THE BLOG

If the US Protected Saudi Prince Bandar, Why Not Ayaan Hirsi Ali?

05/25/2011 12:15 pm ET

This last week the Dutch Justice Minister told Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the author of "Infidel," courageous champion of rights for women in the Muslim world and ex-parliamentarian, that the Dutch government would no longer pay for her protection if she traveled outside the country.

Hirsi Ali, you'll remember, made the film "Submission" with Theo van Gogh, who was murdered on an Amsterdam street by a Muslim fanatic, sticking a knife into van Gogh's chest with a note that said "Ayaan Hirsi Ali you are next."

The outspoken Hirsi Ali is as famous in Holland as Britney Spears is in the United States, causing a stir-- and courting danger -- every time she steps out of her apartment. Except it is not paparazzi hunting her down, but terrorists, some of whom have now been tried, convicted and jailed in the Netherlands for plotting to kill her.

For this reason and others related to her citizenship application, she left Holland to work and possibly live in the US. But even here she is an easy target without protection.

As Christopher Caldwell wrote about her exposure in the New York Times, "Voltaire did not risk, with his every utterance, making a billion enemies who recognized his face and could, via the Internet, share information instantaneously with people who aspired to assassinate him."

Arguing that the Dutch government should change its mind, Sam Harris and Salman Rushdie wrote this week "There is not a person alive more deserving of the freedom of speech and conscience we take for granted, nor is there anyone making a more courageous effort to defend them."

Hirsi Ali's message is universal. She is a symbol of everything liberal civilization stands for. If the Dutch won't protect her, then shouldn't the leader of the free world if she decides to live here?

After all, according to former CIA operative Robert Baer, the US thought that Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia's long-time emissary to the US until a couple of years ago, was so important that he was the only foreign ambassador to have a security detail assigned to him by the State Department.

What kind of "war on terror" are we waging if we can offer personal protection to the ambassador of the very country which is the font of Wahhabi fanaticism and intolerance, where women must cover up and aren't even allowed to drive a car, but not to Ayaan Hirsi Ali who is so committed to liberal values that her life is at risk?

Condi, surely you can divert some miniscule portion of those many millions earmarked for Blackwater to protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali. If there is a front line in the war on terror, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is it.