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In much of the Muslim world, religion is the central foundation upon which family, community, morality, and identity are built. The inextricable embedment of religion in Muslim culture has forced a new generation of non-believing Muslims to face the heavy costs of abandoning their parents’ religion: disowned by their families, marginalized from their communities, imprisone In much of the Muslim world, religion is the central foundation upon which family, community, morality, and identity are built. The inextricable embedment of religion in Muslim culture has forced a new generation of non-believing Muslims to face the heavy costs of abandoning their parents’ religion: disowned by their families, marginalized from their communities, imprisoned, or even sentenced to death by their governments. Struggling to reconcile the Muslim society he was living in as a scientist and physician and the religion he was being raised in, Ali A. Rizvi eventually loses his faith. Discovering that he is not alone in his beliefs, he moves to North America and promises to use his new freedom of speech to represent the voices that are usually quashed before reaching the mainstream media―the Atheist Muslim. In The Atheist Muslim, we follow Rizvi as he finds himself caught between two narrative voices he cannot relate to: extreme Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry in a post-9/11 world. The Atheist Muslim recounts the journey that allows Rizvi to criticize Islam―as one should be able to criticize any set of ideas―without demonizing his entire people. Emotionally and intellectually compelling, his personal story outlines the challenges of modern Islam and the factors that could help lead it toward a substantive, progressive reformation.


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In much of the Muslim world, religion is the central foundation upon which family, community, morality, and identity are built. The inextricable embedment of religion in Muslim culture has forced a new generation of non-believing Muslims to face the heavy costs of abandoning their parents’ religion: disowned by their families, marginalized from their communities, imprisone In much of the Muslim world, religion is the central foundation upon which family, community, morality, and identity are built. The inextricable embedment of religion in Muslim culture has forced a new generation of non-believing Muslims to face the heavy costs of abandoning their parents’ religion: disowned by their families, marginalized from their communities, imprisoned, or even sentenced to death by their governments. Struggling to reconcile the Muslim society he was living in as a scientist and physician and the religion he was being raised in, Ali A. Rizvi eventually loses his faith. Discovering that he is not alone in his beliefs, he moves to North America and promises to use his new freedom of speech to represent the voices that are usually quashed before reaching the mainstream media―the Atheist Muslim. In The Atheist Muslim, we follow Rizvi as he finds himself caught between two narrative voices he cannot relate to: extreme Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry in a post-9/11 world. The Atheist Muslim recounts the journey that allows Rizvi to criticize Islam―as one should be able to criticize any set of ideas―without demonizing his entire people. Emotionally and intellectually compelling, his personal story outlines the challenges of modern Islam and the factors that could help lead it toward a substantive, progressive reformation.

30 review for The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason

  1. 5 out of 5

    Esil

    I am at a loss to say much about this book other than “Wow”. It’s brilliant and courageous. It should generate a tremendous amount of healthy debate, but will likely generate some unfortunate negative reactions too. From personal experience, historical research and careful reasoning, Rivki engages in a thoughtful reflection on what led him from his religious childhood to atheism as an adult. Beyond the personal, he also makes suggestions for a path forward to a form of Muslim atheism. His writin I am at a loss to say much about this book other than “Wow”. It’s brilliant and courageous. It should generate a tremendous amount of healthy debate, but will likely generate some unfortunate negative reactions too. From personal experience, historical research and careful reasoning, Rivki engages in a thoughtful reflection on what led him from his religious childhood to atheism as an adult. Beyond the personal, he also makes suggestions for a path forward to a form of Muslim atheism. His writing is direct but very respectful. This is a powerful, readable and thought provoking book. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mikey B.

    This is a high impact book. The author is devastating on his former religion. Until Muslims learn to stop equating the Quran as divine and inerrant there will continue to be problems worldwide. Page 95 (my book) The uncomfortable truth, however, is that the most dangerous are inevitably those who are most intimately familiar with these words [in Holy texts], have studied them thoroughly, and actually take them seriously – whether in the Torah, Quran, or any other holy book they consider to be divi This is a high impact book. The author is devastating on his former religion. Until Muslims learn to stop equating the Quran as divine and inerrant there will continue to be problems worldwide. Page 95 (my book) The uncomfortable truth, however, is that the most dangerous are inevitably those who are most intimately familiar with these words [in Holy texts], have studied them thoroughly, and actually take them seriously – whether in the Torah, Quran, or any other holy book they consider to be divinely sanctioned. Those who read these passages, thinking, “this is sacred and virtuous, this must be respected,” are the ones to watch out for. The author takes on the over-used term Islamophobia, making it quite clear that one should always be free to criticize and caricature a religion. Many liberals and left wing pundits are so sensitive to this issue that anyone who dares to take on Islam is labeled by this phrase. Politicians skate by the issue (saying Islam is a religion of peace or that Islam is being falsified), even though terrorists constantly quote from the Quran. Many “Islamic scholars” do acrobatics interpreting passages in the Quran. By lambasting those who critique Islam in Western democratic countries, the liberals in Muslim dominated countries are being hindered in their efforts to free their countries from the Sharia that suffocates them. The liberals and the left-wing who take offense at comments by the likes of Richard Dawkins, Ayaan Hirsi-Ali... should realize that those comments would result in imprisonment or worse in Muslim dominated countries. Page 44 Maybe the Islamic State is reacting to U.S. foreign policy, but one wonders, what can this possibly have to do with enslaving underage Yazidi girls, killing Turkmen shias, throwing gays off rooftops, or executing apostates? Page 45 Throughout history, religion has simply been an excuse looking for conflict. Why do women’s rights take second place under the aura of religious right? And as the author points out, there is a double standard at play here. Page 144 Why is it that homophobic rhetoric from evangelical Christians is widely denounced by liberals, but correctly stating that the deplorable treatment of gays by Saudi Arabia, Iran, or the Islamic State has basis in the Quran is considered anti-Muslim bigotry? There have been moves to either secularism or atheism among Muslims. The author brings up a very active website ExMuslimBecause where numerous reasons (some funny, some not) are presented for abandoning the faith – and finding a world of reason and tolerance. Some Muslims in the West are trying to reform Islam from within – one is the gay Canadian Muslim activist Irshad Manji. I don’t know how successful they are – or will be. There is a large mosque where I live and it, for example, does not seem open to gay people. The author brings up how difficult it can be to abandon and leave the religion particularly in Muslim majority countries. And in the West when the entire community and family life is Mosque-centred there can also be enormous obstacles. Plus leaving the faith can have physical consequences. Like the author I wonder why these texts in Holy Books [Quran, Bible] written so long ago are so revered? We examine critically the message contained in current books, films, newscasts – but not these texts. Everything changes. One hundred years ago women did not have the right to vote – would any politician today run on a platform of disallowing women the right to vote? We should look at these old words in these old books in the same light – as being written in a context totally out of sync with our current level of knowledge and morality. This is a powerful examination of Islam and very convincing. And truly, given the plight surrounding those who leave Islam, this guy’s got guts! Page 160 “This is my faith” should not automatically confer immunity on the faithful for misogyny, bigotry, discrimination... ...tolerance of intolerance isn’t tolerance

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dan Graser

    This highly anticipated debut work from writer, religious and political commentator, trained physician, and oncologic pathologist Ali Rizvi does not disappoint in the slightest. His trademark wit, clarity, and erudition are on display throughout in a work of fascinating biography and engrossing commentary. His focus here is on his own process of losing his religion, describing the circumstances around that process and also providing a compelling case for why this process of secularization is nee This highly anticipated debut work from writer, religious and political commentator, trained physician, and oncologic pathologist Ali Rizvi does not disappoint in the slightest. His trademark wit, clarity, and erudition are on display throughout in a work of fascinating biography and engrossing commentary. His focus here is on his own process of losing his religion, describing the circumstances around that process and also providing a compelling case for why this process of secularization is needed (for Islam as a religion) and achievable for those who shared his original faith. What is most interesting at least to me is how much there is here for me to relate to (mainly how we were argued out of our faith) even though I was never part of any culture that discouraged me from it, unlike his upbringing in Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan which placed punishments on such apostasy. Simplifiers and censorious BS artists from the left and right meet their match throughout this honest appraisal and two back to back chapters in particular, "Choosing Atheism and Islamophobia-Phobia and the Regressive Left," are an absolute tour-de-force of clarity and honesty, skewering several of the aforementioned bunk-talking-heads in the process. Fans of Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins, and Dennett (the world's most provocative law firm) will find Rizvi to be one of the boys and those looking for a discussion of Islam that is free of superficiality and bigotry need look no further. Everyone should read this.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mahmoud Ashour

