Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Founder of the AHA Foundation

 
AHA Foundation Founder, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is known as a women’s rights activist, champion of free speech, and best-selling author. She is also known as someone who is not afraid to speak out when she feels it necessary.

Ayaan’s journey began in Somalia in 1969 where, as a young girl, she was subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). From very early on, she questioned the subjugation of women she saw all around her; while listening to a sermon on the many ways women should be obedient to their husbands, she couldn't resist asking, "Must our husbands obey us too?"

Ayaan’s path led her many places, but upon being forced by her father to marry a distant cousin, she fled to Holland and claimed political asylum. Once there, she worked her way up from being a janitor to serving as an elected member of the Dutch parliament. As a member of parliament, she campaigned to raise awareness of violence against women, including honor killings and FGM, practices that had followed her fellow immigrants into Holland.

In 2004 Ayaan gained international attention following the murder of Theo van Gogh. Van Gogh had directed her short film Submission, a film about the oppression of women under Islam. The assassin left a death threat for her pinned to Van Gogh's chest. This tragic event, and Ayaan’s life leading up to it, are all chronicled in her best-selling book, Infidel.

Ayaan has shown great courage, risking her life to voice the injustice she sees around her. But she has done more than speak out. Ayaan has channeled her life experiences, and the attention she garnered, towards the AHA Foundation. She took tangible action to protect women and girls from the honor violence she herself and so many others she knew faced.

Adrian Cook/Writer Pictures
Adrian Cook/Writer Pictures
AHA Foundation Founder, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is known as a women’s rights activist, champion of free speech, and best-selling author. She is also known as someone who is not afraid to speak out when she feels it necessary.

Ayaan’s journey began in Somalia in 1969 where, as a young girl, she was subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). From very early on, she questioned the subjugation of women she saw all around her; while listening to a sermon on the many ways women should be obedient to their husbands, she couldn't resist asking, "Must our husbands obey us too?"

Ayaan’s path led her many places, but upon being forced by her father to marry a distant cousin, she fled to Holland and claimed political asylum. Once there, she worked her way up from being a janitor to serving as an elected member of the Dutch parliament. As a member of parliament, she campaigned to raise awareness of violence against women, including honor killings and FGM, practices that had followed her fellow immigrants into Holland.

In 2004 Ayaan gained international attention following the murder of Theo van Gogh. Van Gogh had directed her short film Submission, a film about the oppression of women under Islam. The assassin left a death threat for her pinned to Van Gogh's chest. This tragic event, and Ayaan’s life leading up to it, are all chronicled in her best-selling book, Infidel.

Ayaan has shown great courage, risking her life to voice the injustice she sees around her. But she has done more than speak out. Ayaan has channeled her life experiences, and the attention she garnered, towards the AHA Foundation. She took tangible action to protect women and girls from the honor violence she herself and so many others she knew faced.