A couple of weeks ago, I wrote to you on July 4 to celebrate the founding ideals and values of America. This summer, I want to share with you two blogs that epitomize those values—democracy, free speech, and liberty for all—by two members of the CLARITy Coalition.
CLARITy is a group of Muslim reformers, ex-Muslims, academics, activists, and others who came together to challenge the dangerous ideology of Islamism. AHA Foundation was instrumental in getting it off the ground, and we share their commitment to upholding Western democratic values.
As the first anniversary of the horrific attack on Salman Rushdie approaches, CLARITy’s work has never been more important.
The first blog is an interview with Thomas Sheedy, a Founding Member of CLARITy and the president of Atheists for Liberty. In it, Thomas discusses his activist history, how inspired he is by CLARITy’s diversity, his fight to defend democratic Enlightenment values, and more. Read the interview here.
The second blog is with Jaleh Tavakoli, the first non-founding member who signed up after attending the first CLARITy conference in Europe last year. She was inspired by seeing the diverse group of people who had united to champion liberty against the threat of Islamist tyranny. Her story of leaving Iran to find freedom in Denmark is fascinating, and in the blog she also discusses the dangers of Islamism, her experience at the CLARITy conference, and much more. Read it here.
Meanwhile, I’m delighted to share with you the wonderful news that last month, hot on the heels of our Vermont victory in April, Connecticut banned child marriage! Meanwhile, the governor signed 6 of the 10 bills needed to end child marriage in Michigan. Due to procedural technicalities, the remaining 4 bills will have to wait until September to be passed, but this is a huge achievement nonetheless. When the other bills are signed, Michigan will be the 10th state to end child marriage, meaning that 1 in 5 states will have outlawed this abusive practice!
AHA’s Director of Policy and Women’s Programs Michele Hanash testified in support of the Michigan bills alongside Unchained at Last founder Fraidy Reiss. You can watch an excerpt from her powerful testimony here and view the full hearing, including the rest of Michele’s testimony, here. Thanks to your support of the hard work of AHA Foundation and its allies, we have moved another step forward in ending the blight of child marriage in America forever. With your help, we continue to be Disruptors for Good. You can read more about this victory here.
With the news from Connecticut and Michigan, plus our earlier progress in ending child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) in Vermont and Washington state, respectively (read more here), 2023 is turning into a fantastic year for women’s rights in the U.S. With your help, we can keep the momentum going!
I’m also proud that AHA Foundation has set up a support group for survivors of FGM in Chicago under our federally-funded anti-FGM project WE STOP FGM/C Chicago North Side. If you or someone you know want to learn more, see here.
Last month, the second webinar in The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Dialogues series took place. I spoke with singer and commentator Winston Marshall about free speech in the age of cancel culture. The recording of the webinar is now available to watch here. You can find out more information about the series here.
Finally, I want to thank all those who gave to our spring matching campaign earlier this year. With your support, we unlocked $15,000 in matching funds provided by our generous donor Bill Miller. By giving to the campaign, you doubled your impact and have helped to ensure that AHA Foundation can keep fighting to preserve, protect, and promote Western freedoms and ideals. Thank you.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Founder