigration with a liberal stance on drugs, abortion and homosexuals. She claims to be a great admirer of one of the party's ideological leaders Frits Bolkestein (former Euro-commissioner). Ali received substantial criticism as a result of her defection from the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) to the VVD. By way of response she has asserted that she will show greater loyalty to the VVD.[citation needed] She claims that her personal views are for the most part inspired by her change from a Muslim to an atheist. Hirsi Ali is very critical of Islam, and especially of the prophet Muhammad and the position of women in Islam.

[edit] Islam

Hirsi Ali is very critical of the position of women in patriarchal Islamic societies and the punishments demanded by Islamic scholars for homosexuality and adultery. She considered herself a Muslim until 28 May 2002, when she became an atheist <ref>Dutch article link: 'Ik geloof niet meer'</ref>. In an interview with Swiss magazine 'Das Magazin' in September 2006, she said she lost her faith while sitting in an Italian restaurant in May 2002, drinking a glass of wine. ("...I asked myself: Why should I burn in hell just because I'm drinking this? But what prompted me even more was the fact that the killers of 9/11 all believed in the same God I believed in.") <ref>http://www.dasmagazin.ch</ref> Despite that, in the television program Rondom Tien of 12 September 2002 she still calls it "my religion". She has described Islam as a "backward religion", incompatible with democracy. In one segment on the current affairs program NOVA she challenged pupils of an Islamic primary school to choose between the Quran and the Dutch constitution.

[edit] Muhammad

Her criticism of the Islamic prophet Muhammad mainly concerns his moral stature. In January 2003 she told the Dutch paper Trouw, "Muhammad is, seen by our Western standards, a pervert". She referred particularly to the marriage between Muhammad, who was 52 years old, and Aisha, who was nine years old, according to the collections of hadith.<ref> see the English translation both theSahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim</ref>. She also has stated her opinions on the personality of the prophet Muhammad: In the Dutch newspaper Trouw Hirsi Ali is interviewed on the Ten Commandments. In the second paragraph, when she is asked about Muhammad.<ref>De Verdieping - Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Trouw, January 25, 2003: "Mohammed is, gemeten naar onze westerse maatstaven, een perverse man. Een tiran. Hij is tegen vrije meningsuiting. Als je niet doet wat hij zegt, loopt het verkeerd met je af. Dat doet mij denken aan al die megalomane machthebbers uit het Midden-Oosten: Bin Laden, Khomeini, Saddam. Vind je het vreemd dat Saddam Hoessein er is? Mohammed is zijn voorbeeld. Mohammed is een voorbeeld voor alle moslimmannen. Vind je het vreemd dat zoveel moslimmannen gewelddadig zijn?"</ref> She answers:"Measured by our western standards, Muhammad is a perverted man. A Tyrant. He is against freedom of expression. If you don't do as he says, you will be punished. It makes me think of all those megalomaniacs in the middle-east: Bin Laden, Khomeini, Saddam. Do you think it strange that there is a Saddam Hussein? Muhammad is his example. Muhammad is an example for all Muslim men. Do you think it strange that so many Muslim men are violent?"

In an interview with the Danish magazine Sappho she explains parallels she sees between the personality of Yasser Arafat and that of Muhammad.<ref>Interview - It's Your Life or Your Thoughts, Sappho November 23, 2003</ref>

[edit] Circumcision

Hirsi Ali is an opponent of the practice of circumcision for both men and women, but in particular the more extreme form of Female genital mutilation. A quotation from Hirsi Ali female genital mutilation: "girls dying in child birth because they are too young [...] The rise of radical Islam is an important part of this. I feel I have the moral obligation to discuss the source. I think if I think you are enriching the debate if you question it, you are not the enemy of Islam. We can look elsewhere using reason to discover answer to these problems, and we do not have to abolish religion. But we must do it by finding a balance."<ref>Journal of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's lecture at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard </ref>

[edit] Christianity

Besides criticizing Islam, Hirsi Ali recently said in public, that she does not like Christianity and churches.[citation needed] Because of these kind of speeches, several Christian communities said Hirsi Ali was a radical example of an anti-clericalist and an anti-Christian liberal, extrapolating her criticism of radical Islam to Christianity in general.[citation needed] Such a strong anti-Christian stance is very uncommon in her political party, the somewhat conservative-liberal VVD. On August 31, 2006, while addressing the Dutch press on the occasion of her departure for the United States to work for a well-known think tank, Hirsi Ali (Hirsi Magan) told the press: "...with like-minded one cannot discuss. With like-minded one can only participate in a church service, and, as is widely known, I do not like church services!"<ref>NOS Journaal, official Dutch newsrail, 8 pm, August 30, 2006. "Met gelijkgezinden kun je alleen maar een kerkdienst* houden, en zoals bekend, houd ik niet van kerkdiensten." "Kerkdienst" means church service of a Christian denomination, such as Mass (liturgy) and cannot be used in Dutch to describe a Muslem prayer service.</ref>

[edit] Freedom of speech

Hirsi Ali is a proponent of free speech. In a 2006 lecture in Berlin, she defended the right to offend, following the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. She condemned the journalists of those papers and TV channels that did not show their readers the cartoons as being "mediocre of mind" and of trying to hide behind those "noble-sounding terms such as 'responsibility' and 'sensitivity'." She praised publishers all over Europe for showing the cartoons and not being afraid of what she labeled the intolerance of many Muslims worldwide.

