From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]
GIVE THE GIFT OF BODYGUARDS
I CAN THINK OF A FEW OTHER PEOPLE THIS COULD WORK FOR
“An outspoken defender of women’s rights in Islamic societies, Ms.
Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. She escaped an arranged
marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992, and served as a
member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006. In parliament, she
worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into
Dutch society, and on defending the rights of women in Dutch muslim
society. In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made
Submission, a film about the oppression of women in conservative
Islamic cultures. The airing of the film on Dutch television resulted
in the assassination of van Gogh by an Islamic extremist. At AEI, Ms.
Hirsi Ali will be researching the relationship between the West and
Islam; women’s rights in Islam; violence against women propagated by
religious and cultural arguments; and Islam in Europe.”
THE AYAAN HIRSI ALI SECURITY TRUST
Frequently Asked Questions about the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust
Answered by Sam Harris
1. As a bestselling author, can’t Ayaan Hirsi Ali afford to pay for
her own protection?
For security reasons, I cannot give specific information about the
arrangements that have been made for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but I can say
that the average security costs for people with similar security
profiles can be in excess of two million dollars per year. Needless to
say, very few writers sell enough books to cover such an extraordinary
expense (and Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not among them).
This might seem like an outrageous sum to spend so that one woman can
safely stand at a university lectern and speak about the power of
reason and the rights of little girls–and it is an outrageous sum and
an outrageous circumstance. It is, of course, galling that a mere
advocate of human rights and basic rationality should require special
protection in the United States. But this is simply a fact of life in
a world where freedom of speech and conscience falls ever more under
the shadow of Muslim fanaticism. In my opinion, there is no one making
a more heroic effort to change this fact than Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
2. In your original appeal, you wrote that “if every reader of this
email simply pledged ten dollars a month to protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali,
the costs of her security would be covered for as long as the threat
to her life remains.” How can you say this if you don’t know how far
the email has spread? And if you only need $10 from each person why
does the security page have options to give as much as $1000 per
The idea of offering a monthly subscription was to allow everyone to
make a meaningful contribution to Ms. Hirsi Ali’s protection. Given
what I know about the general costs of security, and the fact that the
original email went out to over 15,000 people, it was correct to say
that Ms. Hirsi Ali’s needs would be largely met if everyone gave $10 a
month indefinitely. However, the truth is that only about half of the
people receiving the email will open it; fewer will read it; and fewer
still will donate.
I would be extremely happy if we could meet Ms. Hirsi Ali’s security
needs in a grassroots way, with small donations, but this is not
realistic. Protecting her will require some much larger gifts of
money. Such gifts are still needed and actively being sought.
3. Aren’t there more important causes to support than the protection
of Ayaan Hirsi Ali?
There are countless worthy targets for our generosity. Whether it is
helping to alleviate hunger in the developing world or building a new
pediatric hospital in the United States, one must choose between
absolute need and absolute need, and such choices often defy rational
Allow me to briefly make the case, however, that in this wilderness of
competing needs and limited resources, the ongoing protection of Ayaan
Hirsi Ali deserves our special commitment. In fact, few projects
represent such a perfect marriage of moral and intellectual necessity.
While the threat of Muslim extremism still seems distant to many of us
living in the developed world, I think it is the one problem that has
the potential to suddenly eclipse all others.
When one considers the cascading effects of what 19 jihadists did with
box-cutters on September 11th, 2001–now measured in the trillions of
dollars–it is difficult to imagine how the world might look after a
single incident of nuclear terrorism. I think it is safe to say,
however, that if we do suffer even one such attack, global warming
will seem the least of our concerns. For this reason, I think that the
superstition and bigotry that currently plagues Muslim communities,
East and West, is the most pressing issue of our time. I know of no
person better placed to awaken the world to the scope of this growing
emergency than Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
4. Might this just be a waste of money? Do bodyguards actually make a
Anyone who doubts the effectiveness of professional security should
remember that Ms. Hirsi Ali’s colleague, Theo van Gogh, having
declined diplomatic protection of his own, was immediately murdered on
an Amsterdam street. It is true that no security can be perfect,
especially when one’s enemies are willing to commit suicide. But the
fact that U.S. diplomats successfully travel to places like Kabul and
Baghdad demonstrates that the combination of intelligence, secrecy,
and armed protection can make a difference. It is safe to say that Ms.
Hirsi Ali is only alive today because the Dutch gave her diplomatic
protection the moment she started receiving death threats in 2002.
5. Isn’t it true that the Dutch would still protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali if
she remained in Holland?
The Dutch government has said as much. But the offer does not seem to
be in good faith. The threat to Ms. Hirsi Ali is actually greatest in
Holland, and it is much more expensive to protect her there. In fact,
the security precautions necessary to keep her safe in Holland are
quite stifling. She is much better placed in the U.S. to do her work.
(For more on this subject, please see the opinion piece I wrote with
6. Why single out Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Don’t other Muslim dissidents need
There surely are other Muslim dissidents who are threatened and
deserve our support. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the most visible, however. In
the event we raise enough money for her security, we will help others
as well. Several of us are in the process of forming non-profit
foundations for this larger purpose.
7. What will you do with the money, if you don’t raise enough of it?
The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust will pay for Ms. Hirsi Ali’s
security until the money runs out. Hopefully we will raise enough to
cover her needs indefinitely. If we do not raise enough money, and no
government steps forward to offer her diplomatic protection, Ms. Hirsi
Ali could be forced to stop doing her work and enter the witness
protection program. Hopefully it will never come to that.
