Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born, American (formerly Dutch) activist, writer and politician. She describes herself as an atheist.
In her latest book Heretic, Ayaan argues that a reformation of Islam is overdue. It is “…the only way to end the horrors of terrorism, sectarian warfare and the repression of women and minorities.”
“Islam is not a religion of peace,” she writes and describes how some of the Quran’s key teachings - not least the duty to wage holy war - are incompatible with the values of a free society.
There is a distinct triumvirate of Muslims within Islam that needs identifying. First, the religious zealots, who follow Sharia (Islamic religious) law and embrace Mohammed’s violence. Second are those that practice Islam and are devout but without violence, but who, she says, are mistakenly termed moderates. The third, to which she belongs, consists of the dissidents, those thinking critically about Islam, some of whom like her have renounced the faith. ‘It is the Muslim reformers within the last group who need our backing, not the opponents of free speech’.
Ironically, she thinks that although the religious zealots are a clear threat to the West, they are much more of a problem to Muslims themselves.
Another ex-muslim Wafa Sultan is a Syrian psychiatrist born to devout Muslim parents.
She was enveloped by the culture from birth and all of her earlier life was saturated by the faith; in effect, she was brainwashed.
She now describes herself as a Muslim by birth but not now by belief. The final straw came when she suffered the trauma of witnessing her professor (a world-renowned opthalmologist) murdered by the Muslim Brotherhood. "They shot hundreds of bullets into him, shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great)!" she said. "At that point, I lost my trust in their god and began to question all our teachings. It was the turning point of my life, and it has led me to this present point. I had to leave. I had to look for another god."
She disagrees with the apologists who say Islam is being demonised and asserts that Islam has never been misunderstood; it is definitely the problem, but ‘noone is stating the truth’. She believes it is a mistake to consider that the fight is against just political, militant, radical or Wahabi Islam. The struggle is against Islam itself.
Wafa says Islam is ‘what the prophet Mohammed did and said’ and that reading the ‘traumatising and shocking biography of Mohammed’ is a way of truly understanding the foundation and nature of Islam.
These two steadfastly brave women, according to Islam, are apostates and thus in theory under an implicit sentence of death. They both deserve our whole-hearted support in their struggle.