CONTROVERSAL anti-Islam campaigner Ayaan Hirsi Ali has cancelled her forthcoming Australia and New Zealand tour due to a “number of reasons including security concerns”.
The Dutch-American who has called Islam a “nihilistic cult of death” and “the new fascism” had originally scheduled dates of her so-called Hero of Heresy tour between April 6 and 9 in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland.
According to event organisers Think Inc., Ayaan wished them “success in their future endeavours and hopes to be able to return to Australia in the not too distant future.”
Ayaan is a high-profile campaigner against “female genital mutilation”, arranged marriages and claims to oppose Islam based on defending women’s rights.
She was born in Somalia into a prominent political family and later claimed asylum in the Netherlands, allegedly to escape an arranged marriage. After the Sept 11 attacks, she began to become critical of Islam and the following year renounced her belief in God.
Ayaan was once a member of Geert Wilders’ Dutch far-right Party for Freedom (PVV), which was recently defeated in the country’s national elections by running on a “Stop Islam” platform, and is now a highly-paid speaker on conservative circuits around the world.
Dates of Ayaan’s Australia and New Zealand tour featured special tickets for ‘Meet & Greet’ sessions, and audience members could buy an Annual Pass 2017 for AUD299 (US$227) to see all shows.
She was also scheduled to appear on the Australian national broadcaster’s Q&A program – a weekly panel discussion of political and social issues.
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) April 2, 2017
A group of Australian Muslim women campaigning against Ayaan’s visit released a video ahead of the tour, stating that “you don’t speak for us. You are not our ally.”
“You’re here to profit from an industry that exists to dehumanise us,” said women in the video posted on Facebook.
Muslim women respond to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a star of the global Islamophobia industry.
Posted by Persons of Interest on Sunday, April 2, 2017
“How can you claim to stand for our liberation, when you simply repeat the language of our oppressors?”
Melbourne-based Muslim activist Hana Assafiri told The Guardian Australia that Ayaan had “been invited time and again to engage with activist, feminist Muslim women and engage in conversation with a community of progressive Muslims and her decline, to me, speaks volumes.”
She pointed out that security concerns had not prevented Ayaan from speaking in the past, and said the cancellation merely showed that Australians would not tolerate “this divisive, simplistic hate speech.”
She said, “A group of feminists opposing her rhetoric – we’re not a security threat, and she’s got a whole security entourage with her.”
Ahead of her Australian tour, Ayaan told Fairfax Media that “We need to hold (US) President (Donald) Trump accountable for his promise that he was going to go after Islamic terrorism.”
“We should not be distracted by disagreements on very small slices of policy, like the 90-day ban. Ninety days is not a long time. The problem of Islamic extremism is a huge one. It is one of the biggest threats facing the globe, not just the United States.”
Fairfax’s Sydney Morning Herald foreign editor Maher Mughrabi wrote of Ayaan’s branding one billion Muslims as being part of a death cult that “it is the remark of a lunatic – or a very canny self-publicist.”
Some Australian netizens expressed disappointment at the cancellation, citing it as a breach of free speech.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali being unable to go and SPEAK in Australia is unacceptable. We must stand for freedom of speech without the fear of violenece
— matty (@Truman_Black) April 3, 2017
— Hothead (@hotheads_com_au) April 3, 2017
Prominent Australian conservative commentator Miranda Devine responded to the announcement by stating “congratulations to the totalitarian bullies.”
— Emma-Kate Symons (@eksymons) April 3, 2017