AYAAN HIRSI ALI
One November morning in 2004, Theo van Gogh got up to go to work at his film production company in Amsterdam. He took out his old black bicycle and headed down a main road. Waiting in a doorway was a Moroccan man with a handgun and two butcher knives.
As Theo cycled down the Linnaeusstraat, Muhammad Bouyeri approached. He pulled out his gun and shot Theo several times. Theo fell off his bike and lurched across the road, then collapsed. Bouyeri followed. Theo begged, “Can’t we talk about this?” but Bouyeri shot him four more times. Then he took out one of his butcher knives and sawed into Theo’s throat. With the other knife, he stabbed a five-page letter onto Theo’s chest.
The letter was addressed to me.
from Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Author of The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the most prominent advocate of free speech and women’s rights in the Muslim world, and for this she must live under perpetual armed guard, even in the West. Unfortunately, on October 1st of this year, the Dutch government officially rescinded its promise to protect her. Now, Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s friends, colleagues and admirers must come to her aid.
I have created a page on my website that links directly to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust. The money raised by this trust will pay Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s security expenses. In the event that money remains after these costs have been met, it will be used to encourage and protect other dissidents in the Muslim world.
The ongoing protection of Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a moral obligation. It is also a strategic one: for here is a woman doing work that most of us cannot do–indeed, would be terrified to do if given the chance–and yet this work is essential for preserving the freedoms we take for granted in the West.
If every reader of this email simply pledged ten dollars a month to protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the costs of her security would be covered for as long as the threat to her life remains.
Thanks in advance for your support.
In 2005, TIME included Ayaan Hirsi Ali in its list of the World’s 100 Most Influential People. If you would like to know more about her, please read Christopher Caldwell’s fine profile in the New York Times Magazine. You can also read the essay that Salman Rushdie and Sam Harris recently published in the Los Angeles Times, or the one that Christopher Hitchens wrote for Slate.