On being a (good) muslim in the west: Four contributions by Dutch muslim publicists

Welmoet Boender*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


This review essay discusses four books published in Dutch by three Muslims and an ‘ex-Muslim’ in 2014 and 2015 that present different approaches to how to live as a (‘good’) Muslim in the West. The former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali pleads for far-reaching amendments to Islamic rules concerning belief, ethics and law. Her view differs fundamentally from that of the Muslim theologian Razi Quadir (VU Amsterdam), who positions himself within the Sunni legal tradition. The third author, Muslim theologian and ministry official Mohamed Ajouaou (VU Amsterdam) argues that one should focus primarily on the diversity of Muslim religiosity in the Dutch secular context. Finally, in his autobiographical portrait, Dennis Abdelkarim Honing explains how he discovered legitimate options for living as a pious Muslim in the West. Each in their own way, the authors point to the phenomenon of accusing fellow Muslims being heretical or going astray, and its heavy impact on internal Islamic debate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Muslims in Europe
Issue number1
Early online date6 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Heresy
  • Hirsi Ali
  • Muslim religiosity
  • The Netherlands


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