Nonie Darwish (b. 1949) was raised a Muslim in Cairo, and educated at the American University there. She subsequently emigrated to the United States, and apostasized from Islam, before helping to create Former Muslims United. Darwish is the author of Now They Call Me Infidel (2007), Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law (2009), and most recently, The Devil We Don’t Know: The Dark Side of the Revolutions in the Middle East (2012).
Below are extracts from her recently released The Devil We Don’t Know: The Dark Side of the Revolutions in the Middle East. They illustrate Darwish’s rational criticism of Islam, and overall assessment the of the so-called Arab Spring: both its tragic pitfalls, and her wistful, yet sobering assessment of what genuinely positive change in Egypt, and the larger Arab and non-Arab Muslim states across the globe will require.
Most people, myself included, don’t want to criticize any religion, let alone the religion they were born into. Religion must be, first and foremost, a personal relationship with God. Yet if people acting in the name of religion expand its sphere of control until their country becomes a one-party totalitarian state, then these coreligionists have overstepped their bounds. If this state preserves an elaborate legal system that can put someone to death for disagreeing with sharia, then it is trampling on the human rights of its citizens. If this state has a military mandate called jihad that violates the sovereignty of non-Muslim countries, then Islam is no longer a private matter, immune from criticism. Islam placed itself in the realm of criticism the day it demanded to become a political system with imperialist aspirations. If an ideology, religious or secular, has assumed for itself such totalitarian rights over others, then others have the right to challenge, discredit, and defeat it. Islam is challenging the world but has made it a crime for others to challenge it…Having seen for ourselves what Islam has done to the lives and the political systems of Muslim countries, we who live in free democracies have a duty to criticize and scrutinize Islam. If our criticism inspires Muslims to reform, then it will have achieved an honorable goal. As it is practiced today, Islam is the problem, not the solution.”
…I dreamed and still dream of a real Arab Spring, where the majority of the people will stand behind an enlightened leader at Tahrir Square in a magical moment of truthful courage and say, “We need to change course and to change ourselves. What we suffer from is not imposed on us by Mubarak, but by Islam controlling the state and the legal system, and this must end. It is time for the snake of Sharia to retreat back to Mecca, so that we can liberate beautiful Egypt, Persia, and the rest of the Middle East from this Arabian cultural curse.” If Muslim nations reject such an enlightened leader and continue to seek an Islamic Ummah, then the future of stability and peace in the Islamic world will be grim indeed.
Darwish, a thoughtful, morally and intellectually courageous gift to the West from her native Egypt, made a public appearance at The University of New Mexico, February 23, 2012, as part of a speaking tour to promote The Devil We Don’t Know: The Dark Side of the Revolutions in the Middle East. Nonie presented her book’s thesis in a lucid, enlightening talk (video here), deftly handled the distressingly stupid diatribe cum non-question of a dhimmi Jewish tool representing a dhimmi Jewish useless idiot rabbi (video here), and faced the predictable brain dead, lemming-like shout down of campus ultra maroon Green-Red alliance students (video here).
(Judeo-Christian) God bless Nonie Darwish!