Notes from a Muslim Refusenik

Some recent comments from the homepage of Irshad Manji:

Reader comments and Irshad's replies
Posted July 15

"My name is Hamza and I am currently in high school. I was born to Pakistani parents. I want to congratulate you and encourage you on your initiative to help reform Islamic practices. We really need that. I also want to say that I hope you don't leave Islam, like you said you might. We really need people like you in Islam. I have some personal issues that I've been trying to sort out, and issues with my family, and you've kinda been a role model for me. But sometimes you criticize Islam too much. Perhaps you should endorse the true, open-minded, peaceful, forward-thinking Islam more than bashing the ill-practiced Islam in the world today. I wish you the best of luck." - Hamza

Irshad replies: Like you, I think it's vital to promote a positive vision rather than merely complain about what's wrong. Which is why, in The Trouble with Islam, I outline a global campaign to promote innovative approaches to Islam. It all begins with recognizing that Muslims are capable of being more thoughtful and humane than our clerics give us credit for. Your email is proof positive. So are the next two...

"As a young, open-minded Muslim, you can count on my unstinted and unreserved support. The work you have done and are doing is crucial. I am glad there is someone out there, like you, who has the guts to say it all. We Muslims no doubt have to reform ourselves. God bless you, Irshad."- Sheeraz

"I didn't read your book because I live in Jordon. They wouldn't allow it. Thinking is forbidden. But I read an article criticizing you in the local newspaper and I did my search on the web. I never thought someone else could see in a similar way as I do. Islam needs a reform movement. It's about time to re-think the whole thing.

I believe in mind, not myth. One of the greatest errors in the 'divine religions' is that the god who created them didn't install a protection mechanism for the future generations. The point is: working hard and learning to offer a better life for the next generation so they can live successful, healthy and happy is the best way to worship god... Social success requires a lot of work and knowledge. Many religious Muslims escape to religion to cover their failure.

I don't mind being part of a group, but the group that Islam represents is the furthest one from me. I prefer 'faith' much more than 'religion.'"
- Tareq