Under withering criticism, the Dutch immigration minister has agreed to rethink her threat to revoke the citizenship of a Somali-born former lawmaker known for her opposition to fundamentalist Islam.
Minister Rita Verdonk said she acted on the basis of a television program that aired last week in which Ayaan Hirsi Ali admitted lying about her name and age on her asylum application when she fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage.
Hirsi Ali has become one of the best-known figures in the country. She has lived under police protection since a film she wrote criticizing the treatment of women under Islam provoked the murder of its director, Theo van Gogh, by an Islamic radical.
Hirsi Ali resigned from parliament Tuesday, saying in a sometimes teary voice it would be impossible for her to function as a politician while fighting a legal battle over her immigration status.
The threat to strip Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Dutch citizenship unleashed a fierce debate in parliament at a time of heightened anti-immigrant sentiment in the country. ...
Hirsi Ali has declined to say what she will do next, or confirm reports she will go work for the American Enterprise Institute.
But the conservative think-tank's president, Christopher DeMuth, said in an open letter Tuesday he was "looking forward to welcoming you to AEI, and to America."
Dutch media also reported that U.S. Ambassador Roland Arnall had met with Hirsi Ali to tell her the United States will accept her regardless of her Dutch immigration status.
Before this latest news, Christopher Hitchens wrote at Slate.com: The Caged Virgin: Holland's shameful treatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. (Hat tip Chip Joyce via HB List)
After being forced into hiding by fascist killers, Ayaan Hirsi Ali found that the Dutch government and people were slightly embarrassed to have such a prominent "Third World" spokeswoman in their midst. She was first kept as a virtual prisoner, which made it almost impossible for her to do her job as an elected representative. When she complained in the press, she was eventually found an apartment in a protected building. Then the other residents of the block filed suit and complained that her presence exposed them to risk. In spite of testimony from the Dutch police, who assured the court that the building was now one of the safest in all Holland, a court has upheld the demand from her neighbors and fellow citizens that she be evicted from her home. In these circumstances, she is considering resigning from parliament and perhaps leaving her adopted country altogether. This is not the only example that I know of a supposedly liberal society collaborating in its own destruction, but I hope at least that it will shame us all into making The Caged Virgin a best seller.
The Amazon link to Hirsi Ali's book: The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam .
Last spring, Ayaan Hirsi Ali took her ''Dutch mother'' -- the woman who taught her the language and cared for her after she arrived in the Netherlands as a refugee in 1992 -- to lunch at the Dudok brasserie, near the Parliament in The Hague. As always, Hirsi Ali's armed security detail was there. They have been her companions since she started receiving death threats in September 2002. Hirsi Ali, who was born in Somalia and has been a member of the Dutch Parliament since January 2003, had endorsed the view that Islam is a backward religion, condemned the way women live under it and said that by today's standards, the prophet Muhammad would be considered a perverse tyrant. She had also announced that she was no longer a believing Muslim. The punishment for such apostasy is, according to strict interpretations of Islam, death. That day at the Dudok, several dozen vocational students were taking up the main restaurant, so she and her guards parked at two tables near the bar. Hirsi Ali had her back to the restaurant when one of the students, apparently a Dutch convert to Islam, tapped her on the shoulder. ''I turned around,'' she recalls in her elegant English, ''and saw this sweet, young Dutch guy, about 24 years old. With freckles! And he was like, 'Madam, I hope the mujahedeen get you and kill you.' '' Hirsi Ali handed him her knife and told him, ''Why don't you do it yourself?''
The story is, like much in Hirsi Ali's life, an inseparable mix of the terrifying and the tender.
The Dutch blog Liberty and Justice has a detailed account of Hirsi Ali's press conference and much more.
And finally, here is John's Newsmaker Caricature of Hirsi Ali.
UPDATE I -- May 18: From Peaktalk: VERDONK RETREATS. (via Tom Pechinski)
i>UPDATE II -- May 21: LGF has another video interview with Hirsi Ali.
Posted by Forkum at May 17, 2006 04:30 PM