Dear AHA Foundation Supporter,
Asra Q. Nomani, a co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement, and I testified last week in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs discussing the Muslim reformation and brutal treatment of women under Islamist rule. Prepared to address tough questions and help Senators learn from our personal experiences, we were surprised that not a single question came from Democratic senators, three of whom are women who have been outspoken about feminist issues. In my op-ed published in The New York Times, Asra and I speak about a deeply troubling trend among progressives who choose to ignore the war on women that is raged by Islam extremists.
In an op-ed I published in The Sunday Times earlier this month I addressed the belief in women’s shame and its role in motivating terrorist attacks around the world. The cultural belief that women are shameless and need to be punished for their actions is deadly. This cultural belief also leads to acts of honor violence and female genital mutilation (FGM).
We see this in the U.S. with the first prosecution for the criminal act of FGM underway. Six individuals have been arrested for allegedly performing genital mutilation, or assisting, on little girls in Michigan. AHA Foundation’s Senior Director Amanda Parker voiced our support for the anti-FGM legislation and testified before the Michigan House of Representatives Committee on Law and Justice. Read here to learn more about Amanda’s testimony and status of the anti-FGM legislation in Michigan.
Recently, the Virginia Imam Shaker Elsayed encouraged worshippers to subject their daughters to FGM. While the directors of the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church give the Imam a slap on the wrist, we are calling for his prosecution for inciting the criminal act of female genital mutilation. To learn more about the AHA Foundation’s response to this read here.
Zouhair Mazouz, the AHA Foundation’s Director of Campus Initiatives, believes that free speech is crucial for a battle of ideas and must be protected. In this article he explains how his life shaped his view of liberties and free speech and how he plans to protect and promote these values on college campuses across the U.S.
After learning that child marriage happens in the U.S., Kian S. Khadem, a high school student from Massachusetts, started a club at his high school to take action and protect the children in the state. His club launched a petition and inspired many of his classmates to become active against this disturbing practice. Read about Kian’s initiative here.
I am pleased to share that the New York legislature has passed legislation significantly curtailing child marriage. With this new legislation, for which the AHA Foundation met with Governor Cuomo’s team to support, the legal age to marry will be raised from 14 to 17 years old, with parental and judicial consent. Though our preference is a hard minimum at 18 to marry with no exceptions, this is a major step in the right direction. On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo signed this bill into law.
Cultural belief about the female gender as possible shameless temptresses whose behavior needs to be controlled is used to justify and fuel dangerous practices such as female genital mutilation and child marriage. We must stop these practices. We must protect girls from suffering.
Thank you for standing with us in this fight,
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Founder, The AHA Foundation
P.S. Read my op-ed published in The New York Times here, my op-ed in The Sun here, watch my testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs here, and the full session before the Committee here.