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Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now…
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Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now (edition 2015)

by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Author)

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"Ayaan Ali Hirsi makes a powerful case that a religious Reformation is the only way to end the terrorism, sectarian warfare and the repression of women and minorities that each year claim thousands of lives throughout the Muslim world"--Publisher.
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Title:Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now
Authors:Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Author)
Info:Harper (2015), Edition: First, 288 pages
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Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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The author, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, while brought up a Muslim, has now become a "heretic" by writing about Islamic reforms she feels are needed. Born in Somalia in a Muslim household, she underwent forced genital mutilation as a child, later ran from an arranged marriage, received asylum in Europe, became Dutch member of Parliament, and subsequently immigrated to the USA.

​In summary, the point she makes in her book, "Heretic", is that ​​Islam needs a reformation. ​She writes that ​Muslims need to change their attitude​, both toward Muhammad a​s well as to the Koran​ (Qur'an)​. As opposed to taking the Koran literally as a drivers manual for how to live life, she believes that those tenants are instead but a time capsule of a militant medieval tribal society formed before the modern nation state, and intolerant of modern western society. As she describes in her book, too many followers of Islam believe they can interpret the law and impose their own penalties. ​ There are many examples of how and why that fails in society. To her, Islam would be better off investing in life BEFORE death rather than focusing on life AFTER death, should give up on Sharia Law, and give up Jihad for peace. ​

One of the dangers within the religion, she points out, is in the inability to even raise a question about Islam among the faithful. We can question apartheid, or we can question human rights violations, but we dare not raise a question about the applicability of 7th century doctrines to modern life. To do so is blasphemy, punishable by death. Many Muslims believe that the teachings of the Koran override any government. If you're a "nonbeliever", you're endangered by these believers. With over one billion believers, even if only 0.1% are radical, that's still means there could be a million radicals out there.

​Perhaps the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and moderate, but to many in the West, demonstrations in Muslim countries against the West appear common, and demonstrations condemning violence and terrorism conducted by Muslims are missing. There's a (minority?) view that perhaps the absense of Muslim voices condemning Muslim violence is simply the result of what the mass media chooses to cover. According to a Sarah Parvini article in the May 11, 2015 LA Times titled "U.S. Muslims struggle to be heard"​, there are voices out there who would seem to be supportive of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's ideas. The gist of that ​LA Times ​article is that the great majority of Muslims, especially in the U.S., do voice condemnation of Islamist (or any other ) terrorist attacks, but their word​s aren't being covered adequately by the Media. As Jihad Turk, President of Bayan Claremont Islamic graduate school stated, "There is nothing like [the Pope​] in Islam. We don't have a bully pulpit where we can claim an authoritative response". For example, after the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris in January, 2015, News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch criticized Muslims, contending that they remained silent on extremist violence. However, major Muslim groups throughout France, Britain, and the US had already denounced the attack that day. ​ But that message was lost in the noise of the attack. ​So the connection between Muslims and violence ​appears strong​, and Ali describes why reforms are needed for Islam to be universally considered a religion of peace​.

​I'm not sure if this book was written for more for westerers or Muslims. Those of us in the West are used to religious toleration and the idea of freedom of religion, and that no one person, or government, should impose his or her view of salvation on others. Perhaps her hope is to influence the moderates within Islam, and inspire more to speak out against those who feel it's perfectly acceptable in modern societies to murder non-believers, apostates, or blasphemers. However, there's been no apparent internal movement in the past thousand years. And thinking of how quickly significant changes have come to other major religions, such as Judaism and Christianity, it's hard to believe that this book with bring any rapid changes to Islam. But she's done her part in putting her ideas for reform out there, and every reform movement has to start somewhere.
( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
The author and I disagree on a number of points, but it was helpful to hear her insights as a former Muslim. I'm sure there are many who disagree with her conclusions regarding the need for a reformation within Islam, but I was definitely glad I read the book. ( )
  mullinstreetzoo | Feb 12, 2021 |
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a pretty amazing person (a Somali woman who rebelled against the faith of her parents, is now an advocate for liberty, and is hated by SPLC -- pretty solid resume). Her first book "Infidel" is probably a better introduction, but Heretic makes a solid set of arguments about Islam, problems with the Islamic world today, and some ideas for where a solution might be found (although not a clear roadmap, because I think the problem might actually be impossible to solve.)

I don't think this should be one's only source of information about Islam, but it's an important viewpoint. (I'm personally torn between "religion should be completely ignored by the state, but actions taken should be treated without regard to religious motivations", but that gives up a lot of information about motive, and permitting only essentially defanged, sane, Deist-type religions of whatever form.)

(Also contains the best idea for a gun store name -- "The House of War", Dar al-Harb.) ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
It's a great book contentwise, but I disliked the style. Furthermore I bought the audible-edition and I felt seriously uncomfortable with Hirsi Alis way of reading. For some reason she is just really unlikable to me. ( )
  aeqk | Dec 13, 2020 |
The premise of this book is so obvious that it is alarming to think we need a book to present its case. Why is it, Ali asks, that nice white people* are against Islamic dissidents? (*expression I adopted after reading Stuff White People Like)

Shortly after the attack on Charlie Hebdo, Asra Noumani, a Muslim reformer, spoke out against what she calls the ‘honour brigade’ – an organised international cabal hell-bent on silencing debate on Islam.

The shameful thing is that this campaign is effective in the West. Western liberals now seem to collude against critical thought and debate. I never cease to be amazed by the fact that non-Muslims who consider themselves liberals – including feminists and advocates of gay rights – are so readily persuaded by these crass means to take the Islamists’ side against Muslim and non-Muslim critics.

and later….

In short, we who have the luxury of living in the West have an obligation to stand up for liberal principles. Multiculturalism should not mean that we tolerate another culture’s intolerance. If we do in fact support diversity, women’s rights, and gay rights, then we cannot in good conscience give Islam a free pass on the grounds of multicultural sensitivity. And we need to say unambiguously to Muslims living in the West: if you want to live in our societies, to share in their material benefits, then you need to accept that our freedoms are not optional. They are the foundation of our way of life; of our civilisation – a civilisation that learned, slowly and painfully, not to burn heretics but to honour them.

The more I think about this situation, and think of females I know who consider themselves to be radical feminists lining up to take shots (do I mean that figuratively?) at Ali and others whose lives are threatened every day for urging Islamic reform, I come to my conclusion that anti-racism is the last bastion of sexism. To be seen as anti-racist is the only important mark of being a nice white person left. By defining concern about the plight of women under Islam to be this invented propaganda word ‘Islamophobia’, it has been straightforwardly established that women don’t count at all. And even females who call themselves ‘feminist’ are terrified of this accusation of being an ‘Islamophobic’.

rest here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2018/05/26/heretic-by-ayaan-hirsi-al... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
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"Ayaan Ali Hirsi makes a powerful case that a religious Reformation is the only way to end the terrorism, sectarian warfare and the repression of women and minorities that each year claim thousands of lives throughout the Muslim world"--Publisher.

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