Irshad Manji head to head with Mehdi Hasan

June 23, 2013 at 9:49 pm (Islam, islamism, Jim D, liberation, religion, secularism, TV)

Fascinating stuff as the self-styled  “reformist” (not “moderate”) secular Muslim Manji deals with the condescending lightweight Mehdi Hasan on al Jazeera:

No doubt Nooman  would consider Ms Manji an “Islamophobe”… or at the very least, someone who gives aid and comfort to “Islamophobes” (clearly also Mehdi Hasan’s view).


  1. s4r4hbrown said,

    Oh dear – although I thought she was fab, I thought some of the questions he asked about her rhetoric were not unreasonable. That doesn’t mean that I think she has been in some way at fault, and I haven’t read her books, but it is at least reasonable to ask, civilly, whether, when criticising something already under attack, there might be some still better way to frame one’s criticisms. Similar discussions take place around criticisms of Israel, where the tone, the actual or implied audience, the tropes are perhaps even more important than the objective criticisms being made.

  2. Mike Killingworth said,

    First, she is surely right to say that Islam is what Muslims do. His alternative: that Islam is what Muslims ought to do is as much idealisation as an apologist for capitalism choosing to ignore the fact that participants in markets don’t have perfect information.

    She is surely also right in identifying the problem as the Muslim identification with tribal culture. It is precisely that which ensures that Muslims will not listen to her. Most Muslims see themselves as engaged in one way or another in the promotion of tribalism in general and their own tribe in particular. They would prefer to wake up to-morrow in a world in which “modernity” and the rest of Western culture not merely did not exist but never had existed.

    And there is one other thing that (the great majority of) Muslims do. They despise people who think they can practise Islam inside a western society. For Islam is not merely prayer beads and ritual fasting – it is also a legal system and to choose to live in a society – whether Canada or Turkey – that has a secular legal system is unIslamic.

  3. s4r4hbrown said,

    As I’m an atheist it makes much more sense to me to see Islam as what Muslims do as I see religions as philosophies created and then changed (usually) by people. But it seems perfectly understandable that a Muslim should say Islam is what Muslims ought to do – and if s/he is arguing that they ought to do good or neutral things – then there is no problem.

    Culture is clearly an issue, and its intersection with the religion may be chance, or, if not quite chance/contingent, at least quite complex.

    A good many Muslims would not agree that choosing to live in a secular country is unislamic – and some would also support secularism full stop. I believe that is actually a tenet of the Ahmadi branch – and although I am aware many Muslims don’t consider them ‘proper’ Muslims, it seems odd for a culturally Christian atheist to choose to take their word for that, and not that of the Ahmadis themselves.

  4. R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    Obviously I’m with Irshad but intellectually this is very thin stuff indeed and makes you hanker back to the days when Malcolm Muggeridge and Don Cupitt and Bryan Magee would get whole chunks of airtime to really discuss religion.

  5. Sue R said,

    No doubt it will reaffirm peoples’ view of me as an Islamophobe (useless bloody term), but I think the crux of the matter is that the West have a concept of ‘The General Will’ whilst Islamic culture operates with the notion of ‘God’s Will’. Until that can be overcome then we will get nowhere.

    • Mike Killingworth said,

      Quite so. You can see it in the debate when the Imam is dumbfounded by Manji’s refusal to accept that he has a professional expertise in the way that a medical doctor or an architect has. It’s perhaps worth adding that a medieval European bishop or rabbi would have been entirely on the Imam’s side.

  6. Bob-B said,

    Anyone who is worried about Islamophobia should worry not about the likes of Irshad Manji but about Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, Jahat al-Nusra, etc., etc. If there were no such groups there would be no more Islamophobia than there is Buddhistophobia.

    • Jimmy Glesga said,

      I would not worry about the non existent term islamaphobia but just blood lust murderous headbanger islamists. The real nutters and the leftie apologists.

  7. Jimmy Glesga said,

    That video is the best shite I have heard in years. She mentioned the 7th century and that is where the nutters are today.

  8. John Hynds said,

    Mehdi Hasan & to some extent Irshad Manji need to acknowledge that it is because they’ve the luxury of being safe, living in a secular democracy that they can have any discussible views on Islam at all, they could not have this discussion in any traditional Muslim country. Mehdi in particular has that aggressive, aggrieved demeanour common to many western Muslim defenders. Irshad made a rounded, reasoned refreshing argument for individual thought within the Islamic Faith, wiping the floor with dogmatic Mehdi & the Imam, tho I still think the problem of grotesque violence sits with Islam, Muhammad, The Koran & Hadith, a manifestation of the discussed Arabian-North African tribal savagery & misogyny.



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