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.
"Islamic extremism is an assault on the ideas of liberalism, on the idea of innovation, on women, on gays, on tolerance, on civilization," says the author and social activist. She says if American cultural leaders like Ben Affleck can't see this, it's because they're not paying attention.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The change we are talking about for the Muslim world is essentially a change where we hope that Muslim individuals will be emancipated from their own concept of a God, submission to the will of Allah.