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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[…]

“I was never meant to be self-reliant.”

Question: What inspires you?

Transcript:Other people. I have been helped throughout my life. I have gone through some hurdles, that is true. But I have also encountered human beings who have been so kind to me, who have given me the gift of knowledge, who have shared their homes with me, who shared their lives and a lot of friendship with me. That has inspired me to give something back in my own way. By having the privilege of going to school and to university, I learned about such things as changing the mindset of millions and billions of people, that’s not something that comes in a day. It’s a long process. It’s just incremental contributions from individuals within that system. And that has inspired me to know that I can do that. And there are the dangers and the perils; but then people, for instance, living in the Arab-Islamic world today are Christians who lived when the church was all-powerful in Italy and France, and that these people were working and risking their lives. And the peril for them was much greater than mine with my bodyguards and so on . . . have also inspired me to go on and to know that I have to be careful. I have to live and lead my life properly; but I can also give . . . make that little contribution that I am making now.