Somalilandsun – Ayaan Hirsi Ali is Islam’s best known—her critics would say most incendiary—dissident in the West. Born in Somalia, she escaped an arranged marriage by seeking asylum in the Netherlands, where she studied furiously, assimilated with a vengeance, and became a member of the Dutch parliament. Her political views attracted scandal from the very start. She was blunt in her condemnation of Islam and Islamists, earning her the ire not just of the Muslim objects of her criticism, but also of a liberal political establishment that found her vehemently pro-Western views impossible to digest. Her life changed forever in November 2004: Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker with whom she had collaborated on “Submission,” a film that excoriated the treatment of women in Islam, was stabbed to death in broad daylight by an Islamist assassin. Pinned by a knife to Van Gogh’s chest was a note that threatened Hirsi Ali with death. Not long after, she moved to the United States, where she now lives under round-the-clock protection.
Hirsi Ali is the author of four books, the most recent being Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, published this week by HarperCollins. In it she divides the world’s Muslims into three groups: Medina Muslims, Mecca Muslims, and dissidents. Medina is the town where, in 622 AD, the prophet Mohammad was transformed into a warlike evangelizer: This first group comprises those who “see the forcible imposition of Shariah as their religious duty,” and “who prescribe death for the crime of apostasy, death by stoning for adultery and hanging for homosexuality. It is Medina Muslims who put women in burqas and beat them if they leave their homes alone or if they are improperly veiled.” In the second group are the vast majority of Muslims, people “who are loyal to the core creed and worship devoutly but are not inclined to practice violence.” Their religious beliefs “exist in an uneasy tension with modernity,” and so they are “engaged in a daily struggle to adhere to Islam in the context of a society that challenges their values and beliefs at every turn.” Source: NYT Live
For more on her work visit http://www.theahafoundation.org/