One of the bravest women in the world is in town this week.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Muslim, who fled to The Netherlands, became a Dutch citizen, renounced her religion, and then was disgracefully expelled from the country before settling in the US, has been under 24-hour guard since the murder of film-maker Theo van Gogh in November 2004 in Amsterdam.
Van Gogh's film Submission, which examined the oppression of Muslim women, was written by Hirsi Ali. His killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, left a five-page death threat addressed to her, pinned to the filmmaker's chest.
Nada Roude, of the NSW Islamic Council, criticise Hirsi Ali's comments on the prophet Mohammed and declared free speech a 'no-go zone' when Islam is concerned, saying
"Prophets are not just like you and me, they have special status - you're supposed to show respect. There have to be boundaries in how far you go in respecting other's beliefs."
No Ms. Roude. It's called free speech.
Hirsi Ali has written that under Dutch law, Mohammed's marriage to six-year-old A'ishah and his subsequent consummation of the marriage when she was nine would make him a paedophile.
She has two public functions at the Sydney Writers Festival: a discussion on Saturday and the festival's closing address on Sunday. Both are sell-outs.
You may not like what she says, but go and support her right to say it.