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A critic of Islam

A critic of Islam

Feb 8th 2007
From The Economist print edition

SAY what you will about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, she fascinates. The Dutch-Somali politician, who has lived under armed guard ever since a fatwa was issued against her in 2004, is a chameleon of a woman. Just 11 years after she arrived in the Netherlands from Africa, she rode into parliament on a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment, only to leave again last year, this time for America, after an uproar over lies she had told to obtain asylum.

Even the title of her new autobiography reflects her talent for reinvention. In the Netherlands, where Ms Hirsi Ali got her start campaigning against the oppression of Muslim women, the book has been published under the title “My Freedom”. But in Britain and in America, where she now has a fellowship at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, it is called “Infidel”. In it, she recounts how she and her family made the cultural odyssey from nomadic to urban life in Africa and how she eventually made the jump to Europe and international celebrity as the world's most famous critic of Islam.