Book reviews

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now (HarperCollins, 2015)

Hirsi Ali’s two main ideas are simple and ones which most Americans thought for years but probably never expressed in these politically-correct and Muslim-friendly Obama years: first, that “Islam is not a religion of peace” (3, emphasized by being written in italics) and, second, that five precepts of Islam need to be reformed or eradicated completely (such as jihad).  This second idea is so noteworthy that the five precepts are repeated on pages 24, 74, and 235—thus framing her entire argument.

Other ideas in Hirsi Ali’s work include the following.  “Multiculturalism should not mean that we tolerate another culture’s intolerance” (28) is an idea which supports those in the Christian West who are verbally assaulted by Islamic extremists who argue that Muslims should be allowed to live separately from others.  How Westerners don’t understand that such “separation” is “segregation” as our African-American brothers and sisters have demonstrated to the world and thus invalid in democratic societies is beyond me.

Hirsi Ali’s term “Christophobia” (192) is useful to counter those who argue that any criticism of Islam is necessarily Islamophobic.  Christians in the West should not be fearful of criticizing the murderous instincts of Islamic jihadists for fear of “offending” them; after all, such extremists are killing fellow Christians.

Hirsi Ali’s most significant idea is that a Reformation like the Protestant one which affected Christianity in the sixteenth century is already underway in Islam and needs the urgent support of the West.  What the printing press was to Protestantism, the Internet is to Islamic reformers.  Even the most technologically astute Islamic extremist cannot stop hundreds of millions of people living under Islamic regimes from accessing Western ideas through cyberspace.

Hirsi Ali’s book is a cogent read that can be finished in one day if annotations are made, half a day if one is able to read without necessarily taking notes.  This book is crucial to read to prepare for the explosion of activism reforming Islam from within which will occur once Obama leaves the White House.

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