Islam is in need of a reformation. In the same manner that Christianity and Judaism centuries ago softened dogmas of intolerance (and violence) and opened doors to all believers. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali woman – and Muslim – who penned a book on the subject – Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now. Powerful.
Muslims the world over recite the Shahada – There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger. Yet as previously discussed, there are 72 different sects of Islam (see 9/6/13). And many of them hate each other. In 2013, there were 12,000 terrorist attacks worldwide. Most were committed by Muslims. Most were committed against Muslims. To understand this anomaly, Ms. Ali divides Muslims (of all sects) into three groups:
Medina Muslims — These are the fundamentalists who want a return to the 7th Century caliphate. They are the ones who prescribe violence to convert or exterminate those not like them. They are the ones who insist on burqas for their women and justify beatings and executions for the smallest of theological (or interpretive) missteps. They insist that Sharia law should dominate all other laws.
Mecca Muslims — The vast majority of Muslims. Peaceful as a rule. Moderate.
Dissidents — Those like Ms. Ali who believe in reform. Her book suggests five areas of Islamic reform: view Muhammad as fallible – not divine; reject martyrdom; accept Sharia law as coequal with the laws of man; eliminate religious police; and reject jihad (what has come to be known as “holy war”).
Her feeling is that Muslims need to embrace modernity and reject the small group of radicals (those of Medina) who are destroying the faith. Her conclusion is that not just Muslims – but the whole world – would win.