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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 June 2006, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Dutch ex-MP retains citizenship
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ms Hirsi Ali has been offered a job in the USA
Somali-born former Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali is to be allowed to keep her Dutch citizenship despite lying in her asylum application in 1992.

Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk was forced to make a U-turn after her calls for Ms Hirsi Ali to lose her citizenship met with criticism.

Ms Hirsi Ali resigned from parliament in May after Ms Verdonk's comments.

She came to prominence in 2004 after a Muslim extremist killed her film-maker colleague Theo van Gogh.

In a letter to the Dutch parliament, Ms Verdonk said she had found a loophole which made it legitimate for Ms Hirsi Ali to have used her grandfather's name in her asylum claim, the Associated Press news agency reported.

"Taking everything into consideration, I have reached the conclusion that the naturalization decision of 1997 identifies Ayaan Hirsi Ali sufficiently and thus she did indeed correctly receive Dutch citizenship," AP quoted Ms Verdonk as saying in the letter.

Confession

In 1992, Ms Hirsi Ali gave a false name and date of birth to the immigration authorities when she arrived in the Netherlands claiming she was fleeing an arranged marriage.

She did not declare that she had arrived in the country via Kenya and Germany - refugees are usually required to seek asylum in the first safe country they reach.

But Ms Hirsi Ali, 36, said she confessed when she was vetted for parliament in 2002 but was still offered a seat as a member of the centre-right VVD party.

In a statement released on Tuesday, she said regretted giving authorities the wrong impression about her identity.

Her lawyer said the former MP was "happy there are no more questions about her Dutch citizenship", AP reported.

Ms Hirsi Ali has been offered a job at the Washington-based think tank The American Enterprise Institute to start in September.

She rose to international attention in 2004 as the writer of a controversial film on violence against Muslim women, Submission, after Mr van Gogh was murdered.


SEE ALSO
Dutch MP defies Muslim pressure
24 Jan 06 |  Europe
Profile: Ayaan Hirsi Ali
16 May 06 |  Europe

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