When Theo van Gogh was murdered by an Islamist on a street in Amsterdam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali could not even attend the funeral because she would have put the lives of others at risk. So the Dutch intelligence agreed to take her to the morgue. The next day, bodyguards accompanied her from her home and gave her three hours to pack and leave. From there she went to the air base at Valkenburg, near The Hague, where she would be embark on a plane. The portholes were closed, they told her not to approach them nor go near the door. The plane was full of soldiers. Hirsi Ali was leaving a country at war. They landed at a military base in Maine, in the United States. This is how the love affair between America and the first refugee from Western Europe since the Holocaust began. A story that continues to this very day.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is still a shadow. But her voice at the telephone is clear, tough, cool. It is that of a young Somali woman who has undergone genital mutilation, who has lived in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Kenya, before being betrothed to a Canadian cousin she had never seen before. Hirsi Ali escaped from Germany to the Netherlands.
She worked as an interpreter in the Islamic Dutch ghettos, she graduated, became a Liberal MP, helped Van Gogh to make the film "Submission" and then disappeared. Now she talks with me about Europe from her think tank, the American Enterprise Institute. Hirsi Ali recently released her third book on Islam, "Heretic", an optimistic book on the reform of Islam.