Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Path of an Infidel

Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1969, Ayaan Hirsi Ali followed both a painful and triumphant route across several continents to become a citizen of the United States in 2013. Her path led her from a  devout Muslim upbringing, with its attendant practices of female genital mutilation and forced marriage, to the Netherlands where she sought asylum in 1992. Studying at the University of Leiden, she earned a masters degree and became politically active. As an elected member of the Dutch parliament, she was a proponent of Muslim women's rights and the integration of immigrants into Dutch culture. Notoriety and a death threat attached to her in 2004 when Theo van Gogh was assassinated while filming her short film, Submission, which was her protest against female oppression under Islam. Following a contentious period with the Dutch government, she moved to the United States and founded her organization, the AHA Foundation, to defend women against harmful practices such as honor killings and violence as well as against genital mutilation. She continues to maintain her focus on relations between Islam and the West.