Prominent Islam critic and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali has cancelled all appearances in Australia and New Zealand due to security concerns.
The anti-Islam campaigner was scheduled kick off her tour in the two countries on a TV panel program but pulled out suddenly without advance notice. She also cancelled other speaking events in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland this week, The Australian reported.
“Ayaan Hirsi Ali regrets that for a number of reasons including security concerns, she must cancel her upcoming appearances in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Auckland,” a press statement read.
“She wishes the event organisers, Think Inc, success in their future endeavours and hopes to be able to return to Australia in the not too distant future.”
Hirsi Ali’s outspokenness on the issue of Islam has shot her to prominence but also made her a target by various militant groups, requiring her to to have security protection at all times.
She has been a controversial speaker, according to the event’s organizers, receiving “widespread criticism among the liberal left and death threats from the religious right.”
Prior to the cancellation of the tour, a group of Muslim women had accused Hirsi Ali of hate mongering and bigotry. More than 400 people signed a change.org petition opposing her tour.
“Against a backdrop of increasing global Islamophobia, Hirsi-Ali’s divisive rhetoric simply serves to increase hostility and hatred towards Muslims,” the petition read.
The organization that was overseeing the events with the speaker, Think Inc., also claimed it was harassed over Hirsi Ali’s appearance.
Its insurers and the venues where she was due to speak were contacted and warned that there would be mass protests. According to The Australian, much of this was done by the Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia Inc and an individual named Syed Murtaza Hussain.
He apparently warned the management of the Festival Hall in Melbourne that they should expect a protest of 5,000 people if Hirsi Ali was allowed to speak and created petitions to stop her.