Ayaan Hirsi Ali is that rare thing: a public intellectual who, despite death threats and charges of bigotry, calls for an end to Islam — not just as the faithful know it, but as we in the West think we know it.
“The assumption is that, in Islam, there are a few rotten apples, not the entire basket,” Ali says. “I’m saying it’s the entire basket.”
In her book, Heretic, Ali argues for a complete reformation of Islam, akin to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Though her own education led her to reject Islam and declare herself an atheist, she believes that for the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, there must be another way…
Ali says there are three kinds of Muslims. There are the violent, the reformers, and what she believes is the largest group — those who want to practice as they see fit and live peaceably but do not challenge the Qur’an, the Muslim world’s treatment of women and the LGBT community, or terrorist attacks committed in the name of Islam.
Yet she refuses to label this group as moderate. She believes they have done nothing to deserve it. “I’ve never believed in the word,” Ali says. “It’s totally useless. I think we’re in a time now where we demand answers from Muslims and say, ‘Whose side are you on?’ ”
Ali argues for five amendments to the faith. “Only when these five things are recognized as inherently harmful and when they are repudiated and nullified,” she writes, “will a true Muslim reformation have been achieved.”
Those five notions are:
(1) The infallibility of the Prophet Muhammad and the literal interpretation of the Qur’an
(2) The idea that life after death is more important than life on Earth
(3) Sharia law
(4) Allowing any Muslim to enforce ideas of right and wrong on another
(5) Jihad, or holy war
She knows the greatest criticism she faces is that she is Islamophobic, that she is accusing all Muslims of adhering to jihad, to abuse, to the establishment of a caliphate…
President Obama “has acknowledged Islamophobia, which is the worst thing you can do for Muslims who are trying to turn things around,” she says. Whether it’s ISIS or al Qaeda or the Taliban or so-called lone wolves — such as the Boston Marathon bombers or the Charlie Hebdo attackers or the suicide bomber who blew up 15 Christians in Pakistan last week or the ISIS suicide bombing that left 137 fellow Muslims dead — when these people say they are killing in the name of true Islam, Ali says, believe them…
She is gratified by the stance taken by Sam Harris, a prominent American neuroscientist and author of The End of Faith. “Sam realizes that among religions, Islam is unique in its atrocity… He calls Islam ‘the mother lode of bad ideas,’ which is extremely brave,” she says.
With Heretic, Ali is calling on those Muslims who reject jihad, acts of terror, and the subjugation of women and infidels to organize, to challenge, to speak out loudly and often against violence committed in the name of Allah — and she is calling on the West to actively demand it.
Read it all here.