Former Muslim: In Islam, it’s not just a few rotten apples, ‘I’m saying it’s the entire basket’

Former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali has seen the brutality of Islam firsthand, and has now become one of its harshest critics.

Despite protestations from Muslim support groups and the Obama administration, she sees a connection between Muslim terrorists and Islam, and the idea of jihad is spreading among its adherents.

“The assumption is that, in Islam, there are a few rotten apples, not the entire basket,” Ali told The New York Post. “I’m saying it’s the entire basket.”

In her new book, “Heretic,” Ali argues that Islam must completely reform if it is to survive in the 21st century. As a woman who suffered the 7th century horrors of genital mutilation and fled to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage, she should know.

“If you are a child brought up to believe that Islam is a source of morality, the Muslim framework presents you with the Koran and the hijab. I don’t want to be cruel and say, ‘You grow up and you snap out of it.’ But maybe we who have snapped out of it have not done our best to appeal to those still in it,” she says.

Muslims can be divided into three categories, she argues in “Heretic”: The militant extremists, the reformers and those who make up what she believes is the largest group — those who practice their religion in their own way without challenging its more brutal aspects.

She refuses to label this last group, “moderates,” although that’s what we’ve generally come to refer to them as.

“I’ve never believed in the word,” Ali says. “It’s totally useless. I think we’re in a time now where we demand answers from Muslims and say, ‘Whose side are you on?’ ”

In “Heretic,” Ali, who is now an atheist, calls for five changes to Islam.

“Only when these five things are recognized as inherently harmful and when they are repudiated and nullified,” she writes, “will a true Muslim reformation have been achieved.”

Those five reforms are:

  • The infallibility of the Prophet Mohammed and the literal interpretation of the Koran
  • The idea that life after death is more important than life on earth
  • Sharia law
  • Allowing any Muslim to enforce ideas of right and wrong on another
  • Jihad, or holy war

“The biggest obstacle to change within the Muslim world,” Ali writes, “is precisely its suppression of the sort of critical thinking I am attempting here.”

Ali also appeared on ABC News “This Week” Sunday to promote her book and debate the issue with author and activist Manal Omar, who argued that change is already happening within Islam.


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