Sunday, July 01, 2007

Setting [part of] the Record Straight

I don't hate Muslims. Like a lot of folks, I hate that which I fear, and I am most definitely afraid of the Jihadis. But I do NOT hate all Muslims. In fact, I'm about to recommend a book written by a Muslim woman who loves her faith deeply.

Her name is Irshad Manji. The book is The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith. She talks about an ancient Islamic tradition called ijtihad that has been lost in modern times. This is the antithesis of what she call's today's "foundamentalism". It is the principle of Creative Thinking.
It is ijtihad that focuses on verses of the Koran [her spelling, not mine] such as that in Chapter 2 "Let there be no compulsion in religion" and Chapter 109 "Unto you your religion, unto me, my religion" and another verse for which she did not give a Chapter citation, "If God had pleased, He would have made you all one people. But He has done otherwise..."
She posits that the Arab Tribalism of Islam is undermining the true tenents of the religion. It is ijtihad that leads Muslims to realize that the Koran requires the Prophet's wives to never decrees such a practice for ALL women. And to learn that the above verses can help lead to peace with the West and their Israeli neighbors.

She proposes three solutions to the "Trouble" she sees with Islam today:
  1. Revitalize Muslim economies by including the "talents of women"
  2. "...give the desert a run for its money by unleashing varied interpretations of Islam" i.e. Ijtihad
  3. "... work with the West, not against it." To support calls to reform governments, economies, and end terrorism.

Next up on my reading list are three books that Manji had listed in her reading list:

Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out, edited by Ibn Warraq, Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2003.

Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith, Michael Wolfe and producers of Beliefnet, editors. Emmaus, PA:Rodale/Beliefnet, 2002.

Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide by Bat Ye'or, Madison, N.J.: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002.

We clear now?


g bro said...


Sounds quite reasonable. The key thing that resonates with me is the "Arab Tribalism of Islam". That's a point the Mrs. has been making to me for some time. Maybe I'll break down and read it.


G Bro

phlegmfatale said...

It's nice to hear there is someone of that religion who is willing to go on the record (and risk assassination) by calling for moderation.

Georeg said...

To those books, Holly, I would also suggest "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.


Kate said...

I picked up a book at Target called Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald which is a fictionalized (but probably quite close to truth) about an Iranian woman who comes to the US to find a husband so she can basically escape from Iran. It's worth the read, and definitely resonates with some of the things my Iranian coworkers have talked about.

Thanks for the other book suggestions.