Hitchens: America must stand behind Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Indeed we must. The only semi-sane argument for both the Dutch and American governments to refuse to pay for her protection is if they thought it would cause all sorts of Islamic critics and reformers to come out of the woodwork and seek protection too, thereby making the security costs exorbitant. Which, needless to say, no one thinks is in the offing.

And if it was, I suspect at least 50% of the population would be more than happy to put those costs on the taxpayers’ tab.

Suppose the narrow and parochial view [to refuse to pay for her security] prevails in Holland, then I think that we in America should welcome the chance to accept the responsibility ourselves. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has become a symbol of the resistance, by many women from the Muslim world, to gender apartheid, “honor” killing, genital mutilation, and other horrors of clerical repression. She has been a very clear and courageous voice against the ongoing attack on our civilization mounted by exactly the same forces. Her recent memoir, Infidel (which I recommend highly, and to which, I ought to say, I am contributing a preface in its paperback edition), is an account of an extremely arduous journey from something very like chattel slavery to a full mental and intellectual emancipation from theocracy. It is a road that we must, and for our own sake as well, be willing to help others to travel.

For a while, her security in America was provided by members of the elite Dutch squad that is responsible for the protection of the Dutch royal family and Dutch politicians. The U.S. government requested that this be discontinued, for the perfectly understandable reason that foreign policemen should not be operating on American soil. The job has now been subcontracted, and was until recently underwritten by The Hague. If The Hague defaults, then does the “war on terror” administration take no interest in protecting the life of one of the finest enemies, and one of the most prominent targets, of the terrorists? Hirsi Ali has been accepted for permanent residence in the United States, and would, I think, like to become a citizen. That’s an honor. If she was the CEO of Heineken or the president of Royal Dutch Shell, and was subject to death threats while on U.S. soil, I have the distinct feeling that the forces of law and order would require no prompting to consider her safety a high priority.

Both he and Anne Applebaum claim to know that Hirsi Ali is back in the United States and under some sort of armed guard, although for obvious reasons they’re not saying more. In the meantime, with the Dutch parliament set to debate the issue later this week, he recommends e-mailing the embassy. So do I.

Jazz Shaw May 11, 2021 8:51 AM ET