    I loved this book, this is the book that I have always wanted to write. However, this one is written much more eloquently than the one I have imagined myself writing. The book engages in detail the logical and emotional arguments against the divinity of the Islamic faith. almost all the major problems are discussed (Quran, Jurispudence, Politics, Islamism, Moderate Islam, Muhammad, and Terrorism). this book is coming out during an ongoing debate about the reasonableness of faith. so you will fin I loved this book, this is the book that I have always wanted to write. However, this one is written much more eloquently than the one I have imagined myself writing. The book engages in detail the logical and emotional arguments against the divinity of the Islamic faith. almost all the major problems are discussed (Quran, Jurispudence, Politics, Islamism, Moderate Islam, Muhammad, and Terrorism). this book is coming out during an ongoing debate about the reasonableness of faith. so you will find a lot of allusions to contemporary writers such as Dawkins, Aslan, Harris, Ayan Hirsi Ali, Hitchens, Maher, etc. I have been a keen follower of this debate so it was the perfect book for me (it would help a lot if you have an idea about this debate before you start reading this book). the book is well written, has a whole lot of great ideas about the topic of faith and Islam. I highly recommend it to fellow free thinkers.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zippergirl

    The best of its (admittedly limited) genre and highly recommended to all seekers after truth and rationality.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Book

    The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason by Ali A. Rizvi “The Atheist Muslim” is an excellent and a refreshing new take on atheism. Author, medical communications professional, and trained physician Dr. Rizvi provides the public with his personal journey to atheism and it’s a real treat. This captivating 256-page book includes the following nine chapters: 1. Smoke Break, 2. Root Causes, 3. Letting Go (Part I): The Born-Again Skeptic, 4. A Tale of Two Identities, 5. Choosing AtheismFi The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason by Ali A. Rizvi “The Atheist Muslim” is an excellent and a refreshing new take on atheism. Author, medical communications professional, and trained physician Dr. Rizvi provides the public with his personal journey to atheism and it’s a real treat. This captivating 256-page book includes the following nine chapters: 1. Smoke Break, 2. Root Causes, 3. Letting Go (Part I): The Born-Again Skeptic, 4. A Tale of Two Identities, 5. Choosing AtheismFive: Choosing Atheism, 6. Islamophobia-Phobia and the “Regressive Left”, 7. The Quran: Misinterpretation, Metaphor, and Misunderstanding, 8. Reformation and Secularism, and 9. Letting Go (Part II): The Silver Lining. Positives: 1. An engaging, well-written book that captivates the reader. 2. The fascinating topic of journey to atheism from an ex-Muslim’s perspective. 3. Great use of logic, reason and facts to persuade the audience at an accessible level. 4. Dr. Rizvi took me to world I know very little about; he excels at painting a clear backdrop while driving his persuasive deconversion story. 5. A fascinating look into his childhood. “They were liberal Muslims who valued pluralism and quality education that went beyond the textbook—and they wanted to instill that in us, their four children. This was a key reason they sent us to this expensive, private school.” 6. Interesting perspectives and not just on the Muslim culture consider his take of the medical field. “For the most part, medicine is more public service than science. In medicine, you have to follow protocols. In science, you help create them. In science, trying out new things and being creative is encouraged. In medicine, getting too creative could get you sued, or worse.” 7. I enjoyed learning of the different Muslim sects and how they came about. “The word Salafi comes from salaf, meaning “ancestor”—and refers specifically to the earliest generations of Muslims, from the time of Muhammad himself. Salafism is a rigid doctrine prescribing the revival of this early Islam, believed by its adherents to be the religion’s purest form.” 8. Provocative. This book touches upon many fascinating topics beyond the deconversion from religion to reason. 9. Provides a basic explanation of the Quran for non-Muslims. In other words, accessible reading. “The Quran is a single book, consisting of 114 chapters, called surahs. Each surah is composed of ayahs, or verses.” He also makes very good use of the Quran to make compelling and sensitive points. “I found endorsement for almost all of the Saudis’ actions in the Quran. The beheading of disbelievers (used interchangeably with “nonbelievers”) was right there in verses 8:12–13; the amputation of hands for theft in verse 5:38; domestic violence in 4:34; the killing of polytheists in 9:5; and so on.” 10. The politics of religion. “Hitchens was right on this. The religion/politics dichotomy is a false one. It isn’t that politics has no role; it’s that politics is simply inseparable from the Abrahamic religions. Religion is politics.” 11. The impact of religion captured beautifully, “Cultures are dynamic by nature, continuously evolving. Religion dogmatizes them. It cements them in their place, freezes them in time, and prevents them from moving forward. By locking culture up into a time warp, religion makes it look like the bad guy, absolving itself of blame. Cultures carry potential for change. Religionizing them effectively kills off that potential.” 12. The topic of violence. “Unlike religious scriptures, there is simply no atheist “doctrine” that prescribes or commands violence.” 13. A fascinating segment of tweets from ex-Muslims. “#ExMuslimBecause Misogyny, homophobia, stoning people to death, and killing apostates don’t suddenly become “respectable” when put in a holy book. —@LibMuslim” 14. This book is a quote fest, Dr. Rizvi provides and shares plenty of noteworthy quotes. This one from the late great George Carlin, “Pride should be reserved for something you achieved or attained on your own, not something that happens by accident of birth,” he said. “Being Irish isn’t a skill. It’s a blanking genetic accident … If you’re happy with it, that’s fine—do that, put that on your car: ‘Happy to be an American.’ Be happy. Don’t be proud.” Here’s a good one from Dr. Rizvi, “To start with, religion doesn’t provide answers; it makes them up.” 15. The problem with faith. “It’s not “radicalization.” It’s increased faith. Faith is not a virtue. Faith means to believe outlandish things without any evidence, simply because someone centuries ago told us to. It fetters the intellect and taints the conscience.” “You know deep down, that your faith is really just an accident of birth.” 16. The power of evolution. “Today, DNA-sequencing has not only revealed to us the evolutionary relationships among living species, but also confirmed beyond a doubt that all living things arose from a single, common ancestor that lived about 4 billion years ago.” 17. A fascinating chapter on the regressive left. “Your right to believe what you want must be respected, yes; but the beliefs themselves need not be.” “This is unsurprisingly effective, but flat-out wrong. The number-one reason that terrorism is linked with Islam is not “Islamophobes” or the media. It is that jihadi terrorists link themselves with Islam.” “This is a difficult problem to solve. But denying any link between the religious doctrine and the violence only makes matters worse.” And my favorite, “Criticizing the monotheisms, including Islam, is an inextricable component of standing up for liberal values. Misogyny, for instance, doesn’t suddenly get a pass the moment it appears in a holy book. If you want to fight patriarchy but won’t fight religion, you’re not fighting patriarchy.” 18. A fascinating chapter on the misinterpretations and misunderstandings of the Quran. “And herein lies the problem: if there were a book that talked about Muslims the way the Quran talks about disbelievers, heads would roll. Literally.” 19. The need for reformation. “The notion that this life on Earth is secondary to the afterlife—a fundamental tenet of many religious faiths—is deadly when it is genuinely and sincerely believed from the heart. I also believe this to be true of many other elements of religious belief.” 20. Excellent notes. Negatives: 1. I wanted more, I know a little self-serving but I just wanted to hear more stories particularly on the Islamic culture he was brought up in. 2. For the benefit of many readers, I would have added supplementary materials such as tables, timelines or diagrams that described the different Muslim sects. 3. No formal bibliography. In summary, some books are just more enjoyable and stimulating than others and this is one of them. This book is worthy of five stars because I didn’t want it to end. Dr. Rizvi takes the reader on a fascinating journey into his world, one in which he struggles to reconcile his scientific background with the religion of Islam. Along the way, he presents provocative topics worthy of discussion. An excellent book, I highly recommend it! Further suggestions: “Heretic” and “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “Radical” by Maajid Nawaz, “Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue” by Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz, “Why I Am Not a Muslim” and “Leaving Islam” by Ibn Warraq, “Faith vs. Fact” and “Why Evolution Is True” by Jerry A. Coyne, “Undeniable” by Bill Nye, “God: The Failed Hypothesis” and “God and the Folly of Faith” by Victor J. Stenger, “Science and Religion” by Daniel C. Dennett, “The Soul Fallacy” by Julien Musolino, “God Is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens, “Nonbeliever Nation” by David Niose, “Freethinkers” by Susan Jacoby, “Nailed” by David Fitzgerald, and “Think” by Guy P. Harrison.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty Shark

