Cultural Diversity, Diversity Conferences


"The U.S. is the best country in the world to be a woman or black": Somali-born author Ayaan Hirsi Ali says minority groups in America have little to complain about

By David Mccormack For

A Muslim women's rights advocate and outspoken critic of Islam has championed the U.S. as the best country in the world to live as a woman and as a black person.

Somali-born author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 45, emigrated to America in 2006 after facing death threats in the Netherlands, where she had been a member of parliament and a target for extremists after renouncing her faith and becoming an atheist.

Hirsi Ali, who describes herself as a liberal, has accused her fellow liberals of failing to have a proper sense of perspective about life in the U.S. and for not being more critical of Islam.

Muslim women's rights advocate and outspoken critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali has championed the U.S. as the best country in the world to live as a woman and as a black person

'We are so blessed as women to live in the United States. The best place to be a woman in the world is in the U.S. The best place to be black in the world is in the U.S.,' she told The Daily Beast.

'Is it perfect? No. Are we confronted with threats? Yes. But it's the perfect place to fight [them] off.'

Ali said that the law in the U.S. and the fact that the majority of the population are accepting of differences make it easier for all types of minority groups including woman, black people, gays and Jews.

'I cannot imagine what it is like to be a black man living in Saudi Arabia, in Iran - even where the majority of people are black, like Africa,' she said.
'I cannot imagine a better place to be gay than in the U.S. I know that all European countries have accepted gay marriage and here in the U.S. we're still struggling to accept that.

'On the other hand, when the jihadists in Europe attack gays in the streets, the governments don't protect them.

'The best place to be Jewish in the world, besides the state of Israel, is in the U.S. The best place to be Christian is in the U.S.'

Hirsi Ali was raised in a strict Muslim family, but after surviving a civil war, genital mutilation, beatings and an arranged marriage, she renounced the faith in her 30s.

In 2007, she helped establish the AHA Foundation, which works to protect and defend the rights of women in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture, according to its website.

The foundation also strives to protect basic rights and freedoms of women and girls. This includes control of their own bodies, access to an education and the ability to work outside the home and control their own income, the website says.

Hirsi Ali told The Daily Beast that in comparison to the rest of the world woman in the West have little to complain about.

'Listen, if you're not allowed into a golf club, that doesn't sit well with me, but if I were to prioritize, I would say: This girl, she's just been denied her right to school, she's just been forced into marriage, she's just been genitally mutilated. That's the sort of thing that we need to be, as women, signing up against.'

Hirsi Ali releases her new book, Heretic: Why Islam Needs A Reformation Now, later this month.

The book includes her thoughts on the January shootings in Paris at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Her previous books include the best-selling memoir Infidel.

She has written and spoken extensively of her experience as a Muslim girl in East Africa.

She moved to the Netherlands as a young woman, and she was later elected to the Dutch Parliament.

She wrote the screenplay for Submission, a 2004 film critical of the treatment of Muslim women.

Shortly after its release, the director, Theo van Gogh, was murdered on an Amsterdam street by a radical Islamist, who also pinned to the victim's body a threat to kill Hirsi Ali.


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