Afshin Ellian has a thing or two to say about terrorism.

He also has a few things to say about Islam – specifically political Islam – but many don't particularly like to hear it. In fact, the threats against his life from radical Muslims, particularly in the Netherlands, where the Iranian dissident now lives, have become so frequent that at least one bodyguard accompanies him anywhere he goes.

But Ellian, a professor of jurisprudence at the University of Leiden, also knows a thing or two about freedom: he has spent his life pursuing it since his days as a student in Iran, where in 1978 he took part in the uprising against the Shah. After the revolution, the Ayatollah banned political discourse; threatened with execution, Ellian fled the country. He settled briefly in Kabul before further ideological conflicts led him to escape again, arriving as a political refugee in the Netherlands in 1989.

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