MP may be deported over claims she lied to win asylum

The political career of the Netherlands' most prominent MP was thrown into doubt as an investigation was launched into explosive allegations that she lied about her past in order to gain residence status and Dutch nationality.

Ayann Hirsi Ali, who has won an array of international awards for bravery and free speech, has been accused of making up a story to immigration officers in which she claimed she had fled from a forced, arranged marriage and that she faced persecution in her native Somalia.

A Dutch television documentary, aired last week, featured interviews with Ms Hirsi Ali's family in which her claims of an arranged marriage were denied. The programme also alleged that, contrary to her claims of having fled a war zone in Somalia, the MP had lived in comfortable upper middle-class circumstances safely in Kenya for at least 12 years before she sought refugee status in the Netherlands in 1992. Her family home - which is large and comfortable by Kenyan standards - was shown in the programme.

Rita Verdonk, the Minister for Immigration and a member of Ms Hirsi Ali's own VVD right-wing liberal party, announced a full investigation into the furore last night, insisting that "laws and rules are valid for everyone".

Ms Hirsi Ali, 36, became internationally known when a film she wrote provoked the murder of its controversial director, Theo van Gogh, by an Islamic radical in 2004. With her own life under threat, she went into hiding and still lives under 24-hour protection. She has never, however, strayed far from the international spotlight and has won a string of awards for her battle to raise awareness of the plight of many Muslim women.

When interviewed by the highly-respected Zembla TV programme, Ms Hirsi Ali's family members denied she had been forced into marriage against her will to her former husband, a Somalian man who now lives in Canada, or that she had not been present at the wedding ceremony, as she had previously claimed. The couple are said to have parted amicably and her family denied that she had fled a marriage she did not want.

When questioned by the documentary makers, the MP stuck by her denial of being present at her own wedding. Her brother Mahad Hirsi Magan, who first claimed that his sister did attend her own wedding, has since changed his story.

But Kees Driehuis of Zembla said: "We stick by the content. We spoke to different members of her family and we know that Hirsi Ali has been in touch with her brother since the programme went out. Perhaps that has something to do with it."

Asked whether she had falsified her asylum application, she told the programme: "I lied", but said this had been public knowledge in 2002 when the VVD chose her as a candidate.

Ms Hirsi Ali, whose real name is Hirsi Magan, pretended she had come to the Netherlands from Somalia, rather than via Kenya and Germany. Refugees are usually required to apply for asylum in the first safe country they reach after fleeing.

Ms Hirsi Ali, who said yesterday that she was "puzzled by the uproar," accused her rivals of a co- ordinated political vendetta against her. "Have they all gone mad?" she asked.

Political opponents want her stripped of her Dutch citizenship and deported. Others say she should be expelled from parliament.

The issue is particularly sensitive for the VVD as the party has taken a hard line on immigration, introducing tough new citizenship tests and leading a drive to expel 26,000 failed asylum- seekers. It has said that any foreigner found to have lied about their circumstances should be prohibited from having Dutch citizenship.

Ms Hirsi Ali rose to fame after the murder of Van Gogh in November 2004. Defiant as ever, Ms Hirsi Ali is working on a sequel to the film she made with Van Gogh on Islam's treatment of homosexuality called Submission 2.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Environment
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino
environmentThe death of a white northern rhino in Kenya has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London