Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now‏

One of the big drivers of global affairs in the 21st century may be a single sentence: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah; and Muhammad is His messenger.”
For over a billion Muslims worldwide – including the many peaceful Muslims you and I know – this is the Muslim profession of faith known as the Shahada. But the Shahada is more than a personal credo. For an unknown percentage of Muslims, it is also a political rallying cry and mission statement achievable only through violent jihad.
This intra-Islamic struggle for the soul of the Shahada is far more significant than the so-called clash between Islam and the West. It’s a struggle rooted in the dramatically different ways Muhammad recruited followers at Mecca (peacefully) and at Medina (violently). Which side wins will determine if Islam is primarily an invitation to piety or a compulsory political movement.
We in the West have an enormous stake in how this struggle plays out. We cannot remain on the sidelines.
That’s why I’m speaking out. In my New York Times bestselling book, “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now,” I identify five precepts central to Islam that have made it resistant to historical change and adaptation. Only when the harmfulness of these ideas is recognized and repudiated will a true Muslim Reformation be achieved. If not, hope for a Muslim Reformation dies, and the rest of the world will pay a high price in blood spilled and freedom lost.
Ayaan Hirsi discusses her new book, Heretic
Confronting political Islam on its own terms is not easy. It means disabusing ourselves of clichés about the “religion of peace.” It means facing up to those teachings of Muhammad that, if applied literally, simply cannot be reconciled with a free society. And it means open debate about reforming this proud religious tradition.
Such debate is a bedrock of academic freedom. So is drawing conclusions – even controversial ones – consistent with findings. I’m fortunate to enjoy this freedom. Many of my fellow dissidents do not.
I’m raising my voice on their behalf because Islam is at a crossroads. Muslims need to make a conscious decision to confront, debate, and ultimately reject the violent elements within their religion.
I invite you to read my book. And I welcome your comments, criticisms, and questions.
Learn More

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Fellow, The Future of Diplomacy Project
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Harvard Kennedy School

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