    I wasn't sure on this book at the beginning, but it turned out to be very persuasive and well written. Rizvi describes his own journey of questioning his faith and trying to understand what that means for his identity as a Muslim. I was amazed how much I related to this book. I grew up in evangelical Christianity and yet there was so much that I recognized of myself in Rizvi's story and questioning. He also brings up the difficulties of losing a cultural identity when you lose your faith, someth I wasn't sure on this book at the beginning, but it turned out to be very persuasive and well written. Rizvi describes his own journey of questioning his faith and trying to understand what that means for his identity as a Muslim. I was amazed how much I related to this book. I grew up in evangelical Christianity and yet there was so much that I recognized of myself in Rizvi's story and questioning. He also brings up the difficulties of losing a cultural identity when you lose your faith, something which I don't think the 'new atheist' style movement often gives enough consideration to. That said, I'm not convinced that his solution of embracing a cultural identity even after you lose your faith is one which is possible for a lot of people. You can't continue to be part of a community that doesn't want you there and I don't think he really addressed that point. I mainly gave this book 5 stars because it really challenged my thinking. I found Rizvi makes a very convincing argument for why we can and should be criticizing and condemning aspects of Islamic belief while simultaneously condemning attacks on Muslim identity itself. In fact, he argues, we are doing a disservice to many Muslims around the world when we protect Islam itself in an attempt to protect Muslims. The separation he makes between a religion and its adherents is an important one and gave me plenty of food for thought.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Akber Khan

    This book is excellent. Like millions around the world, I've paid close attention the lamentably thread-bare dialogue surrounding the integration and compatibility of Islam and the modern world. From one side you get apologetics, denial, and obscurantism. From the other you get intolerance, fear, and hatred. There has always been a better path, already followed by millions of (nominally) Muslim-Americans: reject scriptural inerrancy, supernatural claims, and myth. Retain useful traditions. Embra This book is excellent. Like millions around the world, I've paid close attention the lamentably thread-bare dialogue surrounding the integration and compatibility of Islam and the modern world. From one side you get apologetics, denial, and obscurantism. From the other you get intolerance, fear, and hatred. There has always been a better path, already followed by millions of (nominally) Muslim-Americans: reject scriptural inerrancy, supernatural claims, and myth. Retain useful traditions. Embrace a morality based on reason and compassion. Ali Rizvi deftly navigates this better path, bringing readers along for a nuanced and illuminating ride that closely tracks his own lived experience as an ex-Muslim growing up in Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. "The Atheist Muslim" is the book that Muslims, Atheists, believers, skeptics, and anybody concerned about Islam (whatever shape that concern takes) needs to read. 5/5

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark James

    This book is fantastic. Just as Rizvi illustrates his own journey from obedient Muslim to freethinking atheist, he articulates solid arguments to bridge the gap between the two realms. He rebuts common counterarguments to his assertions, drawing from the works of many so-called "new atheists" such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Sam Harris. Rizvi is never demeaning, but rather sympathetic to the quagmire that the religious find themselves in. I also appreciate that he takes a strong stand against well-me This book is fantastic. Just as Rizvi illustrates his own journey from obedient Muslim to freethinking atheist, he articulates solid arguments to bridge the gap between the two realms. He rebuts common counterarguments to his assertions, drawing from the works of many so-called "new atheists" such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Sam Harris. Rizvi is never demeaning, but rather sympathetic to the quagmire that the religious find themselves in. I also appreciate that he takes a strong stand against well-meaning but misguided leftist thinkers who are unwilling to criticize Islam for fear that they are being bigoted and racist, as well as Muslim apologists like Reza Aslan, whose arguments don't pass thorough inspection. An essential read for these times.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rod Horncastle

