Somali Crusader
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I turned on Sixty Minutes recently in anticipation of seeing the heroic ex-Muslim women's rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and I wasn't disappointed. She had been a refugee from Somalia who ran away from an arranged marriage to find freedom in the Netherlands, starting as a menial hotel worker, then going to college and later being elected to the Dutch Parliament.

She has been absolutely fearless in denouncing Islam's brutality toward women and has called Mohammed a pervert for m marrying third wifelette Aisha, aged 6. Hirsi Ali's work among abused Muslim women in the Netherlands led her to author the controversial film Submission, which apparently angered an Islamic extremist enough to murder the director, Theo van Gogh, on an Amsterdam street.

Being an outspoken ex-Muslim woman is not the safest lifestyle in today's Islamized Netherlands. Yet Hirsi Ali exudes courageous good cheer. Despite the stress of living with 24/7 police protection because of ongoing death threats, she retains her upbeat demeanor and radiant smile. The Sixty Minutes link includes a brief clip of her speaking in excellent English. (Another video with her here.) She is the sort of immigrant any democratic country should welcome, someone who comes for the opportunity to join the community of freedom-loving individuals.

 She is seen as a traitor to Islam, the faith she rejected as a very young woman. Hirsi Ali says her rejection of Islam started at an early age: "From the time I started reading novels of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, I wanted to be like Nancy Drew." Her beliefs estranged her from her parents, who remain devout believers.

How did she do it?

"The American dream," says Hirsi Ali. "I think it's in every individual, if you have the will to improve your life."

She is working on the sequel to Submission because anything less would be rewarding terrorists for their violence.

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