Why Islam Needs A Reformation Now

Book - 2015
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Ayaan Ali Hirsi makes a powerful plea for a Muslim Reformation as the only way to end the horrors of terrorism, sectarian warfare and the repression of women and minorities. Today, she argues, the world's 1.6 billion Muslims can be divided into a minority of extremists, a majority of observant but peaceable Muslims and a few dissidents who risk their lives by questioning their own religion. But there is only one Islam and, as Hirsi Ali shows, there is no denying that some of its key teachings-- not least the duty to wage holy war-- are incompatible with the values of a free society. For centuries it has seemed as if Islam is immune to change. But Hirsi Ali has come to believe that a Muslim Reformation-- a revision of Islamic doctrine aimed at reconciling the religion with modernity-- is now at hand, and may even have begun.
Publisher: New York : Harper, c2015
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780062333933
Characteristics: x, 272 p. ; 24 cm
Call Number: 297.0905 HIR


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Aug 14, 2018

Why aren't we taking this seriously? She was a Muslim for the majority of her life, so you would think she would know what she was talking about!

Explains that Islamist extremists are indeed Muslims, if more influenced by Medinan, rather than Meccan revelations, and can find justification for their crimes in the Qur’an, Hadith (sayings and deeds of Muhammad), and Sirah (bio. of Muhammad). She proposes why and how Islam could be reformed to make it a truly tolerant religion of peace and the equitable treatment of women.

Jun 07, 2017

For years we in the west got our information about Islam mostly from western intellectuals, which was not a balanced view. In the past 15 years there has been a substantial increase in the number of Moslems speaking out about the problems Islam is facing. The Islamic world and the west need these voices.

What Hirsi Ali says is supported by an increasing number of Moslems like Tarek Fattah and Maajid Nawaaz who support reform, plus ex-Muslims like Ali A Rizvi, Hamed Abdel-Samad, Salim Mansur. The list of names goes on and on. I married into an increasing conservative Moslem Egyptian family (male dominance), and over the years endured increasing emotional, financial and physical abuse from my ex - so have the majority of Egyptian woman I met who are from all walks of life.

Islam is long overdue for modernization and reform. It needs to discard the literal interpretation of the Quran and Hadiths, the outdated political aspects and nasty traditions and keep only the spiritual side. The place to start is with treating women as equals, and reading something other than just the Quran. The history of the lack of books published in the Middle East is a good place to start.

May 17, 2017

This is a must read book. It is shocking that the facts disclosed in this book by Hirsi Ali are not more widely reported and discussed in our western democratic liberal press. The last time the western democracies turned a blind eye to overt racial and religious hatred, the treatment of homosexuals, and to the more vulnerable people in other nations a near genocide occurred resulting in the deaths of 6 million innocents. Back then politicians and many others claimed they did not know what was going on. Are we going to claim the same thing if history repeats itself? It is important to understand that much of what Hirsi Ali reveals in her book are facts. They are not opinions to be refuted. We know what's going on.

Jul 23, 2016

One of the most important books I've read this year. This book outlines the argument for why we cannot separate Islamic terrorists from Islam and clearly articulates a five point call for reformation to end the violence being committed on a nearly daily basis by Jihadists around the world.

This book showed me how little I know about Islam, despite being a fairly versed in multicultural matters. As the author states, we do not need to tolerate violence within Islam in order to promote a multicultural, global community.

Jul 22, 2016

Islam, as depicted in Heretic, is a religion not only without a Reformation, but essentially without a conception of reformation. The Koran, the hadith, and certain other writings are received directly from God via the Angel Gabriel, and conceived of as His inerrant and FINAL word, and therefore there is no moderating influence of later divine revelation, or earthly argument. Furthermore, Islam is not merely a religion, but an all-embracing way of life, and as such, is potentially ingrained in every minute of the believer's day. This is not the only way to interpret Islam, but this is the dynamite left lying around for the violent and disaffected to pick up. Ms. Hirsi Ali puts the case for the above view with clarity. But what can be done, until believers ignore the unpleasant and inconvenient parts in their holy writ, as, for example, most Christians and Jews have learned to do? The author's suggested program of education, propaganda, and smuggled media sounds realistic, and is both non-violent and relatively inexpensive, but it falls rather flat. Memories of the CIA in Eastern Europe are hard to rally behind.

Apr 19, 2016

An excellent treatise on political Islam and the need for a Reformation. The author challenges liberal minded peoples to quit apologizing to and for the current Islamic elite and embrace the Muslim voices seeking change. Regretfully those advocating change are not supported in Western media. Definitely worth reading.

Mar 30, 2016

This one of the best books that I have found that describes the problems and suggestions of trying to merge Islam into the western world and the 21st century environment. Hopefully it will have western politicians and social advocates take a realistic new look at the many problems that need to be addressed that the current politically correct movement can't or won't address.

