Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Founder, The AHA Foundation

Where is the Muslim world today?

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Hirsi Ali puts her faith in the young Muslims who are open to Western ideas.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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



I’m optimistic about the fact that there are several individuals – by far not the majority – who have been in touch with the west, with Asia, with other non-Islamic cultures, and who realize that there’s a lot that we have to learn. My optimism is that that group will be influential enough to make the reforms and the changes necessary in that part of the world. Second observation is you cannot change if you do not accept that there is something to change; that there’s something imperfect. So that dogma, that everything in Islam, and the moral framework that the Prophet Mohammed left for us is perfect, and that there is nothing to change in that; that is being challenged. And because of that challenge, a natural reaction is one of defending it with all the fanaticism in the group and the community. That can lead to bloodshed. Recorded on: 8/15/07