Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Islam: it's time for straight talk

By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Tuesday, 8 December 2015

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.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue

By Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz, 144pp, Harvard University Press, 10/2015 US $10.99 (Nook Book); US $11.38 HB or A$35.99

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

11 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Jonathan J. Ariel

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Jonathan J. Ariel
Article Tools
Comment 11 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy