Dutch member of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been threatened with death for writing the film “Submission” — which is heavily critical of Islam and for which filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in November. She spoke with SPIEGEL about her life as a fugitive, how to fight radical Islam, and the need for legitimate intolerance.
SPIEGEL: Ms. Hirsi Ali, the trial of Theo van Gogh’s murderers is about to begin. A Muslim fanatic stabbed the filmmaker to death in broad daylight last November, because, with your collaboration, he had filmed “Submission,” a film about the suppression of Muslim women. Did you have any idea, at the time, that this eleven-minute short film could endanger the lives of both of you?
Hirsi Ali: I knew that there are many enemies. After all, they have been threatening me ever since I turned away from my faith in 2002. I warned Theo, urged him to request a bodyguard. But he defied me, saying that he didn’t want the Dutch police entering his house.
SPIEGEL: Wasn’t he aware of the reactions he would trigger among radical Muslims by portraying an abused woman in a see-through chador, her naked body painted with verses from the Koran?
Hirsi Ali: It was, after all, his intention to be provocative. But he underestimated the radicalism of his opponents. At the time, I had long since been provided with bodyguards by the government. But Theo would ride his bicycle through the city, and he continued to be listed in the telephone book. Everyone knew where he lived. He was an easy target. His only fear was for my safety. He kept urging me to move to the United States and start a new life…
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