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03/25/2015 12:58 pm ET

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: America's 'Corrupt,' 'Fat' Image Hurts Spread Of Democracy

Ayaan Hirsi Ali credits America's floundering efforts in the Middle East to the country's poor reputation overseas.

"It's like, 'Americans are decadent, they're corrupt, and they are fat and warmongering,'" the writer and activist told HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani in an interview on Tuesday. "This is how America is marketed to people there."

The author of Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now explained that America's reputation abroad is important as Middle Easterners work to understand what kind of government model to adopt after years of living under Sharia law.

"They understand socialism because it's been marketed to them," she continued. "They understand authoritarianism -- they've lived in it and under it."

But when it comes to democracy and the American way, Ali said the U.S. has yet to put forth an image that shows "why it's so attractive" and justifies "the long lines of people waiting for green cards from across the world."

"It's time that America tells people across the world what it's all about," Ali said.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Ayaan Hirsi Ali here.

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