Ayaan Hirsi Ali Converts To Christianity


Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a sharp critic of Islam and vocal atheist, has gone through a new conversion — revealing that she’s now a Christian for spiritual and cultural reasons.

“I still have a great deal to learn about Christianity,” she wrote in an essay published on Monday at the British website Unherd. “I discover a little more at church each Sunday. But I have recognized, in my own long journey through a wilderness of fear and self-doubt, that there is a better way to manage the challenges of existence than either Islam or unbelief had to offer.”  

Hirsi Ali, 54, did not say which Christian denomination she was now a member of and did not reveal which church she attends.

Hirsi Ali has been a critic of Islam — the religion she was raised in — that led to death threats. She became the victim of female genital mutilation as a child in Somalia. After surviving a civil war and an arranged marriage, Hirsi received political asylum in the Netherlands.

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She later served as a member of parliament in her adopted country from 2003 to 2006, where publicly renouncing her Muslim faith. In 2004, a Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh collaborated with Hirsi Ali on a short film called “Submission,” detailing the abuse and mistreatment of Muslim women. 

As a result, both received death threats. Van Gogh was murdered in November 2004 by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch-Moroccan Islamist who had objected to the film. Three years later, she helped establish the AHA Foundation, which works to protect women’s rights in the West from those suffering religious oppression. 

Hirsi Ali’s journey from Muslim to atheist to Christian reflects the current cultural and political moment. 

“To understand why I became an atheist 20 years ago, you first need to understand the kind of Muslim I had been. I was a teenager when the Muslim Brotherhood penetrated my community in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985. I don’t think I had even understood religious practice before the coming of the Brotherhood. I had endured the rituals of ablutions, prayers and fasting as tedious and pointless,” she wrote. “The preachers of the Muslim Brotherhood changed this. They articulated a direction: the straight path. A purpose: to work towards admission into Allah’s paradise after death. A method: The Prophet’s instruction manual of do’s and don’ts — the halal and the haram. As a detailed supplement to the Quran, the hadeeth spelled out how to put into practice the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, God and the devil.” 

The essay comes as the war between Israel and Hamas has entered a sixth week. Pro-Palestinian protests, some of which have been violent, have popped up across the West. At the same time, cases of antisemitism have also seen large increases in the United States and other parts of the world.  

Hirsi Ali, who works for the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the American Enterprise Institute, recalled that “the most striking quality of the Muslim Brotherhood was their ability to transform me and my fellow teenagers from passive believers into activists, almost overnight.”

“We didn’t just say things or pray for things: we did things,” she said, adding that a “special hatred” was reserved for Jews. 

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