Ex-Muslim author Ayaan Hirsi Ali is creating a stir with her new book, Heretic: Why Islam Needs Reform. The book won’t be released until Tuesday, but advance copies, an excerpt that’s been released, and interviews with Ali are all catching public attention, and what she has to say is turning heads.
In America, a common complaint lobbed at atheists is, “You only speak out against Christianity. Why don’t you talk about the Muslim religion, too?” The typical response is that Islam has little direct effect in America, and most American atheists have more interaction with Christianity.
For an atheist who is an ex-Muslim, however, this is clearly not the case, and Ayaan’s book is, indeed, directed at the problems she sees in Islam.
In an excerpt released to ABC, Ayaan Hirsi Ali does call out Islam, speaking about the things she sees in the religion as only an ex-Muslim can.
“Let me make my point in the simplest possible terms: Islam is not a religion of peace. For expressing the idea that Islamic violence is rooted not in social, economic, or political conditions—or even in theological error—but rather in the foundational texts of Islam itself, I have been denounced as a bigot and an ‘Islamophobe.’ I have been silenced, shunned, and shamed. In effect, I have been deemed to be a heretic, not just by Muslims—for whom I am already an apostate—but by some Western liberals as well, whose multicultural sensibilities are offended by such ‘insensitive’ pronouncements.”
That’s not all, though — the author says that, despite what some people, particularly atheists, express, not all religions are equal.
Not converting to any religion soon but religions are not equal. My fellow atheists must admit this. -AHA
— Ayaan Hirsi Ali (@Ayaan) March 22, 2015
She says that unless the core concepts of Islam are reformed, political violence carried out in the name of religion will never end.
“In these pages, it is my intention to make many people—not only Muslims but also Western apologists for Islam—uncomfortable.”
There’s no doubt that Ali is doing that already. She’s been called an Islamophobe (interesting appellation for an ex-Muslim), “defiant,” biased, and of course, angry. The Washington Post speaks of atheists who have spoken out against her message. The following message is from Yale Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics.
“We do not believe Ayaan Hirsi Ali represents the totality of the ex-Muslim experience. Although we acknowledge the value of her story, we do not endorse her blanket statements on all Muslims and Islam.”
Her book, Heretic: Why Islam Needs Reform, hits the shelves on March 24, and will no doubt cause an even greater furor then.
Do you believe an ex-Muslim author is too close to her former religion to speak objectively about it, or is she uniquely placed to assess it better than anyone else?
[Photo by: Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images]