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Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Dutch: ( listen), born Ayaan Hirsi Magan, on 13 November 1969) is a Dutch-American activist, author, and former politician of Somali origin. She is a leading opponent of female genital mutilation, and calls for a reformation of Islam. She is supportive of women’s rights and is an atheist. Her latest book was released in 2015 and is called: Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.
Hirsi Ali is the daughter of the Somali politician and opposition leader Hirsi Magan Isse. She and her family left Somalia in 1977 for Saudi Arabia, then Ethiopia, and later settled in Kenya. In 1992, Ali sought and obtained political asylum in the Netherlands. Following graduate work, she published articles on her political views and spoke in support of Muslim women becoming atheist.
In 2003, Hirsi Ali was elected a member of the House of Representatives (the lower house of the Dutch parliament), representing the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). A political crisis related to the validity of her Dutch citizenship led to her resignation from parliament, and indirectly to the fall of the second Balkenende cabinet in 2006.
Ayaan has been a vocal critic of Islam. In 2004, she collaborated on a short movie with Theo van Gogh, entitled Submission, the English rendering of the word “Islam”, a film about the oppression of women under Islam. The documentary sparked controversy, which resulted in death threats against the two and the eventual assassination of Van Gogh later that year by a Dutch Muslim. In a 2007 interview, she described Islam as an “enemy” that needs to be defeated before peace can be achieved. But in her latest book Heretic (2015) she moderated her views of Islam and now calls for a reform of the religion by supporting reformist Muslims.
In 2005, Hirsi Ali was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She has also received several awards, including a free speech award from the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the Swedish Liberal Party’s Democracy Prize, and the Moral Courage Award for commitment to conflict resolution, ethics, and world citizenship. Hirsi Ali has published two autobiographies: in 2006 and 2010.
Hirsi Ali emigrated to the United States, where she was a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. She founded the women’s rights organisation the AHA Foundation. She became a naturalised U.S. citizen in 2013 and that year was made a fellow at the Kennedy Government School at Harvard University and a member of The Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center. She is married to British historian and public commentator Niall Ferguson.
Courtesy : Wikipedia