Netherlands: Hirsi Ali publishes children's book

A former Dutch lawmaker and outspoken critic of Islam published a children's book on Thursday, about a friendship between a Muslim boy and a Jewish girl, that seeks to fight prejudice in both communities.

Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been living under heavy guard since the murder in 2004 of fellow Islam critic Theo van Gogh, who directed a film she wrote which accused Islam of condoning violence against women.

Her new book -- "Adan and Eva" -- tells the story of a Moroccan boy and a rich Jewish girl living in Amsterdam. Adan takes Eva to Koran school, while Adan gets drunk on wine served at a Jewish meal.

Their families eventually decide to break up the friendship and Eva is sent to boarding school in Switzerland, while Adan is banished to Morocco.

"Everything starts at school. That is where children learn about each other and learn to respect each other. We live in a world of adult prejudice," Hirsi Ali told De Telegraaf daily. "Reconciliation starts with children."

Hirsi Ali's spokeswoman said she hoped the book would also be published in English and said the Spanish, Italian and Danish rights had already been sold. Hirsi Ali's autobiography "Infidel" is one of the New York Times top 20 bestsellers.

She moved to the United States in 2006 after leaving the Dutch parliament following a row about her citizenship was triggered when she admitted she had lied to win asylum.

Hirsi Ali said she was still spent a lot of time trying to raise funds to pay for her security after the Dutch government decided to stop paying for protection abroad.

She accused the government of stifling debate about Islam and leading a "systematic campaign against free speech" after a cartoonist was detained earlier this month on suspicion of offending Muslims due to his provocative drawings.

In March, Dutch anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders stoked Muslim anger around the world with a film accusing the Koran of inciting violence and saying the 1 million Muslims living in the Netherlands posed a security threat.

Source: Reuters (English)

See also: Adan & Eva on the Hirsi Ali blog

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