For immediate release | October 21, 2014

Human Rights Activist, Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 2015 Arthur Curley Memorial Lecturer, 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting

CHICAGO -- What happened to Islamic reform? Why have al Qaeda and Boko Haram become the faces of contemporary Islam? Why has the Arab Spring devolved into a battle over sharia law? Award-winning human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali believes that ordinary Muslims throughout the world want wholesale change--contrary to conventional wisdom in the West. As 2015 Arthur Curley Memorial lecturer at ALA Midwinter Meeting, she will speak about these and other ideas from 4 - 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31 in McCormick Place, Chicago.

In her forthcoming book "Heretic" (March 2015), the New York Times bestselling author of "Infidel" and "Nomad" crafts a powerful call for an Islamic Reformation as the only way to end the current wave of global violence and repression of women. Courageously engaging fundamentalists on their own turf—religion itself—she boldly calls for a Muslim Reformation, identifying five key amendments to Islamic doctrine that must be made in order to break from seventh-century traditions and fully engage with the 21st century. Hirsi Ali interweaves her personal journey, historical parallels and powerful examples from contemporary Islamic societies and cultures.

Hirsi Ali is also the author of "The Caged Virgin," in which according to a Booklist review, she “ . . . challenges Western culture and Islam to honestly confront issues of religion and individual freedom in this compelling look at Islam and gender politics.” Born in Somalia and raised Muslim, Hirsi Ali grew up in Africa and Saudi Arabia before fleeing to the Netherlands in 1992, where she went from cleaning factories to winning a seat in the Dutch Parliament. A prominent speaker, debater and op-ed writer, she was chosen as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. She is currently a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Hirsi Ali’s appearance is sponsored by HarperCollins.

The Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture series commemorates Arthur Curley’s lifelong dedication to the principles of intellectual freedom and free public access to information. Past speakers include Al Gore, Neil Gaiman, Jamal Joseph, Lisa Genova and Ishmael Beah.

Registration and housing are open for 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits, Jan. 30-Feb. 3 in Chicago at Use these resources to make your case for attending!

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