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← Frequently Asked Questions about the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust

Frequently Asked Questions about the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust - Comments

Janus's Avatar Comment 1 by Janus

All right, Sam. I'm convinced.

I don't like "automatic" recurring payments of any kind, so I'll just donate a $120 every 12 months, starting now.

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 19:58:00 UTC | #85336

ADParker's Avatar Comment 2 by ADParker

Thanks Sam, I note a lot of people raising concerns and questions. good of you to respond.

I for one just pledged a donation.
To my mind it doesn't much matter if it ends up doing no good, or even, as suggested by one or two, if she was pulling the wool over everyones eyes (I completely fail to see how that conclusion can be reached but anyway).

The simple fact is, we have a chance to do a good deed, to "put our money where our mouth is" as some say, to personally try to help a fellow non-theist in need of aid.

I also like the idea that if a (wealthy) government refuses to help a person in need, the people (the "evil" atheist ones no less!) are willing to step in with their much more meager assets and do what they can.
I'm just a poor postman making a meager wage indeed, I gave my $25 donation ($33.66 of my NZ dollars), surely most of you can at the very least afford to do the same?
Stop second guessing everything and give from the heart.
To me it is no big deal if my donation comes to nothing, I gave to what I considered a good cause, I tried to help, to improve the world just a little. I did good, no matter the consequences.

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 19:59:00 UTC | #85337

PeterK's Avatar Comment 3 by PeterK


Hirsi is sitting in a car right now ( ..and more than likely a BMW-type vehicle ); her headlights are shining in your eyes and hypnotising you in a trance just like Bambi's mama would be on the highway... approach her vehicle reach into the the driver's window, and shut off those headlights... whisper into her ear "You pay for your own bedclothes, darling--just like everyone else in this world does"

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 20:01:00 UTC | #85338

35bluejacket's Avatar Comment 4 by 35bluejacket

You have my support and tell Mr.Rick Warren thanks. (But I'm not going to let him take the moral high ground here.)

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 20:06:00 UTC | #85339

35bluejacket's Avatar Comment 5 by 35bluejacket

Peter K:
You are proving the Christian argument that atheist can not be moral and show compassion for humanity. I'm under the impression that that is what this site is all about, helping humanity to mature. Maybe you should find another site more inclined to your view.

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 20:29:00 UTC | #85341

eXcommunicate's Avatar Comment 6 by eXcommunicate

6. Why single out Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Don't other Muslim dissidents need our support?

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.

I'm not arrogant enough to say it was my question he was specifically addressing here, but generally he did just address my suggestion/questions about this. See? All it takes is simple, straightforward, honest answers like Sam gave to abate reasonable people like myself. No need to call names and accuse people of callousness. Just donated a modest amount (I'm "between careers" at the moment).

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 20:30:00 UTC | #85342

GBG's Avatar Comment 7 by GBG

Are any representatives of the "religion of peace" putting their hands in their pockets to protect Hirsi Ali from people who will no doubt be called "not real muslims" by any "real muslims" who read this?

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 20:59:00 UTC | #85345

MelM's Avatar Comment 8 by MelM

Thanks Sam, for all your efforts.

This from Ayaan's blog. Here's more of what we're up against. More threats in Denmark.

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 21:39:00 UTC | #85349

Big T's Avatar Comment 9 by Big T

If some people do not wish to give, that's fine. I have not tried to "shame" or "guilt" anyone else into donating, honest. But I regard what has been called "Islamofascism" as a very real threat to freedom of expression everywhere on Earth. Remember, many many newspapers and magazines refused to publish the cartoons of Muhammad in places like America. Why? Because they were afraid, of course. I have a middle-class job and lifestyle and I have contributed because I consider it a worthwhile cause. And I intend to continue to contribute. Thanks for giving me the chance, Sam.

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 21:59:00 UTC | #85352

Ben Jennings's Avatar Comment 10 by Ben Jennings

Sam is an inveterate Last Word freak, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. You can always count on him to to respond... and promptly.

