Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Visiting Fellow

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken defender of women's rights in Islamic societies, was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992 and served as a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006. In parliament, she worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society and defending the rights of women in Dutch Muslim society. In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made Submission, a film about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures. The airing of the film on Dutch television resulted in the assassination of Mr. van Gogh by an Islamic extremist. At AEI, Ms. Hirsi Ali researches the relationship between the West and Islam, women's rights in Islam, violence against women propagated by religious and cultural arguments, and Islam in Europe.



  • Member of Parliament, VVD (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy), The Netherlands, 2003-2006
  • Researcher, Wiardi Beckman Foundation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2001-2002
  • Interpreter and Adviser, Office of Intercultural Communication, Leiden, The Netherlands, 1995-2001



M.A., Leiden University, The Netherlands