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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 19:21 GMT
Islam critic asks for protection
Ayaan Hirsi Ali with French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levi (R)
Ms Ali says the threats to her life have not subsided but increased
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the former Dutch MP and outspoken critic of Islam, has appealed to the EU to create a fund to help protect people in her position.

She told the European Parliament in Brussels her life was in greater danger because the Dutch government had stopped paying for her security.

"I don't want to die, I want to live and I love life," she said.

Ms Ali added that the cost of her bodyguards was beyond anything a private person could raise.

The Somali-born former MP has been living under police protection since the murder of Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh by an Islamic extremist in 2004.

Europe needs to defend her because she has defended Europe
French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy

She was threatened in a note left on his body for writing the script for Van Gogh's Submission - a highly controversial film alleging that women were being abused under Islam.

But she left the Netherlands for the United States in 2006 after a political row in which she admitted lying in her Dutch asylum request.

She now works for a conservative think-tank in the US and the Dutch government has said it can no longer justify paying for her security.

Full-time job

Ms Ali said she had been working full-time on raising funds.

Dozens of MEPs have signed a declaration backing the creation of a fund.

But for the initiative to become official, half of the parliament's 785 will have to back the petition.

Earlier this week she announced she was seeking French citizenship.

She said the campaign for her to receive honorary French citizenship was being spearheaded by a group of French intellectuals and was supported by the country's political leaders.

"Europe needs to defend her because she has defended Europe," French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy told MEPs.



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

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