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What happened to Islamic reform? Why have al Qaeda and Boko Haram become the faces of contemporary Islam? Why has the Arab Spring devolved into a battle over sharia law? Continuing her personal journey from a deeply religious Islamic upbringing to a post at Harvard and American citizenship, the New York Times best-selling author of Infidel and Nomad crafts a powerful call for an Islamic reformation as the only way to end the current wave of global violence and repression of women.

Today, millions of Muslims are wrapped in a rigid orthodoxy whereby women are denied education, girls as young as nine can be forced into legal marriages, and men are told that their futures lie not in building better, more just societies but in jihad against the infidel. Hopes for a wave of liberalization after the Arab Spring have been replaced by new authoritarianism and efforts to impose sharia law. Twitter, YouTube, and other social media have become aggressive platforms to promote a harsh brand of Islamic fundamentalism, making the clash between secular and Islamic society one of the most important challenges of our time.

And yet, contrary to conventional wisdom in the West, Ayaan Hirsi Ali believes that ordinary Muslims throughout the world want wholesale change. Courageously engaging fundamentalists on their own turf - religion itself - she boldly calls for a Muslim reformation, identifying five key amendments to Islamic doctrine that must be made in order to break from seventh-century traditions and fully engage with the 21st century. Interweaving her personal journey, historical parallels, and powerful examples from contemporary Islamic societies and cultures, Heretic will forever change the debate over Islam and its future.

©2015 Ayaan Hirsi Ali (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

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Global

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Russell
  • 14/04/2015

And They Revoked Her Honorary University Degree!

Three quarters of the people in Pakistan favor the death penalty for leaving Islam. In Iraq or Bangladesh it is only about 42 percent of the population. Instead of merely socially ostracizing or imprisoning the original thinker – all distasteful reprisals to the western mind that prizes freedom of ideas … millions of people believe this person should be killed.

Where is the outcry against such an intolerable idea? Paradoxically a sizable contingent of western liberals are following Ben Affleck’s lead in shouting “gross and racist” when anybody wonders aloud about Islam and how it is practiced. Islam is a peaceful religion we are told. Not necessarily true. That is why you must read Ayaan’s Hirsi Ali’s most recent book, Heretic.

This is not a book by an Islamophobe. Ayaan grew up with the Islamic religion and although she had a questioning nature, her religious indoctrination had her at one time seeing the justice in demands for the death of the heretical Salman Rushdie. She understands a certain mindset from the inside. Escaping an arranged marriage and observing the lifestyles of the good people of Holland moved her in another direction. This could not have happened as easily if she had remained immersed in the male dominated stridently religious culture of her homeland.

For Western liberals, this should be an eye opening book. Western liberals have got into the convoluted reasoning that when a horrendous murder is committed and the perpetrator does a shout out to god during the execution, discussing the religious motivation is off limits. Ayaan informs us - If a large group of people believe that the Qur’an should be literally accepted as the word of god and those words glorify the slaying of someone who is not a Muslim and also the execution of someone who questions some of that intolerant wording in the sacred text – we have a problem. The problem is an accepted body of ideas that warrants discussion.

This is a hopeful book as Ayaan sees the awakening of an Islamic reformation in response to life in the modern world. She identifies five key tenets of Islam that are at odds with a free society. She tells us there are already Muslims in the past and present who have questioned these core ideas and some have even been executed for this. We should not be encouraging the power structures that have been set up in some communities which enact ruthless responses to those attempting this reformation. The western world should be encouraging modern Islamic thinkers who challenge the subjugation of women or the glorification of religious warriors who get a ticket to a male dominated paradise. The western world should not be encouraging any Islamic groups who shout discrimination while privately believing in ideas that restrict civil rights.

This is not a tome filled with hate speech. It is an impassioned response to a primitive 8th century version of a religion that needs to enter the twenty first century

53 sur 58 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • dianacobl
  • 05/04/2015

Great book! Must read!

The author herself is the narrator of the book, I listened to it in just two days because I couldn't stop. Makes me want to research more about the subject and I will definitely buy more of her books.

14 sur 15 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • frank
  • 22/08/2015

Fantastic

Do yourself a favour and get this book. A fast track to understanding Islamic fundamentalism.

6 sur 6 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
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  • D'Juan Eastman
  • 13/05/2015

Reform

The writing and story was so moving and persuading that I could not stop listening. I got this book as a joke, but nothing was funny about it. It was a very enlightening to see in the mind of Islam. Enlightening and scary. The upshot is that we, liberals, need to reassess the way we handle criticism of Islam.

12 sur 13 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • John Schroeder
  • 05/02/2017

Essential reading for all !!

Susan has lived Islam and certainly understands the issues better than most. She is extremely well informed and well read.

She asks only that we have a rational discourse about the issues of Islam in a open way, like we in the west historically do. Forget worrying about being PC, let's be seekers of the truth.

As a liberal, this book has certainly opened my eyes. Intuitively it has bothered me that a religion of love can have so much violence done in its name

Ayaan answers my questions convincingly.

Christianity and Judaism went through their Reformation many hundreds of years ago. It's time for Islam to move from the 7th century into the 21st.

I don't want to discuss these issues with anyone who has not read this book. You can disagree with Ayaan, but you at least need to be exposed to her perspective. It has the ring of truth to me

4 sur 4 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Tamika
  • 17/11/2015

Finally someone who really tells us what is going on in the world.

Excellent book and reflective of a life seeking truth.
No longer can we be silent.
Nazi Germany's had a silent majority that allowed the atrocities of that regime. Silence and doing nothing is not the answers.
All in the world need this book.
Education is power. This woman is powerful and a blessing to us.

9 sur 10 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Elaine
  • 18/09/2015

A Sobering Read

The message of this book is essential for all of our politicians and liberals. Anyone that wants to understand why the Muslim religion is growing and how they continue to attract so many angry willing and educated participants will walk away with those questions answered. Our "tolerance" is working against us.

9 sur 10 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Brian Thomas
  • 02/04/2015

Detailed assertions

The author has raised issues that I could not articulate but certainly agree with and support her position. Well done

9 sur 10 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Helen
  • 18/01/2017

My Eyes are Opened

I admit that my knowledge of Islam was limited to a broad overview of the World's Religions in textbooks of long ago. I so appreciated the author's eye-opening treatment of this subject. Our book club chose this book and the discussion brought us to the conclusion that we, as open-minded Americans, need a more nuanced and realistic take on the growing national conversation about the role of Islam in our culture. We need to encourage or, at the very least, stand aside and allow dialogue between the Islamic faithful and the reformers.
The author is a gifted writer. And her voice is one of the most compelling I've heard on Audible. By all means, she should narrate her own work for added depth to the experience.

3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Diane
  • 06/10/2015

Must read !

The author presents her premises and documents her supporting facts very clearly. There is hope for a reformation from within.

3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Sebastian Benkel
  • 12/09/2016

Well Performed, well written, good Audiobook.

The book handles the touchy themes of Islam and western civilisation, human rights and religious reform in an interesting way. The reader is the author, and she did a good job in both cases.