Infidel

This month’s book club selection is Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m inspired by it already.

I’ve read a lot of memoirs/stories of people who come from a place of oppression and abuse. Ali seems a rare example of someone who really strives to make sense of her past and make changes for the future of others.

I’m shocked though, by some of her revelations about Islam:

The Prophet did teach us a lot of good things. I found it spiritually appealing to believe in a Hereafter. My life was enriched by the Quranic injunctions to be compassionate and show charity to others. There were times when I, like other Muslims, found it too complicated to deal with the whole issue of war against the unbelievers. Most Muslims never delve into theology, and we rarely read the Quran; we are taught it in Arabic, which most Muslims can’t speak. As a result, most people think that Islam is about peace. It is from these people, honest and kind, that the fallacy has arisen that Islam is peaceful and tolerant.

She’s not saying that Muslim extremists misinterpret the Quran. She’s saying that they’ve interpreted it exactly the way it was intended.

For me, her skepticism about Islam extends to all religions. I don’t know that this is something I will be able to discuss freely within my book group.

Ali looks around at the Western world and thinks, “Waitaminute, here’s a society that’s functioning better than the Muslim world from whence I came. (I’m paraphrasing here.) How can it be that they all are doomed to hellfire if Islam is the only way?”

Any religion that denounces all other religions is intolerant.