LONDON (AP) – Muslims must protest against terrorism committed in the name of religion, said Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch ex-lawmaker whose criticism of radical Islam has made her a target of death threats.
Hirsi Ali, speaking in London late Tuesday, said Muslims must make the moral choice of defying extremists who use the religion to justify terrorism.
Muslims “should take to the streets when, in the name of their prophet, people are beheaded and passengers are blown up – not only when drawings of Prophet Muhammad are made,” she said, referring to protests last year over caricatures of the prophet published in a Danish newspaper.
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The Somali-born ex-lawmaker has lived under round-the-clock protection since 2004, when Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was killed in Amsterdam by a Muslim radical offended by a film he directed, based on Hirsi Ali’s script.
After stabbing Van Gogh, the killer – now in prison – pinned a letter on the filmmaker’s chest that threatened Hirsi Ali’s life.
Hirsi Ali, who in her book “Infidel: My Life” wrote how she was subjected to genital mutilation in Somalia and later forced into an unwanted marriage that led her to flee to the Netherlands, argued that some tenets of Islam are inherently violent and must be rejected.
“The people who we’ve come to call ‘moderates’ are those Muslims who are not willing to follow every commandment that’s in the Koran and take it literally … but principally condone it,” said Hirsi Ali, who now identifies herself as an atheist.
Hirsi Ali, who moved to the United States last year to take a job with a conservative think tank in Washington, returned to the Netherlands earlier this month after the Dutch government said it would not pay for 24-hour security in America.