Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Trouble With Islam, by Irshad Manji

Irshad Manji was born in Uganda, and at age of four migrated to Vancouver, British Colombia, in 1972. She’s lived in the West ever since, and much of her Western upbringing informs her attitude to Islam, or rather how she would like to see it reformed. This book is very pro-Western, and for the large part sees the answer to Islam’s current woes by adopting much of Western culture’s freedom of expression and free market ideology.

As a consequence, this book is highly polemical. Many will disagree vociferously with what Manji has to say. Especially with the way she lays blame not at the West, for its support of tyrannical Middle Eastern regimes, but rather with Islam itself.

One of the major themes of the book is what she calls ‘desert Islam’, that is, a belief that for Islam in any way to be valid or genuine it must be faithful, literally so, to the very historical beginnings of the faith. Imagine if all Christians wanted to live like Jesus’ contemporaries did. Even George W. Bush would baulk.

When Manji talks about laws for women in countries like Saudi Arabia, you can’t but agree. (Remember the recent case of two boys who were hung to death in Iran recently because they were homosexual.) The stoning of women? These aspects of Sharia law most in the West would find abhorrent.

There’s also a section in the book about Islam’s golden age of culture and achievement, between 750 and 1250. It was refreshing to read about when Islam was a world leader, a leading light in science and culture, making you realise Islam has not always been the Medieval religion it is perceived to be today.

I don’t know enough about Islam to give any kind of pointed opinion on this book. The author goes through a lot of Islam’s history (plus contemporary history), to point out where the faith has gone wrong. While she makes a lot of good points, a lot of points that can’t be refuted, I found she was too much of a cheer leader for the West. The way she dealt with problems seemed, to me, a bit too simple, too black and white. (At one point in the book she’s practically calling on Oprah to save Islam. One of her recipes to lift Islam out of the dark ages is to promote female entrepeneurs.)

Sometimes Manji also seemed to contradict herself. On the one hand she lauds to the skies the freedoms the West enjoys, then on the other hand she calls for less tolerance of Muslims (Muslims who transgress the law, or who are openly anti-social) in Western countries.

One thing that can’t be denied about her book though, it’s a very strong call for open discussion. Like a true democrat, she’s calling for free speech and open criticism of Islam, from all quarters. Despite her brassy – sometimes almost crass style – this should be commended.

Chris recommends you read this book. You might find yourself squirming in your seat sometimes, but if nothing else The Trouble With Islam is a breath of fresh air.

5 comments:

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ShyViolet said...

I'll have to read that book - sounds very interesting.

Inheriting Syria said...

View this on the Internet at:
http://independent-warriors.blogspot.com/2005/11/war-of-independent-warriors.html

November 11, 2005, Veterans Day

Minister Louis Farrakhan
236 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., suite 610
Washington, D.C. 20002

Dear Minister Louis Farrakhan: http://www.noi.org/

Subject: The war of political corruption, twisted media and the Independent Warrior.

On Nov. 6, 2005 in the LA Times, Irshad Manji, (irshad@muslim-refusenik.com) (www.muslim-refusenik.com) author of “The Trouble With Islam Today” writes that, “Ijtihad is Islam’s own tradition of independent thinking and from the 8th to the 12th centuries, the “gates of ijtihad” encouraged discussion, debate and dissent. And also during that time the Islamic civilization led the world in ingenuity.”

The honorable Irshad Manji wants ijtihad to begin again and have Islamic civilization think about becoming more open to American and Western type of independent thinking.

I say why should Islam or any type of civilization and or religion want Western type of thinking? Western political type of thinking is: twist facts, start a war, then steal the oil of that war-exhausted country. Then have the media divert the twisted war for oil facts into supporting the Christian sponsored warriors who are honorable for killing the Islamic independent warriors. Independent warriors kill civilians who support Western type of thinking and the media again diverts the Western thinking by insulting the Independent warriors by labeling them radicals.

I agree with the honorable Irshad Manji, when he says that people throughout the Islamic world needs to know of their God-given right to think for themselves. Minister Farrakhan, here are only two Western subjects for the Islamic world to think about.

1. The Roman Catholic Religion spent over $5 Billion (and still escalating) to protect Catholic Priests who molested American children while millions of children starve to death in Africa.

2. The Republican and Democratic parties in California alone spent tens of millions of dollars to prevent the Green Party from getting Ralf (no war) Nater, on the CA presidential ballot.

Minister Farrakhan, must the war of the independent warrior first come to America before the corrupt politicians and the twisted media stop worldwide Western corruption?

Sincerely,
Carl G. Mueller, Nam 68
http://www.blogger.com/profile/8749161

CC:
Another Mother for Peace
8950 W. Olympic Blvd.
Box 194
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
www.anothermother.org
info@anothermother.org

Copies of this letter have been sent to others worldwide by E-mail.
Example:
Canada:
vanservice@canwest.com, calgary@canwestinteractive.com, feedback@canada.com, montreal@canwestinteractive.com, maritimes@canwestinteractive.com, sosdnews@uniontrib.com, advocate@heraldtribune.com

Newspapers in the Middle East:
4beirut@gmail.com, mail@beiruttimes.org, info@emox.com, contact@metimes.com, editor@metimes.com, webmaster@asharq-e.com, articles@honestreporting.ca, irshad@muslim-refusenik.com, pi@muslim-refusenik.com, editor@middleeastmediaguide.com,

Inheriting Syria said...

View this letter in color on the Internet at:
http://same-vietnam-bs.blogspot.com/2005/11/grandma-and-grandpa-warriors.html

November 11, 2005, Veterans Day

Carl G. Mueller, Nam 68 … Phone: (909) 866-9310
PO Box 120707
38941 North Bay Drive
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315-8944

To: Arizona Senator John McCain http://mccain.senate.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=Contact.Home

Nov. 10, 2005, I heard you say on the News Hour With Jim Lehrer that America needs to stop the radical Muslim warriors in Iraq before they bring the war to the United States.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/congress/july-dec05/mccain_11-10.html

Here is the Quote as per transcripts of the Jim Lehrer News Hour show.
JIM LEHRER: More important than Vietnam. In what way?
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: Well, when we left Vietnam and came home and Ho Chi Minh or his followers didn't come after us.

I think if we lose here, you're going to see a factionalization of Iraq and the kind of training and place where Muslim extremism flourishes. And I think if you look at bin Laden's statements and Zarqawi's and others that they will be coming after us.


I say, “To many good men, woman and children died a very painful death believing that America had to stop Communism in Vietnam before they come after us in America.


I’m dumb but not that dumb, I do have a little bit of a memory and learning curve still attending my cranium. It seems to me that you Senator McCain, and many other politicians are the radical ones and the so-called radical Islamic warriors are just independent people, trying to stop radical lying Western capitalism from spreading into their countries.


Senator McCain, look at yourself, you have become a Gnostic, and a disgrace for what seems to be the obsession for Presidential power. I pray this letter shows that you changed into a slime sucking bottom dweller, feeding off the fear of America getting invaded by outsiders. Senator McCain, your so-called invading outsiders where always here; and for now we call ourselves, Grandma & Grandpa Warriors with memories.

Sincerely,
Carl G. Mueller, Nam 68
http://www.blogger.com/profile/8749161

CC:
Another Mother for Peace
8950 W. Olympic Blvd.
Box 194
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
www.anothermother.org
info@anothermother.org

Minister Louis Farrakhan
236 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., Suite 610
Washington, D.C. 20002
http://www.noi.org/

Others: