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Economist article: Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Reforming Islam

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by AroundTheWorld, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. AroundTheWorld

    Supporting Member

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    Reforming Islam
    Thoughts on its future


    A controversial new book says Islam must change in five important areas

    Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now. By Ayaan Hirsi Ali. HarperCollins; 272 pages; $27.99 and £18.99.

    NOT many people have lived deep inside a ruthlessly patriarchal, theocratic world and also won acclaim in the great bastions of Western, liberal thought. Even fewer can describe the contrast with insight, and that is why the writings of Ayaan Hirsi Ali on religion, culture and violence always command attention.

    In several senses, she has come a long way, and she is still travelling. Having moved to the Netherlands, and then America, after a childhood in Africa and Saudi Arabia, the Somali-born writer is now a fellow of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In three earlier books she expounded her conviction that Islam, her family’s religion, was incorrigibly flawed. She faulted the faith for encouraging violence, for abusing women and ultimately for its belief in a punitive God whose existence she had rejected.

    In her latest work, “Heretic”, Ms Hirsi Ali shifts her position and argues that Islam is capable of modernising reform. At the start of the book she sounds her old militant self, denouncing cultural relativists who want to muzzle her because they deny that the crimes of, say, Islamic State really are motivated by belief, as opposed to socioeconomic grievances.

    As she goes on to argue, insisting that Islam is not the real motive is a convenient way of avoiding any examination of Muslim beliefs. But the opposite point also applies, and it is one that many would make of her. To take “religious” terrorists at face value, and say they are overwhelmingly motivated by spiritual convictions, can equally be a kind of cop-out, if it refuses to consider why some people with those beliefs resort to violence and others refrain; or why in some situations terrorists win support from those around them, while in others they are isolated.

    The main body of Ms Hirsi Ali’s book is more nuanced—and optimistic—than her previous writings. She argues that some factors behind Christianity’s Reformation now exist in the Muslim world. The reforms of Martin Luther, for example, advanced with help from the newly invented printed press; a Muslim reformer today might well benefit from the rise of electronic communications.

    But parallels between Christianity’s Reformation and a possible Muslim one have their limits. As Ms Hirsi Ali acknowledges, the link between the evolution of the Protestant Reformation and modernity is not simple. Protestantism began not as a move to dislodge the primacy of divine revelation, but to assert it. Only very indirectly did the Reformation lead Europe into a secular, scientific age. So anybody who advocates a Muslim Reformation must ask this question: if radical change starts in the Muslim world, is it certain that it will really lead to liberal freedoms, or could it trigger, either directly or indirectly, even greater religious fervour?

    Ms Hirsi Ali, as you might expect, favours more freedom, and she reckons that some tentative movement in that direction is already in progress. At the moment, she says, the prevailing trend in Islam stresses the violent sayings of Muhammad, dating from his stay in Medina, over the peaceful ones issued earlier in Mecca. But the author notes that there is quite a large minority who eschew the aggressive tone of the “Medina” sayings, preferring the quiescent piety which, she says, marks the Prophet’s earlier declarations—certainly large enough for that minority to be worth encouraging.

    Unfortunately, very few Muslims will accept Ms Hirsi Ali’s full-blown argument, which insists that Islam must change in at least five important ways. A moderate Muslim might be open to discussion of four of her suggestions if the question were framed sensitively. Muslims, she says, must stop prioritising the afterlife over this life; they must “shackle sharia” and respect secular law; they must abandon the idea of telling others, including non-Muslims, how to behave, dress or drink; and they must abandon holy war. However, her biggest proposal is a show-stopper: she wants her old co-religionists to “ensure that Muhammad and the Koran are open to interpretation and criticism”.

    Hearing this last argument, a well-educated Muslim would probably give an answer like this: “If ‘criticism’ means denying that Muhammad was God’s final messenger, who delivered the Koran under divine inspiration, then it would be more honest to propose leaving Islam entirely—because without those beliefs, we would have nothing left.”

    To put the point another way, if there is to be any chance that Muslims can be persuaded to set aside premodern ideas about law, war and punishment, the persuader will not be a sophisticated secularist; it is more likely to be somebody who fervently believes in the divine origins of the Koran, but is able to look at it again and extract from its words a completely fresh set of conclusions.

    http://www.economist.com/news/books...must-change-five-important-areas-thoughts-its
     
  2. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    There certainly is a problem. The violence in the name of Islam has got to stop.

    I admire this woman's courage to speak out. She would never be allowed to do so in many Muslim nations.
     
  3. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    I never understood the fascination with the afterlife. You could be getting pussy right now. So why wait until when you die to have 72 people who haven't a clue what they're doing?
     
