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Evaluating Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Views on Adherence to Islam in Heretic

Australian Journal of Islamic Studies - Volume 9, Issue 1 Special Issue


This study investigates Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s view that adherence to Islam is not viable in secular liberal societies of the West, owing to a so-called clash of norms and values. For Hirsi Ali, this clash causes cognitive dissonance in Muslims and makes them withdraw to Muslim enclaves or become radicalised. This study evaluates these claims by comparing them to findings from ethnographic research with Muslims in the West. The data on Muslim religious life shows, for the most part, Muslims in the West can practice Islamic rituals and behaviours owing to social, individual and religion factors, such that what emerges is a fluid way of life that fits into a secular liberal society. Hirsi Ali’s views are thus a misrepresentation of adherence to Islam. The study takes this to be the outcome of her lack of empirical research with Muslims.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Muslims, Islam, Western society, Religiosity



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