Ayaanwas able to lift herself up from a small life in which she would not be heard,to the life of a public speaker and a women’s rights activist. I can’t begin todescribe what she has gone through, and she is still speaking in public abouther morals and ideals. Nothing was able to shut her up, not even death threats.Her persistence is incredibly admirable and something I wish I had my own life.

I also chose to write my hagiography about Ayaan Hirsi Ali not despite my disagreementwith some of her views concerning Islam, but rather because of my disagreement.I feel like nowadays people are far too eager to demonize anyone with opposingviews, instead of respectfully disagreeing with them. Instead of calling eachother bigots or stupid liberals, we should be trying to debate each other. Thisis exactly what Ayaan is doing; she is creating room for debates about the lesspretty parts of Islam and other things that should be discussed. In the endAyaan is an inspirational woman who shows girls they can become whatever theywantAyaan Hirsi Ali was born on 13November 1969 in Somalia. Her father was a prominent person in the Somalianrevolution, but was imprisoned after she was born.

Her father was heavilyagainst female genital mutilation, but her grandmother decided she should becut anyway. Fortunately Ayaan’s father was able to escape prison, and thefamily decided to leave Somalia in 1977. They went to Saudi Arabia, Ethiopiaand lastly settled in the capitol of Kenya, Nairobi. There Ayaan attended anEnglish-speaking secondary school for Muslim girls. Her religious teacherinspired her to practice a more conservative and strict version of Islam, whichlead to Ayaan choosing to wear a hijab. At the time she also agreed with theMuslim Brotherhood, an organization in favor of shariah law. But soon shestarted reading English novels with female leads, which changed her view on theposition of women in society.

After finishing high school Ayaan followed asecretary course. In 1992 she decided to move to the Netherlands, because shewanted to escape an arranged marriage. She proceeded to study Political Scienceat Leiden University and worked as an interpreter for Somali women. She startedto read books, such as Sigmund Freud’s books, which challenged her beliefs onmorality.

This was also a step towards Ayaan’s independent thinking process. The9/11 attacks were also a turning point for Ayaan’s relationship with Islam, sherealized the Qur’an is just a book, not everything it says should be followed.She finally renounced her religion when she read the “Atheist Manifesto” byHerman Phillipse. After graduating from Leiden University she joined the PVDAand started joining public debates. But in 2002 she decided to leave the PVDAfor the VVD, as the latter party had more room for criticism towards Islam. In2004 Ayaan and film director Theo van Gogh published the movie Submission, which offered criticismtowards the way women were treated in Islamic societies.

This short filmsparked so much outrage that Theo van Gogh was murdered and Ayaan wasthreatened. She later went into hiding with Geert Wilders. In 2006 she moved tothe U.

S. because of an issue concerning her asylum application. Because Ayaanhad lied about her surname (she used her grandfathers name) and her age.According to Ayaan this was necessary because she was afraid her family wouldfind her. But in 2006 minister Rita Verdonk launched an investigation into hernaturalization.

In the end Ayaan was allowed to retain her Dutch citizenship,but she decided to move to the U.S. anyway. In the United States she founded AHA, a women’s rights organization, andcontinued to be a public speaker. My hagiography is about AyaanHirsi Ali. Even though I don’t agree with everything Ayaan has to say aboutIslam, I have chosen to do my hagiography about her simply because her journeythrough life has inspired me.


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