A decade ago, when Ayaan Hirsi Ali was forced to leave her adopted homeland of the Netherlands, a former colleague by the name of Geert Wilders had just launched his own, far-right political party.

The rise of Wilders and his fellow populists since then has been "alarming," she said, and it will only get worse if the establishment keeps ignoring "the voice of the people" and doesn't "acknowledge the issue of Islam."

Even the defeats inflicted on Wilders and France's Marine Le Pen — both runners-up in elections this year — haven't changed Hirsi Ali's view of Europe's populists and the damage they can cause. In France, for example, if new President Emmanuel Macron, "doesn't tackle problems; if the economy doesn't grow; if he can't control immigration; and if he won't address the issues of Islam — I think that country could just fall into civil war," she said over the phone from the U.S.

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