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 22:05:00 UTC | #85353

kaiser's Avatar Comment 11 by kaiser

I would strongly suggest that you have a paypal option so a lot more people can donate (sending in checks will turn a lot of people off).

Also I think a lot people will donate the moment they are in "the mood" and perhaps won`t do it 2 days later by sending a check.

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 22:22:00 UTC | #85355

briancoughlanworldcitizen's Avatar Comment 12 by briancoughlanworldcitizen

Now that, was how to do it:-) Thanks Sam.

11. Comment #89473 by kaiser on November 20, 2007 at 10:22 pm
I would strongly suggest that you have a paypal option so a lot more people can donate (sending in checks will turn a lot of people off).

There is a paypal option.

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 22:39:00 UTC | #85359

PeterK's Avatar Comment 13 by PeterK


Nonsense. I simply have an ability to identify an appeal for support that is as misdirected as anything I have ever witnessed.

If anything, I am downplaying how I feel about this--but if prompted, I will continue to embellish further.

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 22:46:00 UTC | #85360

Ben Jennings's Avatar Comment 14 by Ben Jennings

If anything, I am downplaying how I feel about this--but if prompted, I will continue to embellish further.

And if not prompted, you'll promise to shut up?

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 23:10:00 UTC | #85362

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 15 by Chrysippus_Maximus

When I was in Holland last summer, I mentioned Ayaan to some people just to see what the Dutch think of her, and they were ANGRY. In general she is not well liked by anyone there (seemingly regardless of religion). The reason they gave me was that the Dutch government should not have been using tax-payer money to protect her, especially since she was no longer a member of the government there, nor residing in Holland.

They also did not like that she was so outspoken.

Several Muslim friends of mine who call themselves liberal, or libertarian even, have expressed disdain for her, because they think she has oversimplified the problems faced by women in African-Arab countries... Specifically, they claim that female genital mutilation is not in the Quran, nor in the Hadith, but is, rather, an Arabism that came with the Muslim Arabs to Africa. They don't like it either, but they themselves do not consider it Islam's problem. I have told them that this is to confuse the problem. Of course it doesn't SAY anything about it in the holy books of Islam, but it is the problem of MUSLIMS because Muslims, regardless of why, are the ones doing it.

This seemed to make headway... but at the same time, they were not convinced that fighting religion was the way to get abuse of women to stop (obviously, because they are religious).

In any case... it was certainly interesting to note the opinion of the Dutch towards Ayaan.

To me she seems very nice, obviously intelligent, and passionate... But like Peter Singer's appeals for us to give 25% of our money away to charity... I just personally don't think it's a good way of going about things.

I hope Ayaan stays safe, but I would much rather that the American government offer her protection gratis, or that some wealthy patron or two take on her cause.

As a student, I cannot even afford $10.

Sorry Ayaan.

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 23:18:00 UTC | #85363

kaiser's Avatar Comment 16 by kaiser

11. Comment #89473 by kaiser on November 20, 2007 at 10:22 pm
I would strongly suggest that you have a paypal option so a lot more people can donate (sending in checks will turn a lot of people off).

There is a paypal option.

I meant on the first site, not after clicking (there are always some people who get turned off giving their email adress)

I would put a "paypal button" on the first page

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 23:22:00 UTC | #85365

Fanusi Khiyal's Avatar Comment 17 by Fanusi Khiyal

Sam Harris is excellent as always - but it saddens me to see some of these questions dignified with an answer.

Spinoza, I'm not only a student, I'm an unemployed student. I am still paying every month.

Who are you trying to convince anyway?

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 23:25:00 UTC | #85366

SilentMike's Avatar Comment 19 by SilentMike

Thank you Sam Harris for this explanation, which proves once again that there is a difference between rationalists and the religious. We asked for answers and we go them.


