In this short book, Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz invite you to join an urgently needed conversation: Is Islam a religion of peace or war? Is it amenable to reform? Why do so many Muslims seem drawn to extremism? What do words like Islamism, jihadism, and fundamentalism mean in today’s world?
Remarkable for the breadth and depth of its analysis, this dialogue between a famous atheist and a former radical is all the more startling for its decorum. Harris and Nawaz have produced something genuinely new: they engage one of the most polarizing issues of our timefearlessly and fullyand actually make progress.
Islam and the Future of Tolerance has been published with the explicit goal of inspiring a wider public discussion by way of example. In a world riven by misunderstanding and violence, Harris and Nawaz demonstrate how two people with very different views can find common ground.
Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue 5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
This book is presented as a discussion between atheist philosopher, Sam Harris, and Islam reformer, Maajid Nawaz, concerning the subject of the reformation of Islam away from Islamism into the modern world. Basically Harris is saying Islam contains within itself the doctrine of Islamism which means it can't be reformed, while Nawaz says Islamism can be overcome with the right messaging to the right people. They both agree that the problem of Islam is multi-faceted and somewhat hard to pin down. They concede that the majority of Muslims (especially those in Muslim-majority countries) are not progressive liberals who espouse traditional liberal views such as democracy, human rights, civil rights, women's liberation, and so on. So, even if these self-same Muslims are not advocates of a literal interpretation of Islam such as practiced by members of fundamentalist groups, and even if these same Muslims would like to be left alone by ISIS, et al, to practice their religion their own way, they also want to be left alone by everyone else to practice their religion in their own way. Which means even if ISIS, et al, disappeared tomorrow, the fact remains Islam has a lot of work to do to get to acceptance of Western liberal values in general. Harris argues that this work might not be possible because a literal reading of the Koran and other scripture leads directly to Islamism, while Nawaz argues that reforming the doctrine is possible if enough people can be convinced that multiple interpretations of Islamic doctrine are possible, therefore a literal reading is not necessarily the best reading. The discussion is respectful, intelligent, and informative, but I wasn't convinced that Nawaz's arguments on the side of reform are strong enough to overcome Harris's arguments that the situation looks pretty hopeless. It's worth reading so you can decide for yourself.