Jan 29, 2016

I am reading this book because I read infidel, which made me realize how little I knew about Islam, therefore I am reading, reading. I have been actually making notes.....
I thank Donald Trump for waking me up, and I thank our society for libraries, where one can pursue information without persecution.
I would wish more people took a time out and do some of their own research.
Events in the world become much more interesting, certainly the cry that political correctness has been stuffed down our throats, in an effort to replace common sense.

Oct 24, 2015

This book explains why SOME Muslims are dedicated to 1400 year old texts that espouse violence and intolerance. She bravely questions texts which 'Medina' Muslims consider blasphemy punishable by death. Braver still, she offers common sense suggestions to abrogate violent and intolerant texts while preserving all other elements of Islam - a reformation.
Some critics will call this well researched and scholarly work Islamophobic because it dares to expose serious problems in modern Islam. Don't take their word for it, read it and decide for yourself.

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Mar 15, 2017

This phenomenon of “Christophobia (as opposed to the far more widely discussed “Islamophobia” receives remarkably little coverage in the Western media. Part of this reticence may be due to fear of provoking additional violence. But part is clearly due to the very effective efforts by lobbying groups such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR]. Over the past decade, these and similar groups have been remarkable successful in persuading journalists and editors in the West to think or each and every example of perceived anti-Muslim discrimination as an expression of a deep-rooted Islamophobia. This, of course, extends with an Orwellian illogic to coverage of Muslim violence against Christians. Yet any fair-minded comparison of recent events leads to the conclusion that the scale and severity of Islamophobia pales in comparison with the Christophobia evident in Muslim-majority nations from end of the globe to the other.p 192

Mar 15, 2017

In Islamic history, the land controlled by Islam is referred to as dar al-Islam (the abode of Islam). The land controlled by non-Muslims is dar al-Harb (the abode of War). Historically, after being conquered by Muslims, groups deemed People of the Book, including Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, were required to pay a special tax, the jizya, as a mark of their” humiliation. If they did so, they were allowed to keep their religion (9:29). Yet, there was always a strain of “eliminationism” in Islam, too. The Prophet himself promised to “expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and…not leave any but Muslims….The Qur’an warns Muslims: “take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors.”…

Modern Islamists go further. In some countries, governments and their agents openly sponsor anti-Christian violence, burning churches and imprisoning observant Christians. p 191

Mar 15, 2017

Beyond the ways it restricts women’s rights and legitimizes violence against them, sharia does something more. Because of the very foundation of sharia in the dictates of the Qur’an and the hadith, there is no vocabulary in Islam that can be used to emancipate women. All the words for female rights and basic female freedoms are invariably Western. If you fight for access to education or the right to vote or the right to drive or the right not to be beaten or stoned, the vocabulary you have to use in making that argument is Western because Islamic texts and the Arabic language simply do not have the words for these types of rights and opportunities. By contrast, when women face opposition to their emancipation, those words and that vocabulary are exclusively Islamic. P 150-1

Mar 15, 2017

The golden age of Islamic science and philosophy, which pre-dated the European Enlightenment, lies a thousand years in the past. While many Muslim nations have benefited from advances in science and economics, while they now have their gleaming skyscrapers and infrastructure, the philosophical revolution that grew out of the Protestant Reformation has largely passed them by. Instead, much of the Muslim world, both inside Muslim-majority nations and in the West, lives half in and half out of modernity. Islam is content to use the West’s technological products – there is even an app that will remind you when to say your five daily prayers – but resists the underlying values that produced them. (This, of course, helps explain the notorious lack of scientific and technological innovation that characterizes the entire Muslim world.) p 59

Mar 15, 2017

After 9/11, I began to re-examine the world I had grown up in. I began to reflect that all over the world – in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and even inside the Muslim immigrant community in Holland – Islam represented a barrier to progress, especially (but not only) for women. Besides, expressing my doubts about Islam meant that I had no spiritual home: in Islam you are either a believer or disbeliever. There is no cognitive room to be an agnostic. My family and some of my Muslim friends and acquaintances gave me that stark choice: you are either one of us, in which case you quit voicing your thoughts on Islam, or you are one of the infidels and you get out. And ultimately that was what I could not stay in the religion of my father, my mother, my brother, my sister, and my grandmother. P 47

Mar 15, 2017

We must no longer accept limitations on criticism of Islam. We must reject the notion that only Muslims can speak about Islam, and that any critical examination of Islam is inherently “racist”. Instead of contorting Western intellectual traditions so as not to offend our Muslim fellow citizens, we need to defend the Muslim dissidents who are risking their lives to promote the human rights we take for granted; equality for women, tolerance of all religions and orientations, our hard-won freedom of speech and thought.

...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. P 28

Mar 15, 2017

….[m]y views on Islam are based on my knowledge and experience of being a Muslim, of living in Muslim societies – including Mecca itself, the very center of Islamic belief – and on my years of study of Islam as a practitioner, student, and teacher. The real explanation is clear. It is because they cannot actually refute what I am saying. And I am not alone. Shortly after the attack on Charlie Hebdo, Asra Nomani, a Muslim reformer, spoke out against what she calls the “honor brigade” – an organized 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.


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