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Somali-Born Netherlands Lawmaker to Retain Dutch Citizenship


Officials in the Netherlands say a Somali-born Dutch politician who admitted lying on her 1992 asylum application will be allowed to keep her Dutch citizenship.

The decision was announced Tuesday in Amsterdam.

It reverses a ruling last month in which Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said Ayaan Hirsi Ali's naturalization was invalid because she gave false information on arriving in the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage.

Immediately after the accusations, Hirsi Ali - one of the country's foremost critics of fundamentalist Islam - quit parliament and said she would leave the country.

However, under pressure from lawmakers, the immigration chief found a loophole. In a letter to deputies, Verdonk said it had been legitimate for Hirsi Ali to use her grandfather's surname rather than her father's, because it is legal to do so under Somali law.

Hirsi Ali made international headlines in 2004 when Dutch director Theo Van Gogh made a film she wrote accusing Islam of suppressing women. A Muslim fundamentalist shot and killed Van Gogh.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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