Monday, July 6, 2015

Where Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Argument Re the Possiblity of "Reforming" Islam Falls Flat

Abigail R. Esman nails it, I think, with this:
Radical Muslims are hardly going to listen to her. And because of her often harsh rhetoric over the years, Hirsi Ali has alienated herself so greatly from even “moderate” Muslims that few of them are likely to be eager to follow her direction. 
At the same time, there are millions of “moderate” Muslims. There are even atheist Muslims. (Yes, really.) In that sense, the “reformation” already exists. But it will not move everyone, and it is not moving the extremists any more than it moves extreme, fundamentalists Christians who bomb abortion clinics and Orthodox Jews who abuse women. (Not to mention the fact that I find it unlikely that any priest or rabbi would refer to the Bible as “just a book,” let alone an imam speak this of the Quran. But I could be wrong.) 
And it seems to me that it is especially in Islam that such a global reformation is unlikely: the notions of world domination in a Caliphate and of power over women is too seductive, winning over the heart and mind of the common man. The narcissist who sees himself a hero, the sinner yearning for redemption, the youth raised with convictions of right and wrong that differ from our own but are equally as strong – these men will not let go of this Islam. They will fight to preserve and to empower it across the earth. They are the Islamic State.
It strikes me that Hirsi Ali is one of those non-believers/atheists/secularists (Jonathan Kay is another) who, though eminently reasonable and indubitably rational, simply does not "get" religious belief. That limitation can definitely be a handicap when trying to unpack belief and offer remedies for believers.

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