Tawhidi's aim "is to educate and raise awareness about what is taught within the Islamic seminaries in the Middle East." His own story is so important to his project that he devotes the first eighty-two pages establishing his Islamic bona fides as "an Australian Muslim scholar, publicly ordained Islamic authority, thinker, educator, speaker, and one of the leading voices in the global movement of Islamic reform." Doing so permits him to present ideas that would likely be dismissed as "Islamophobic" coming from a non-Muslim.
His adventure begins in Australia where religious idealism inspired him to travel to Iran and study at al-Mahdi School in Qom. There he "was completely radicalized, and willing to kill anyone who spoke a single word against Ali Khamenei." In addition, he explains,
We all loved Hizbullah, and were prepared to join them at all costs. We detested the USA and cursed it daily along with Israel and the UK.
But he also witnessed hypocrisy and cruelty, leading to skepticism and disillusionment. Relocating to Iraq in 2013, he lived through the rise of ISIS, which, in 2015, captured his uncle, a colonel in the Iraqi army, and burned him alive. Thus began Tawhidi's "deradicalization." He returned to Australia and dedicated his life to Islamic reform. The remainder of the book is "a gradual and intellectual exposé of the difficulties of Islamic thought." His ideas are not entirely original, but coming from a credentialed Shiite imam, are bound to be considered revolutionary.
Tawhidi's thesis is that true Islam ends at the death of Muhammad; all the hadiths are fraudulent, and all the caliphs illegitimate, beginning with Abu Bakr, who "used his caliphate to hijack Islam and introduce his own religious system."
On Israel, Tawhidi is equally iconoclastic, illustrating Islam's "distortion of historical Jewish claims to Jerusalem" and arguing for the need to "admit that our terrorist caliphs were the ones who invaded Palestine and built mosques above sacred Jewish sites."
"The only way forward," he urges, "is to turn around and condemn the violence and terrorism that was committed in our name by the Islamic caliphs." The book closes with a promise of more to come: "I shall now move on to ... writing a detailed manifesto of how future Muslim generations can save themselves and the rest of humanity." This is a tall order, and much needed.