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Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali back in Netherlands

Monday, October 01, 2007

Amsterdam (dpa) - Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali returned to the Netherlands, Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad reported on Monday.

In August 2006, Somali born-Hirsi Ali, one of the Netherland's most outspoken critics of Islam, accepted a position as researcher at the Washington-based Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank.

The former legislator for the Liberal VVD party was allegedly forced to leave the US as American authorities had refused to finance the expenses of her personal security measures.

So far, the Dutch government has paid all those expenses, but after more than a year of residency in the US, the Dutch allegedly said they were no longer willing to continue this arrangement.

The 37-year-old Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born Hirsi Magan, is a feminist and political writer. Her family left Somalia for Saudi Arabia when she was six years old. They then continued to Ethiopia, and eventually settled in Kenya.

She sought and obtained political asylum in the Netherlands in 1992, under circumstances that later became the centre of a political controversy.

Hirsi Ali is a controversial critic of Islam. In 2004, she wrote the script of the film Submission, about the repression of women in Muslim culture.

In November 2004, a Muslim fundamentalist Mohammed Bouyeri assassinated Submission's film maker Theo Van Gogh, threatening to kill Hirsi Ali as well.

Hirsi Ali is one of a handful of Dutch nationals living under strict personal security measures ever since.

Source: dpa, Oct 01, 2007