Friday, December 14, 2007

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali born ex Muslim who, having been brought up in Islam and with the prospect of a forced arranged marriage to a relative stranger, fled to the Netherlands in 1992. She became amongst other things a translator, a politician and a public speaker, speaking out for women’s rights and against the threat of Islam. In 1994 she collaborated with Theo van Gogh, a Dutch film maker, to make a short film called Submission, which portrayed many of the horrors that face women in Islam.

Not surprisingly the film was condemned by Islamic fundamentalists and both Hirsi Ali and van Gogh were advised to seek protection. Van Gogh chose to ignore that advice and was brutally murdered as a result. On his chest, his murderer pinned a warning to Hirsi Ali that she would be next. As a result, she fled to the United States were she continues to speak out against Islam and until recently her protection was paid for by the Dutch authorities.

Earlier this year, she was told that her protection would no longer be funded while she lived on American soil. Given that her protection would cost a lot more, and be significantly harder to maintain, were she to return to the Netherlands (it is there that she would be the most vulnerable) she has decided to remain in the States and to fund her own protection. This protection requires 24 hour bodyguards and must be maintained whenever she needs to travel. Obviously this protection very costly and although author of two books, it is well beyond her means to sustain for very long.

In response, the American Author Sam Harris has set up a trust which can accept monthly or one off donations which will help fund her protection.

If anyone would like to donate to this trust the following link has all the details of how to subscribe as well as further links to related articles by Sam Harris, Salamn Rushdie, Christopher Hitchens and others.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali recently spoke at the Athiest Alliance International Convention in Washington DC. Here is a link to her talk in which she describes her story.

The Richard Dawkins Foundation has produced a DVD of the AAI Convention which can be purchased here. All proceeds go to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust.

I think that she is an amazing and courageous person, and so I have subscribed to the trust. I urge anyone who reads this to follow these links with a view to doing the same.