TCS Daily

Heroine Chic

By Val MacQueen - March 20, 2006 12:00 AM

Even though she's had to bullet-proof her home's windows after making remarks some hardliners consider blasphemous, and on March 15th posted to her site that she has received a death threat, Canadian Muslim Irshad Manji stands by her scalding criticisms of today's Islam.

A self-styled Muslim Refusenik, the pint-sized Torontonian could equally be described as 'The Mouth That Roared' for her outspoken opinion that Islam needs its Reformation stat. She believes the West shouldn't allow itself, as it increasingly does, to be silenced by hardliners and religious fanaticism. "Tolerance of intolerance is a betrayal of our basic shared humanity," she writes. And "Muslim intimidation needs to be faced head on."

With regard to the notorious cartoons, Manji says no one has a right to legal protection from being offended. And "... according to our own holy book, non-Muslims have no obligation to abide by [our] tradition. And we have no moral authority to force them to."

She also says on her site, "Civilizational progress happens when individuals transgress, even blaspheme. Galileo offended the Church. So did Darwin. The concept of universal human rights offends most religions. Without offence, there is only silence." In addition to her TV, lecture and radio appearances, Manji also writes articles condemning some of the more outré aspects of Islam.

With her spiky haircut, fashionable earrings, lashings of make-up, miniskirts, international speaking engagements, TV interviews and the gall to publish a book (in several languages) titled The Trouble With Islam Today, Irshad Manji is the stuff of every mad mullah's worst nightmare.

Manji, who is a beguiling mixture of the mission and the persona (she answers a question on her political site about which hair gel she favors), predicates her battle on her belief that "there is a generation of young Muslims in the West who are eager to hear an interpretation of Islam that puts a premium -- not a fatwah -- on originality of thought".

She has a quick wit and uses it to cut bigots down to size. At one gathering, a Muslim conspiracy theorist asked her if anyone had paid her to write her book. "Yes. A publisher." Another spotter of Jews-under-the-bed asked her if the Mossad had financed her book. No. "A shekel just doesn't buy what it used to."

It is inevitable that Manji and the brave, beautiful and intellectually formidable Somali-born Dutch Member of Parliament, Aayan Hirsi Ali, would know one another.

Hirsi Ali is an escapee -- from both her religion and her family. Born in Somalia, she suffered genital mutilation at the hands of her grandmother when she was five. As a young woman, she was sent to Canada by her father to marry someone she had never met. There was to be a connecting flight through Germany. With extraordinary self-possession, she ditched her itinerary at Düsseldorf's airport and caught a train to Amsterdam, where she pled for, and was granted, political asylum.

Rather than be a passenger, she was determined to earn her way. She learned to speak Dutch (she also speaks and writes fluent English), earned a Master's in Political Science in her new language and had the nerve to think she might be of service to her adopted country. Some tip her for the premiership of Holland one day. It was on the publication of her book critiquing Islamic culture, The Son Factory, that she received her first death threat.

Later, she collaborated with Theo van Gogh on the film Submission. After he was murdered while riding his bike in the streets of Amsterdam (a letter containing a death threat to Hirsi was pinned to his chest as he lay dying), she decided to complete part two of the movie herself. She is under other death threats for her condemnation of Islam and for her famous apostasy. Under 24-hour security and in fear of her life, she continues to use her high profile to warn of Islam's aggressive aspects in Europe. Irshad Manji is nervy, sassy, quick of wit and direct. Very New World. Hirsi Ali is a designer clad, elegant, cool voice of reason and incredible bravery. She did her bolt from Düsseldorf airport a mere 14 years ago.

An ocean and a continent away is Dr. Wafa Sultan, a middle-aged, Syrian-American psychiatrist who lives in the Los Angeles area and speaks fluent Arabic. She was invited to go on Al-Jazeera and debate Islam and the so-called 'clash of civilizations'. Jaw, say hello to floor. This clip is so extraordinary, it has been clicked on by more than a million people worldwide so far. The man chairing the discussion made a wise decision to keep his head down, but the Algerian Islamist who was... debating is too strong a word as he hardly got a chance to get a word in -- her opponent, kept coming back in disbelief to take another hit. This debate, which was translated by MEMRI and is run on their site, has made Wafa Sultan a worldwide recognizable, and quoted, name.

