Irshad Manji @ The Huffington Post

Irshad Manji published an interesting discussion on the sanctity of the Quran in response to the “Newsweek Lied, People Died” brouhaha for the uber-left Huffington Post -

Last week, I was interviewed by CNN International about the Quran desecration report – and in particular about the riots in Jalalabad. I said that if the allegations were proven true, then we’re dealing with a gratuitous provocation of Muslims. I stand by that answer. But TV doesn’t give you the space that a blog does, so now’s the time to say something else: Why riot violently over the mistreatment of a Quran? It’s not as if one’s basic human rights have been transgressed…

I always thought the “Satanic Verses” were just a clever booktitle -

…For centuries, Islamic philosophers have been telling the story of the “Satanic Verses.” These are verses that the Prophet Muhammad reportedly accepted as authentic entries into the Quran. Later, he realized that these passages deify heathen idols rather than God Himself. So he belatedly rejected the verses, blaming them on a trick played by Satan…

Previous SM coverage of Manji…

15 thoughts on “Irshad Manji @ The Huffington Post

  1. I saw this woman on Bill Maher. She’s annoying. This whole BS over Newsweek is about putting fear into the news media, so they’ll be fearful of doing ANY journalism that may be critical of Administration policy.

    We have a free press, so they can’t shut that down (and they would if they could) – but they can scare editors of mainstream publications and networks into NOT telling you stories that help you make more informed decisions about the people who lead our country.

    They flushed the bible down in training a lot of the guys who run GITMO, so do you think they thought twice about shitting on the Koran as a form of psychological torture?

    http://www.juancole.com/2005/05/guantanamo-controversies-bible-and.html “…This informed former officer has suggested the real reason for which some in the Pentagon are so angry about the Newsweek story. It may well so focus international outrage on Guantanamo that Rumsfeld will lose his little psych lab.”

  2. Yes I saw her on a Christian fundamentalist station, PAX TV. The content of her opinions notwithstanding, her delivery is grating to the ear. Think Stephen Colbert talking really fast, minus the hilarity.

  3. After Greg Gutfield’s post, I hesistate to believe he is “left”. He thinks indian names are foriegn, and because of that, funny

  4. I am not a big fan of Irshad Manji, mostly because she tends to alienate people instead of starting meaningful discussions. However, she does bring up an interesting point . . .

    A vague report about a few cases of desecration of the Koran led to unprecedented uproar from the Muslim world. The Muslim response to the continued detention of muslims at Guantanamo Bay and the Abu Gharib scandal pales in comparison.

  5. Why riot violently over the mistreatment of a Quran? It’s not as if one’s basic human rights have been transgressed.

    Her view is insular-minded. According to her value system, violating basic human rights is worse than desecrating the Koran. Others may not feel that way, and they have every right to. Thats why people riot.

    (Disclaimer: I think riots are rarely the best resistance technique).

  6. (Disclaimer: I think riots are rarely the best resistance technique).

    I don’t know if you mean violence in general or riots, but being bourgie and thus having a lot to lose, but riots, armed insurrection, etc. tends to work fairly well at scaring the $hit out of people like me.

  7. I’m reading Manji’s “the Trouble with Islam Today”. I disagree with the comment that she does not want to start a proper discussion but only wishes to alienate people. Her well researched viewpoint is quite astute: yes, people will riot over the Koran being desecrated because of the type of reverence that Muslims have for it. The problem with rioting over the Koran begs the question: why not riot over human rights abuses? Why not riot over anything else that bears some reason to riot? The logic in reacting to the holy book being desecrated has been pretty poor indeed. In Pakistan, for example, an illiterate woman (not Muslim) was murdered for wrapping some ladus in newspaper that had a Koranic verse written on it. Murder is the correct reaction to this woman? Absolutely not, that is completely barbaric. Considering the thought process leading up to riots, Manji was expressing the same disgust that such actions in the Islamic world produce: death and mayhem. Her book deals with the Koran, it’s interpretation and image in the muslim world. I agree with Manji, there are more important problems on the table to protest. If indeed the Koran was desecrated the people are totally just in protesting, but at best these reports are allegations (killing other Muslims by violently rioting is perhaps not the best way to convey their protestation). Now, I would rather protest and riot about the woman with the ladus. Her basic, inalienable right to life was thwarted and taken away for a “crime” of which she had no intent to commit. Let’s use our brains here.

