With the going down of the sun nightly over Iraq, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Mali, France, the United Kingdom and Australia, fanatics unwind by smoking shisha pipes while plotting ways to kill us. And they say they are doing so in the name of Islam. Don't take my word for it, just listen to Da'esh's head of public relations, the tech-savvy Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani.
Their barbaric and determined mindset persuades many followers of the Prophet Muhammad to smite infidels in the name of Allah unless the latter submit to the will of Islam, usually through a conversion (see Qur'an 9:5).
But judging from the countless useful idiots protesting around the world recently – and even in Australia two weekends ago - one could be forgiven for thinking that so-called "Global Warming", and not Global Jihad, is the community's enemy #1. And that every other pressing matter on mankind's "to do" list must play second fiddle.
All I can say is "thank heavens for Harvard". Harvard University Press, that is. You see HUP recently published what looks less like a book and more like a script for two actors: a celebrated neuroscientist, atheist and chronic critic of all things religious, Sam Harris, and a former member and apologist for the radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir's UK branch, Maajid Nawaz. The two discuss the state of Muslim-Western affairs as well as intra-Muslim relations in a candid and respectful manner. Sure the two don't see eye to eye on many matters, but where they do, they are honest in explaining their views and how they formed them. And where they disagree they are respectful of, and demonstrate an open mind towards, each other's opinions. They hope that their conversation will be repeated around the world.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the Islamic scholar, Shaikh Dr Usama Hasan, not only consider the book "halal" they have sung its praises.
Job #1 for Nawaz's is to shame "reverse racists", hoping they will admit their errors. "Reverse racism" is the term he uses to brand irredeemable and recalcitrant lefties – mostly found in the media - who refuse to demand standards of Muslims, which they demand of others.
Nawaz, a leftist, a Muslim and an ex-radical, acknowledges the blinkers most leftists wear and chastises them for not only go easy on Islam, but sadly going easy on the worst of the worst elements of the Islamic community: the liberal deriding, women hating, Jew baiting, gay abusing and infidel abhorring ones. Such behaviour by leftists wilfully mutes the voices of possible reformers within Islam, he contends.
On the other side of the aisle, Harris finds the doctrines of Islam hostile and incurable. He succinctly diagnoses the problem: Islam is not a religion ofpeace. And he does so very early. On p2 in fact!
Unfortunately neither orator offers an effective solution to the existential challenge facing the West.
Nawaz, has moved onwards and upwards from his days at Hizb ut-Tahrir. He recently founded an "anti-extremist London based think tank" called Quilliam, whose focus is on religious freedom and extremism.
Both men are well-regarded wordsmiths. Nawaz has penned about reforming Islam and Harris has panned all organised religions, declaring them inferior to reason as the optimum custodians of human values.
The publication, Islam and the Future of Tolerance is their attempt to stimulate world wide respectful dialogue about the nature of Islam between folk with markedly different viewpoints. At 138 pages it is short but dense. It demands a second read.
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