The Atheist Muslim
What challenges does modern Islam face? Ali Rizvi discusses in his Freedom Lecture factors that could help lead it toward a substantive, progressive reformation.
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, 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. In his book The Atheist Muslim, Rizvi describes how he finds himself caught between two narrative voices he cannot relate to: extreme Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry in a post-9/11 world. Rizvi criticizes Islam―as one should be able to criticize any set of ideas―without demonizing his entire people. His personal story outlines the challenges of modern Islam and the factors that could help lead it toward a substantive, progressive reformation.
Ali A. Rizvi is a Canadian physician and writer who grew up in Libya, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan before moving to Canada and later to the United States. He struggled for a long time to reconcile the world in which he lived as a scientist with the religion he was raised with. In the end, he lost his faith. Rizvi has been writing extensively about secularism in the Muslim world. He regularly publishes in The Huffington Post.
The Freedom Lectures are organized annually in the run-up to May 5, Liberation Day. The lectures are based on the Four Freedoms of the American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt and are organized in cooperation with the Bevrijdingsfestivals (Liberation Festivals) in nine Dutch provinces.
More information(in Dutch): www.vrijheidscolleges.nl
Sunday 29 April: Jan Terlouw, Groninger Forum