So Irshad Manji, Aayan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan all have international recognition.

Saira Khan, born in Britain of Pakistani immigrant parents, has been nicknamed the Mouth of the South and the Foghorn. Demure and self-effacing, she is not. A motivational consultant and ace saleswoman in her mid-thirties, she took part in British version of the reality TV show The Apprentice, with entrepreneur Alan Sugar in the Donald Trump role, firing a contestant per week. At the end of the show, he would offer the winner a high-paying job in his organization. Saira Khan lost out in the final round, but Sugar was so impressed that he offered her a job anyway. The force of her personality has jet-propelled her into the British national consciousness.

Although she's a Muslim, she goes out for drinks with the girls, is married to a native Brit and has an opinion about everything, including her co-religionists in Britain.

About mad mullah Abu Hamza and his ilk, she told The Sunday Times, "I want to say to people like him, 'Why are you living in the West? Why don't you go and live in Saudi Arabia? I am all for peaceful demonstration. If you live in this country there are democratic ways to behave. If you don't like it, then go and live in a Muslim country."

Like Irshad Manji, she too gives motivational talks to groups of young Muslim women. Ever the shrinking violet, she says, "People like Tony Blair should seek out role models like me ... to head up a taskforce." Later in the interview, she adds, "If I had five minutes with Tony Blair, I would say to him, 'You need me to make British moderate Muslims feel proud of this country and I am passionate about making that happen. Give me the chance to show you how to win the fight against the extremist factions in this country'."

These diverse, fearless Muslim-born women, whether apostates or believers, are bringing light, energy and candor to an area that has, for the past few years, descended into the murk of political correctness and become ring-fenced by self-styled cultural "sensibilities" and Western fear of offending.

There's hope.

Val MacQueen is a TCS contributing writer.



Wafa Sultan's 'debate'
I saw her (heh heh) 'debate' with the mullah when it was first available. It was truly amazing to see what someone with some common sense, knowledge of the subject, and some fearless righteous anger could do to a supposed 'religious leader'.

The best the guy could do in response was stammer, 'If you are already a heretic, then there is no point in rebuking you.'

What really amazes me, though, is the fact that Wafa, as well as the other women mentioned in the article above, have gotten ZERO play from the media.

These lil darlins should be front page, every day, and on the news every night.

That they are not, should be our national shame.

the 'debate'
I would have been embarrassed for that poor mullah had he been anything other than a mullah. Wafa Sultan thoroughly donkey punched him.

'If you are already a heretic, then there is no point in rebuking you.'

That's the rub. Unfortunately the words of these brave, educated women can simply be dismissed as heretical rantings, so they cannot have the impact that they should. That's not to say they will have NO impact. The stones they toss are surely causing ripples.

When I hear that this sort of debate is taking place in mosques the world over, I'll begin to believe that Islam is on the path to the 21st century.

It is shameful, but not suprising that these women are barely mentioned in the press. Wouldn't want to upset the Religion of Peace and all...

I read the article with great interest. I am glad that there are such couragous women who stand up for themselves. Women like these should be given more publicity and more encouragement to show the world the real Islam.
As a muslim who has been living in Europe for many years I find these discussions on the religion very good but only if different aspects are shown. I think women are also entitled to have their opinion and say it publicly without fearing for their lives. It is a disgrace that no toleranz is given to such views by the religious leaders. It is time that a different interpretation of Islam which is up-to-date in our time is developed.

These women are truly courageous. Our media is too careful to depict radical Islam for what it is. I almost think that they feel it would be indirectly supporting the war on terror. Hollywood should make a movie about one of these women but they wont.
Liberals in this country have softpeddled on communism for years and got away with it also. Why?

The missing element in every human 'solution' is
an accurate definition of the creature.

The way we define 'human' determines our view
of self, others, relationships, institutions, life, and
future. Important? Only the Creator who made us
in His own image is qualified to define us accurately.
Choose wisely...there are results.

Many problems in human experience are the result of
false and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised
in man-made religions and humanistic philosophies.

