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Ayaan Hirsi Ali – Hero of Heresy

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

“In a well-functioning democracy, the state constitution is considered more important than God’s holy book, whichever holy book that may be, and God matters only in your private life.”


Infidel. Heretic. Apostate. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has courted controversy over her years in the public eye, earning widespread criticism amongst the liberal left and death threats from the religious right.

Born in Somalia to a devout Muslim family, Hirsi Ali underwent female genital mutilation as a child and escaped an arranged marriage in 1992 by seeking political asylum in the Netherlands. In Europe, she was introduced to the works of Sigmund Freud and Herman Philipse’s Atheist Manifesto, experiences which together with the September 11th attacks spurred her to renounce her religion. Rising on the political scene as an opponent of Islam, Hirsi Ali has denounced the abuse of Muslim women even in liberal societies, while Western leaders resist reform.

Hirsi Ali collaborated with director Theo van Gogh to produce Submission, a short film critiquing misogyny prescribed in Quranic texts. The film’s 2004 release led directly to van Gogh’s assassination and calls for a jihad against Hirsi Ali. In 2006 the Dutch government threw doubts on her citizenship status, and though she ultimately retained her Dutch passport the procedures prompted her move to the USA. She has since founded the AHA Foundation in defence of women’s rights, and served as a fellow with the think-tank, the American Enterprise Institute.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali remains a vocal critic of Islam, in particular, Sharia’s treatment of women and sexual minorities, the proliferation of genital mutilation, honour killings, forced marriages and social isolation. Calling for reform in the religion, Hirsi Ali has also called for Western leaders like Tony Abbott to stop denying the link between extremist groups and religion. “I want to say to him ‘please don’t say such things in public because it’s just not true.’ You’re letting down all the individuals who are reformers within Islam who are asking the right questions that will ultimately bring about change.”

“That’s the problem. I’m not talking about Muslims, I’m talking about non-Muslim liberals who are saying ‘it has nothing to do with Islam’ and that is shocking, distressing, disappointing.”

Critics have accused her of anti-Muslim hate speech, decrying her portrayal of the religion as a “nihilistic cult of death” and “the new fascism” in which violence is inherent. Other commentators like the late Christopher Hitchens praised her intellectual prowess, while novelist Roger L. Simon deemed her a “modern Joan of Arc”.

Think Inc. invites you to step inside the controversy with An evening with Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  



Where: BCEC

When: 7:00PM Thursday 06 April

 Limited Meet and Greet tickets available



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Where: Festival Hall

When: 7:00PM Friday 07 April

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Where:  ICC, Darling Harbour Theatre

When: 7:00PM Saturday 08 April

 Limited Meet and Greet tickets available



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Where: Llewellyn Hall

When: 7:00PM Monday 10 April

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