SYDNEY: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born women’s advocate and leading critic of Islam, on Monday cancelled a tour of Australia and New Zealand at the last minute citing security concerns.
She was due to appear on an Australian Broadcasting Corporation current affairs panel show on Monday evening before speaking engagements later this week.
But organisers Think Inc said in a statement that “Ayaan Hirsi Ali regrets that, for a number of reasons including security concerns, she must cancel her upcoming appearances in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Auckland”.
No further details were given.
The former Dutch lawmaker is a controversial figure and has been threatened with death in the past for criticising Islam.
Born into an orthodox Muslim family in Somalia in 1969, she fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage. She obtained political asylum, followed by Dutch nationality five years later.
Hirsi Ali left the Netherlands for the United States in May 2006 following a bitter row which broke out when she admitted lying about her age and name in her Dutch asylum request.