|Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now|
Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali purports Islam needs to undergo Reformation because, contrary to what some claim, Islam is not a religion of peace. She sees Muslims as divided into three groups: Medina Muslims, who commit violent acts; Mecca Muslims, who live by the Qur’an but do not practice violence; and Modifying Muslims who, like herself, are working to adapt their faith to life in the modern world (although they are considered heretics for promoting such nontraditional views).
Hirsi Ali grew up a Muslim in a variety of locations that varied in stance toward faith and practice. She now leads study groups dealing with this topic at Harvard Kennedy School and has developed five “theses” she hopes might lead to change:
1. Allow the Qur’an be open to interpretation.
2. Emphasize this life, rather than the glory of the afterlife.
3. End sharia laws.
4. End the practice of “commanding right, forbidding wrong.”
5. Abandon the call to jihad.
Chapter by chapter, Hirsi Ali elaborates on these facets of Islam. She writes, “Multiculturalism should not mean that we tolerate another culture’s intolerance.” Weaving her own story throughout the book makes for interesting reading. She fled to the Netherlands in 1992 and has become globally known as an award-winning human rights activist. Founder of AHA Foundation, Hirsi Ali was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Heretic includes an Appendix of “Muslim Dissidents and Reformers” and an extensive section of notes.
This book gave me a much better understanding of ISIS, Al-Qaedi, Boka Haran and other groups of their ilk, whose goal, according to Hirsi Ali, is to rule the world. She sees Islam as the root problem behind their aggression and has herself been targeted for speaking out. Heretic is an important read to understand the stories behind today’s headlines.