Irshad Manji

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Person.png Irshad Manji   Amazon Powerbase Twitter Website WikiquoteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Irshad Manji 2012 (cropped).png
Kampala, Uganda
Alma materThe University of British Columbia
SpouseLaura J. Albano
Member ofWEF/Young Global Leaders/2006
Bilderberg 2005. WEF/Young Global Leaders 2006, Muslim du jour in the 2000s.

Irshad Manji is a Canadian journalist and author. Her columns are distributed world wide by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Times, and other corporate media outlets. She also released the documentary Faith Without Fear which was about "reconciling Islam with human rights and freedom"[1].

She has also appeared on television networks around the world, including Al Jazeera, the CBC, BBC, MSNBC, C-SPAN, CNN, PBS, the Fox News Channel, CBS, and HBO.[2]

Manji is a senior fellow with the European Foundation for Democracy and founder of both the Moral Courage Project at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service[3] and the mostly online Project Ijtihad [4].

Early life and education

Manji was born in 1968 near Kampala, Uganda.[5] Her mother is of Egyptian descent and her father of Indian heritage.[6] When Idi Amin ordered the expulsion of Asians and other non-Africans from Uganda in the early 1970s, Manji and her family came to Canada as refugees when she was four years old.[7] They settled in Richmond, British Columbia, near Vancouver.[8][9]

She was a visiting fellow with the International Security Studies program at Yale University in 2006[10] and was a senior fellow with the Brussels-based European Foundation for Democracy from 2006 to 2012.[11][12]


Manji began her career working in politics in the 1990s. She was a legislative aide in the Canadian parliament for New Democratic Party member of parliament Dawn Black, then press secretary in the Ontario government for Ontario New Democratic Party cabinet minister Marion Boyd,[13] and later speechwriter for federal NDP leader Audrey McLaughlin. At the age of 24, she became the national affairs editorialist for the Ottawa Citizen[14] and the youngest member of an editorial board for any Canadian daily. She was also a columnist for Ottawa's new LGBT newspaper Capital Xtra![15]

Manji hosted and produced several public affairs programs on television, including Q-Files for Pulse24 and its successor QT: QueerTelevision for the Toronto-based Citytv in the late 1990s.[16][17]

She was also a visiting professor at New York University (NYU) from 2008 to 2015.[18][19] Manji joined NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service to create the Moral Courage Project, an initiative to teach young people how to speak truth to power within their own communities.[20] Her courses focused on how "to make values-driven decisions for the sake of their integrity – professional and personal".[21] In April 2013, Moral Courage TV (on YouTube), was launched by Manji and Cornel West, a professor and activist.[22]

The Trouble with Islam Today

Manji's book The Trouble with Islam Today (originally titled The Trouble with Islam) was published by St. Martin's Press in 2004. The book was first released in Canada under the previous title in September 2003.[23] It has since been translated into more than 30 languages.[8] Manji offered Arabic, Persian, and Urdu translations of the book available for free-of-charge download on her website.[24] In The Trouble with Islam Today, Manji investigates new interpretations of the Qur'an which she believes are more fitting for the 21st century.[25]

German Marshall Fund

In 2007, the CIA front German Marshall Fund hosted a discussion with Irshad Manji in Berlin, entitled, "Faith Without Fear: Irshad Manji's Quest to Reconcile Islam with Freedom," in cooperation with the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

According to Manji, "Islam fostered the tradition of ijtihad in its golden ages, known as Islam's very own tradition of critical thinking. Reviving and spreading this tradition once again, Manji would like to see mainstream Muslims in the West to start thinking more critically, taking responsibility for their religion instead of leaving it to fundamentalists...Rather than only blaming others e.g. for the violence done in the name of Islam, Muslims should also engage critically with themselves and fellow Muslims....the reform of Islam will also need the help of non-Muslims who will have to move away from the idea of cultural relativism and idyllic multiculturalism and instead speak up against injustices committed in the name of Islam.[11]

Manifesto signatory

In 2006 she was one of twelve signatories of Manifesto: Together Facing the New Totalitarianism together with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Caroline Fourest, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie, Antoine Sfeir, Philippe Val, and Ibn Warraq. The manifesto starts as follows: "After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism."[26]


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/20055 May 20058 May 2005Germany
The 53rd Bilderberg, 132 guests


  1. European Foundation for Democracy, The Team, EFD Website, Accessed 03-June-2009
  3. Moral Courage Project, Irshad Manji Website, Accessed 09-July-2009
  4. Project Ijtihad, Irshad Manji Website, Accessed 13-July-2009
  8. a b
  11. a b
  14. ecame the national affairs editor
  24. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Jerusalem Post
  26. A Manifesto Against Islamism "The Twelve", Jyllands-Posten 28 February 2006
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