I do not seek to offend religious sentiment, but I will not submit to tyranny. Demanding that people who do not accept Muhammad’s teachings should refrain from drawing him is not a request for respect but a demand for submission.<ref>The right to offend – transcript of a speech given in Berlin on February 9, 2006</ref>

[edit] Freedom of assembly

Hirsi Ali supported the move by the Dutch courts to abrogate the party subsidy to a conservative Protestant Christian political party, the Political Reformed Party (SGP), which did not grant full membership rights to women and still witholds passive voting right from female members. She stated that "any political party discriminating against women or homosexuals should be deprived of funding."<ref>Paul Belien "What Can This 'European of the Year' Teach Us?" Brussels Journal, 5 January 2006</ref>

Hirsi Ali has also stated that she wants the Belgian authorities to ban the Vlaams Belang party, claiming that "it hardly differs from the Hofstad Group. Though the VB members have not committed any violent crimes yet, they are just postponing them and waiting until they have an absolute majority. On many issues they have exactly the same opinions as the Muslim extremists: on the position of women, on the suppression of gays, on abortion. This way of thinking will lead straight to genocide."<ref>Gazet van Antwerpen (1 February 2006)</ref> The Hofstad Group is a Dutch Islamist terrorist organization.

Vlaams Belang party leader Frank Vanhecke however responded in a friendly way by writing an open letter to Hirsi Ali, stating that she is "closer to the Vlaams Belang with her viewpoints than to the Flemish Liberals." He also rejected the likeness with the Hofstad Group, saying that the Vlaams Belang "has never and nowhere called for violence."


The Vlaams Belang also reacted to the retirement of Hirsi Ali from Dutch politics, saying that the party has "respect for the way she has conducted and promoted the debate in the Netherlands with respect to Islam, female oppression and failed integration."<ref>Hirsi Ali gaat, Bouyeri blijft, Vlaams Belang, May 17, 2006</ref>

[edit] Freedom of education

In the Netherlands about half of all education is organised in the form of special schools (most of them Catholic or Protestant). Because a few of these schools are muslim, Ayaan Hirsi Ali had stated in November 2003, that no religious school should receive government financing. This brought her into conflict with Hans Wiegel, a prominent former VVD leader.

[edit] Development aid

The Netherlands has in the past always been one of the most prominent countries that supported aiding developing countries. As the spokesperson of the VVD in the parliament on this matter, Hirsi Ali has said that the current development aid policy did not work to increase prosperity, peace and stability in the developing countries.

The VVD believes that Dutch international aid has failed until now, as measured by [the Dutch aid effects on] poverty reduction, famine reduction, life expectancy and the promotion of peace.<ref>Snijden in bilaterale ontwikkelingshulp, Wereldomroep, November 19, 2003: "De VVD is van mening dat het Nederlands ontwikkelingsbeleid tot op heden is mislukt, gemeten aan armoedebestrijding, bestrijding van honger, aan levensverwachting en het bevorderen van vrede."</ref>

On 1 november 2007 however Hirsi Ali advocated aiding "to prevent further immigration of moslims". She made her statements in the television program "Aspekte" on the German TV-station ZDF.

[edit] Terrorism

In the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant of April 8, 2006 she has proposed the special screening of any Muslim applying for any job on possible links with terrorist groups.<ref>Confrontatie, geen verzoening, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, De Volkskrant, April 8, 2006</ref>

[edit] Immigration

In 2003 Hirsi Ali worked together with fellow VVD MP Geert Wilders for several months. They questioned the government about immigration policy. In reaction to the UNDP Arab Human Development Report Hirsi Ali asked the following question of Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and the Minister without Portfolio for Development Cooperation Agnes van Ardenne. Together with parliamentarian Geert Wilders she asked the government to pay attention to the consequences for Dutch policy concerning the limitation of immigration from the Arab world to Europe c.q. The Netherlands.

