Has been under guard since September 2002 when she publicly announced on the radio that although being a Muslim was a part of her identity, she didn't believe in God, confirming herself as an apostate.
In 1995, attended Leiden University to study political science.
Fled to the Netherlands in 1992 where she gained entry as a single Somali woman fleeing danger. She was sent to an asylum seekers' center in Leintern.
Speaks six languages, English, Arabic, Somali, Amharic, Swahili, and Dutch.
Her father, a Somali rebel, was arrested by the authorities under the rule of Siad Barre.
From the age of six or seven, she and her family were living the lives of exiles, moving from Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia and to Kenya where they stayed for 10 years.
Was subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) at the age of five under her grandmother's order. Her father was against it and had told his wife not to have their child mutilated. Her grandmother was appalled and took matters into her own hand.
Her father had married her off to a cousin living in Canada against her wishes. En route to Canada via Germany, she took a train to the Netherlands and, in doing so, walked out on her husband, family, and culture. Her father has since forgiven her and she is now officially 'divorced' from her husband.
In May 2006 she resigned from the Dutch Parliament when the Dutch Minister of Intergration (Rita Verdonk) announced that Ayaan never had received the Dutch nationality because she intentionally provided incorrect information during her application for the Dutch Nationality.
Currently resides in the US 
Member of the Dutch House of Representatives from January 30th, 2003 to May 17th, 2006 for the VVD (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy).
Women's rights activist.
Founder, "AHA Foundation".
Personal Quotes (5)
With the first commandment, Mohammed tried to imprison common sense. And with the second commandment the beautiful, romantic side of mankind was enslaved.
People who ask me that question assume that geography is more important for Muslims than what is contained in the holy Qur'an. Of course the circumstances in which people live in Turkey are different from those in Morocco or Somalia. But when it comes to the relationship between men and women, in all these countries there is a red line of the woman being subordinate to the male. And most Muslim men justify this subordinacy with the Qur'an. There are so many meanings Europeans miss. We Muslims are brought up with the idea that there is just one relationship possible with God - submission. That's Islam: submission to the will of Allah. I want to bring about a different relationship, in which you say, 'Dear God, I would like to have a conversation with You.' Instead of submission, you get a relationship of dialog. Let's just assume it's possible.
I am not against migration. It is simply pragmatic to restrict migration, while at the same time encouraging integration and fighting discrimination. I support the idea of the free movement of goods, people, money and jobs in Europe. But that will only work if universal human rights are also adopted by the newcomers. And if they are not, then you run of the risk of losing what you have here, and what other people want when they come here, which is freedom.
From my background, being an individual is not something you take for granted. Here it is all you, me, I. There it is we, we, we. I come from a world where the word 'trauma' doesn't exist, because we are too poor. I didn't have an easy life compared to the average European. But compared to the average African, it wasn't all that bad. I know that to some people I am traumatized, that there is something wrong with me. But that just allows them not to hear what I say.
From experience, I would say it is mostly women trying to protect other women from pain. Not physical pain, but the pain of people being suspicious that you are not a virgin. That is more traumatic, perhaps, than the physical pain. In tribal life, the only way a male, particularly high up in the clan, can give his name to someone else is if he knows for certain that it is his child. And the weak link is the woman. The one way to guarantee that a woman is not going to have other people's babies is if she remains a virgin. In Arab countries, which segregate men and women, they do it by keeping women in the house. But we were from a semi-desert area, where if, like my grandfather, you have nine daughters, you need the labor of women outside. So you cut off the clitoris of the woman, sew together what is left, and you know that she will not be seduced. It is a matter of control. [on female circumcision]