half the muslim world is invisible

--and no one anywhere is doing much to change that, since the people involved are not men.

In Amsterdam, with a huge significant immigrant population dominated by those who share her religious heritage, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been trying to turn the lights on.

What Mr. Fortuyn did on the right, Ms. Hirsi Ali has done on the left. Many in the Labor Party, where she worked on immigration issues, were shocked when she told reporters that Mr. Fortuyn was right in calling Islam "backward."

"At the very least Islam is facing backward and it has failed to provide a moral framework for our time," she said in one conversation. "If the West wants to help modernize Islam, it should invest in women because they educate the children."

Her life is now in danger.
[She has been] receiving hate mail, anonymous messages calling her a traitor to Islam and a slut. On several Web sites, other Muslims said she deserved to be knifed and shot. Explicit death threats by telephone soon followed. The police told her to change homes and the mayor of Amsterdam sent bodyguards. She tried living in hiding. Finally, last month, she became a refugee again, fleeing the Netherlands.
She's planning to go back now, to stand for the Dutch Parliament. She's going to need a lot of help, but even if it comes, it may not be enough to ensure her own survival.

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Published on November 9, 2002 1:38 PM.

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