    What a strange book. The blurb for the book says: "In much of the Muslim world, religion is the central foundation upon which family, community, morality, and identity are built." I would even say the same thing about Christianity and other religions. (NEVER Atheism though) But then the author keeps trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes with: "Secularism is the only system that allows such an environment to flourish. Secularism is not antireligion; it is simply the separation of religion fr What a strange book. The blurb for the book says: "In much of the Muslim world, religion is the central foundation upon which family, community, morality, and identity are built." I would even say the same thing about Christianity and other religions. (NEVER Atheism though) But then the author keeps trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes with: "Secularism is the only system that allows such an environment to flourish. Secularism is not antireligion; it is simply the separation of religion from the affairs of the state. It allows both freedom of and freedom from religion." (pg. 214) Ummmh? So who gets to be in charge then? Why atheists of course. It's obvious. So where does this guy get this crap from? Here are some very clear definitions of this Secularism that he's insisting is the tolerant answer for the masses: secularism. [sek-yuh-luh-riz-uh m] secular spirit or tendency, especially a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship. -or- Secularism. indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations. And that is the problem folks. This X-muslim/New-atheist dude "mocks and REJECTS" any one or thing who doesn't agree with his current worldview and belief system. But, I do mostly the same thing from a Biblical Christian point of view. So that's not really my problem with this book. The problem is that this guy is either really dumb and clueless... or a sneaky hypocrite selling people false promises and compromises. Probably both. These militant commando atheists (like dawkins, harris - well, harris is mostly buddhist now, Hitchens, dennett and a swarm of feisty others) are not up for any sharing of worldviews and general tolerance. Like this book shows: these folks want to shut down Religion, or any belief that disagrees with their political moral agenda. They DEMAND that religious beliefs be excluded from Government policies and social morality and ethics. The problem is: What is the foundation of Secular policies??? Where do their objective standards come from? What is a healthy standard for Morality, Family, Community, and Identity? Like all scientism embathed atheists: the author assumes Atheism is the default truth system of mankind, which of course equals goodness, kindness and light, and prosperity for the masses. But Atheism really equals ONE MAIN THING: existence without a god. Fair enough, but then atheists start in on politics and morality by bringing up Slavery, Rape, Child abuse, Genocide, World Domination... But that's not what Atheists agree on. Those aren't part of the package. Any logical rational person knows that "no god" also means NO OBJECTIVE TRUTH OR VALUES. Atheists shouldn't have a problem with endless slavery, or Rape. For many centuries much of humanity fully embraced these things. (actually, many still do - they just don't talk about it out loud. And they have differing degrees of acceptance in their definitions of these supposed taboos). I've heard a few Christian philosophers say that: "Major secular-liberal university professors (who hate objective religious morals) have personally brought up to them the issue of how do they get their highly educated University students to quit cheating on their exams and general academia." Secularism and Atheism do not equal honesty, or truth, or values. Just a subjective naturalistic worldview without a guiding "enforcing" deity of Cosmic Justice and Meaning. Good luck! _____________ Okay, so this author was once a somewhat lazy moderate Muslim, raised in a pleasant worldly home. He questioned what he learned and saw in the Islamic countries he was raised in. Good for him: yes, question everything (especially atheism and secularism AND SCIENTISM.) So most of this book is about his condemnation of Islam. Hey, Great! I applaud. I hate Islam as well. WE also hate Buddhism, Catholicism, Mormonism, Charismatic insanity, Hinduism, Paganism etc. The author then attempts to PROVE his justification for his atheistic truth. So he does all he can to dismantle Islam, and the Quran, and Muhammad, and the political insanity of the last 1400 years of Islamic oppression and violence, while proudly holding up Richard Dawkins and the hope of Darwinistic science for the future masses. It's fun to observe. As a Christian I agree on most of his bashings of Islam. I even agree on some of his swats at Christianity. But the mistake he makes is in lazily lumping all religions together. Sure, he quotes Quranic verses and then challenges their context. But then he quotes Bible verses and ATTACKS without dealing with context. He also happily quotes his scientism without being very skeptical or showing that he did the slightest bit of enquiry as to whether his ancestors REALLY WERE FISH. (yes, he mentions that!) It's easy to mock the miracles that are sprinkled throughout Holy Books. There are many reasons to quickly doubt them based on current existence and laws of nature. But if somebody is going to tell me that their greatest Grandparents were Fish... then you might as well believe in a all-creating god who made mankind in His image and gave them a fully functioning planet to dwell on for a few thousand years. One thing that few people realize: many Holy Books actually have very few miracles. The Quran is filled with only a few supernaturally freaky events. And the much larger and more historic Bible has many many pages with no miraculous events at all. We don't just join up because there was a talking snake in a very impressive garden a few millennia ago ---- Holy Books speak greatly of life, and family, and values, and national identity, and honor. (stuff atheism has no comment on). So, the Title of this book was: The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from religion to reason. I fully understand the journey from Islam to Atheism. No argument there. But i'm not convinced (in the slightest) that this guy found Reason. Actually, a fair bit of the book is about him attacking liberals who either: defend Islam, attack muslims, or try to claim to understand Islam at all. He even deals with this huge Islamophobia fad amongst liberals. It does get slightly confusing. One minute i'm a anti-Islamic bigot, the next i'm a crusader for liberation and values. He might not have any audience when he's done with this book. He even spends time mocking Liberal Muslim/Christian? author and Know-It-All Reza Azlan. (this I found endlessly entertaining). Strange, since the point of much of this book is to applaud a very liberal moderate New Islam. ____________ "But even the most devoutly religious people, I learned, ultimately did good things because they felt empathy for their fellow human beings and other living creatures -- not to gain favor with God... and the golden rule - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you - predates almost all of todays religions." Almost, The Bible makes some specific claims about that RULE that much of history, and modern society, still don't comprehend. The author forgets that this world is still rather nasty. We've had how many brutal wars in the last 100 years? How much of our newspapers are filled with crime, violence, dishonesty, smut, abusive lust, and greed? I don't think this golden rule is even close to catching on. And atheists can't even clearly define it or give it a meaningful objective purpose. Evolution certainly doesn't care about this golden rule. Science doesn't care. How many Secular Atheists are seriously against ABORTION? Are Secularists okay with personally being aborted if they become a burden, or upset somebodies freedom? I thought so. ______________ The author takes a moment to insist that: "...Jesus certainly wasn't the first historical figure believed to have been born of a virgin... Buddha was born from a slit in his mother's side. The virgin Isis gave birth to Horus. The virgin Maia gave birth to Mercury. The virgin Rhea Silvia gave birth to Romulus and Remus. The virgin devaki birthed Krishna. And even Genghis Khan is believed to have been born of a virgin in whom a GREAT LIGHT suddenly induced labor one night." So, how carefully did the author check these supposed mythical FACTS of history? Let's look. J. Warner Wallace says: "First and foremost, the pre-existing mythologies described by critics are not as similar to the “virgin conception” of Jesus as they would like people to believe. As an example, neither Mithras nor Horus was the product of a “virgin conception”. Mithras emerged from rock and Horus was conceived through a sex act between Isis and Osiris. While it is true that many pagan mythologies describe the gods having sex with mortal women, the blatant sexual activity of these mythologies is missing from the Biblical narrative... Even the weak resemblances between the Biblical account and pagan mythologies may be the result of Judeo Christian influence rather than contamination from a pagan source. Justin Martyr recognized this in the second century. In “The First Apology of Justin”, he argued that the surrounding pagans adopted elements of Judaism into their own religious beliefs. Finally, the fact that some pagan mythologies describe gods who were born through some supernatural manner really shouldn’t surprise us. As early men and women began to think and dream about God, it was reasonable that they would imagine that an incredibly powerful, supernatural being would emerge into the natural world in some unexpected, supernatural way. For this reason, we would expect pre-Christian mythologies to bear some resemblance to the truth of the Christian narrative. This resemblance does not, in and of itself, invalidate the “virgin conception”." So: Buddha - Gautama was born as a Kshatriya, the son of Śuddhodana, "an elected chief of the Shakya clan" Hmmm? Horus - Horus was born to the goddess Isis after she retrieved all the dismembered body parts of her murdered husband Osiris, except his penis, which was thrown into the Nile and eaten by a catfish,[7][8] or sometimes depicted as instead by a crab, and according to Plutarch's account used her magic powers to resurrect Osiris and fashion a golden phallus[9] to conceive her son (older Egyptian accounts have the penis of Osiris surviving). "Well Damn! I wouldn't say that classifies as a virgin birth. Mercury - Mercury was the son of Jupiter and Maia, who was the daughter of the Titan god Atlas. Romulus/Remus - Rhea Silvia conceived and gave birth to the twins Romulus and Remus. She claimed that the god Mars was the father of the children. Livy says that she was raped by an unknown man, but "declared Mars to be the father of her illegitimate offspring, either because she really imagined it to be the case, or because it was less discreditable to have committed such an offence with a god." The name Rhea Silvia suggests a minor deity, a demi-goddess of forests. Hmmm? Krishna - Krishna is born to Devaki and her husband, King Vasudeva of the Yadava clan. Who knew? Genghis Kahn - "Little is known about Temüjin's early life, due to the lack of contemporary written records. The few sources that give insight into this period often contradict." But... He was the second son of his father Yesügei who was a Kiyad chief prominent in the Khamag Mongol confederation and an ally of Toghrul of the Keraite tribe.[17] Temüjin was the first son of his mother Hoelun. Does this author do science the same way he does religions/myths and politics? Probably. Do recall: his ancestors were fish after all.