I just spent the last thread protecting people with dissenting views, I'm not going to tell you to shut up or to exclaim "Shame on you". Just as well as I don't think you have any shame or indeed that you will shut up. I will however tell you that your words in here and in the previous thread are mean and your claims seem unfounded.

17. Comment #89485 by Fanusi Khiyal

Again with this? If the guy says he can't afford it he can't afford it. Please don't try and shame him into paying. I don't want my proud money to sit with shamed money. I'm funny that way.

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 23:47:00 UTC | #85368

theantitheist's Avatar Comment 18 by theantitheist

Now I was one of the first to request more info and to believe that the publishers and companies related and profiteering from her could chip together the costs, I'm also reluctant for the same reasons as Peter K (who I believe has a valid reason to donate his money elsewhere, she does presumably have a comfortable live style, though I recognize this was not always the case and she well deserves it for her hard work in the face of adversity) and also Spinoza.

However I'm now going to use some twisted logic that a Mormon would be proud of.

Bill Gates, who could be one of the wealthy benefactors (see Sponza) has given a shit load of cash to Africa to help relieve malaria and HIV etc.; as such since he's doing that it means I don't have to and can rationalize my decision to donate based on the fact that if he donated $15 less to Africa and gave that to Ayaan, then i could give mine to Africa. But since he has given it to Africa i can give it mine to Ayaan. Same total amount of money just coming from different bank account. It's all warped but I was brought up on Danger mouse and Monty Python so what the hell. Plus I always have to go for the under dog.

Tue, 20 Nov 2007 23:47:00 UTC | #85367

nothing's Avatar Comment 20 by nothing


I consider the non-majority opinion to be invaluable as it gives every "free-thinking" person a moment to make sure they are not just following the crowd. For this reason, a well-argued dissenting opinion is often a necessity.

Still, I'm genuinely confused by your comment: (is it meant to be an argument, a sexist joke... ?)

3. Comment #89456 by PeterK on November 20, 2007 at 8:01 pm
Sam: whisper into her ear "You pay for your own bedclothes, darling--just like everyone else in this world does"

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 00:17:00 UTC | #85370

Johan's Avatar Comment 21 by Johan

I don't want to reduce this very important matter to mere economics and calculations, but to all the Europeans on this site, remember that the Euro- Dollar exchange rate is very strong right now in favor of the Euro.
As a freelancing musician I don't have the luxury of knowing when my next salary is coming in. Nevertheless, the time is right to contribute to Ayan's security, from an ideological standpoint as well as an economic.


Wed, 21 Nov 2007 00:46:00 UTC | #85375

Appleby's Avatar Comment 22 by Appleby


Wed, 21 Nov 2007 01:07:00 UTC | #85380

Appleby's Avatar Comment 23 by Appleby

Ridiculous. Looks like I'm condemned as a troll for all eternity. Let the punishment fit the crime (if there was any to begin with).

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 01:08:00 UTC | #85381

fee_fur's Avatar Comment 24 by fee_fur

I dont want to spoil wat is obviously a very well intentioned cause, but i just want to adres somthing.
The whole reason the netherlands are not willing to pay for ayaan's protection in the US is because the US government has deamed her to be not in any threat within the United States. Now if that is true that is another question. but the Dutch government has also given her extra time for providing her own security. and I'm sorry sam but as far as I know ayaans income doesn't only come from her books. In the US she also works for a conservative think tank. as presumably well paid job since they also advice bush. She has considerable influence and must have a golden rolodex of contacts. Now i'm dutch myself and not a fan of the current government. far from it so any critisism is more then welcome. however it does need to be just. And I feel that ayaan has been treated very fairly. And i don't want to stop anyone from donating their money. Please do but i feel that this has to be pointed out.

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 01:22:00 UTC | #85387

nothing's Avatar Comment 25 by nothing

Just wanted to thank you Sam for answering our questions.

