Ayaan Hirsi Ali, feminist, writer, and politician, is scheduled to be interviewed by Blog Talk Radio Featured Host, Brian Wolf, on March 30, 2008, at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time, on his Internet radio talk show, Shakedown Street. Shakedown Street is a Free World Radio Network production.http://www.blogtalkradio.com/-Shakedown-Street.
Ayaan was born in Somalia in 1969 and raised a devout Muslim. Her family moved from Somalia to Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and finally settled in Kenya. Her father was one of the leading figures in the Somalian Revolution and was opposed to female circumcision. However, when her father was in jail, Ayaan's grandmother had the procedure done to Ayaan when she was only 5 years old.
Details are somewhat sketchy on this point, but in 1992, Ayaan was supposed to be married off in a ceremony which she refused to attend. She was on a plane headed to her betrothed's home in Canada when she disembarked in Germany. In order to escape this marriage, she fled to the Netherlands where she won asylum, apparently based upon "not quite 100% true" information about the arranged marriage, and eventually citizenship. Ayaan admits that she lied on the asylum application and is unapologetic. At university, she became disenchanted with Islam. Her faith took another blow after 9/11, and in 2002, she renounced her faith and became an atheist, after reading the Atheist Manifesto.
After earning a degree in political science she served as an elected member of the Dutch parliament for three years. She has since become an active critic of Islam, an advocate for women’s rights and a leader in the campaign to reform Islam. Her willingness to speak out and her abandonment of the Muslim faith have made her a target for violence and threat of death by Islamic extremists.
While in the Netherlands, Ayaan made a short, 10 minute film called "Submission" with Theo van Gogh. This film eventually lead to the murder of van Gogh by Muslim extremists. The short film criticizes the treatment of Muslim women in Islamic Society. When van Gogh's body was found, there was a letter addressed to Ayaan pinned to Theo's chest by a knife. The film is available to watch on You Tube.
Ayaan was named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2005, one of Glamour Magazine’s Heroes of 2005, and she received the Prix Simone de Beauvoir in 2008. She has published a collection of essays entitled "The Caged Virgin" and a best-selling memoir "Infidel".
Despite her atheism, Ayaan was offered and accepted a position at the conservative Washington DC think-tank "American Enterprise Institute." AEI is the only place to offer Ayaan a job so that she could emigrate to the USA, when security fears caused her to leave Holland. She received her green card last fall. Although the AEI is conservative and Ayaan liberal, she welcomes the opportunity to protect free speech and discuss divergent ideas and philosophies with her coworkers.
I hope that you can take the time to join us for this interview. And as always, thank you for your support.