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The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's…

The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith (2003)

by Irshad Manji

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Islamic and a Lesbian, how much trouble do you want? But Manji tries to honestly confront the difficulties her religion must cope with in the present global culture. well worth reading. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Apr 24, 2014 |
This was a very good book. It is written as an open letter to Muslims by Irshad Manji, a devout liberal Muslim who happens to be a lesbian. I really liked the style and her tongue-in-cheek humour and sarcasm. The book was call for Islamic reform and posed more questions than it answered, but all the questions were extremely thought provoking. It was interesting to read this so soon after finished The Palestine-Israel Conflict by Gregory Harms. Without getting too political, I tend to sympathize with the Palestinian cause and the Harms book only bolstered my position. Manji's book actually challenged me on that and shed a more sympathetic light on the Israeli side of the equation. I highly recommend this book to anyone, it was very readable and accessible. The only caveat is that it has no footnotes or endnotes, she puts everything like that on her web-site. ( )
  weejane | Dec 23, 2011 |
This book is full of facts and real-life truths. In this open letter, a call for reform of Islam, Manji makes a compelling case for worshiping strategically rather than tactically. Some reviewers have said she doesn't present other sides; I say she didn't promise to do that. The book's title is not ISLAM TODAY, it's THE TROUBLE WITH ISLAM TODAY. And she puts her finger right on it.

Among many other astoundingly insightful points, she says that one of the biggest hurdles for Muslims is the tendency to apply the Qur’an as though the practitioners still lived centuries ago, in a desert civilization, following behavior and rules that made sense then but might no longer apply, given the knowledge and social infrastructure to which we have access today.

Manji is a journalist who has traveled broadly in the Islamic world, and in making her point she speaks openly and honestly about her experiences with the practices common to fundamentalist versions of Islam, including what it’s like to conform fully with the traditional dress and demeanor of a strict Muslim woman. The waste, as she sees it, of fully half of Islam’s humanity as the rights—and brains—of women are dismissed, screams for the reform she seeks.

Manji is a devout Muslim. She is a lesbian. And she lives behind bullet-proof glass. ( )
  RobinReardon | Nov 27, 2010 |
A thoughtful look at the sources of intolerance and human rights violations within Islamic cultures - is it the culture or the religion? Although I suspect Ms. Manji and I disagree on many things I found her "open letter" thoughtful and challenging at the same time. The author's intended goal of having an honest conversation about the global practice of Islam is deftly handled. Very courageous; I enjoyed the conversation. ( )
1 vote ekissel | Jan 1, 2010 |
Well written open letter to fellow Muslims. I agree with the premise that Islam, to the world, appears as reactionary and fundamentalist. Moderate, practising Muslims are not represented in the dialogue. Irshad makes a call to her fellow Muslims to show the fringe for what it is (i.e. not representative of the religion). I was particularly interested in her visits to Isreal and her appreciation of the religious and political dialogue in that country where many divergent views are represented. ( )
  jwilder | Aug 27, 2009 |
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To my grandmother, Laila Nasser,

who asks great a questions when given the chance,

and to the many individual Muslims

who have already taken chances
First words
My Fellow Muslims,

I have to be honest with you.
You'll want to assure me that what I am describing in this open letter to you isn't "true" Islam.  Frankly, such a distinction wouldn't have impressed Prophet Muhammed, who said that religion is the way we conduct ourselves toward others — not theoretically, but actually.  By that standard, how Muslims behave is Islam.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312327005, Paperback)

This "call for reform" reads like an open letter to the Muslim world. Irshad Manji, a Toronto-based television journalist, was born to Muslim parents in South Africa. Her family eventually fled to Canada when she was two years old. Manji shares her life experiences growing up in a Western Muslim household and ask some compelling questions from her feminist-lesbian-journalist perspective. It is interesting to note that Manji has been lambasted for being too personal and not scholarly enough to have a worthwhile opinion. Yet her lack of pretense and her intimate narrative are the strengths of this book. For Muslims to dismiss her opinions as not worthy to bring to the table is not only elitist; it underscores why she feels compelled to speak out critically. Intolerance for dissent, especially women's dissent, is one of her main complaints about Islam. Clearly, her goal was not to write a scholarly critique, but rather to speak from her heartfelt concern about Islam. To her fellow Muslims she writes:
I hear from a Saudi friend that his country's religious police arrest women for wearing red on Valentines Day, and I think, Since when does a merciful God outlaw joy—or fun? I read about victims of rape being stoned for "adultery" and I wonder how a critical mass of us can stay stone silent.

She asks tough questions: "What's with the stubborn streak of anti-Semitism in Islam? Who is the real colonizer of the Muslims—-America or Arabia? Why are we squandering the talents of women, fully half of God's creation?" This is not an anti-Muslim rant. Manji also speaks with passionate love and hope for Islam, believing that democracy is compatible with its purest doctrine. Sure, she's biased and opinionated. But all religions, from Christianity to Buddhism to Islam should be accountable for how their leadership and national allegiances personally affect their followers. One would hope that this honest voice be met with a little more self-scrutiny and a little less anti-personal, anti-feminine, and anti-Western rhetoric. --Gail Hudson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:23 -0400)

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"In this open letter, Irshad Manji unearths the troubling cornerstones of mainstream Islam today: tribal insularity, deep-seated anti-Semitism, and an uncritical acceptance of the Koran as the final, and therefore superior, manifesto of God's will. But her message is ultimately positive. She offers a practical vision of how Islam can undergo a reformation that empowers women, promotes respect for religious minorities, and fosters a competition of ideas. Her vision revives "ijtihad," Islam's lost tradition of independent thinking. In that spirit, Irshad has a refreshing challenge for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Don't silence yourselves. Ask questions--out loud." -- Publisher's description on back cover.… (more)

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