The American Enterprise Institute has announced a major hiring coup—Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch anti-immigration activist, will be joining the neoconservative think tank. Some are spinning that Ali was chased out of the Netherlands by "religious persecution," and indeed she's ducked years of death threats from the country's knuckle-dragging imams. But the immediate cause, apparently, is that Ali lied about her past to win Dutch asylum.
A storm erupted about her asylum application last week after a Dutch television documentary interviewed members of her family about her background. They said she had not been forced into an arranged marriage and had had nothing to fear.
Asked whether she had falsified her asylum application, Hirsi Ali told the programme she lied about her name, age and how she came to the Netherlands.
Under different circumstances this would have been a survivable scandal. But Hirsi Ali's party, the Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie, has a draconian stance on illegal immigration which includes deportation for anyone who lies in their citizenship or asylum applications. The irony is delighting Hirsi Ali's enemies—it might give pause to Dutch politicians who have swung wildly to the right on immigration policy.
For a deeper look at the issues here, check out Andrew Linklater's excellent Hirsi Ali profile.
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