(TRUTHJOURNALISM.COM) — Prominent anti-Islam campaigner Ayaan Hirsi Ali has apparently cancelled her tour to Australia at the last minute due to security concerns.
The news was first announced by ABC’s Q&A twitter account in a vague tweet Monday morning.
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) April 2, 2017
TruthJournalism.com understands that Hirsi Ali’s tour from the 6-9th of April was sponsored and hosted by Think Inc, which is “an online platform focusing on insightful conversations, innovative ideas and the ideology of today’s world.”
“Ayaan Hirsi Ali regrets that for a number of reasons including security concerns she must cancel her upcoming appearances,” Think Inc said in a statement to AAP on Monday.
“She wishes the event organisers success in their future endeavours and hopes to return to Australia in the not too distant future.”
About 2,000 tickets had been sold to Hirsi Ali’s speaking engagements around the country.
The organisation said attendees were being notified by email about the cancellations and will receive refunds.
The Somali-born, Dutch-American is well-known for her strong views on the Islamic faith, and says she herself has been subjected to some of its practices.
Hirsi Ali’s proposed tour sparked quite a controversy with various Muslim activists and “free speech advocates” expressing their “disappointment” in a Change.org petition apparently representing “the huge diversity of opinion amongst Australian Muslim women.”
The petition rejected Hirsi Ali’s “hate-mongering and bigotry”, and accused her “divisive rhetoric” of serving to “increase hostility and hatred towards Muslims”.
Prior to the tour’s cancellation, Think Inc announced last week that it had beefed-up security at the venues for Hirsi Ali’s speaking engagements that were to be held in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
The security measures included bag checks and wanding with metal detectors and brief background checks for those wishing to meet Hirsi Ali in-person at the “meet and greet” opportunity in Melbourne.
“We have not received any threats, and we are working with the Australian Federal Police and local police as a commitment to creating a safe environment for all,” the announcement added.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s bio from Think Inc’s website:
Infidel. Heretic. Apostate. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has courted controversy over her years in the public eye, earning widespread criticism amongst the liberal left and death threats from the religious right.
Born in Somalia to a devout Muslim family, Hirsi Ali underwent female genital mutilation as a child and escaped an arranged marriage in 1992 by seeking political asylum in the Netherlands. In Europe, she was introduced to the works of Sigmund Freud and Herman Philipse’s Atheist Manifesto, experiences which together with the September 11th attacks spurred her to renounce her religion. Rising on the political scene as an opponent of Islam, Hirsi Ali has denounced the abuse of Muslim women even in liberal societies, while Western leaders resist reform.
Hirsi Ali collaborated with director Theo van Gogh to produce Submission, a short film critiquing misogyny prescribed in Quranic texts. The film’s 2004 release led directly to van Gogh’s assassination and calls for a jihad against Hirsi Ali. In 2006 the Dutch government threw doubts on her citizenship status, and though she ultimately retained her Dutch passport the procedures prompted her move to the USA. She has since founded the AHA Foundation in defence of women’s rights, and served as a fellow with the think-tank, the American Enterprise Institute.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali remains a vocal critic of Islam, in particular, Sharia’s treatment of women and sexual minorities, the proliferation of genital mutilation, honour killings, forced marriages and social isolation. Calling for reform in the religion, Hirsi Ali has also called for Western leaders like Tony Abbott to stop denying the link between extremist groups and religion. “I want to say to him ‘please don’t say such things in public because it’s just not true.’ You’re letting down all the individuals who are reformers within Islam who are asking the right questions that will ultimately bring about change.”
“That’s the problem. I’m not talking about Muslims, I’m talking about non-Muslim liberals who are saying ‘it has nothing to do with Islam’ and that is shocking, distressing, disappointing.”
Critics have accused her of anti-Muslim hate speech, decrying her portrayal of the religion as a “nihilistic cult of death” and “the new fascism” in which violence is inherent. Other commentators like the late Christopher Hitchens praised her intellectual prowess, while novelist Roger L. Simon deemed her a “modern Joan of Arc”.
Watch Hirsi Ali’s video produced for Prager University on the all-important question: “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?”