Monday, May 22, 2006

Ayaan Hirsi Ali takes Rushdie's advice (a year later)

First off, you do remember Ayaan Hirsi Ali, right? She's the erstwhile Dutch MP who wrote the anti-Islamic film Submission. The director of the film, Theo Van Gogh, was publicly killed by Mohammed Bouyeri who may have been connected with the Egyptian extremist group Takfir wal-Hijra in 2004 and since then the beautiful and outspoken Hirsi Ali has been living under a virtual fatwa. In an article in Der Spiegel last year, she mentions her interface with the living specialist on Fatwa survival:

SPIEGEL: Did you think about asking for advice from Salman Rushdie, against whom the Iranian mullahs issued a fatwa years ago?

Hirsi Ali: Before all this happened, I wasn't in contact with Salman. I met him for the first time at a PEN Club dinner in April of this year. He encouraged me, implored me, to remain strong. He explained to me how one can continue living in spite of a fatwa, and he gave me some tips.

SPIEGEL: For example?

Hirsi Ali: Moving to the United States, for example.

The big news is that Hirsi Ali is set to work at The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, which is notoriously conservative and where she will no doubt be pressured to tell exactly the kinds of anti-Islamic horror stories the Bush administration wants to hear. What continues to inspire is her transparent good faith and her history of resourceful anti-authoritarianism. Remembering Rushdie's tenure as chairperson of PEN never hurts either :).

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