The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason

Ali A. Rizvi. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-250-09444-5
Rizvi combines a deconversion memoir with a rehashing of “new atheist” arguments to explain his transition from Islam to atheism. Raised in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, he experienced repressive Islam firsthand before renouncing the faith in North America as a young adult in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Rizvi makes his most original and concise points when calling out the hypocrisy of liberals who attempt to defend Islam unreservedly. By arguing against platitudes such as “terrorist are not really Muslims” or “Islam is essentially peaceful,” Rizvi brings nuance to understanding the connections among religion, frustration, and violence for young Muslims. In doing so, he shows that religious institutions make terrorism possible. His personal story unfortunately recedes into brief anecdotes while he embarks on longer explanations of and arguments against religion in general. His lines of thought will be familiar to most who have read other New Atheist works, but his careful explanation of the problems facing metaphorical readings of the Qur’an and other Islam-specific issues add a good insider’s perspective to the debate. By demanding a space for questioning Islam openly that does not devolve into attacking individual Muslims, the work pushes towards the possibility of a cultural Islam that maintains family and ethnic traditions without requiring belief. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/12/2016
Release date: 11/22/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5159-1357-3
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