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Thompson, Isabella

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The Observer - United Kingdom | 22/05/2006

Dutch MP Hirsi Ali brought down by a 'necessary lie'

Columnist Isabella Thompson says Europe has lost a valuable politician following the resignation of Somalia-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali amid charges she had lied on her Dutch asylum application in 1992. "Hirsi Ali certainly lied, but the exploitation of that lie by her detractors has been outrageous. The rules (and prejudices) surrounding asylum do not cater for female refugees fleeing the will of a family. They are designed for those fleeing a government or a war. ... Some see her as the victim of a growing anxiety in the Netherlands about immigration, to which Hirsi Ali herself has contributed. ... Instinctively anti-authoritarian, Hirsi Ali has always raised difficult questions. It is a tragedy that such a brave and honest figure has been forced out of European politics. And a deep irony that such an honest woman has been brought down by a necessary lie."

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