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Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now Paperback – February 2, 2016
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Praise for Infidel: “Brave, inspiring, and beautifully written…Narrated in clear, vigorous prose, it traces the author’s geographical journey from Mogadishu to Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya, and her desperate flight to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage.” (The New York Times)
“Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of Europe’s most controversial political figures and a target for terrorists. A notably enigmatic personality whose fierce criticisms of Islam have made her a darling of...conservatives...and...popular with leftists...Soft-spoken but passionate.” (Boston Globe)
“Crammed with harrowing details, Hirsi Ali’s account is a significant contribution to our times.” (Kirkus (starred review))
“A powerful, compelling read…Put simply, this woman is a heroine.” (The Christian Science Monitor)
“A charismatic figure...of arresting and hypnotizing beauty...[who writes] with quite astonishing humor and restraint.” (Christopher Hitchens)
“The five areas for Islamic reform highlighted by Ayaan in this book require deep consideration by my fellow Muslims…I thank Ayaan for having the resilience and determination to help in continuing this ongoing conversation.” (Maajid Nawaz, Co-founder and Chair of Quilliam, counter-extremism think-tank)
“She is absolutely right to raise difficult issues that must be addressed worldwide, especially by Muslims...I hope that this book will help to stimulate vital discussions for the future of Islam, and in fact for the future of humanity.” (Sheikh Dr. Usama Hasan, imam and Islamic scholar)
“Audacious? Quixotic? Visionary? Necessary? All of the above. This an urgent, complicated, risky subject, and Hirsi Ali, valiant, indomitable, and controversial, offers a potent indictment, idealistic blueprint, and galvanizing appeal to both conscience and reason.” (Donna Seaman, Booklist)
“Whatever one may think of her solutions, Hirsi Ali should be commended for her unblinking determination to address the problem.” (Andrew Anthony, The Guardian)
“A book full of compassion.” (Paul Steenhuis, NRC Handelsblad)
From the Back Cover
“A charismatic figure . . . [who writes] with quite astonishing humor and restraint.”—Christopher Hitchens
In the New York Times bestselling Heretic, Ayaan Hirsi Ali argues that it is foolish to insist that the violent acts of Islamic extremists can be divorced from the religious doctrine that inspires them. Instead we must confront the fact that they are driven by a political ideology embedded in Islam itself. She makes a powerful case that a religious reformation is the only way to end the terrorism, sectarian warfare, and repression of women and minorities that each year claim thousands of lives throughout the Muslim world.
Today, Hirsi Ali argues, the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims can be divided into a minority of extremists, a majority of believers who are not violent but tacitly condone extremism, and a growing number of dissidents who risk their lives by questioning their own religion. As Hirsi Ali shows, there is no denying that some of Islam’s key teachings—not least the duty to wage holy war—inspire violence not just in the Muslim world but in the West as well.Ayaan Hirsi Ali believes that a Muslim “Reformation”—a revision of Islamic doctrine aimed at reconciling the religion with modernity—is at hand, and may even already have begun. Boldly challenging centuries of theological orthodoxy, she proposes five key amendments to Islamic doctrine that Muslims must make if they are to bring their religion out of the seventh century and into the twenty-first. The West’s role should be to support the reformers rather than their persecutors.
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By Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Reviewed by Jack Kettler
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. She was raised as a Muslim, and spent her childhood and young adulthood in Africa and Saudi Arabia and Nairobi, Kenya. In 1992, She came to the Netherlands as a refugee. She earned her college degree in political science and worked for the Dutch Labor party. She condemned Islam after the September 11th World Trade Center terrorist attacks. In the past she has been an elected Dutch parliamentarian. She distinguished herself by fighting for the rights of Muslim women in Europe, the enlightenment of Islam, and security in the West. In addition, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a New York Times bestselling author of Infidel, Nomad, and The Caged Virgin. She is prominent speaker, debater, and journalist, she was chosen as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. She is now a fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is the founder of the AHA Foundation, which fights female genital mutilation (FGM).
