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Ayaan Hirsi Ali Explains to Jon Stewart How Islam Differs from Other Religions

World-renowned author and staunch critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali appeared on the The Daily Show this week, where host Jon Stewart attempted to challenge her assertion that Islam is different from the world’s three major Abrahamic religions–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–as Hirsi Ali asserts in her latest book, Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.

“I think people single out Islam as though there is something inherently wrong with it that wasn’t wrong with other religions,” Stewart said. He then went on to question why Hirsi Ali believes Islam is “different” from other religions considering “Christianity went through almost the exact same process,” as he referenced Martin Luther’s Christian Reformation–which began in 1517 when he penned the “95 Theses,” the document that attacked the Catholic Church for its corrupt practice of selling salvation to exonerate people of their sins and thus ushered in the Protestant denomination of Christianity.

Ali went on to explain to Stewart that one of the reasons Islam is different from Christianity is that “the majority of Christians, unlike the majority of Muslims, are not subjected to violence” on a daily basis, a point with which Stewart agreed. “And if you look at 70% of global violence today,” Ali continued, drawing back to the “Now” in her book’s title, “Muslims are responsible” for this violence and are also suffering the greatest at the hands of these Islamists.

Another way in which Islam differs from Christianity is that most Christians have “accepted tolerance and the secular state, the separation of church and state, respect for women, respect for gays,” a point with which Stewart did not fully agree.

Ali pointed out that there are a “growing number” of Muslims–although not as many as she would like–who are “saying that there is something wrong within our religion,” instead of “pointing their fingers towards Jews or Christians or American foreign policy.” Recently, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for a “religious revolution” within Islam.

Hirsi Ali then called for “Muslims to accept the fact that this book [Quran] is written by a man a long time ago [and] the morality of the 7th century doesn’t apply to the 21st century.” Stewart said that Christians have not even accepted that the Bible was written by man, but then agreed with her on the second part of her statement, which indicated that Islam has not reformed in the way Christianity has.

On Monday, Hirsi Ali also appeared on Fox News Channel’s The Kelly File, where she said that calling anyone Islamophobic is a way of “shutting up debate,” and that “anybody who tries to draw attention to the shortcomings of the theology [of] the narrative of jihad is labeled an Islamophobe, and that needs to stop.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.

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