Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born Ayaan Hirsi Magan on November 13, 1969, in Mogadishu, Banaadir, Somalia into a devout Somali Muslim family. Her father, Hirsi Magan Isse, was a political dissident who spent several years in jail. When he escaped into self-imposed exile in the mid-1970s, his family followed him from Somalia to Saudi Arabia, then briefly to Ethiopia, before settling in Kenya, where Ali spent most of her youth. In 1992 she was married - against her will - to a distant cousin. While en route to join him in Canada, she fled to the Netherlands, where she applied successfully for political asylum; during the process, she changed her name to Ayaan Hirsi Ali and adjusted her birthdate to make it difficult for her family to find her.