Islam critic Hirsi Ali wins German media prize | News | DW | 10.05.2012
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Islam critic Hirsi Ali wins German media prize

Dutch writer and Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali is to receive a special award by German publishing house Axel Springer to honor her outspoken attitude and commitment to women's rights.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch writer and outspoken critic of Islam, has been awarded a special achievements prize worth 25,000 euros ($32,375) by German publishing heavyweight Axel Springer.

The prize, which she will receive at a ceremony on Thursday night, honors her "commitment to freedom and her courage to have unconventional views," according to Axel Springer.

Director Marc Thomas Spahl said the panel awarding the prize was particularly impressed with Hirsi Ali's uncompromising fight for Muslim women's rights and that "she always found brave words even if it meant putting her own life at risk."

Somali-born Hirsi Ali, who came to the Netherlands in 1992, is a former Dutch member of parliament and best-selling author of the autobiography "Infidel: My Life." The book gives a graphic account of the violence she was subjected to in Somalia in the name of Islam and her subsequent rejection of her faith.

She also wrote the script and provided the voiceover for Theo van Gogh's "Submission," a film showing Muslim women suffering abuse.

After receiving numerous death threats from Muslims in Europe she moved to Washington in 2006, where she lives under protection.

The Axel-Springer prize has been awarded to young journalists in German-speaking countries since 1991 and it is designed to show journalists and publishers that it is worth fighting for a cause and that their voices are being heard.

ng/ipj (AP, KNA)