What others are saying:
“Brave, inspiring, and beautifully written…Narrated in clear, vigorous prose, it traces the author’s geographical journey from Mogadishu to Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya, and her desperate flight to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage.” - The New York Times
“Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of Europe’s most controversial political figures and a target for terrorists. A notably enigmatic personality whose fierce criticisms of Islam have made her a darling of...conservatives...and...popular with leftists...Soft-spoken but passionate.” - Boston Globe
“Crammed with harrowing details, Hirsi Ali’s account is a significant contribution to our times.” - Kirkus Review
“A powerful, compelling read…Put simply, this woman is a heroine.” - The Christian Science Monitor
“A charismatic figure...of arresting and hypnotizing beauty...[who writes] with quite astonishing humor and restraint.” - Christopher Hitchens
“A book full of compassion.” - Paul Steenhuis, NRC Handelsblad
“We ignore her quill to our shame and peril.” - Katherine Ernst, City Journal
“Hirsi Ali offers a fine example for the braver souls among us.” - Michael Totten, Commentary
My thoughts on the book:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali's intellect matches her extraordinary beauty in every way. She contends that it's foolish ignorance to believe that the barbarous demonstrations of Muslim violence can be considered separate from the theological and philosophical Islamic belief system's framework that ultimately creates these acts. She makes the case that this violence is driven by a religious political belief system embedded in the core of Islam's most sacred texts itself, the Quran and Hadiths. She puts forth a credible defense of her thesis that a reformation is needed to stop the Muslim suppression of women and it's relentless persecution and murder of non-Muslim minorities that happens throughout the entire Muslim world and is increasing exponentially in the West.
She makes the case that Mohammad incorporated and codified 7th century Arabic cultural norms and practices along with superstitions into a religious formulation that can never be criticized or challenged under a divine ordered penalty of death. Her chapter, Shacked by Sharia: How Islam's harsh religious code keep Muslims stuck in the Seventh Century is a case in point and a indispensable chapter for understanding Sharia law and its cultural onslaught and conflict with the Western societal norms. Islamic supremacy is most ominous crazed force I have ever seen.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali believes that a “Reformation”of the entire Muslim theological and philosophical framework that will lead to accommodation, innovation and tolerance of non-Muslims is at hand. I have a hard time believing this, but hope she is right. I hope this because the Western world with its abandonment of the Judeo/Christian world view seems incapable of countering the advance of Mohammadism's intractable world view. It seems like the the order of the day among Western leaders is accommodation, appeasement and more politically correct sensitivity training. After increasing jihadist terrorist attacks, Western leaders are reduced to standing in support with the victims as if standing is actually doing something that is meaningful and will lead to the stop of more terrorism. I'm not sure if the terrorists are frightened by political leaders standing together. It probably looks to them like a soft target.
She proposes 5 key changes to Muslim philosophical framework that Muslims should construct on the chance that they're to bring their belief system out of the seventh century and into the 21st.
1. the status of the Quran as the last and immutable word of God and the infallibility of Muhammad as the last divinely inspired messenger;
2. Islam's emphasis on the afterlife over the the here-and-now;
3. the claims of sharia to be a comprehensive system of law governing both the spiritual and temporal realms;
4. the obligation on ordinary Muslims to command right and forbid wrong;
5. the concept of jihad, or holy war. (235)
In conclusion, she says that it is imperative that the West' should help the Muslim reformers rather than their persecutors. Not surprisingly, most Western leaders have appeased front line Muslim invaders like “The Muslim Brotherhood.” Western leaders have done this by blacklisting and shaming these same reformers and specially trained educators and experts in Islamic law and tradition who are warning of the dangers of unbridled non-Muslim assimilation in the West.
Every book written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, should be read with serious attention. She came from Somalia to fight for our freedoms! “Silence is an accomplish to injustice.” - Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Mr. Kettler is the owner of Undergroundnotes.com a conservative web hub and the author of the new book, The Religion That Started in a Hat: A Reference Manual for Christians who Witness to Mormons that is available at Amazon.
I confess my own ignorance about Islam. Except for Sufism (another form of heresy), I have found no attraction to the topic or particular interest in it, until recent global events have compelled a certain urgency. Thus I'm incapable of addressing this book in terms of how well or badly it portrays the religion of Islam in any degree of detail; one may find quite negatively critical reviews by adequately informed intellectuals. As a general if avowedly limited reader, however, I enthusiastically recommend this book for its concise coverage, clearly laid out theses, and convincing argument concerning Islam's relation to the humanistic world.
If you want a more academic approach to this issue read the excellent approach taken by Ibn Warraq. His website offers some great summaries of topics as well.
There is material available for those who want to learn about Islam, the pro's and con's, and move beyond the PC notions of It's All Good. I cannot believe how many people want to do no research then deal in generalities and superficialities. This book is a good place to begin.
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