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Irshad Manji
Book Review with commentary

Irshad Manji is one of those rare people who combine sharp wit with very serious business--the future of world society. Born of a Muslim family, she could see the religion's workings from the inside out. Like Isaac Newton, she is gifted with penetrating insight and is making the most of it. She calls herself a Muslim Refusenik, then goes on to explain: "It simply means I refuse to join an army of automatons in the name of Allah." Here, Manji hits the nail dead center on the head. The problem is not just Islam, but the extremists that arise from the Authoritarian Personality.

Manji wrote in reference to the effect of the Pact of Umar on Islamic tradition:

    "If you combine a ban on thinking with long-practiced discrimination, what do you get? You get imitation and you get intolerance, Above all, you get imitation of intolerance."

She goes on to explain using herself as an example; how she was well into her 20s before she could pet a dog without fearing reprisal from God! She was not intolerant, she was just imitating it--having been taught that dogs are dirty creatures, never to be touched. More globally, she easily separates Americans from their system while recognizing both the strengths and weaknesses of that system. In the process she recognizes the need within Islam for reformation.

We cannot say enough about this book. Sharp wit and deep insights appear on nearly every page.

See Women in Islam and for more.

Reviewed by Harry Rosenberg

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