Thursday, May 18, 2006

The betrayal of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

FOR HER COURAGE, her honesty and her unflinching support of the rights of Muslim women, Ayaan Hirsi Ali deserves to be considered a heroine. A target for extremists throughout the Islamic world, her life is in constant danger. When, after the making of her film, Submission, its Dutch director, Theo Van Gogh, was murdered, she too found herself under sentence of death. Yet she has never held back from expressing her outspoken view that, in terms of subordinating women, repressing art and limiting freedom of speech, Islam is a backward religion. Controversial or not, she has a right to be heard.

One might have imagined that the Netherlands, as a bastion of liberal values, would guarantee that right. Ms Hirsi Ali is a full citizen of the country and, until yesterday, was an elected member of the Dutch Parliament. She is entitled to expect the same kind of protection that Salman Rushdie once had in the years after the publication of Satanic Verses. Instead, she finds herself today abandoned by her political colleagues and forced into exile. She intends to go to America, where she has been offered work and where she will be given the security that she no longer has in the Netherlands.

Read the rest here

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