Even as the world of political Islam continues to be dominated by acts of violence and a separatist agenda, there are signs of reform in the Arab Spring movement.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali who has been at the forefront of the reform movement offers an analysis of what’s happening and how it could happen faster. Around the world cracks are starting to appear in the world of political Islam. While its leaders remain strong and defiant and while it continues to be characterized by separatism and an agenda of violence, a number of people have questioned its rigid stances – from Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai to Amina tyler, the activist who posed nude on Facebook to make a point about women’s bodies belonging to themselves.
Beyond that, political movements across the Middle East – the ‘Arab Spring’ protests – show that a number of Muslims are increasingly fed up by what they see as a system which is too inflexible, often corrupt and which prevents countries from getting ahead. Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali has long been an outspoken critic of political Islam, specifically its treatment of women.
In her books she’s told her own story and how she escaped the bonds of a strict Muslim upbringing. In this book she moves beyond the personal story to a more overtly political stance. While women remain her main concern she also addresses Islam’s other problems – its emphasis on passivity, its hypocrisy about the modern world, its defensiveness when criticized. Analysing the embryonic protest movements from around the world, she asks what it would take to achieve a reformation – and how long it will take.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the New York Times bestselling author of Infidel, Nomad, and The Caged Virgin. Born in Somalia and raised a Muslim, she grew up in Africa and Saudi Arabia before seeking asylum in 1992 in the Netherlands, where she went from cleaning factories to winning a seat in the Dutch Parliament. A prominent speaker, debater, and journalist, she was chosen as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. She is now a fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Hirsi Ali is the founder of the AHA Foundation.
Tariq Ramadan vs Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Maajid Nawaz, Feisal Abdul Rauf – “Islam: A Religion of Violence Or Peace?”
Published on Nov 26, 2013
On November 16, 2013, The Richmond Forum brought together three noted voices on Islam to tackle the question: Is Islam a religion of violence or peace? Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim and the author of “Infidel,” speaks and writes widely about what she believes is the inherently violent nature of Islam and its subjugation and abuse of women. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, an American Muslim spiritual leader, acclaimed author, and one of the most influential Muslim voices of moderation, holds the position that Islam is a bedrock of tolerance. Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamic extremist and the author of “Radical,” spent four years in an Egyptian prison and today works to challenge extremism and promote democracy in the Muslim world. Moderated by John Donvan.
Followed by a discussion between three interfaith leaders from Richmond: Imam Ammar Amonette, Rabbi Ben Romer, and the Rev. Bill Sachs.