FAQ about the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust

Frequently Asked Questions about the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust Answered by Sam Harris

I have seen some of these questions asked in different places, so I assume some readers here might have the same concerins. I’ve signed up for a monthly amount because I think it’s terribly important to help protect free speech against any tyranny, but especially agaist violent religious tyranny. And also because I try to do my best to protect and promote women’s rights — the right of women to be human beings — in every way I can, and Islam completely dehumanizes women.

You’ll have to go to the link for the answers:

1. As a bestselling author, can’t Ayaan Hirsi Ali afford to pay for her own protection?

2. In your original appeal, you wrote that “if every reader of this email simply pledged ten dollars a month to protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the costs of her security would be covered for as long as the threat to her life remains.” How can you say this if you don’t know how far the email has spread? And if you only need $10 from each person why does the security page have options to give as much as $1000 per month?

3. Aren’t there more important causes to support than the protection of Ayaan Hirsi Ali?

4. Might this just be a waste of money? Do bodyguards actually make a difference?

5. Isn’t it true that the Dutch would still protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali if she remained in Holland?

6. Why single out Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Don’t other Muslim dissidents need our support?

7. What will you do with the money, if you don’t raise enough of it?

8. What will you do if you raise more money than is needed?

9. Ayaan Hirsi Ali works for the American Enterprise Institute—a “neoconservative” think-tank. Why should liberals support her?

10. How widely is this appeal being circulated? Is this only a secular effort, or have you reached out to Christians and moderate Muslims as well?

11. Is there a risk that a high profile appeal such as this might be seen as a victory by the extremists who threaten Muslim apostates?

12. Will you personally be giving to the Security Trust every month?


Donna Druchunas is a freelance technical writer and editor and a knitwear designer. When she's not working, she blogs, studies Lithuanian, reads science and sci-fi books, mouths off on atheist forums, and checks her email every three minutes. (She does that when she's working, too.) Although she loves to chat, she can't keep an IM program open or she'd never get anything else done.

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  1. Chupacabras, allow me to quote here the caption you specify:

    "I preach to women in a mosque. I talk about Islamic legislation, the five pillars of Islam, marriage, divorce, women’s rights, inheritance laws. I can’t stand the stereotyping about Islam because it is not the truth.

    The West believes that women in Islam are suppressed, oppressed, deprived of their rights. This is not true. Nothing has supported women and given rights to women like Islam."

    That sounds like quite a solid refutation of the statement that "Islam completely dehumanizes women," I admit. But how do you (or, indeed, how can anyone) square this claim of hers with the fact that Islamic law in Saudi Arabia imposes a strict dress code on women that it does not impose on men, and furthermore that it forbid to travel or have surgery without the consent of her husband or father, to drive, or even to meet with a man not related to her?

    Heck, as you can see in this article (, it even punishes a woman for being gang-raped! That, to me, shows about as thoroughly as possible that "Islam completely dehumanizes women." Western nations typically treat even their animals with more sense and compassion than that. The woman quoted above seems to me no more than a stellar example of Stockholm syndrome.


  2. Eerm yes, "Anyone who doubts the effectiveness of professional security should remember that Ms. Hirsi Ali’s colleague, Theo van Gogh, having declined diplomatic protection of his own, was immediately murdered on an Amsterdam street": the murderer killed Theo (nearly cutting the head off) only to leave a letter pinned to the chest addressed to Ayaan.

    She lied a bit about some things… she's not that 100% popular either. She's not someone easily associated with the words "fair play". I'm from Holland btw, as if that matters.

  3. I don't care if she's a bitch, a liar, or a whore. She doesn't deserve to be attacked because she is an infidel or because she has not nice things to say about Islam.

  4. Sometimes I wonder if there aren't multiple "Islams". About a year ago I had coffee with a (female) Egyptian professor who described Islam in Egypt a lot like Catholicism in Italy: it's part of the cultural background, not an oppressive rule from above. She could wear the same clothes in Egypt she wore in America (stylish blouse and slacks, as I recall), for example. She also referred to Saudi Arabia and Iran as "the crazies".

    But that's Islam in Cairo, according to an educated woman who probably grew up in the equivalent of a middle-class neighborhood. The "Islams" in Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran are quite different beasts indeed. I suspect even in Egypt there's considerable variation.

    Just because some women haven't experienced such dehumanizing interpretations of Islam doesn't mean "True" Islam is a wonderful religion with some minor problems … any more than we can let Christianity off the hook for the Inquisition, the Crusades, murders of abortionists and gays, deaths during exorcisms, "witch hunts" in Africa, and so forth.

  5. Oh Noes! there's more than one Islam? You mean like there's more than one flavor of christianity? Like how catholics in Italy are totally different from Americans, or Protestants in England, or south America!

    Heaven forbid!

    Actually, I'm sure Mrs. Magda Amer is indeed one of the moderates who don't realise her religion is being hijacked by extremists to commit atrocities (like so many indignated christians in the US feel upset when you attack their extremists).

    But anyway, I think if you look at the caption on picture 9, you'll also notice a subtle "god says this is my role, so I play that role" mentality, which is EXACTLY what oppression starts with: surrrender.

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