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Islam critic cancels Auckland leg

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/04/2017

Security concerns have forced controversial author and anti-Islamic activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali to pull out of a planned speaking tour which was meant to hit Auckland and Australia.

Ms Hirsi Ali, who lives with round-the-clock security protection due to her criticisms of radical Islamists, was due to speak at events in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland this week.

She was due to speak at the Bruce Mason Centre on Auckland's North Shore on April 9.

Organisers of her trip Think Inc say it's disappointed at her last minute cancellation.

"Ayaan Hirsi Ali regrets that for a number of reasons including security concerns she must cancel her upcoming appearances," Think Inc said in a statement to AAP on Monday.

"She wishes the event organisers success in their future endeavours and hopes to return to Australia in the not too distant future."

About 2000 tickets had been sold to Ms Hirsi Ali's speaking events in Australia.

Buyers were being notified by email about the cancellations and will receive refunds.

Ms Hirsi Ali's trip to Australia had sparked protests from a group of Muslim women who accused her of hate mongering and bigotry.

Nearly 400 people signed an online petition against Ms Hirsi Ali's speaking tour.

"Against a backdrop of increasing global Islamophobia, Hirsi Ali's divisive rhetoric simply serves to increase hostility and hatred towards Muslims," the petition, posted on Change.org, said.

Ms Hirsi Ali has repeatedly criticised radical Islamists and sharia law and wants moderate Muslims to reform their religion.

She was raised a Muslim by her family in Somalia, but later renounced her religion after seeking political asylum in the Netherlands in the early 1990s in an attempt to escape an arranged marriage.

Ms Hirsi Ali joined Geert Wilders' far right party in the Netherlands but moved to the US after receiving death threats for helping to make a short film that showed images of violence against women alongside verses from the Koran.

In a paper written for the Hoover Institute at Stanford University last month, Ms Hirsi Ali argues the public needs to be better educated about the political ideology of Islamists and the ways they recruit and finance their operations so they can reach their ultimate goal of imposing sharia law.

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