Although publicly Hirsi Ali always supported the policy of VVD minister Rita Verdonk regarding limited immigration, privately she was not supportive, as she explained in a recent interview for Opzij.<ref name="opzij">Het Nieuwe Leven van Ayaan, Opzij, June 2006</ref> In parliament she supported the way Verdonk handled the Pasic case,<ref>Hirsi Ali stoort zich aan ophef Taïda, Elsevier, March 3, 2006</ref> although privately she felt that Pasic should have been allowed to stay. On the night before the debate Hirsi Ali phoned Verdonk to tell her that she herself had lied when she fled to the Netherlands, just like Pasic. Verdonk responded that if she had been minister at that time, she would have deported Hirsi Ali. Subsequent actions of Verdonk led to the possibility to revoke Dutch citizenship from Ayaan. The ensuing political upheaval ultimately led to the fall of the second Balkenende cabinet.

In the Opzij interview Hirsi Ali also said she supported a general pardon for a group of 26,000 refugees. These refugees, who spent more than five years in the Netherlands, without hearing about the status of their asylum, should all be granted Dutch citizenship in Hirsi Ali's view.<ref name="opzij2">"'Ik was een linkse vrouw in een rechtse partij'; Ayaan Hirsi Ali kijkt terug en vooruit", Opzij, 2006-07-01.</ref> The VVD forbade her to speak her mind of this issue.<ref name="opzij"/><ref name="opzij2"/>

After she left her job as a member of the Dutch parliament Hirsi Ali has again spoken out as a supporter of restrictive immigration policies. She made her statements on this subject on 1 november 2007 in the television program "Aspekte" on the German TV-station ZDF. She said that she feared that moslims-immigrants, once in the majority, would introduce sharia legislation.

[edit] Criticism of Hirsi Ali

[edit] Muhammed

While most Muslims, Dutch and abroad, have denounced her insulting of Muhammed, the civil court in The Hague has also warned Hirsi Ali's insulting of Muhammed. They did however acquit her of any charges:<ref>LJN: AT0303, Rechtbank 's-Gravenhage, KG 05/123 "It seems that the defendant, using these words, has approached the borders of what can be ought to be allowed."</ref>

[edit] Multiculturalism

Hirsi Ali has taken a prominent place in the Dutch debate about multiculturalism. The left-liberal intellectual Dick Pels describes Hirsi Ali as an exponent of liberal fundamentalism.<ref>Pels, D., "Een zwak voor Nederland", pp.24-27</ref>
This ideology is similar to orthodox islam in the sense that it thinks its perspective is superior and all people should be forced to have it. He thinks the way these liberal fundamentalists try debate with islam, by taunting and insulting them is not constructive. They only deteriorate the relations between migrants and native Dutch people.

[edit] Awards

  • On November 20, 2004 Ayaan Hirsi Ali was awarded the Freedom Prize of Denmark's Liberal Party, which was the largest party and part of the government at the time, "for her work to further freedom of speech and the rights of women". Due to threats from Islamic fundamentalists she was not at the time able to receive it personally; however a year later, November 17, 2005, she travelled to Denmark to thank Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the then-prime minister and leader of Denmark's Liberal Party, for the prize.
  • On February 25, 2005 she was given the Harriet Freezerring by Cisca Dresselhuys, editor of the feminist magazine Opzij, "for her work for the emancipation of Islamic women".
  • On March 7, 2005 she was awarded the Tolerance Price of the comunidad de Madrid <ref>madrid.orgPhoto that show the moment when the president of the Region of Madrid gives the award to Hirsi Ali</ref>
  • In June 2005, Hirsi Ali was awarded by the Norwegian Political Think Tank, Human Rights Service (HRS), with the annual Prize, This Year's European Bellwether. According to HRS, Hirsi Ali is “beyond a doubt, the leading European politician in the field of integration. (She is) a master at the art of mediating the most difficult issues with insurmountable courage, wisdom, reflectiveness, and clarity.<ref> Diplom fra HRS til Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Human Rights Service Diplom fra HRS til Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Human Rights Service, June 23, 2005</ref>

[edit] Trivia

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  • De Zoontjesfabriek over vrouwen, Islam en integratie ("The Son Factory - About Women, Islam and Integration") is a collection of essays and lectures that she held before 2002. It also contains an extended interview originally published in Opzij, a feminist magazine. The book specifically focuses on the position of Moslems in the Netherlands.
  • The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam is a translation of the Dutch book De Maagdenkooi. It is a collection of Hirsi Ali's essays and lectures from the period 2003–2004, combined with her personal experiences as a translator working for the NMS. The book specifically focuses on the position of women in Islam.
  • The Infidel: The Story of My Enlightenment is a translation of the Dutch book Mijn Vrijheid, an autobiography published in Dutch in September 2006 by publisher Augustus, Amsterdam/Antwerpen, 447 pages, ISBN-10 90 457 0112x/ISBN-13 978 90 457. <ref>Mijn vrijheid, Official book website</ref>. It is due to be released in 2007.<ref>The Infidel: The Story of My Enlightenment, Amazon.co.uk</ref>

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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