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 01:37:00 UTC | #85394

brainsys's Avatar Comment 26 by brainsys

I have to say that I feel very uncomfortable about this appeal and the opprobium heaped upon those who dissent. We must not let this become a religious war.

I think most of us, on reflection, have to admit that giving charitably is largely driven on emotional grounds. Charities know this and have to push our emotional buttons if they are to succeed in doing good. Inevitably Sam is doing the same. And succeeding with a high proportion of posters here.

I see attempts at rationalisations. I too have rationalisations the other way. Primarily that giving is to both improve and save innocent lives. In crude body count terms $10/month given to Oxfam is going to save/enhance many lives. Diverting to this cause may possibly save a life but certainly cost many more.

The arguement that this life is worth more than an anonymous life saved on a continent far away I find sick. However, the one thing I value more than life is truth. The memory of book burnings particulary hits my buttons. Authors are in a special position here. I'm right behind Salman in defending his work. I guess, as a UK taxpayer I'm probably funding part of his protection, However brave as Salman is - he is no braver and no more at risk than my parents generation who mostly could not write great books but could go out on the battlefield to defeat the book burners.

Yep - the sharp minds here can see my arguements are at most very mushy. But they too should carefully examine their own. Be sure the driving force is not akin to those CO2 hogs who spend a few quid offsetting instead of themselves getting into the action. Otherwise you are just paying for someone else to dodge your bullet.

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 01:40:00 UTC | #85396

mmurray's Avatar Comment 27 by mmurray

as presumably well paid job s

$2 mil a year, where can I join :-)

Seriously I understood she was a research scholar,scholarID.117/scholar.asp

I doubt she gets paid much more than a research scholar at an academic institution.

The arguement that this life is worth more than an anonymous life saved on a continent far away I find sick

The argument isn't about the relative worth of lives. But I think her being killed by a Jihadist will be devasting to the cause of freedom in a way that the 20 or 30 deaths that happened since I started typing this have not been. In a way that my death would not be.


Wed, 21 Nov 2007 02:08:00 UTC | #85402

Nighttripper's Avatar Comment 28 by Nighttripper

A response to the questions! Must say I didn't expect it. I'm not completely convinced by the answers but I am happy that the questions which the article raised are being adressed.

I'm doing a one time donation for the joy of seeing the questions taken seriously...

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 02:13:00 UTC | #85403

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 29 by Steven Mading

Hey, the login finally works again so I can comment (I was a victim of the login problem that's been going around so I couldn't comment on this article before).

This is NOT a fund for promoting one person over another, or for saying that Ayan's life is worth more than other nameless people's lives. It's a fund for promoting the right to be honest even when the honest things you say are disliked.. It's a fund for promoting the right to shout "the emperor has no clothes" instead of having to join in the lie with everyone else around you.

And that right, when used, DOES result in saving the lives of people. Ayan speaks for womens' rights in a way that I'd like to believe will result in a reduction in deaths down the road.

I'd managed ot avoid the PayPal thing for a long time, but this fund was the first thing that made be knuckle under and finally set up with PayPal.

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 02:22:00 UTC | #85406

brainsys's Avatar Comment 30 by brainsys

Michael wrote: "But I think her being killed by a Jihadist will be devasting to the cause of freedom in a way that the 20 or 30 deaths that happened since I started typing this have not been."

I suggest the facts prove otherwise. She was quite unknown outside Holland before Theo's execution. Dead (wo)mens books/films seem to have so much power. Sadly martyrs are good news for almost any cause.

Indeed it is tempting to pay the $10 to avoid this painful elevation of our cause.

Frankly I'm shocked that you think the possible loss of this one person more important than 20 or 30 unknowns. She has some money and many influential friends to enable her to hide from the assassins. Not complete protection but a darned lot more than the several (hundred?) thousand who can't run from the killers in Darfur.

But there again aren't we both letting our emotions perhaps overpower what should be a clear thinking oasis?

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 02:44:00 UTC | #85409