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 time - fearlessly and fully - and 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.
©2015 Sam Harris & Maajid Nawaz (P)2015 Sam Harris & Maajid Nawaz
As the late Christopher Hitchens expertly said about arguments between two matched "opponents", it is very seldom that the position of both will remain exactly the same, changes and concessions will occur and the debate will advance. Even if only a little at a time.
In this book you can see Sam and Maajid views growing better and more refined about the topics of Islam, islamism, secularism, the muslim society, radicalization and tolerance.
I'd already read all of Sam's books, so Maajid was the greatest surprise for me and greatly enriched my views about radicalization (and the different levels it can happen) and islamic culture in general (specially the many possible interpretations of the Quran, the Hadith and other texts).
I'll be sure to read his book "Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism" as soon as possible.
This book is a must read for everyone who wants to honestly discuss the topics abovementioned and I highly recommend it.
(I'm sorry if there are any typos or mistakes, I'm brazilian and english is my second language)
I recommend this book because it is an intellectually honest conversation that presents carefully considered issues in Islam from two very different perspectives which, in my opinion, is the reason this book succeeds. It is also important that this book paves the way for other people to engage in similar honest discussions because we cannot stick our heads in the sand and ignore issues.
The authors represent themselves. I think Maajid Nawaz had a more central role in this discussion and made a compelling case as to how one can maneuver carefully and try to reform Islam in a way that will lead to secularism and human rights. On the other hand, Sam Harris was skeptical and made excellent points as to why some core issues of the faith may never be subject to a solution.
Sam Harris was very effective in showcasing the problem in western societies like the USA where a large group of politically correct groups of people are trying to control criticism of various ideas including Islam because it may offend or they think religion has nothing to do with the problems in Muslim majority countries. This is also a vital message of the book in my opinion.
Not really, but that was not the point. The problem demands that we cast aside emotions and arm ourselves with a rational and critical approach.
Both authors speak beautifully, leaving space for many thoughts about their probing ideas. Voice performance matters in an audiobook, and the even, calm of the authors' voices eased my way into challenging material. Since my background knowledge of Islam is limited, I had to really think about each concept presented. I am inspired to listen again to the book, and read the materials mentioned in the verbal bibliography.
There's a lot of food for thought in this interesting dialogue about one of the most pressing matters of our age. Arguments between the authors are laid out in clarity, directness, and civilized manner - a true delight. They're looking at reality with open eyes, sense of urgency, and concerns yet offering actions which could help the liberal civilization to remain on course.
This is the kind of book where I wish to listen to over and over again just to ingrain everything said in it into my mind. As a muslim struggling with other muslims, this book was the thing that set my mind free from a lot of weights that I felt on my shoulder. It tackled topics that have been eating my mind for so long in a way that pushed these thoughts towards progress for the first time in recent Islam history. I have to thank both sam and maajid for these results. Maajid for giving muslims the exact mentality that we should take for tolerance, and Sam for asking exactly the right questions that needed to be asked to push the conversation forward. This ability of Sam to know exactly what to ask and to take every topic to its logical end astonishes me every time I listen to him.
This should be the book that starts the new standard of discussing Islam. no beating around the bushes. Islam either can or cannot exist with modern society, and we need to push the conversation to find out.
other than that, the performance of both was amazing. It started with them sounding like they were reading from a book rather than talking, but slowly turned into a natural conversation. The additional conversation at the end after the book was published was also very humanizing.
Eye opening, enlightening. Everyone confused on this topic (basically everyone), should read/listen to this book, the authors lay it out perfectly. Hey, I'm pretty liberal, but the "regressive left" needs an injection of this book to clear up the confusion on this topic.
This book does a good job of creating a foundation for common ground and the formation of unique opinions and belief in a still more polarizing world.
Additionally, it features a section of reader questions not found in the printed version, where the authors further expands on the arguments raised in the book.
Don't understand the difference between islam, islamism and radicale islam? Then listen to this book!
Both authors are real scholars with no biases. Loved their genuine dialogue. Can't wait to hear of similar dialogues between these two authors.
"Essential, both for the listener and humanity."
This is what honesty sounds like when paired with a concern for all our futures. Excellent.
"A must listen"
This is a conversation which had to be had. Majjid has opened my eyes to the possibilities that there is more than 1 interpretation of Islam based in history and fact
"When Worlds collide new particles emerge"
The dialog feels a bit stilted, because it is presented as spontaneous, but it is obviously a reading of ideas that have been distilled from questions they have asked each other and have answered in great detail and with deep knowledge of the subject. Also the reading gets more relaxed as they get use to doing this. Both this writers are more used to debate and of the cuff comments and ideas than reading from prepared text.
Maajid Nawaz added a lot new to this dialog as an ex islamist he understands the religious context and the political motivations of the islamic movements,plus his historical grasp of the movement is insightful and internal, his proposals for combating them in the west are in my opinion a bit timid but they are more than most politicians are trying now a days.
Sam Harris as usual is a conciliatory questioning interlocutor that presents reason and ideas as guiding points to this conversation and is extremely respectful of Majid's first book, where he openly stops defending islamist ideology and engages in the difficulties of demouncin the faith’s shortcomings and becomes openly secularist.
An excellent read if you are interested in cultural problem of the century, and excellent book to introduce you to the problems politicians dare not name.
"The most important topic of our time"
So pleased to have learnt about Maajid through Sam Harris. A true leading light with a humanitarian and reasoned voice we can all listen to - believers and non-believers alike.
It has helped me to understand a topic that I too once felt the need to obsfucate out of liberal tendency.
This is a very important book and I look forward to following the continuing dialogue.
surely one of the most important conversations of our time. read it and encourage others to do so.
"Absolutely brilliant, a real eye opener"
Constructive debate in the quest for Human rights values, a must for anyone who wants to educate themselves on this very prevalent topic.
this book cleared up a lot of things for me around Islam, terms used in the media and increased my overall general knowledge on people who are Muslim. This conversation is engaging due to the fact that these are the really dodgy questions no one wants to ask but the questions are put in an intellectual manner and responded to similarly. I agree with the goals of this book and think they have Greta Value.
The book has done what it set out to do in my opinion. And having the extra part at the end only for the audio book listeners was very welcome.
"A valuable and insightful analysis"
Clear thoughts and balanced assessments of one of the biggest challenges that the world faces.
"A very important and engaging book"
This conversation is perfect antidote to the frustrating and usually baffling noise that constitutes the majority of public discourse about Islam, particularly online. The primary point of the book is the not even the material but the manner of conversation. It's a refreshing example of how to explore issues constructively without descending into defensiveness and ideological sleight of hand.
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