71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
Much-needed call for reform,
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This review is from: Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out (Hardcover)
No question, Ibn Warraq's Leaving Islam includes many important essays by former Muslims, by birth or conversion, who subsequently renounced their faith.
Ibn Warraq deserves ample credit for this excellent work, which others have called "a companion of sorts to his own personal statement, Why I am Not a Muslim."
Despite the Qu'ranic declaration (2:256), "There is no compulsion in religion," traditional Islam both historically and currently consider apostasy (the abandonment of the "one true faith") a capital offense. You desert, you die.
That item of religious belief, along with many others, are often used by Muslim governments "to silence free thinkers and spread a blanket of totalitarian control over [their] communities," as one reviewer has written.
Ibn Warraq's collection provides several notable early examples of apostates, including Ar-Rawandi (c. 820-830) and Ar-Razi (865-925), the poets Omar Khayyam (c. 1048-1131) and Hafiz (c. 1320-89), and Sufis like Mansur ibn Hallaj (d. 922) and As-Suhrawardi (d. 1191), but the issue "has not seriously been documented or investigated." Undoubtedly that results primarily from the risks to a former Muslim of openly discussing his or her abandonment of Islam.
The former Muslims included in Ibn Warraq's compelling book hail from many locales, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Iran, Tunisia, Turkey, Malaysia and Morocco.
Ibn Warraq has great courage and passion in defending reason. His struggle is that of "a culture ... at odds with reason." This book is indispensable for Muslims who hope that Islam will adopt enlightenment and reform.
True enough, Islam needs reform from within. And former Muslims can and should influence this discussion. They could have great influence, if only the majority of practicing Muslims would listen to them and demand reform, accordingly.
--Alyssa A. Lappen