Summary of Heretic

Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now

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Heretic book summary
Islam needs a reformation, so where is the Martin Luther of the Islamic world?


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Ayaan Hirsi Ali offers a controversial guidebook to the anomalies of Islam. The Somali-American scholar, based at Stanford, argues that casting Islam as a compassionate, peace-loving belief system with the self-identified Islamic State as just a fringe outbreak misses the mark. Instead, she finds that in a literal reading, the Quran – directly or indirectly – sanctions intolerance, resistance to social and religious innovation, death and violence. Hirsi Ali discusses her theory that Islam needs a movement analogous to the Protestant Reformation. She argues that Islam should abandon jihad and embrace reformation. Having been both accused of Islamophobia and lauded as a reformer and an intellectual, Hirsi Ali urges support for reform-minded Muslim leaders. While always strictly neutral in politics and religion, getAbstract thinks readers will be intrigued by Hirsi Ali’s call for change even if they may deem her prescriptions inadequate or too simple.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why Islam never under went a reformation,
  • How Islam’s teachings present “martyrdom,”
  • How Sharia law views honor and shame, and
  • How some Islamic practices work against social and spiritual innovation.


Risking of Islamophobia
Many world leaders cast Islam as a religion that is peaceful by nature but temporarily beset by extremists with no broad constituency. But from its Medina period onward, Islam wasn’t a religion of peace. The West shouldn’t regard Islamic violence as resulting from...
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About the Author

Somali-American and fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution Ayaan Hirsi Ali is among Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. She is a former member of the Dutch Parliament who fled to the US amid controversy fearing retaliation for her beliefs. An activist in the fight against female genital mutilation, she also wrote the documentary Submission and the books The Son Factory, The Caged Virgin, Infidel: My Life and Nomad: From Islam to America.

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