  8. vurdlife, Manji’s an insular view? We’re talking about the rights to the basic human dignities that International Charters like the Geneva Convention promote? International is not insular at all. At least not with the definition that the dictionary gives of insular. It seems that the protesting such a view is more insular (see the people who believe that protecting the Koran is more important than doing justice to human dignity).

  9. Manpriya, personally (like Manji) I put human rights above all, including religion, and also I’m not Muslim. I am simply stating that others may not put human rights above all and its not fair to second-guess their preference allocation between the two. I do think they every human must hold human rights as very very important…but I’ll allow that protecting one’s religion can take a higher (more “righteous”) place in people’s minds.

    Of course that doesn’t mean its ok to kill people that wrap laddus…or even engage in violent riots over the flushing of the Koran. In short, we should all hold human rights as VERY important, and respect the bounds of decency, restraint and civility that form the basis of the social contract. This is a requirement. I’m just saying its possible to get pissed over widespread religious descecration of sacred matter (like the American guards in Gitmo have perpetrated on NUMEROUS occassions) a bit more than abuses of human beings. After all, people go starving on the streets every day, as wrong as it is….but when you offend the Book, you offend God himself (blah blah etc.)

    Another big problem with her statement:

    Why riot violently over the mistreatment of a Quran? It’s not as if one’s basic human rights have been transgressed.

    It assumes that respect for a prisoner’s religion is NOT a basic human right.

  10. Manji makes an important point which the devout followers of any religion are loath to accept: Is it okay to engage in violence over a book? The human rights of the prisoners may have been violated, but the people who died in the violence had their right to live snatched away too.. (Okay, so maybe it was the rioters themselves who died, but what about the destruction of property?)

    It stands to reason that the inherent value of a holy book is not lessened just because someone insults it – Is god so weak that people have to save his reputation by violently taking to the streets and issuing fatwas every time someone ‘desecrates’ or engages in ‘blasphemy’? No, it’s just the human inability to accept criticism or insults without losing one’s cool – “I like this thing, and if you say something bad about this I am going to hurt you real bad”

  11. There is no doubt that Manji is both astute and well-read and has the best of intentions. . .

    The problem is that she has become a kind of spokesperson for the Western media and has taken it upon herself to expose all the problems with Islam. She claims that she wants to start a discussion with other muslims (and she is probably genuine). However, her appearences as a Western media “darling” and her comments seem to indicate that she is not starting from a position of faith and this is naturally alienating people.

    Irshad Manji has become to the efforts for modernization of Islam as Michael Moore was to anti-war movement.

  12. I’d be more convinced by Manji’s call for a Muslim reformation if she didn’t spend most of her time climbing on right wing podiums in order to make the call to non-Muslim audiences just as I’d be more convinced by her criticism of the left if she wasn’t making it from the perch of the right wing media. It seems to be more a matter of reaffirming the attitudes of right wingers and non-Muslims (and saying you can like me because I’m not like them) than actually engaging Muslims and leftists in dialogue.

    Telling Muslims “we need to change” is not the same thing as telling non-Muslims “those Muslims need to change”.

  13. Wow, I find it amazing how many people believe they are actually thinking when they are actually just rearranging their prejudices. I have read The Trouble with Islam Today and being neither religious myself or of any Islamic background am repeatedly astonished by those who state that her work is promotes anti-islamic sentiments. Please, after reading her book I had more respect for Islam than ever before. As for her opinions about desecrating the Koran… reality check! People are dying around the world and we care more about the welfare of a Holy book? If there is a God, I am certain he or she would rather that we concentrate our efforts on alleviating the sufferings of others.

    P.S. Stephen Colbert rocks!

  14. Marx was right; organized religion is the scourge of humanity. Fundamental Christians, Moslems, et. al. = tools. What a pitiful display. The human tree needs a serious pruning.