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Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Dutch U-turn over passport for Somali-born MP

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  • Zafar Khan
    Dutch U-turn over passport for Somali-born MP By Stephen Castle in Brussels Published: 28 June 2006 http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article1115907.ece The
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 28, 2006
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      Dutch U-turn over passport for Somali-born MP
      By Stephen Castle in Brussels
      Published: 28 June 2006

      http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article1115907.ece

      The Somali-born Dutch MP and critic of Islam, Ayaan
      Hirsi Ali, is to be allowed to keep her passport and
      nationality despite falsifying her asylum application
      14 years ago.

      Six weeks after announcing plans to strip Ms Hirsi Ali
      of her citizenship, an international outcry forced the
      country's hardline Immigration Minister, Rita Verdonk,
      to reverse the decision, which had split the
      Netherlands.

      To make matters worse, Ms Hirsi Ali's neighbours
      sought to have her evicted from her home, complaining
      about the inconvenience caused by the security needed
      to guarantee her safety.

      Once a devout Muslim, Ms Hirsi Ali lives under 24-hour
      guard after a death threat against her was pinned to
      the chest of her ally, the film-maker Theo Van Gogh
      after he was murdered in 2004.

      The former MP was an outspoken critic of
      fundamentalist Islam and worked with Van Gogh on the
      film Submission, which featured veiled women with
      texts from the Koran written on their flesh.

      The passport controversy burst into life after a
      television documentary publicised the fact that Ms
      Hirsi Ali falsified information on her asylum
      application in 1992. Fleeing to the Netherlands to
      escape an arranged marriage, Ms Hirsi Ali gave a false
      name and birthday - a fact she had acknowledged
      publicly before accepting a parliamentary seat. The
      naturalisation process was completed in 1997 and Ms
      Hirsi Ali became a member of parliament in 2002.

      Ms Verdonk's attempt to remove her citizenship caused
      uproar in parliament, prompting criticism even from
      political allies. In the storm that followed, Ms Hirsi
      Ali quit parliament and tearfully announced plans to
      speed up a planned emigration to the US to take up a
      job at the Washington-based American Enterprise
      Institute think-tank. But the foreign media criticised
      the Netherlands for its failure to support a woman who
      had faced death threats for her criticism of
      fundamentalist Islam.

      The Netherlands parliament also passed motions calling
      on Ms Verdonk to ensure that Ms Hirsi Ali remained a
      Dutch citizen, whatever the nature of her
      misdemeanour.

      The minister paid a direct price, failing in her
      attempt to win the leadership of the VVD Liberal
      Party, despite being the favourite.

      Yesterday, in a letter to the Parliament, Ms Verdonk
      found a figleaf to cover her change of heart, arguing
      that it had been legitimate for Ms Hirsi Ali to use
      her grandfather's name rather than her father's name,
      Hirsi Magen. She said: "Taking everything into
      consideration, I have reached the conclusion that the
      naturalisation decision of 1997 identifies Ayaan Hirsi
      Ali sufficiently and thus she did indeed correctly
      receive Dutch citizenship. Had it not been for the
      investigation I carried out, the facts that were
      decisive in reaching this conclusion would not have
      come to light."

      Ms Hirsi Ali, 36, said she regretted admitting lying
      since the name she adopted was legitimate. She said:
      "The name Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the name that I was
      permitted to use according to Somalian law and custom
      and which may therefore serve as the basis for the
      official registration of my name in the Netherlands."

      The minister's letter may not be the end of the matter
      as Ms Verdonk's many critics will seek to exploit her
      political difficulties. Left-wing politicians want to
      know if the ruling could affect the cases of at least
      60 others stripped of their nationality for giving a
      false name during the asylum process.

      Yesterday's announcement followed a cabinet meeting in
      The Hague late on Monday. Gerrit Zalm, the Deputy
      Prime Minister and an ally of Ms Hirsi Ali, said he
      had "good hope" that the case could be finalised. Mr
      Zalm was leader of the VVD when Ms Hirsi Ali was
      recruited to run for parliament. She told him at the
      time that she had given a false name to get asylum in
      the Netherlands in 1992.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Somali-born MP can keep citizenship, says minister
      Associated Press in The Hague
      Wednesday June 28, 2006
      The Guardian

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1807354,00.html

      Somali-born lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whose
      citizenship came under question because she falsified
      information on her asylum application in 1992, will
      retain her Dutch nationality, the Netherlands
      immigration minister said yesterday.

      The reversal came six weeks after immigration minister
      Rita Verdonk said Hirsi Ali's naturalisation was
      invalid because she gave a false name and birthday
      when she came to the Netherlands, escaping an arranged
      marriage.

      Ms Verdonk's decision created an uproar in parliament,
      which demanded that she find a way out of the
      embarrassment.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Dutch ex-MP retains citizenship

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/5120846.stm

      Somali-born former Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali is to be
      allowed to keep her Dutch citizenship despite lying in
      her asylum application in 1992.

      Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk was forced to make a
      U-turn after her calls for Ms Hirsi Ali to lose her
      citizenship met with criticism.

      Ms Hirsi Ali resigned from parliament in May after Ms
      Verdonk's comments.

      She came to prominence in 2004 after a Muslim
      extremist killed her film-maker colleague Theo van
      Gogh.

      In a letter to the Dutch parliament, Ms Verdonk said
      she had found a loophole which made it legitimate for
      Ms Hirsi Ali to have used her grandfather's name in
      her asylum claim, the Associated Press news agency
      reported.

      "Taking everything into consideration, I have reached
      the conclusion that the naturalization decision of
      1997 identifies Ayaan Hirsi Ali sufficiently and thus
      she did indeed correctly receive Dutch citizenship,"
      AP quoted Ms Verdonk as saying in the letter.

      Confession

      In 1992, Ms Hirsi Ali gave a false name and date of
      birth to the immigration authorities when she arrived
      in the Netherlands claiming she was fleeing an
      arranged marriage.

      She did not declare that she had arrived in the
      country via Kenya and Germany - refugees are usually
      required to seek asylum in the first safe country they
      reach.

      But Ms Hirsi Ali, 36, said she confessed when she was
      vetted for parliament in 2002 but was still offered a
      seat as a member of the centre-right VVD party.

      In a statement released on Tuesday, she said regretted
      giving authorities the wrong impression about her
      identity.

      Her lawyer said the former MP was "happy there are no
      more questions about her Dutch citizenship", AP
      reported.

      Ms Hirsi Ali has been offered a job at the
      Washington-based think tank The American Enterprise
      Institute to start in September.

      She rose to international attention in 2004 as the
      writer of a controversial film on violence against
      Muslim women, Submission, after Mr van Gogh was
      murdered.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      More on Ayaan Hirsi Ali at:
      http://www.islamawareness.net/AntiMusWriters/Hirsi/
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