In the 21st century, anyone who chooses to be a "dissident Muslim" must deal with serious loneliness. Non-Muslims imagine that all Muslims are more or less the same. Muslims usually regard their faith as obvious and true, so who could dissent from it?

But a dissident Muslim refuses to accept official dogma. A dissident Muslim wants to step out from under the weight of traditional consensus and "rethink" Islam.

Salim Mansur, a political science professor at Western University in London, Ont., is a dissident Muslim. He defines himself against the Islamists who support Islamic militancy and fundamentalism. Islamists believe they are duty bound to achieve, by persuasion or force, God's law in an Islamic-directed world.

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