Cdn Politics, Global Issues

Irshad Manji

A mentor of the Trudeau Foundation, with which I am associated, describes a recent meeting, overlapping ominously with the bombings in India and the start of the Lebanese escalation.

Two weeks ago, I joined 99 other “Muslim leaders of tomorrow” who gathered in Copenhagen to debate how Islam and the West could enrich each other. We came from the United States, Canada, Australia and across Europe. Brace yourself, the statements made may shock you:

Man from the Netherlands: “We, as Muslims, need to look in the mirror instead of blaming everybody else!”

Woman from
Germany: “I don’t have an identity crisis. I’m Western and Muslim and grateful to be both.”

Organizer from the United States: “None of my fellow Americans signed up to speak about integration. They don’t see it as their priority. I think this means Muslim immigrants have it better in the U.S. than in Europe.”

Imam from Britain: “The minute a woman becomes an imam, I will be the first to pray at her feet.”

I am curious what oxbloggers think of her. She is certainly a controversial figure. Perhaps more well known internationally than she is in her home county, Canada. I agree wholeheartedly with her principle stance, that Islam must modernise, particularly with regard to women’s rights, and that this modernization must begin with a recognition that many of the most unjust aspects of religion are rooted in human misinterpretations. However, I find that while the message is correct, rare, and valuable, she often doesn’t adequately discuss the policy implications to her message. Much like I feel about many neoconservative positions, I agree with the ends, but not by any and all means.

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