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Leiden
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Netherland



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Felice Sierhuis
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Iekeliene Stange
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Katja Schuurman
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Netherland

Undutchables
Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Infidel

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.

Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia, and grew up in Somalia, in Saudi Arabia, in Ethiopia, and in Kenya. She came to Europe in 1992, when she was twenty-two, and became a member of Parliament in Holland. This 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 assassinated. In April 2006 a Dutch court ordered that she leave her safe-home that she was renting from the State. The judge concluded that her neighbors had a right to argue that they felt unsafe because of her presence in the building. She had already decided to move to the United States before the debate surrounding her Dutch citizenship erupted.

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