  4. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Contributing Member

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    I agree with this. In fact, I would take it a step further and say "the violence in the name of ___________ has got to stop.
     
  5. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Contributing Member

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    Like who? Buddah?
     
  6. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Contributing Member

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    Like anyone or anything in whose name violence is perpetrated, thus the line indicating to fill in the blank.
     
  7. AroundTheWorld

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    But violence is perpetrated a lot more in the name of Islam than in the name of the Houston Rockets. Thus the line indicating to fill in the blank is an incredibly lame and stupid attempt to make an invalid point.
     
  8. bongman

    bongman Member

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    What did Abraham had to do in the name of god, aka Yawheh, aka Alah?
     
  9. AroundTheWorld

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    Step away from the bong.
     
  10. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast

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    Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
    Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"
    God say, "No." Abe says, "What?"
    God say, "You can do what you want, Abe, but
    Next time you see me comin' man you better run"
    Abe says, "God, where you want this killin' done?"
    God says. "Out on Highway 61"
     
  11. Mathloom

    Mathloom Contributing Member

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    The Kim Kardashian of neoliberals.

    It's a shame how she's betrayed all the people she might be able to help, just to make a quick buck. If her concern was to change the things that plagued her growing up, this book would be in Somali or Arabic and launched in Africa. She's the daughter of a political elitist who's best friends were the Saudi Arabians and Yemenis and the UAE.

    Plus the irony of her advice. Telling Muslims they shouldn't tell others how to behave which is true but.... SHE IS TELLING PEOPLE HOW TO BEHAVE!!! :grin:
     
  12. AroundTheWorld

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    It must make your blood boil that a woman dares to speak up. I understand that is not the norm where you come from, ideologically and geographically.
     
  13. Mathloom

    Mathloom Contributing Member

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    I don't really know, I'm culturally from two countries where women dominate education and receive equal pay and dominate the minuscule political platforms they have access to and are really making men look like lazy bastards. My wife is a public speaker, and she is in pre-production for a show she is funding with her own money to support women in the Middle East of any background. Oh, and I'm producing that show. I understand that this is tough for you to understand though, being from that bastion of western liberal thought which sells nuclear submarines to human rights abusers. I'm sure you think that's not as bad as backwards human rights laws you fullbright scholar liberal thinker you.

    Maybe you should spend your time wondering how you can give women a larger platform. Hmmmm... what are you currently doing to contribute to that?

    Oh yeah. You promote Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who liberal secular women in my country cannot relate to in any way shape or form because they just heard about FGM from Western media and they've never lived her specifically Eastern African culture. Things that are more proportionally prevalent in your country than mine. Also, you support a government which makes a MASSIVE chunk of their money selling futuristic weapons to the very people who you are critical of.

    What's your goal again?
     
  14. AroundTheWorld

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    Let's just remember that Mathloom is the guy who blamed a rape victim for her rape, and who said he "doesn't want a cartoonist to be killed, but he wants him to live in fear for the rest of his life" and who said he loves Saudi Arabia and would love to live there.

    All that pretend stuff from his last post can be ignored.
     
  15. Mathloom

    Mathloom Contributing Member

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    Keep making **** up! The fact that you didn't address anything in the post = full of win!
     
  16. AroundTheWorld

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    None of it is made up, and the regulars here know it. Stop lying. I might quote your posts later.
     
  17. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

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    The only way to 'reform' Islam is to secularize it's fundamentalist followers into believing that their infallible prophet's moral system is fallible. Good luck.
     
  18. Mathloom

    Mathloom Contributing Member

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    Even if I were a RAPIST, it wouldn't change what I stated. Your personal attacks show just how weak you are.

    You call yourself a constitutional lawyer, don't act stupid. You know exactly the flimsy game you're playing.
     
  19. Mathloom

    Mathloom Contributing Member

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    That would probably be one of the better ways, but it's certainly not the only way.

    If anyone was keeping an eye on the region, they would see CERTAIN regimes right now employing their choice strategy: simply replace Islam with fascist Arabism/Nationalism using money as well as their 100% control of the media and education system while leveraging their relationship with superpowers.

    Let's say for example, if an imaginary country called Borabia pumped massive amounts of cash into major US and regional media outlets and placed a staunch nationalist female in a jet fighter which attacked ISIS. That would work. Wouldn't work well. But it would work.
     
  20. rhadamanthus

    rhadamanthus Contributing Member

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    Nothing you said here made any sense and only further shows out of touch you are. Or, rather, how in touch you are with all the wrong things.
     

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