Between Faith & Freedom
I’m not religious, often atheist and hardly reverential but Irshad Manji’s religion appeals in a humanist sort of way. Simon & Schuster India’s launch title and her second book Allah, Liberty And Love she resurrects the Islamic concept of Ijtihad or critical thinking, dissent and debate. She reveals her reform manifesto through her responses to emails and messages sometimes celebrating but most of the time attacking her previous work.
It’s not surprising she won the first ever Chutzpah Award from Oprah Winfrey. Her thought and writing quite defines the word in all its energy! Her first book The Trouble with Islam Today immediately put her on the map. Her reformist ideas and honest analysis mercilessly deconstructed Islam and Islamic structure. But never with hatred instead her work constantly oozed a sense of love and respect for Islam while irreverence greeted miscreants who according to her helped restrict the religion. Allah, Liberty & Love takes forward the emotion behind her first but puts away the anger and replaces it with a stronger sense of reformist thought and action.
Putting into perspective her ideas of change and betterment often drawn from the Quran and her life’s experiences. Born in Uganda to Egyptian and Gujarati parents, at the age of four she fled to Canada with her family and spent the rest of her growing up years there. Her questioning spirit got her expelled from the Madrasa she went to as a child but she continued to pursue her education in Islam via private tutors and through her own learning. Today she is openly gay, Muslim and a humanist. She has become almost a household name for alternative Islamic thought one that reforms and protects in the West – and is definitely part of my must read and get to know list!_
By: Shahnaz Siganporia