Read by the author, in a calm and mellow voice of reason, this highly detailed and lucid explanation of the nature of radical Islam should be required reading in the schools. She briefly outlines the history of Islam while admitting that she is not a scholar, merely she is very well read and a victim of its abuses. She explains that there are three types of Islam, one originating in Medina and one in Mecca, and a third which is the type embraced by the author, that type of Islam followed by and espoused by Modifying Muslims, those who want reform. They are those who are the heretics, the dissidents, those who have disavowed their religion and some who have simply questioned some of its practices; they are those who would be accused of apostasy. Unfortunately, before they have a chance to accomplish much, many of these hopeful reformers are sentenced to death and murdered under the current laws of Islam, for disavowing their religion. Reform will, therefore, be a slow and very painful process. The reader will also begin to grow aware of the conundrum that exists between the two major Muslim groups; the Medina Muslims are jihadists, anti modern western world. They hate and will not tolerate any other religions other than Islam. They preach Jihad as a requirement of the faith in much the same way as a journey to Mecca would be a requirement at least once in a lifetime. Mecca Muslims, on the other hand are devout, but not violent, want to maintain the status quo.
Ayn Hirsi Ali’s mother preached hellfire and death. Her father was not as radical which surprised me, since as a woman, her mother was oppressed and should have been more apt to want reform. However, she knew little else than the life she had and had little to aspire towards, as a result. For more than half of Ali’s life she studied Islam, grew devout and even went so far as to join the Muslim Brotherhood as a teen. However, when her parents arranged a marriage for her, she broke under that yoke of control and ran away to the Netherlands where she began a new life.
As time passed, she was not received with tolerance everywhere, but the voices raised against her contrary views were certainly not as loud as they are today, nor was radical Islam as widespread. Today, they have the power to silence any criticism in the interest of political correctness and those that acquiesce have more of a desire not to offend others than to defend the tolerance that used to exist in the free world. To that end, we have become a world in which intolerance is now tolerated far more than tolerance. People of differing views are considered troublemakers and removed rather than removing those who are silencing the free exchange of ideas and free speech. To Ali, criticizing Islam is not racism, is not hate speech, and she is surprised that the very same liberals who believe in freedom and women’s rights, as well as civil rights for all, contradictorily, remain silent when it comes to the abuses of women sanctioned by radical Islamists, sanctioned by the words of the Koran and the Hadith. She is surprised that those who believe in freedom actually align themselves with those who do not. It defies common sense and yet it is so. Many women in the western world are largely silent on the subject of Islamic injustice toward women.
While reading, I sensed that those born in the free world, with every opportunity afforded them, seem to want to join radicalized groups while those born into a world undergoing radicalization seem to want to flee from it. Therefore, it is not poverty or ignorance that makes them do it, but rather, perhaps, the fact that they have no idea what they will face, that they are young people who simply want their fifteen minutes of fame, the popularity they have not been able to attain in their own environment, without truly understanding the consequences of their actions. Perhaps we are spoiling generations of young by providing them with so much that they no longer appreciate what they have and want to prove they don’t need it. This used to be a problem that afflicted few youth, but today is more widespread.
According to Ali, politics and religion must remain separate. There are certain principles which will have to be adhered to before any Reformation in the Muslim religion can occur. She suggests five amendments to the Koran which she believes will bring about a reformation within the religion which I paraphrase below.
1-The Koran must stop being considered the last world of G-d and Mohammed must not be considered the last inspired messenger. It must begin to be seen simply as a book, just as the Christian and Jewish religious tomes are considered. For followers of the Koran and the Hadith, each new law written superseded the prior one, creating a situation in which there was no tolerance for any act that might have been acceptable previously.
2-Muslims must begin to worship this life more than the afterlife, so that they will not willingly go to their deaths, so that mothers will no longer happily send their sons to glory and their sons will no longer look to find their virgins and honor in death. Muslims must begin to value life over death so that to sacrifice one’s life in the cause of Jihad is no longer considered an honorable pursuit. Payment to these families for the sacrifice of their children must stop, as well. Surely their lives should be valued more than money.
3-The practice of Jihad must no longer be sought by Muslims. The need to create the Caliphate must be stopped and acts of what they consider justified terrorism must be prevented. Shamefully, they murder innocents and destroy ancient artifacts with abandon, and often gleefully, in the name of Jihad, in their attempt to march across the world to establish one nation of Islam everywhere.
