Wednesday night Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke at UNT in the inaugural EncoUNTers international lecture. I have been listening to her book, Infidel, on CD for the last several days (still haven't finished). It is phenomenal.
She is a well-known critic of Islam and she is in great danger. We were not permitted to publicize her appearance here by any electronic media (including e-mail or blog) or in newspapers due to the security issues, but it was a packed house.
She is a Somalian woman raised in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Ethiopia. She fled to Europe to escape an arranged marriage, became a Dutch citizen and then a member of the Dutch Parliament, and eventually worked with filmmaker Theo van Gogh on a movie about domestic violence against Muslim women. Due to his role in producing this film, in 2004 Van Gogh was murdered in the street as he rode his bicycle home, and a note was left pinned to his chest threatening Ali's life.
The security was very tight but there were no real problems. You can read a newspaper article about the talk here.
I urge you all to read this book. It's causing me to think about many, many things in ways I have not before, and while I read a lot, I don't usually get that from a book. This woman is a true hero.