Each individual human being possesses a unique, highly
developed, and sensitive perception of diversity. Thus
aware, man is endowed with a natural capability for enact-
ing internal mental and external physical selectivity.
Quantitative and qualitative choice-making thus lends
itself as the superior basis of an active intelligence.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. His title describes
his definitive and typifying characteristic. Recall
that his other features are but vehicles of experi-
ence intent on the development of perceptive
awareness and the following acts of decision and
choice. Note that the products of man cannot define
him for they are the fruit of the discerning choice-
making process and include the cognition of self,
the utility of experience, the development of value-
measuring systems and language, and the accultur-
ation of civilization.

The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits,
customs, and traditions, are the creative harvest of
his perceptive and selective powers. Creativity, the
creative process, is a choice-making process. His
articles, constructs, and commodities, however
marvelous to behold, deserve neither awe nor idol-
atry, for man, not his contrivance, is earth's own
highest expression of the creative process.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. The sublime and
significant act of choosing is, itself, the Archimedean
fulcrum upon which man levers and redirects the
forces of cause and effect to an elected level of qual-
ity and diversity. Further, it orients him toward a
natural environmental opportunity, freedom, and
bestows earth's title, The Choicemaker, on his
singular and plural brow.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of
Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the

Let us proclaim it. Behold!
The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Joel 3:14 KJV


The Human Paradigm
Excellent, thoughtful, and well said. Choicemaker.

“Liberals in this country have soft-pedaled on communism for years and got away with it also. Why?"

See, that's the twenty-four-dollar question. Why indeed?

I think the important thing to understand is that 'they' (today's modern American liberals) fall mostly into two different categories: the 'useful idiots' and the 'snakes'. Another important thing to understand is that you will never get an answer to the question of 'why' from any of them.

The most common type, the useful idiots, is also the easiest to forgive. This is because the primary characteristic they share is that they are simply stupid. They may be geniuses in certain fields, but when it comes to politics, they become dumber than bovines. They are like little wind-up dolls that can talk - they run around, repeatedly squawking the same canned message, possessing intellects impenetrable by logic or reason. They have allowed their civil inhibitions against outward displays of hatred to be excised, in the childish belief that this somehow equates to 'passion' or 'conviction', never realizing they are nothing more than convenient noise-makers for the more insidious breed of liberals out there.

They can more easily be forgiven for all this because, while stupidity is not an admirable trait, it can be cured. They usually honestly believe what they say, which really only makes them that much more pathetic. Again; ‘useful idiots' = just plain stupid. (Your typical Hollywood leftist 'elitist' [he he that is actually a very amusing concept] falls into this category.

However, that comes nowhere close to addressing the 'why?' of your question. For that, you have to look at the other type - the snakes.

To be a liberal, you either have to be stupid (useful idiot) or intellectually dishonest (the snakes). Stupid or Liar. Remember that. It is when you start sliding up the scale from the mental giants in Hollywood into the national political arena that you start seeing more of the snakes - maybe 30% of them are recognizable at this level.

The snakes know perfectly well that what they say is not true. It has always been so; it has just been that, traditionally, it was very difficult for the common man to be able to see it as well. But with the 'new media', they no longer have that cushion of an entire homogenous news class to protect them from exposure. Now, when a typical liberal politician says something, it is almost instantly possible to find examples where he or she has said something completely the opposite, with equal conviction.

Ironically, these liberal politicians no longer fear being ostracized for hypocrisy and dishonesty. Since they are still given a pass by the mainstream media 'third column', they have lost that inhibiting factor. It's simple logic: the liberal politician's base only pays attention to the media which supports them - in other words, the mainstream media does nothing to rock the boat of the liberal politicos, and the only ones still watching them are the ones who want to believe the liberals anyway. Their dishonesty is neither pointed out by the press, nor is it desired by their consumers. Sadly, it is speaking the truth that they now fear most.

On the other side of that coin, the rest of the country, that which possess both common sense and a yearning for truth, is able to see this happening, and comment loudly upon it. Problem is, this commentary also is primarily playing to its own base. And since the mainstream media fails to do anything more than casually dismiss the 'other side', all that has happened is that a gulf has appeared, across which it is increasingly difficult to communicate.

Again, though, none of this really addresses the 'why?'. Only the 'what'. For the real 'why', you have to dig deeper, to where the real nests of snakes are, and also look to where they came from.

Ask yourself: Would this kind of America-hating have been coming from inside this country, say, a hundred, maybe a hundred twenty years ago? Of course not. So what happened?

