Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a prominent women’s rights campaigner who left Islam and now lives under a fatwa, remains defiant after being forced to cancel an Australian tour amid “security concerns”.
Think Inc., who organised the planned ‘Hero of Heresy’ tour, expressed regret that “for a number of reasons including security concerns, Ayaan Hirsi Ali must cancel her upcoming appearances in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Auckland.”
— Think Inc. (@thinkincAU) April 3, 2017
Hirsi Ali, who has drawn criticism for refusing to be silent on the question of women’s rights in Islam, accused her liberal detractors of “carrying water” for fundamentalists.
“I just want to point my finger at all the places in the world today where Islamic law is applied and how women are treated and I want to say to these women, ‘Shame on you’. Shame on you for carrying water for the Islamists, shame on you for trying to shut people up who are trying to raise awareness about Shariah law,” she said.
— The Rebel (@TheRebelTV) April 3, 2017
Commentators including energy and environment minister Josh Frydenberg, who had been due to appear alongside Hirsi Ali at a panel, praised her as “a picture of bravery”.
“It is very regrettable people have sought to prevent her coming to Australia because they see her as the enemy of tolerance,” he said. “I see her as an enemy of intolerance. She sends a very powerful message as well about how secular laws should be above shariah law … I was shocked to see psychologists, doctors, lawyers, community activists all agree she shouldn’t be coming here to Australia to speak her mind.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was brought up by Islamic fundamentalist parents in Somalia and Saudi Arabia, but left the religion while studying in the Netherlands, where she became an elected politician.
She famously assisted Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh on his film Submission, which documents the systematic oppression of women in Islam.
Van Gogh was murdered by a Moroccan dual-national after the film aired, and Hirsi Ali ultimately moved to the U.S. to escape the constant stream of death threats. She is now married to Scottish historian and commentator Niall Ferguson.
— Ayaan Hirsi Ali (@Ayaan) February 4, 2017
Hirsi Ali has previously clashed with Women’s March organiser Linda Sarsour over Shariah law, which Sarsour has promoted and which Hirsi Ali describes as a principle which “demeans, degrades and dehumanises” women more than any other.
Sarsour has said that Hirsi Ali, who was subjected to female genital mutilation by her Islamist parents as a child, should have her vagina taken away and does not deserve to be a woman.