Irshad Manji is not someone with whom I can agree on many things. In fact, I find her slant in political rants to be more anti-muslim and self-promoting than actually addressing the real concerns with real (and honest) solutions.
That said, I do think there is one thing to be learnt from all her issues with modern day muslim civilzed societies. And that is to realize that muslims (and esp their wanna-be leaders) really do need to be inward looking – at least as much as they look for others who have caused them harm – and to seriously study why muslim populations sometimes react in ways that not only violate principles that most of the world agrees upon, but also alienates their otherwise just cause in a wider global audience.
In a recent article in NY Times article (Aug 16, 2006), she writes:
Meanwhile, at least as many Muslims are dying at the hands of other Muslims as under the boots of any foreign imperial power. In Sudan, black Muslims are starved, raped, enslaved and slaughtered by Arab militias, with the consent of an Islamic government. Where is the “official” Muslim fury against that genocide? Do Muslim lives count only when snuffed out by non-Muslims? If not, then here is an idea for Muslim representatives in the West: Go ahead and lecture the politicians that their foreign policies give succor to radicals. At the same time, however, challenge the educated and angry young Muslims to hold their own accountable, too.
and about muslim leaders:
Muslim figureheads will not dare be so honest. They would sooner replicate the very sins for which they castigate the Bush and Blair governments — namely, switching rationales and pretending integrity.
Speaking of leadership, I am starting to feel that their is a genuine and very serious lack of leadership in the muslim world. That leadership vacuum is not just in the religious sphere but also in the political sphere. Why is it that posters of Al-Zarqawi and Osama show up in every home when many religious leaders, and most political leaders, vehemontly oppose the terrible violence espoused by these figures? I rmember many Pakistanis decorating homes with Saddam Hussain posters in the 1991 Gulf War when barely anybody knew or understood the complex politics of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and USA. Similarly why is it that muslims are unable to react to the killing of muslims in India (such as the massacre in Gujrat, India), but come out in tremendous numbers for the Danish cartoons controversy. Somehow there seems to be a disconnect between the real issues that should be worrying the muslims, and the issues that they come out on the streets for – and I believe a lack of leadership leaves the general muslim population with no choices except to be reactive, unimaginative, and incoherent to the global audience.