Well, I am not going to write a book here, but you must understand what happened roughly a century ago. The United States of America was FAR from being a 'super power'. It was not even a 'done deal'. We had just finished up a devastating civil war only about 50 years before, we still had a very much lawless frontier; borders and territories were still being hashed out. But the world was just beginning to feel the Industrial Revolution, and America was beginning to understand that even though it was still in its relative infancy, this experiment in Capitalist Democracy was headed in the direction of seriously flourishing.

Along about the same time, old-world countries were also being exposed to the Industrial Revolution. Whereas the U.S. was not entrenched philosophically or politically to the point where the Industrial Revolution was truly that - a revolution, in the Old World, that's exactly what it was. In America, it meant growth and success, but in the Old World, it meant massive change, upheaval, and destruction of centuries of thought and political/social systems.

As monarchies had begun steadily giving way over the previous decades, an environment of political and social revolution was sweeping Europe. There were those who believed that the Industrial Revolution would usher in another kind of revolution. These people believed that Capitalism was their enemy (and still do).

Marx put the meme to paper as his manifesto. A particularly virulent and contagious meme, it spread rapidly, especially in places where Industry had come, but monarchical oppression remained. In Russia this took hold most strongly, because of various historical factors - a blind, corrupt, inept government, such as it was, combined with massive illiteracy and poverty among the main population (the parallels between that and today's middle-eastern islamic world are striking), led directly to the 'communist revolution'.

Fast-forward. The United States, having been brought up founded upon the traditional Judeo-Christian system of values and ideals, flourished. The predictions of Marx - that the 'workers' would raise up against their oppressors, failed to happen. Instead, everyone shared in the 'American Dream'; prosperity for all was possible, not as a gift from the utopian goodness inside us all as good little communists, but instead as partakers of the profit and growth which came from Capitalism.

Naturally, the communists were not amused. Starting as they did from a place of failure, poverty, and backwardness, the communist regime in Russia had no hope of competing with a burgeoning Capitalist nation such as the United States. Attempts to overtly export communism to America met with little success, as America simply did not feel 'oppressed' enough for it to be anything more than a lunatic fringe.

Fast-forward some more. Millions upon millions of people systematically dying in Russia, to unknowing silence from the rest of the world. Stalin. It's just history now, but it did not happen in a vacuum.

This is where the snakes came from. Just as Orwell said 'All Animals Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others' as such an apt damnation of communism, the truth of the matter was, while communism is, was, and always has been a dismal failure as a viable political system, it was however a magnificent way to live if you were among the few elites in the position of running it. But it consumes itself, its host, like a disease, and cannot sustain itself for very long. It

Thank You
Excellent post with well thought out and backed up ideas. I enjoyed it.
The part of the liberal mind that I still do not understand is how they can be mum against the communists murderous ways of the past and present and claim that they are morally superior to conservatives. Stalin, pol Pot, Mao, Castro, etc. have slipped under their moralistic radar.

I wish I knew
I wish I had an answer too.

But the two types of liberals both are able to bypass the things you mention.

Most of the useful idiots have no awareness at all of those people and their actions. They control the education process, remember. When's the last time you heard of Pol Pot or Stalin being explained in our schools? And what little they do know, they cannot make the cognitive connection between their own beliefs and the beliefs of those murderous scum. Everything is reduced to political correctness and moral equivalence, the two most effective tools of today's leftists.

The snakes, on the other hand, simply don't care. They know that the only people who matter are themselves, and the more useful idiots they can create, their own power can be consolidated that much easier. And frankly, why should they care what the useful idiots think, as long as they continue to mindlessly repeat what they are told to believe? The only people they actually have to overcome are the thinking-and-aware conservatives. (Fortunately the technological progress seems to have escaped their grasp - that is why they are going to lose. However, the new islamo-fascists are a different story. If anything, they are completely aware of the power of the new media, while simultaneously using the old media to their fullest advantage. The fat, lazy and stupid polulace the communists sought to create is not terribly well equipped to combat a lean and mean islamist subversive machine. Just check the birth rates - it's disheartening, to say the least.)

But how else can you explain the liberals' quiescence on the real issues you mention??

They are either stupid or liars.

And quite often, both.

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