8. What will you do if you raise more money than is needed?
Given the costs of Ms. Hirsi Ali’s security, excess funds are not
expected. However, if we raise enough money to cover Ms. Hirsi Ali’s
security, I will send an announcement by email to every person who has
donated to the Security Trust through this website. This will give
people a choice about whether to continue to give to a surplus fund. I
will, of course, make a similar announcement if Ms. Hirsi Ali is ever
given diplomatic protection by the U.S. government (or any other).
The surplus fund will be used to support other dissidents and public
intellectuals in the Muslim world – through conferences, media events,
publications, or by making similar efforts to pay for their
9. Ayaan Hirsi Ali works for the American Enterprise Institute–a
“neoconservative” think-tank. Why should liberals support her?
Ms. Hirsi Ali’s cause transcends politics and should motivate liberals
and conservatives equally. The American Enterprise Institute, to its
great credit and to the enduring shame of my fellow liberals, was the
only think-tank to offer Ms. Hirsi Ali a job when her security
concerns finally forced her to leave Holland. Even if you find the
views of certain AEI fellows as objectionable as I do, please
recognize that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an independent scholar. The AEI
deserves credit for having the courage and wisdom to support her.
Donations to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust do not go to (or
through) the AEI.
10. How widely is this appeal being circulated? Is this only a secular
effort, or have you reached out to Christians and moderate Muslims as
I’ve reached out to everyone I think could be helpful, including
people like Pastor Rick Warren. I am very happy to say that Pastor
Warren responded immediately (as fast as the fastest atheist) and
pledged to help. I’ve also sent this appeal to my few contacts among
practicing Muslims. Needless to say, I think it would be only fitting
if moderate Muslims helped protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali from the immoderate
11. Is there a risk that a high profile appeal such as this might be
seen as a victory by the extremists who threaten Muslim apostates?
From my point of view, we don’t have the luxury of worrying about
this. I think our society should be devoting immense resources to the
problem of encouraging and protecting dissidents in the Muslim world.
Until governments realize this, private citizens will have to do what
they can. The real victory for the extremists would be if someone like
Ayaan Hirsi Ali could no longer make public appearances and do her
12. Will you personally be giving to the Security Trust every month?
Questions about the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust can be sent to:
author [at] samharris [dot] org
Please have the subject line read: “Question about the Security Trust”
URGENT APPEAL: PLEASE HELP PROTECT AYAAN HIRSI ALI
Thank you for your interest in helping Ayaan Hirsi Ali. If you would
like more information about her, you can find it here:
All contributions made below go directly to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Security Trust. This private trust is dedicated to financing Ms. Hirsi
Ali’s security and can accept donations both from within the United
States and internationally.
While one-time donations will be deeply appreciated, please consider
setting up a monthly subscription on your credit card. A monthly
subscription can allow anyone to make a meaningful contribution toward
Ms. Hirsi Ali’s security without incurring great expense up front.
Unfortunately, donations to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust are not
tax-deductible, as U.S. law does not currently allow for charitable
contributions to be directed toward a single individual. However, if a
tax-deduction is important to you, a more general charity as been set
up, the Foundation for Freedom of Expression, whose mission is to help
protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali as well as other dissidents in the Muslim
world. Tax Deductable Donations to the foundation may be sent by check
or wire-transfer directly to:
The Foundation for Freedom of Expression, Inc
Bank of Georgetown
1054 31st Street, N.W., Suite 18
Washington, DC 20007
Account Number: 1010054805
Bank Routing Number: 054001712
Employer Identification Number (EIN): 33-1185369
Use this form to set up a recurring monthly donation.
Payment by Check
Checks should be made payable to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust
and sent to:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust
Bank of Georgetown
1054 31st Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
Ayaan Hirsi Ali Trust Tax Identification Number: 75-6826872
Wire Transfer from within the U.S.
Account Name: Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust
Account Number: 1010054748
Bank Name: Bank of Georgetown
Bank Address: 1054 31st Street, N.W., Suite 18, Washington, DC 20007
Bank Telephone: 202-355-1200
Bank Routing Number: 054001712
International Wire Transfer
For international wire transfers from outside the U.S. to the bank
accounts of the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust, you can also wire to
the Netherlands bank account of Dorchester House B.V., which has
dedicated one of their accounts for supporting Security of Ms Hirsi
Ali. All donations and contributions to this account will be forwarded
to the US bank account of the Security Trust and no bank- or other
expenses will be charged. All cash flow is supervised by external
chartered accountants of the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust.
Donations can be made to:
Dorchester House B.V., Amsterdam
Account number: 4732822 with Postbank NV, Amsterdam
IBAN number: NL61PSTB0004732822
BIC/SWIFT code bank: PSTBNL21 Postbank NV, Amsterdam
Please note however that the USA does not have or use IBAN numbers.
Use the ‘account number’ 1010054748 instead. Also, you will need the
routing number 054001712 (also known as FedWire or ABA). Like most US
financial institutions this (ABA) number is used by the Bank of
Georgetown as their only routing type and the SWIFT/BIC code is NOT
“Eid-Mubarak” : The Holy Quran says: “Ramadan is the (month) in which
was sent down the Holy Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear
(Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong).” (2:185)