The rise and fall of Ayaan Harsi Ali (Part 1)

January 13, 2024
2 mins read

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Colonial fantasies, veiled Muslim virgins and Viagra
By Amina Mire
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Ayaan Magan) is a ‘36’ years old Somali born right wing Dutch parliamentarian[1]. She came to Holland in 1992 as a refugee claimant.
Besides her recently published semi-pornographic flick, ‘The Caged Virgin,’ Ayaan, Hirsi Ali’s notoriety is due to her outspoken criticism of ‘radical Islam.’  
Ayaan Hirsi Ali has gained international recognition after she wrote the screenplay for a controversial documentary by the late Theo Van Gogh. Many Muslims inside the Netherlands and around the world thought the documentary racist and inflammatory.
This claim is supported by the fact that a documentary which sought to highlight sexual exploitations of women such as systematic practice of ‘incest’, forced ‘female genital gutilation,’ by Islam, and the film also featured naked women with verses from the Qu’ran painted on their bodies.
Sadly, Theo Van Gogh was murdered by a deranged radical Islamist and Ayaan Hirsi went into hiding. The murder of Theo Van Gogh has also witnessed a significant increase of virulent attacks against the diverse immigrant Muslim communities in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe.  
The murder of Van Gogh  (above) led to a tougher immigration law and and attacks on Dutch Muslims
In her part, Ms Hirsi Ali condemned Dutch multi-cultural policies and the political left in particular. She accused left-leaning Dutch cultural critics and politicians as supporters of Islamic extremism.
Instead, she advocated for the introduction of aggressive assimilationist policies in order to force Muslim communities in the Netherlands to renounce their ‘violent/backward/culture/ religion’ and embrace ‘progressive, modern Dutch value system’.
In this endeavour, Ayaan Hirsi Ali sought to reduce often highly diverse Muslim minorities to a homogenized abstract ‘ideological category’ marked by an absolute otherness of religious extremism and cultural difference.
The following passage from Ayaan Hirsi Ali, book, ‘The Caged Virgin, deploys simplistic but chillingly xenophobic language of racial profiling of the Dutch Muslim minorities:
“Muslims in the Netherlands and other Western European countries are immigrants from Turkey and Morocco who have come to find work and have had children there. ”
“In the year 2000 these Dutch communities counted 309,000 and 262,000 registered people, respectively. In addition, the past decade has seen a considerable influx of asylum seekers, from Iraq (38,000), Somalia (30,000), Afghanistan (26,000), and Iran (24,000). Muslims now form the biggest ideological category within the immigrant community.[2]”
In the post Sept. 11 climate marked by Eurocentric discourse of ‘clash of civilizations,’ and Bush’s global crusade against Islamic terror, where the rhetorical line between ‘secular modernity’ and Christianity is often blurred, the reduction of highly diverse Muslim communities in the Netherlands to an ‘ideological category’ is highly dangerous.  
And yet, despite espousing these chillingly xenophobic views, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has received unqualified praises not only from right wing war-mongering pundits and organizations but has also received equally unqualified endorsements from the left-leaning media commentators, organizations and feminists.  
Editor’s Note: The concluding part of this article appears tomorrow.
Amina Mire is a lecturer in Contemporary Sociology, Critical Race Theory and Gender/Women Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
She can be contacted at
Please e-mail views about this piece to

[1]‘MP in immigration row to leave Netherlands.’ 16 May 2006. The Guardian (London)

[2] Ayaan Hirsi Ali. ‘The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam.’Free Presss.2006. p.44-45.

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