A former member of the Dutch parliament and longtime human rights advocate, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has lived in constant threat for her outspoken beliefs and collaboration with controversial director Theo van Gogh (who was murdered by a radical Islamist).
Her journey continues as she discusses starting her new life in America, reconciling with her Islamic past, and learning to adapt to Western values.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an outspoken defender of women's rights in Islamic societies. Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992, and served as a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006.
In parliament, she worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society, and on defending the rights of women in Dutch Muslim society. In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made "Submission," a film about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures.
Susanne Pari's novel, The Fortune Catcher, is a love story and a painless history lesson on the Iran-America situation. It has been translated into six languages. She was an advisor to Edgework Press and the Program Director for their Literary Salons. She has contributed to The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, National Public Radio, and Voice of America.
She sees her job as Program Director for Book Group Expo as a sly opportunity to read every book of every participating author without feeling guilty that she's having so much fun.
Author and critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali rejects the argument that Faisal Shahzad, a prime suspect in the Times Square car bombing attempt, would not have turned violent had he not been facing economic woes.
"I know people who can't read or write and who have jobs, work two jobs, three jobs," she says.
Writer and cultural critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali explores modern concepts of deities. She urges progressive Christians to proselytize Muslims, claiming that followers of Islam are not presented with enough religious options.