  11. 4 out of 5

    David Rush

    Since this is a book about Islam and religion in general I feel I should fully disclose my background. So, I’ve been all over the map with religion, although I could never personally get into anything that required a literal reading of some ancient text. I like the idea of some sort of Joseph Campbell-ish approach to religion, which is strange because I never took a liking to Campbell's myth stuff. Condensed conclusion is I’m skeptical but suspect there may be “something” about religion that mig Since this is a book about Islam and religion in general I feel I should fully disclose my background. So, I’ve been all over the map with religion, although I could never personally get into anything that required a literal reading of some ancient text. I like the idea of some sort of Joseph Campbell-ish approach to religion, which is strange because I never took a liking to Campbell's myth stuff. Condensed conclusion is I’m skeptical but suspect there may be “something” about religion that might be helpful. Over the last year I’ve read two books about ISIS and in general I am fascinated with why and what people believe. Anyway, I don’t really know a whole bunch about Islam so here goes anyway… I think it is fair, and probably not unexpected, to say Rizvi’s book basically says all religion is wrong. Well maybe just the monotheistic ones, as he doesn’t mention Buddhism or Hinduism at all. There is a tiny bit of sympathy of religious people from the big 3 (Islam, Judaism and Christianity) who reject the literal interpretations of their texts, for the most part he seems to assume most people are not that way. I guess he could be write, but even he says most believers have never read much of the crazy stuff in their books. Again, it is not surprising given the title but Islam gets the most coverage, and he opens by talking about Religious education in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Ministry of Education...don’t just do spot checks in his school to see if everything’s running as it should. They actually write his school’s curriculum, and significantly influence what goes int his text book Pg. 3 I don’t know if he follows the textbook wars for Texas schools but there are certainly parallels between that world and ours when religious politicians here manage to downplay evolution and leave a window open for “intelligent design”. Thankful we are not near the point of the example he had for a current (yet supposedly modernized) text book from Saudi Arabia “Every religion other than Islam is _________.Whosoever dies outside of Islam enters _____.” The correct answers: “false” and “hellfire” respectively. Pg.4 I think his premise is the Atheist life is the natural result of an honest search for the truth of any mature adult. And he start to delve into the psychology of why not everybody ends up there. And it has good stuff that I want to follow up on myself. He mention Erik Erikson and James Marcia. Erik Erikson: The central conflict of the adolescent, thought Erickson, was a contest between the formation of a strong identity and what he called role confusion, a state of not knowing who you are or what you believe. Pg 88 James Marcia: Identity achievement (successful identity after exploration), Identity foreclosure (passive adoption of beliefs and values – high commitment but low exploration), Identity moratorium (state of continued unresolved crisis – high exploration, low commitment), Identity diffusion (never attempt to explore or choose) pg. 88 And there is some more but then that line of investigation peters out and he off to recount his love of science. And that is cool, but I wish he had fleshed out the psychology of why people end up grounding their identity in a religion with very strict interpretations. I wanted more, but maybe that should be another book. As for science he says… Science answers the ‘how’ questions. Religion answers the ‘why’ questions...To start with, religion doesn’t provide answers, it makes them up. Pg. 125 And to quibble just a bit I would quibble that Science answers the ‘how’ and Religion is a search for meaning, not answers. And the meaning is a moving target, and even that is probably the wrong metaphor. But I grant you that my view of religion would be looked on as heresy by any fundamentalist and maybe most mainstream religions. And that may be another quibble, since so much depend on how you define Religion. But that also may be another book. The further along the book goes the more strident he becomes. To the point you can’t say “well I think you are crazy but whatever floats your boat, as long as it don’t hurt me. Criticizing the monotheisms, including Islam, is an inextricable component of standing up for liberal values” Pg. 157 I see his point when talking about Christianity or Islam trying to replace science with scripture. And certainly if your reading of the Koran or Bible causes anybody to hurt or restrict a non believer. But what about somebody who sees something in their church, and their church does none of those things? I guess it is just my feeling that the more worked up he got the less I was interested in what he was saying. Hey, I’m all on board when criticizing any actions that are misogynistic, homophobic, or restrictive in any way. But sometimes it felt like his emotions were getting away from him. Like when a friend wrote him about her father dying and asked that he play along with her hope he was in a better place. He wrote back that he always found it more interesting to be truthful. His proposed consolation letter to the grieving daughter (pg. 218) I dub it the “The worse consolation letter, Ever!” Aside from using it merely as a vehicle to preach about how awesome his atheistic outlook it, it is also bringing an analytical bazooka to an emotional knife fight. Basically it is not fair to to use a father’s death as an opportunity to tell the grieving daughter that they are stupid for hoping there is an afterlife for their recently departed father. THAT is the battle you choose to fight? Part of that letter... "Admitting ignorance is humbling. It reminds us that as fleeting inhabitants of the vast universe, we are part of something much bigger" Pg. 220 But he is not admitting ignorance at all, he is admitting confidence on how stupid the bereaved daughter is. And for all the talk about the mystery of life he super sure of himself. OK, why does this last bit bug me so much? Because I suspect he is right and thoughts of pearly gates or 70 virgins awaiting is wrong. I guess it is because he brings up a friend’s painfully emotional and confusing experience to further is own views. Basically in this instance he lacks compassion. I think I read once that the Dali Lama once said something about the mark of a “true” religion was one that encouraged compassion. (I have not been able to verify this, but it makes my point). I am probably making too much of his tone, but it seems like in his absolutely correct listing of the cruel examples in monotheistic sacred texts he is more upset by illogic than the actual pain and suffering that flows from it. Of course if you are one of the victims you don’t care, you just want it to stop. So my impression of this probably isn’t a really solid criticism. Once again I come to the end of a book where I largely agree with the author’s conclusions but feel the delivery is somehow flawed. That said, he make a lot of really good points. One of them is this observation about Reza Aslan who has made been an itinerant pundit about religion the last few years. Reza Aslan gave Harris some unsolicited advice: If you’re constantly having to explain away horrid things you’ve written, don’t write them in the first place” Note this is from a man who has partly made a career out of constantly explaining to people why violent passages in the Scripture don’t really mean what they say. Pg. 2017-12-15 After scanning my review just now I think I can say I actually liked the book more than my sloppy review seems to say.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rafid

    Simply amazing. Ali is someone who has an excellent understanding of the topics and issues discussed and because of his background is able to be critical yet fair. This one is a must read for anyone interested in Islam and religion in general.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vivek Kulanthaivelpandian

    WOW. This book made me slow down while reading ,reread some passages and take notes which I normally don't do often. It answered lot of my own internal questions on this subject and it has so much information previously unknown to me . In so many places I could resonate with the author's thought process and I was nodding my head. A must read. WOW. This book made me slow down while reading ,reread some passages and take notes which I normally don't do often. It answered lot of my own internal questions on this subject and it has so much information previously unknown to me . In so many places I could resonate with the author's thought process and I was nodding my head. A must read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    The title caught my eye. How could atheist and muslim go together? Were they not the exact opposite in terms of belief? Lately, I have been thinking about how religions like Islam and Christianity merge the beliefs with identity of a person. How would it be like if you grew up in a family that practices Islam or Christianity and then decided you do not believe? Is that okay? Will you be ostracized and rejected by your family? This book was written by a Muslim turned atheist. I felt that he gave an i The title caught my eye. How could atheist and muslim go together? Were they not the exact opposite in terms of belief? Lately, I have been thinking about how religions like Islam and Christianity merge the beliefs with identity of a person. How would it be like if you grew up in a family that practices Islam or Christianity and then decided you do not believe? Is that okay? Will you be ostracized and rejected by your family? This book was written by a Muslim turned atheist. I felt that he gave an interesting picture of religion and why it did not make sense to him. The arguments and answers he received when he questioned what he learnt did not make sense. The author mentions alot about the politcal situation in the Middle East and quite alot about the origins of Islam. He raises a controversial point that critisizing a belief is not wrong. One of his strongest beliefs is that being secular can only benefit. I was really surprised to read that there is a rising number of Muslims who do not believe in the religion they grew up in. Some parts were quite dry and boring. But I like the new perspective he brings. I found the theory on Identity Formation by Erik Erikson to be very interesting. He raises the point that religion brings comfort to others. How can being atheist and believing in fact and reason comfort? I liked his letter in Chapter 9. It spoke about death and how a person never really is gone through science. It was more thoughfult then I would have expected. Now of course not everyone will agree with this. But that is okay. Here are some quotes I liked: "One of the ugliest and most sinister aspects of any religion is this intricate entanglement of ideology with identity, with often dore consequences for those who have the ability and the courage to successfully pry the two part." Page 69, Chapter 3 "When it comes to how we form pur identities, birth gives us a head start. From the day we are born, we are assigned a racial or ethnic identity, a nationality, a biological sex, and often a familial religious affiliation that is obviously not belief-based just yet, but will unavoidably mark us (sometimes dramatically, as with rituals like genital circumcision). These "inborn" identifiers are unearned attributes that we did nothing to achieve, and that nobody can take away from us." Page 87 - 88, Chapter 4 "Then, there are the 'acquired' identifiers, those we actually earn by the way of exploration, drive, deliberation, and effort - these are markers of Marcian identity achievement. As we evolve, we gain an education; form values and perspectives on our lives and the world based on what we learn from our experiences; earn a definitive social/or financial status in our communities by working hard and making decisions; settle into our professions; become parents, philantrophists, journalists, artists, engineers, business people, physicians, and more. The more of this we do, the less likely we are to have foreclosed, and the less urgent our need to cling to our inborn identifiers." Page 90, Chapter 4 "Remember, your cultural beliefs aren t really you. They are simply part of a medium you were cultured in where you were raised. You know, deep down, that if you were born into a Hindu family, you'd probably be Hindu; and in a Christian family, you'd be Christian. You know, deep down, that your faith is really just an accident of birth. So logically speaking, it can't be aboit ideas, can it? Ideas don't come with birth. They need to be considered, explored, and evaluated. What does come with birth, however is your sense of identity." Page 96 - 97, Chapter 4 "Think about that for a second. Do you really think you need your religion in order to be good?" Page 97, Chapter 4 "I would wonder why I had done this. No one had told us to behave this way in this particular situation. The man was grateful, which made us feel nice, but that isn't why we gave him our food. And we certainly didn't do it thinking it would get us any reward from God, or that we'd get punished in the afterlife if we didn't do it. It was the furthest thing from our minds. Yet we did it, because we know what it would feel like if we were in that man's position. We knew what it would feel like to be hungry, and could imagine how horrible he must have felt to be in the shape he is in. We did it because we could empathize with him." Page 222, Chapter 9

