Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born Dutch-American activist, author, scholar and former politician. She received international attention as a critic of Islam and advocate for the rights and self-determination of Muslim women, actively opposing forced marriage, honour violence, child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). A victim of forced marriage and FGM herself, Ayaan has devoted her life to speaking out about these outdated practices that are ingrained within a religion that can often oppose the rights of women.
In 2004, she collaborated on a short movie with Theo van Gogh, entitled Submission, a film depicting oppression of women under fundamentalist Islamic law. Extremely critical of the Islamic religion, laws and practices, the film sparked controversy and death threats. Van Gogh was murdered later that year by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Moroccan-Dutch Islamic terrorist.
In 2007, she founded the AHA Foundation, an organisation for the defence of women’s rights to put the ideas she writes about into practice
Ayaan maintains that “Islam is part religion, and part a political-military doctrine, the part that is a political doctrine contains a world view, a system of laws and a moral code that is totally incompatible with our constitution, our laws, and our way of life.”