Somali-born, ex-Muslim activist against Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, to be honored by the Sheldon Adelson Educational Campus.
— CAIR National (@CAIRNational) November 22, 2014
Review Journal Somali-born human rights activist, politician and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali will be honored today at the 11th annual In Pursuit of Excellence Gala.
Hirsi Ali, who has written three books including a memoir and an autobiography, will be recognized by the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus for her support of women’s rights and universal access to education. She will receive the school’s highest recognition, the In Pursuit of Excellence Award.
Hirsi Ali, 45, was raised in a conservative Muslim family and survived civil war, female mutilation and brutal beatings before she fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage. She convinced the government there that she was in need of political asylum and was granted refugee status.
A woman who grew up as a devout believer in the tradition and teachings of Islam, Hirsi Ali after the 9/11 attacks came to believe the Quran preached brutality, bigotry and the oppression of women.
Hirsi Ali won election to the Dutch Parliament in 2003, was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2005 and received the Moral Courage Award from the American-Jewish Committee in 2006.
In 2004, Hirsi Ali joined a Dutch director in creating Submission, a controversial film about Muslim women in forced marriages who were beaten by their husbands. The director, Theo van Gogh, was shot and killed by an angry, radical Muslim man, and a letter threatening Hirsi Ali’s life was found stabbed to van Gogh’s chest.
Amid the controversy, reporters discovered Hirsi Ali had lied to government officials and was granted citizenship based on a false name and birth date. She resigned from the Dutch parliament and was stripped of her Dutch citizenship in 2006. She was offered a job with the American Enterprise Institute and moved to the United States.
The AHA Foundation, Hirsi Ali’s namesake, fights for the rights of Muslim women and girls in the United States who have been religiously and culturally oppressed. The foundation focuses on honor violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation, which are common in some Muslim countries.
Today’s gala, which will be hosted by Sheldon Adelson, will be at 6 p.m. at The Venetian resort. All proceeds from the event will go toward the educational campus’ scholarship program that fulfills the school’s mission to never turn away a student because of financial hardship.