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bakari

    A very good read A very engaging, well thought out analysis of Islam, Muslim culture, and even science. I don't agree with his conclusions about Hitchens, Harris, and Dawkins, but I definitely appreciate his critique of the religious claims of the Quran, and the other Abrehamic religions. I hope this book helps believers let go of their faith in ancient, sexist, and irrational thoughts and ideological worldviews, and replace it with a humanistic worldview that calls for respect for one another an A very good read A very engaging, well thought out analysis of Islam, Muslim culture, and even science. I don't agree with his conclusions about Hitchens, Harris, and Dawkins, but I definitely appreciate his critique of the religious claims of the Quran, and the other Abrehamic religions. I hope this book helps believers let go of their faith in ancient, sexist, and irrational thoughts and ideological worldviews, and replace it with a humanistic worldview that calls for respect for one another and the planet, social and economic justice, critical thinking, and the scientific method of inquiry.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Abugosh

    A really honest and insightful perspective that you don't hear often. A really honest and insightful perspective that you don't hear often.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Westbrook

    Very informative, educated, and well-balanced perspective on Islam.

  18. 4 out of 5

    A Man Called Ove

    I like to think that it would do if religious books contained just 2 words - truth and empathy. And there is more to those 2 words than just religion , they are perhaps what make us human. Some criticisms of religion (including Islam) are honest but brutal and bitter. While such honest criticisms are rational, the lack of empathy perhaps reduces their effectiveness as the target audience of the religious reacts rather than accepts. The defense of religion, especially of minorities' religions by th I like to think that it would do if religious books contained just 2 words - truth and empathy. And there is more to those 2 words than just religion , they are perhaps what make us human. Some criticisms of religion (including Islam) are honest but brutal and bitter. While such honest criticisms are rational, the lack of empathy perhaps reduces their effectiveness as the target audience of the religious reacts rather than accepts. The defense of religion, especially of minorities' religions by the "left-liberals" or by apologists may have empathy but is dishonest. And personally, if I had to choose one between truth and empathy I would side with the truth. Enough said. After having read a no. of books on Islam, can say that this is the one book that is totally honest without being bitter. At the same time he writes with empathy feeling the fears, pains and dilemnas. He does not ask his co-religionists to abandon religion completely in a leap of faith but to atleast acknowledge some uncomfortable truths and begin a journey. And the journey may not necessarily have the same destination as the author's. The book comprehensively tackles almost all aspects of the problem that I have heard being mentioned - racism, identity crisis, apologism, his "moderate" co-religionists, divine infallibility etc. The author is the one person (alongwith our very own Javed Akhtar saab) who I would trust with my life and more importantly, to take my place in a debate on (any) religion :) Must Read !

  19. 4 out of 5

    J.C. Ahmed

    I've been reading or plan to read several books about people who have left various religions, what drove them away, and the impact that decision had on their lives. In The Atheist Muslim, Ali A. Rizvi explains what led to him losing his Muslim faith. However, because he comes from a fairly enlightened family leaving his faith behind wasn't hugely life altering. As a result, his story isn't as gripping as books like Educated by Tara Westover or Runaway Amish Girl: The Great Escape by Emma Gingeri I've been reading or plan to read several books about people who have left various religions, what drove them away, and the impact that decision had on their lives. In The Atheist Muslim, Ali A. Rizvi explains what led to him losing his Muslim faith. However, because he comes from a fairly enlightened family leaving his faith behind wasn't hugely life altering. As a result, his story isn't as gripping as books like Educated by Tara Westover or Runaway Amish Girl: The Great Escape by Emma Gingerich. Still, Rizvi does make some interesting points even if the book isn't as personal as I would have liked.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Inge Bursell

    An insightful and highly quote-worthy book Beside sharing relevant quotes from others, Ali himself makes numerous quote-worthy statements that I am sure will be very useful in any debate you may subsequently engage in. I had for months been looking forward to reading his book once it would get released, and upon reading it I must say it did not disappoint, quite the contrary. His reasoning and explanations resonates with me and this book will no doubt help me improve my own language when I want t An insightful and highly quote-worthy book Beside sharing relevant quotes from others, Ali himself makes numerous quote-worthy statements that I am sure will be very useful in any debate you may subsequently engage in. I had for months been looking forward to reading his book once it would get released, and upon reading it I must say it did not disappoint, quite the contrary. His reasoning and explanations resonates with me and this book will no doubt help me improve my own language when I want to express my thoughts on the same topics.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pirkka

    I was expected more personal childhood stories and less current political analysis. The few childhood stories in the book are really illustrating and insightful. On the other hand the political analysis and general philosophy parts are also good - I had just read most of that material from blogs and other books.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. It is so good to read this. His views on religion mirror my own, the author is more articulate but I agree with everything in this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    John Martindale

