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About the Author

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, was raised Muslim, and spent her childhood and young adulthood in Africa and Saudi Arabia. In 1992, Hirsi Ali came to the Netherlands as a refugee. She earned her college degree in political science and worked for the Dutch Labor party. She denounced Islam after the September 11 terrorist attacks and now serves as a Dutch parliamentarian, fighting for the rights of Muslim women in Europe, the enlightenment of Islam, and security in the West.


'It's been a week since I finished reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali's remarkable autobiography, and I haven't stopped thinking about it or talking about it for long. I'd recommend her story to anyone' 
*Daily Telegraph*

'Comes at you with an almost raging power, like a river bursting its banks . . . [Hirsi Ali] proves herself here a true writer, able to sum up a scene that may be completely foreign to the reader in a way that makes it a living, breathing experience, unforgettably raw and immediate'

'A brave and elegant figure . . . an honest woman . . . No one who reads her [memoirs] will doubt the self-questioning and the rigorous honesty of her mind. Perhaps, as in Voltaire's short story 'L'Ing√Čnu,' it is that too much honesty is sometimes unpalatable, even if it is couched in civil terms . . . She has an open mind that has released itself from the old straitjacketed frame of reference of Right and Left, she is instinctively, deeply antiauthoritarian and she is unlikely to stick to straight ideological lines. She will go on asking difficult questions'
*The Observer*

'Too potent a social critic to be tolerated any longer [in her home country] . . . an unflinching advocate of women's rights and an unflinching critic of Islamic extremism'
*The New York Times*

'A charismatic figure. . . of arresting and hypnotizing beauty . . . [who writes] with quite astonishing humor and restraint'
*Christopher Hitchens*

Readers with an eye on European politics will recognize Ali as the Somali-born member of the Dutch parliament who faced death threats after collaborating on a film about domestic violence against Muslim women with controversial director Theo van Gogh (who was himself assassinated). Even before then, her attacks on Islamic culture as "brutal, bigoted, [and] fixated on controlling women" had generated much controversy. In this suspenseful account of her life and her internal struggle with her Muslim faith, she discusses how these views were shaped by her experiences amid the political chaos of Somalia and other African nations, where she was subjected to genital mutilation and later forced into an unwanted marriage. While in transit to her husband in Canada, she decided to seek asylum in the Netherlands, where she marveled at the polite policemen and government bureaucrats. Ali is up-front about having lied about her background in order to obtain her citizenship, which led to further controversy in early 2006, when an immigration official sought to deport her and triggered the collapse of the Dutch coalition government. Apart from feelings of guilt over van Gogh's death, her voice is forceful and unbowed-like Irshad Manji, she delivers a powerful feminist critique of Islam informed by a genuine understanding of the religion. 8-page photo insert. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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