Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now

Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now

by Ayaan Hirsi Ali


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Continuing her journey from a deeply religious Islamic upbringing to a post at Harvard, the brilliant, charismatic and controversial New York Times and Globe and Mail #1 bestselling author of Infidel and Nomad 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. The Arab Spring may now seem like a political failure. But its challenge to traditional authority revealed a new readiness—not least by Muslim women—to think freely and to speak out.

Courageously challenging the jihadists, she identifies five key amendments to Islamic doctrine that Muslims have to make to bring their religion out of the seventh century and into the twenty-first. And she calls on the Western world to end its appeasement of the Islamists. “Islam is not a religion of peace,” she writes. It is the Muslim reformers who need our backing, not the opponents of free speech.

Interweaving her own experiences, historical analogies and powerful examples from contemporary Muslim societies and cultures, Heretic is not a call to arms, but a passionate plea for peaceful change and a new era of global toleration. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders, with jihadists killing thousands from Nigeria to Syria to Pakistan, this book offers an answer to what is fast becoming the world’s number one problem.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062333940
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 165,879
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born women’s rights activist, free speech advocate, and the New York Times bestselling author of Infidel, The Caged Virgin, Nomad, Heretic, and The Challenge of Dawa. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, she grew up in Africa and the Middle East, before seeking asylum in the Netherlands, where she went on to become a member of parliament. Today she lives in the United States with her husband and two sons.

Table of Contents

Introduction: One Islam, Three Sets of Muslims 1

Chapter 1 The Story of a Heretic: My Journey Away from Islam 29

Chapter 2 Why Has There Been No Muslim Reformation? 53

Chapter 3 Muhammad and the Qur'an: How Unquestioning Reverence for the Prophet and His Book Obstructs Reform 77

Chapter 4 Those Who Love Death: Islam's Fatal Focus on the Afterlife 107

Chapter 5 Shackled by Sharia: How Islam's Harsh Religious Code Keeps Muslims Stuck in the Seventh Century 129

Chapter 6 Social Control Begins at Home: How the Injunction to Command Right and Forbid Wrong Keeps Muslims in Line 153

Chapter 7 Jihad: Why the Call for Holy War Is a Charter for Terror 173

Chapter 8 The Twilight of Tolerance 207

Conclusion The Muslim Reformation 223

Appendix: Muslim Dissidents and Reformers 239

Notes 251

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