The Trouble with Manji

There is The Trouble with Islam - A Wake-up Call for Honesty and Change by Irshad Manji, and then there is the trouble with Manji. She comes close in The Trouble with Islam to acknowledging that when it comes to the treatment of women Islam is often pure insanity, and then backs off.

Manji cannot escape her childhood indoctrination in Islam. One day her employer sends her an envelope with a newspaper clipping next to which he has written a question. The clipping is from Agence France Press about a pregnant 17 year old Nigerian girl who had been coerced into sex by her father, and been condemned to 180 lashes within days of giving birth.

Tsafe: A Pregnant 17-year-old whom an Islamic court sentenced to 180 lashes for pre-marital sex will give birth within days, her family said yesterday.

Bariya Abraham Magazu told the court in September that she had been pushed into having sex with three men who were associates of her father. The girl produced seven witnesses. The girl’s family said she was due to give birth within a couple of days and was expected to receive her punishment at least 40 days later.


The question that her employer asked was: "One of these days you will have to tell me how you reconcile this kind of insanity, and female genital mutilation, with your Muslim faith?"

No explanation was forthcoming. Her reaction is not her boss’s reaction, the natural reaction of most people, that this is insane; but, that the Court would still sentence a seventeen year old to a humiliating, painful public flagellation even after she had found seven witnesses in her defense.

The woman, her dignity already violated, had gone to the trouble of rounding up seven witnesses. Seven! And she still faced 180 lashes.

She does not question the legitimacy of an all-male Court, mostly old men, passing judgment on an innocent seventeen year old for having sex? Only a person who has taken leave of his senses would condone the public whipping of a 17 year old girl who, encouraged by her father, let herself be seduced by elderly believers.

I expected more from an author who trumpets a need for an honest discussion about Islam.

Bernard Payeur