    I thoroughly enjoyed the stories Rizvi shared, and I thought this book provided an excellent look at the different ways Muslims have wrestled with the morally repugnant passages of the Quran. There are several parallels with the approaches Christian apologists use in trying to make the Hebrew scriptures more palatable to modern sensibilities. Ultimately, for Rizvi, the solutions begin to seem to stretch, thin and weak, so he was forced to abandon his belief in the inerrancy of the Quran, which a I thoroughly enjoyed the stories Rizvi shared, and I thought this book provided an excellent look at the different ways Muslims have wrestled with the morally repugnant passages of the Quran. There are several parallels with the approaches Christian apologists use in trying to make the Hebrew scriptures more palatable to modern sensibilities. Ultimately, for Rizvi, the solutions begin to seem to stretch, thin and weak, so he was forced to abandon his belief in the inerrancy of the Quran, which allowed him to acknowledge the good aspects therein, and to also to acknowledge the parts which are bad-- he no longer has to defend, explain away, justify and ignore those parts are ethically repulsive. Rizvi does an excellent job of showing why the apologist for the Quran fails, but then, ironically, he engages in some of the same absurd moves, as he acts as an apologist for Atheism, claiming that none of the atrocities committed by the Soviet Union were motivated by atheism, which is patently false, for the mass-target slaughter of Christians and clergy, as well as the demolition of churches, and criminalization of religious teaching, was done in the name of the "Truth" of atheism. They are actually willing to try and completely destroy what they believed false. It is sad, Rizvi, as well as other atheists, are unwilling to acknowledge some of the evils of their newfound faith in secularism. Again it is deeply ironic, for such is the same tendency of Evangelicals to try and whitewash the evils Christians committed, and the evils found in the bible. Rizvi is simply becoming an apologist for another dogmatic faith. He fails to recognize that the darkest elements expressed in religion, just as easily are expressed in the service of ideologies--including secularism. One of the dangerous aspects of secular humanism, is in its prideful rejection of religion, it can be completely blind to how the bad religious tendencies exert themselves, convinced they are simply being rational. Rizvi buys into some of those patently absurd arguments given by Dawkins, like the "who made God" line, which utterly misses the whole point of the First Cause argument. Getting confused with Atheist false presentation of the Theist argument, he thinks religious Philosophers declare EVERYTHING needs a cause. Instead, the idea is everything that is contingent, not itself necessary, everything that is an effect needs a cause. The universe is contingent; it is not necessary; it had a beginning and is thus an effect. So what this means is either there is an eternal regress, the universe was caused by something else, which was caused by something else--in other words, turtles ALL THE WAY DOWN. Or there is a ground to all being, something necessary and absolute, something without a cause. Greek, Eastern, and Christian philosophers have all reasoned to the need of that which is not contingent, and the name given to the Necessary Ground of all Being is God. To simply respond by asking, so "who created God?" totally misses the point! Rizvi needs to find better arguments for atheism than the vacuous nonsense spewed from Richard Dawkin, who even Atheist philosophers find to be an utter embarrassment. Finally, I 'll end on a positive note, Rizvi points out eloquently the problem with many liberal progressives today, who believing Islam is a minority and a victim to white western oppression, must thus defend Islam regardless. Anyone who criticizes Islamic countries for subjugating women, enslaving people, marrying girls who are 9 years old to older men, executing homosexuals, massacring civilians, practicing female genital mutilation, etc... is labeled an Islamaphobe and condemned by the Oh so Woke Left. Liberals have even gone after Rizvi for being critical of a certain way Islam is practiced, even calling him an Uncle Tom, or an Oreo! Thus some of the liberals today are tragically completely against progress. They are forced to defend terrorism and justify evils, for not to do so would be "blaming the victim" since all Muslims are seen as oppressed. Anything Muslims do is a justifiable response to the evil western oppression. Interesting leftist are themselves Islamic apologist, for in telling the history of Islam, they wholly remove all atrocities, and try to present Islam as a perfect ideal of tolerance and civilization compared to the backward, evil and barbaric west. To even acknowledge that Islam did some bad stuff in the past isn't woke, so history must be revised.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Musa Franciscan

    I'm what you can call an Ex-Muslim. I call myself an Atheist from a Muslim background. Right from the title of this book, I noticed that something was off and amiss. The title definitely raises doubts in my head about this man's supposed love of Reason. Atheist Muslim is an oxymoron and yet Ali's perpetuation of this absurd, self-contradictory label is a testament to his journey to Reason being far from over. He is an Atheist, but he's definitely not a Rationalist and I can't take someone who eu I'm what you can call an Ex-Muslim. I call myself an Atheist from a Muslim background. Right from the title of this book, I noticed that something was off and amiss. The title definitely raises doubts in my head about this man's supposed love of Reason. Atheist Muslim is an oxymoron and yet Ali's perpetuation of this absurd, self-contradictory label is a testament to his journey to Reason being far from over. He is an Atheist, but he's definitely not a Rationalist and I can't take someone who eulogizes Reason seriously when they don't realize that the label of "Atheist Muslim" or "Muslim Atheist" is an affront to the very essence of Reason itself. I was really disappointed that someone like Ali Rizvi could receive the glowing praise he's had from people like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris via blurbs for this book. Surely, both of these people would notice that religious identity is problematic as people should remove the remnants of the tribalism of organized religion, and here you have Ali trying to fatuously and irrationally make a case for people like me to adopt a "Muslim Atheism" when I and many other Ex-Muslims want nothing to with Islam and the Muslim label. While Ali Rizvi's scathing and necessary critiques of Islam - as well as the need for people to understand that ones critique of an idea cannot necessarily be tantamount to racism - is something that needs to be basically screamed from the rooftops to the any Left-Wing person, the pluses of this book are eclipsed by the many appeals of emotion that Rizvi makes to justify him thinking that calling oneself a self-contradiction is totally in line with logic. Of the many gripes I have with this book is the fact that this man makes many inane arguments along the way of this book for the creation of a new Muslim identity: the "Muslim Atheist". This portion of the book is, to at least some degree, Ali Rizvi's attempt to justify the unjustifiable. People leave Islam for many reasons - one of which is to never identify as a Muslim again - but here is this man clearly still having a hard-on for the cult that he left behind resulting in him still clinging to the Muslim label. It's quite pathetic, in a way as it shows signs of trauma; very much akin to the wife who leaves her abusive husband but still has some bizarre attachment to him. It's a tendency I've noticed among these so-called Ex-Muslims: an obsession with Islam that makes them not want to let go of Muslim tribal identity. Calling oneself an Atheist Muslim is as absurd as calling oneself a married bachelor. Rizvi's is being delusional if he thinks this makes sense. Rizvi and a lot of other so-called Ex-Muslims can't really decide how they feel about Islam with attitudes ranging from "I hate Islam" to "I'm an ex-Muslim" and then "I'm a cultural Muslim". Luckily, some Ex-Jews that I know say that, as Atheists, they don't identify as Jews since keeping Jewish culture and the Jew label would keep Judaism alive, which is obviously not what they want as that would entail things like circumcision to be branded as "cultural practices" - even by "Atheist Jews" rather than the barbaric religious acts that they really are. Can't Ali Rizvi see the same problem of when he's talking about Muslim culture? Does Rizvi still want there to be people in 2017 and beyond to call themselves Muslim when they can still be called a human being, like the rest of us? Another major problem with this book is Ali's attempt at trying to make a case to separate the doctrine of a religion from its followers - that is to say to make a distinction between Islam and Muslims. No one would say that one should make a distinction between Nazism and the Nazis. No one would say that one should make a distinction between Communists and Communism. So why would Ali Rizvi's special pleading for separating Muslims and Islam any sense here? It doesn't. Islam is an abstraction, an idea, that needs a vessel, called a Muslim, in order to actualize itself in the real world and do things like Suicide bombing, Female and Male gential mutilation, and suppressing free inquiry. Muslims wouldn't exist as a people without Islam so when one critiques Islam, one has to also be condemnatory towards Muslims and not treat them as a separate category, since they willingly believe in this religion without the barrel of a gun pointing at them - at least in the West. Muslims are ideologues, like Communists, not a Race, like Blacks. So this notion that we have to separate the doctrine from the people is kind of silly because the ideas, the texts, wouldn't be a problem if so many people didn't believe them. Obviously not all Muslims are literalistic or highly religiously conservative and there are varying degrees of belief, but you cannot separate the religion from the adherents just as you wouldn't separate fundamentalist Christians from Christianity. Ali Rizvi's foolish case for Muslim Atheism is nonsensical as the Muslim people are not an ethnic group. Islam is a religion and Muslims are the people who join this group; that doesn't make Muslims an ethnicity. Muslims are heterogeneous in their race, culture, background and experience in life. Ali Rizvi doesn't make a rational case for a Cultural Muslim identity as this is ridiculous since all of what Ali Rizvi deems as cultural practices are all religious one which makes no sense to pursue as a non-believer. There's no logic for why a "Muslim Atheist" would want to participate in rituals like doing the Ramadan fast, reciting hymns of a dictatorial god that he/she doesn't believe in or participate in any of the barbaric rituals associated with this religion under the banner of "I'm just doing this culturally" - whatever the hell that means! Ali Rizvi doesn't make a good case here. Finally, Ali Rizvi's call for Islamic reform is an intellectually dishonest thing to do. Even if you "reform" by purging Islam of its violent tendencies, it still doesn't change the fact that the religion is a lie. Children would still be taught this "reformed" religion and they would be as brainwashed as before. These kids will eventually be adults and realize that adults lied to them and that Islam is a lie, which will cause unnecessary heartbreak, resentment towards the adults who lied and time-wastage as you could've just told these kids that Islam is false, and that's why you shouldn't believe it instead of mollycoddling Muslims and telling them to "reform" something that's fundamentally a lie to begin with. Why not take Muslims straight to non-belief and make them Atheists or Agnostics by showing them that their religion is incorrect and out of touch with reality? Again, all throughout the book, the man just shows that he's paying lip-service to Reason when he makes vacuous cases for reform like this. To finish this off, for newbies who aren't aware of critiques of Islam from a Ex-Muslims' perspective, this book will be intriguing - but I urge people who genuinely believe in Reason and Evidence-based thinking to really critique some of the appeals to emotion that Rizvi makes to justify an oxymoronic identity. While it's wonderful that more and more people who are former Muslims are coming out of the woodwork and criticizing Islam, I don't think that requires still identifying with this cult by still clinging on to the Muslim label. I despise Identity Politics, so I don't need self-appointed representatives like Rizvi going around claiming that they represent my interests when clearly they have an agenda of peddling this goofy "Muslim Atheism" nonsense. Rizvi definitely doesn't really represent a growing number of Ex-Muslims like me who don't look to him as a role-model to emulate but rather as a cautionary tale of a man whose peculiar obsession with Islam is so much that instead of joining the rest of us in humanity by repudiating religious labels, he still stubbornly clings to them, never really letting go of the cult-mindset of Islam in the process.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bluebell

