How do you contribute?
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.
So one woman born into Islam who, when exposed to freedom, and when after she benefited from it did not forsake her, you know . . . her contemporaries by selfishly enjoying it and keeping it to herself; but by sharing her ideas with them. So my idea is not to tell all Muslim women, “You should leave Islam.” They should find their own path. Each individual should find his or her own path to freedom. But what I have done is share my experiences with them and say I don’t think . . . Every time when I was interpreted or translated in Holland, I would be confronted with a woman who was beaten, bruised, killed – almost killed. I would feel helpless. And I would understand the mechanism and the code, and I would know what to do about it. But by saying I think it is possible to get out, it is difficult – extremely difficult and some of us will die – but it is possible to make a change, I think I have made my contribution. But it is up to the individual Muslim woman to find her way out of it. Recorded on: 8/15/07
Hirsi Ali does not try to tell all Muslim women, "You should leave Islam." Rather, she says, they should find their own path.
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