Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Reform and Read! Irshad Manji Calls for Islamic Action

Heard this Muslim woman speak on Laura Ingraham's show this morning... I must have heard her before. She calls for the Islamic world (specifically, those who would tarnish the name of Muslims with vicious threats and violent attacks) to use more independent thinking (ijtihad) and to reform.

Irshad Manji blogs at the Huffington Post,
She has her own site called Muslim Refusenik,
You can find various entries for her via Google, and
Her book, The Trouble With Islam Today, is available at Amazon.

One reviewer (Bill in New York) notes the apparent campaign against her and her book:

Thirty reviews are positive--3 to five stars--and 14 (nearly 50%) are by people who have reviewed for Amazon before. Only 7 (less than 25%) are anonymous, signed "A Reader"). In general, the reviewers discuss the merits of the .

Twenty-two reviews are hostile--almost all only 1 star--and only 5 (about 23%) are by previous Amazon reviewers. (One claims a children's game caused repeated vomiting by her child; reviews a $2.79 screwdriver; and attacks a book she admits not having read. In short, she doesn't review--she rants.) Nine (about 40%) are anonymous. Many are merely ad hominem attacks on the author, who is described as dishonest, ignorant, money-hungry, publicity-seeking (even fatwa-seeking) and fostering a "craze for Islamophobia." One calls Manji "simply not a Muslim" because of her "inability to read Arabic, absence from active Mulim worship, embrace of the West and its secular values, not to mention her identity as a Lesbian feminist."

Hey, I'm willing to look at her crookedly because she's had her picture taken with Eve Ensler, but defeating Islamo-fascism is probably going to create strange bedfellows.

Irshad posted this last week on 9/11/06:
Since September 11, 2001, many around the world have been asking: Where are the Muslim moderates? Then, when I went public with my book, they asked: Are you alone?

No, I’m not alone. I get more letters of love from fellow Muslims than I do death threats. Still, the world needs to know that Muslim reformists are willing to speak our minds — out loud.
After this she quotes from a Muslim woman in Boston who adapted the Serenity prayer for Muslims.

She also includes a petition to stand against the New Totalitarianism (and, of course, the death threats)... a few Minnesotans have signed, too.

Most importantly, at least regarding recent events, Irshad mentioned the Pope's speech.
As a faithful Muslim, I do not believe the pope should have apologized. I've read what’s been described as his inflammatory speech. Actually, he called for dialogue with the Muslim world. To ignore that larger context and to focus on a mere few words of the speech is like reducing the Koran, Islam's holy book, to its most bloodthirsty passages. We Muslims hate it when people do that. The hypocrisy of doing this to the pope stinks to high heaven.

Yet some Muslims have gone further. In the West Bank, churches have been firebombed. During a big protest in London, placards proclaimed "Islam will take Rome." In Somalia, a Catholic nun was murdered shortly after a Muslim cleric urged violence against the Vatican.

Coincidence? I think not.

And thinking is what the Quran encourages. It asks Muslims to reflect far more than to retaliate. Even if someone mocks your religion, the Koran says, walk away. Later, engage in dialogue. Wasn't that the pope's point?

We Muslims should remember that God told the Prophet Muhammad to "read." My advice to fellow Muslims: Read the pope's speech — in its entirety — and you'll see that his message of reason, reconciliation, and conversation would make him a better Muslim than most of us.

Now if only I could make him a feminist ...
Like I said, there are a few things I'm going to have to wrinkle my nose about... but she clearly is our kind of gal. And my kind of Muslim.


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