4-The practice of Sharia must be abandoned as it seeks to destroy everything standing in the way of the establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, condemns infidels, apostates, dishonors women and supports barbaric punishment for all that offend the rules deemed necessary. Islam must be brought into modern times so that all cultures may coexist peacefully with the rest of the world. Murdering those who oppose them controls all who dissent through fear, not necessarily approval.
5-Muslims must no longer be commanded to do right and forbid wrong which they use to justify all sorts of brutal acts. The Imams decide what is right and what is wrong and all followers of Islam must do the same. This allows honor killings, child marriages and domestic violence among many other violent and less than civilized behaviors. Governments must stop funding the Medina Muslims, those living in the past, worshiping a book written in ancient times, those so radicalized that they don’t see the consequences of their behavior. Funding the Medina Muslims may keep them from their own doors while they give them tacit approval to haunt the world of others. Soon there will be no doors but theirs to attack.
Islam has created a system of laws which essentially perpetuates the radicalization of its believers. Those that do not agree are severely punished or brutally murdered. Effectively, they have a system that silences all voices but their own, and a system that justifies their rampages and their cruelty. Although the author believes that because there are more voices rising in dissent, the Reformation of the religion may have begun, I find there are too few voices and too few in the Western world powerful or brave enough to stand up to the murderers amongst us, even going so far as refusing to call them by what they are, Islamic Terrorists. These radical followers of Islam are following the Koran.
Ali cites chapter and verse throughout her book, of the rules that give those that join groups like Isis permission to behave like the savages they represent. Yes, perhaps there are some who are speaking out for more equal rights for women, women often sentenced to death by stoning after they were raped by a man, and perhaps there are some scholars making a stand placing themselves in grave danger, risking beheading, jail and/or whippings, and some followers are converting to Christianity, a crime punishable by death, as well, to name just a few of those who might tend to disagree and are attempting to establish a Reform movement, but the danger is enormous to them, and the results are trifling. One must ask themselves, perhaps especially women, if men are so tempted by them, why aren’t the men blindfolded rather than the women robed? If it is the male of the species who cannot resist the temptation, why not prevent their temptation by punishing them, not the innocent woman who is not intentionally tempting anyone? It seems to me that calmer heads would recognize that it is the males who transgress, not the females of the species.
Men and woman who follow Islam have been kept ignorant by strict Islamic upbringings, but information technology has brought the greater world to their doorsteps and some have become enlightened. Because of the disorganization within the ranks of the militant Islamists, with no single leader controlling all of the splinter revolutionary groups, there is often a vacuum of power and a failure to maintain control and provide the services once promised. Therefore there is widespread disappointment. And yes, there are leaders emerging who might someday provide the impetus for a real reformation within Islam, the kind that all other mainstream religions have undergone, but no other religion, but Islam, aspires to conquer the world in the modern day, no other religion is warlike or militant. The present day leaders of Christianity and Judaism preach peace and tolerance. The Koran encourages the opposite from its followers. Using Koranic quotes, Ali proves that the terrorists are worshiping the book and following Islam. They simply have not hijacked this peaceful religion, but are following its militant tenets explicitly, pursuing it to its stated final purpose.
In this modern Western world today, when the author began to teach an Islamic Studies Seminar, at Harvard, students came armed to protest. They did not do the readings, they did not need to, they said, because they knew all they needed to know. They were angry with her, protested her freedom to speak and interrupted her classes prohibiting the free exchange of ideas by their actions. Some in the class were afraid to speak out. She spent her time trying to disarm the hostile remarks.
She explains to the reader that the laws of apostasy create an atmosphere in which there can be no dissent. She acknowledges that of the leaders of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, only the one was militant, Mohammed. He rode into many brutal battles and participated in violent conquests. She disagrees with Obama’s inability to call the problem facing the world an Islamic one. She reveals that the circular reasoning of whatever happens is G-d’s will, and therefore whatever happens G-d will provide, that this life is meaningless since the rewards are only handed out in the afterlife, leading mothers and sons, soldiers and believers to hope for eternal life after death, rather than seek a profitable life in the world of the living, is self defeating, but in the rigid beliefs of this religion, the obvious hypocrisy of some of the rules remains unknown to most followers .
How do you stop those who worship death more than life, religious honor more than their children, ancient rules rather than modern knowledge? It will take several generations if it is even at all possible. In past history, most radical religions died down, but they had no armies to do their bidding and the world stood up to their madness. Today, the world is largely silent, perhaps silenced by fear and cowardice, or perhaps by the belief that if no waves are made, the flood will not hit their shores. How has that been working?