Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Dutch-American feminist filmmaker and political writer. She is author of several books, the latest of which is Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now. She is also founder of the AHA Foundation, a former fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a former member of the Dutch parliament.
Ali is a vocal critic of Islam whose writings often focus on the religion's subjugation of women. Her work is controversial and has resulted in numerous death threats. In 2004 Ayaan gained international attention following the murder of Theo van Gogh. Van Gogh had directed her short film Submission, a film about the oppression of women under Islam. The assassin left a death threat for her pinned to Van Gogh's chest. This tragic event, and Ayaan’s life leading up to it, are all chronicled in her best-selling book, Infidel.
Question: What is your counsel? Transcript: With respect to Islam, we should make a distinction between Muslims and Islam. Muslims as individual human beings like you and me can be influenced. We’re not born . . . it’s not a genetic discrepancy to be a Muslim. You’re just an individual human being, and you can be persuaded to change your mind. So engage in critical thinking, and change the course of your life. Islam, just like Naziism, today, is a very violent, totalitarian, very dangerous doctrine. And the sooner we see it the better. With such urgent matters as what are we going to do about Ahmadinejad, I think the most logical thing – I don’t know exactly how to get there – but the thing that comes to me is prevent him from getting the bomb for all the obvious reasons. (A) He’s going to use it. (B) If he gets the bomb the others will want it. Pakistan has already got it; but Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey will all say if Ahmadinejad has it, we also want it – in which case you will have a concentration of nuclear weapons in the hands of authoritarian dictatorships that have no scruples about using it.
God doesn’t answer back. That’s the problem. Humans can.