    I am really not sure where the abundant praise for this book seems to stem from. Truly, the first several chapters, dealing with the author's personal history with Islam and his actual journey from religion to "reason" are quite interesting, and he also manages to raise a lot of equally interesting points about culture, politics, history and religion. An examination of the place of Islam in modern society is something that is perhaps quite valuable to write about. Severely limited by his secular I am really not sure where the abundant praise for this book seems to stem from. Truly, the first several chapters, dealing with the author's personal history with Islam and his actual journey from religion to "reason" are quite interesting, and he also manages to raise a lot of equally interesting points about culture, politics, history and religion. An examination of the place of Islam in modern society is something that is perhaps quite valuable to write about. Severely limited by his secular approach to religion, however, the author has nothing of merit or value to offer in the second half of the book where he attempts to look at Islam "critically" (read to pout at how it is so below his own high moral code, as liberals love to do about anything and everything). But if the repetition of the same old boring arguments with very little insight for the span of several chapters is annoying, wait until the sublime trash of the closing chapter, where a letter about physicists speaking at your funeral is above anything even a tumblr user would dream to produce. Because the photons that bounced from your loved one will go on to exist FOREVER. In conclusion, I guess, the author would have been better off in writing a book about his personal journey with Islam and the gradual path to atheism, which part of the current book was truly engaging and thought provoking, rather than getting on his soapbox about issues he seems to really have at best a crude understanding of. But I guess since he is an activist, his mission on earth is to liberate the poor believers from the opium of faith as he rather clumsily underlines a million times in his current work. Perhaps the even more interesting take away from this exercise is the amount of people that seem to share his views or find his book brilliant. This signifies that the personal struggle of reconciling one's religion with the current mores and way of living is indeed as serious and widespread as the author claims, and therefore, in my opinion, it is much more useful to have books examining Islam with a depth of understanding and clarity, rather than compare it to the vastly different contemporary liberal belief system and conclude with shock that it is not the same thing.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jashan Singhal

    What a deeply intriguing and rational book written by an Ex-Muslim who had been brought up in a Muslim household in muslim-majority countries, he draws from his own experiences and works of other atheists to systematically shatter those controversial tenets in Quran dealing with misogyny, homophobia, war against infidels and death to apostates. Since he is an ex-Muslim, having friends and family in the Muslim community, he tries to present a counterargument to his arguments from their perspective What a deeply intriguing and rational book written by an Ex-Muslim who had been brought up in a Muslim household in muslim-majority countries, he draws from his own experiences and works of other atheists to systematically shatter those controversial tenets in Quran dealing with misogyny, homophobia, war against infidels and death to apostates. Since he is an ex-Muslim, having friends and family in the Muslim community, he tries to present a counterargument to his arguments from their perspective, and is very accomodating of their beliefs. He writes, Islam is an Ideology. Muslims are a community. Ideologies drive people apart. Community brings people together. He clearly defines the terms "theism", "atheism","deism", "agnostics" and "gnostics". This helps you understand where you stand on religion in a better way by learning from his struggles and the final path to atheism. He tries to explain to us the difference between criticism of Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry. Both of which are commonly put under the misleading, reductive term of "Islamophobia". To any cognitively sound and logical person, his arguments would make utmost sense, and he clearly depicts the need for an Islamic reformation. He also tells us the ways in which such a reformation is possible by rejection of scriptural inerracy (of Quran) and Secularism. My favorite line from the book - The sheer psychosis underlying the story of Abraham - the patriarch of the monotheisms, ready with sword raised to violently murder his own son and prove his loyalty to the supposed voice of god inside his head- made God seem more like a pathologically jealous and insecure significant other with attachment issues than an omnipotent deity who invented binary pulsar.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Neeti

    3.5 rounded off to 4. Some of my favorite lines from the book: - The issue is the fusion of faith with political power. - Throughout history, religion has simply been an excuse looking for a conflict. - Most humans are more moral than the scriptures they hold sacred - Your faith is an accident of birth. - Do you really think you need your religion to be good? If the only thing that is keeping you from being bad or immoral is your religion, what does that say about you as a person? Also, maybe le 3.5 rounded off to 4. Some of my favorite lines from the book: - The issue is the fusion of faith with political power. - Throughout history, religion has simply been an excuse looking for a conflict. - Most humans are more moral than the scriptures they hold sacred - Your faith is an accident of birth. - Do you really think you need your religion to be good? If the only thing that is keeping you from being bad or immoral is your religion, what does that say about you as a person? Also, maybe lesser on the politics and more about his own life experiences?

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maisarah Mohd

    The first thing that I thought when reading this book title, 'Why Atheist Muslim, why must there is a word 'Muslim'? So I decided to read this book sample(ebook) from Google Play. Oh, the author is a Muslim before being an atheist. Personally, I don't really agree with author. Because I believe in miracles while author believe in science. My curiosity make me finish this book, and it is good to broaden my view on several issues in Islam. The first thing that I thought when reading this book title, 'Why Atheist Muslim, why must there is a word 'Muslim'? So I decided to read this book sample(ebook) from Google Play. Oh, the author is a Muslim before being an atheist. Personally, I don't really agree with author. Because I believe in miracles while author believe in science. My curiosity make me finish this book, and it is good to broaden my view on several issues in Islam.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Savana

    Being an atheist who was raised in Islam, it was nice to read a book like this. But the author was a little too dismissive of Islamic women wanting to own their own movements to change their societies from within. I get that Islam is definitely a religion full of explaining stuff to women, but you can't hope to change that just by allowing men to become the voices of feminist reform within Islam. Being an atheist who was raised in Islam, it was nice to read a book like this. But the author was a little too dismissive of Islamic women wanting to own their own movements to change their societies from within. I get that Islam is definitely a religion full of explaining stuff to women, but you can't hope to change that just by allowing men to become the voices of feminist reform within Islam.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eman Al-Bedah

    Brilliant, well researched and beautifully written! A combination of perspectives- history, politics, psychology and sociology- to the inquisitive journey from blind faith to enlightenment. Ali Rizvi takes you from KSA, Pakistan to the USA in a personal journey rarely documented in such depth. A must read for better understanding of Islam, Muslims and liberal minds caught in these worlds.

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