Who is she?
Ayaan was raised as a strict Muslim and underwent female gential mutliation. She escaped a forced marriage and moved to the Netherlands, where she became a member of Parliament and started criticising Islam for its treatment of women.
She collaborated with Dutch film director Theo Van Gogh on a documentary called Submission, which showed how Islam condones violence against women. After the movie’s release, Van Gogh was killed by an Islamic extremist and a letter was pinned to his body threatening Ayaan’s death.
Ayaan has written several books that call for the reform of Islam, and she has come under criticism from many who accuse her of Islamophobia, including some western feminists. She believes that Islam’s main teachings are fundamentally sexist and its treatment of women unjust.
Why should we thank her?
Ayaan has bravely spoken out against Islam’s treatment of women, defying criticism and death threats. She is recognised as a champion of free speech and her books, including the best-selling Infidel, chronicle her life and work for women’s rights. Her AHA Foundation is the leading organisation working to end honour violence against women and girls.
“Let us recognise that we can no longer tolerate violent oppression of women in the name of religion and culture any more than we would tolerate violent oppression espoused by any other bully in the name of a twisted rationale.”