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  • I was raised a practicing Muslim and remained one for almost half my life.

  • I attended madrassas, that is, Islamic schools, and memorized large parts of the Qur'an.

  • As a child, I lived in Mecca for a time and frequently visited the Grand Mosque.

  • As a teenager, I sympathized with the Muslim Brotherhood.

  • At 22 while my family was living in Kenya, my father arranged my marriage to a member

  • of our family clan, a man that I had never met.

  • I ran away, made my way to Holland, studied there and eventually was elected a member

  • of the Dutch parliament.

  • Now I live in the United States.

  • In short, I have seen Islam from the inside and the outside.

  • I believe that a reform of Islam is necessary and possible.

  • And only Muslims can make that reform a reality.

  • But we in the West cannot remain on the sidelines as though the outcome of this struggle

  • has nothing to do with us.

  • If the jihadists win and the hope for a reformed Islam dies, the rest of the world will pay

  • a terrible price.

  • The terror attacks in New York, London, Madrid, Paris and many other places

  • are only a preview for what is to come.

  • For this reason, I believe that it’s foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do,

  • that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced

  • from the religion itself.

  • For more than a decade, my message has been simple: Islam is not a religion of peace.

  • When I assert this, I do not mean that Islamic belief makes all Muslims violent.

  • This is manifestly not the case: There are many millions of peaceful Muslims in the world.

  • What I do say is that the call to violence and the justification for it are explicitly

  • stated in the sacred texts of Islam.

  • Moreover, this theologically sanctioned violence is there to be activated by any number of offenses,

  • including but not limited to adultery, blasphemy, homosexuality and apostasy

  • --that is to leave Islam.

  • Those who tolerate this intolerance do so at their peril.

  • As someone who has known what it is to live without freedom, I watch in amazement as those

  • who call themselves liberals and progressives--people who claim to believe so fervently in individual

  • liberty and minority rights--make common cause with the forces in the world that manifestly

  • pose the greatest threats to that very freedom and those very minorities.

  • In 2014 I was invited to accept an honorary degree from Brandeis University for the work

  • I have done on behalf of women's rights in the Muslim world.

  • That invitation was withdrawn after professors and students protested my criticism of Islam.

  • My subsequent "disinvitation," as it came to be called, was no favor to Muslims

  • --just the opposite.

  • By labeling critical examination of Islam as inherently "racist," we make the chances

  • of reformation far less likely.

  • There are no limits on criticism of Christianity at American universities or anywhere else,

  • for that matter; why should there be of Islam?

  • Instead of contorting Western intellectual traditions so as not to offend our Muslim

  • fellow citizens, we need to defend both those traditions and the Muslim dissidents who take

  • great risks to promote them.

  • We should support these brave men and women in every way possible.

  • Imagine a platform for Muslim dissidents that communicated their message through YouTube,

  • Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

  • These are the Muslims we should be supporting--for our sake as much for the sake of Islam.

  • In the Cold War, the West celebrated dissidents such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Sakharov,

  • andclav Havel, who had the courage to challenge the Soviet system from within.

  • Today, there are many dissidents who challenge Islam, but the West either ignores them

  • or dismisses them as "not representative."

  • This is a grave mistake.

  • Reformers such as Tawfiq Hamid, Asra Nomani & Zuhdi Jasser and many others

  • must be supported and protected.

  • They should be as well known as Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov, and Havel were in the 1980s.

  • If we do in fact support political, social and religious freedom, then we cannot in good

  • conscience give Islam a free pass on the grounds of multicultural sensitivity.

  • We need to say to Muslims living in the West: If you want to live in our societies, to share

  • in their material benefits, then you need to accept that our freedoms are not optional.

  • Islam is at a cross roads of reformation or self-destruction.

  • But so is the West.

  • I'm Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Harvard University for Prager University.

I was raised a practicing Muslim and remained one for almost half my life.

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Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

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    Ks.Romeo posted on 2017/09/15
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