Ayaan Hirsi Ali Gets E.U. Protection

The European commissioner for justice and home affairs has just announced plans to offer Ayaan Hirsi Ali (author of this month’s Skepchick book selection) protection throughout the European Union. This is very good news, strengthening the cause of those who might speak out against violent fundamentalists as she and her murdered colleague Theo Van Gogh have done. Details can be found on the Guardian’s site. That article seems slightly biased against Hirsi Ali: “From then until last autumn, at a cost of around two million euros a year, she enjoyed special 24-hour Dutch police protection, even after she went to live in the US.” To say she enjoyed it is at best misleading, if you’ve read Infidel. Why put it like that? Perhaps I’m being too sensitive. Anyway, if the E.U. follows through, this is quite a triumph for free speech.

Thanks to Rav Winston for the tip.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

Related Articles


  1. Glad to hear the EU is giving her protection. As for the article I can't believe anybody would enjoy being guarded by police 24 hours a day. I haven't read the book but I can imagine that living with the realistic threat of being assassinated everyday must be pretty horrifying, not enjoyable.

  2. I don’t think you’re being too sensitive. They should have phrased that differently. I’m glad to see she’ll be getting some protection.

  3. I agree, it sounds like they're implying she got some super-duper perk normally only available to REALLY special people. Hellooooo … like anybody'd really want to need 24-hour protection from being killed dead.

  4. As an interesting story for comparison, Aarhus City Council in Denmark this week tried to fire (or at least lay off) the wife of Muhammed-cartoon-artist Kurt Westergaard.

    Mrs. Westergaard works in a kindergarten so the decision to get rid of her was defended with a typical "but think of the chillllllldrun". Fortunately her union intervened and the decision was reversed.

  5. Just as a point of information, ‘enjoy’ doesn't necessarily imply delight or pleasure on the part of the recipient. Definition 2 is simply “to possess or benefit from” – in math and logic, the word is even applied to idealized inanimate objects, as in “a cylinder enjoys angular symmetry.” The geometric shape in question may or may not be tickled about this useful property. That said, the reporter could conceivably employ both definitions as an inappropriate double entendre.

  6. Enjoyed? Yeah, somehow I doubt that. Most writers (successful ones, anyway) are quite adpet at picking words specifically to make people feel certain things – you were right to pick that out.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button