International: Film: Irshad Manji's "Faith Without Fear"
Inspired by the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, Irshad believes that Muslims have broken faith with the passage that says God does not change a people until they change themselves.
Calling on her fellow Muslims to stop blaming others for their ills, she embarks on a mission to learn:
How can we Muslims change for the 21st century?
With death threats stripping Muslims of their God-given right to free expression, Manji heads West for potential solutions. In the Netherlands, she sits down with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the former Member of Parliament and fellow dissident who, unlike Manji, has left Islam. Marked by rage, blood and a ritual murder, Ayaan’s story sheds light on how the fear is spreading — and whether it can be confronted. Manji then forays into the world of poor, young, disaffected Dutch Muslims. She leaves with a crucial lesson about why debate must replace violence if Muslims are to save themselves.
But is debate possible in Islam? That question brings Manji to Spain, where different religions, cultures and ideas flourished under Muslim civilization. It happened because of “ijtihad,” Islam’s own tradition of independent thinking. She shows the art, architecture and achievements that Muslims could once claim. In so doing, Manji finally encounters the Islam that she can love. Far from being a relic of the past, ijtihad is key to curbing atrocities committed today in the name of Islam. Manji introduces us to two Spanish Muslims who represent the humanity that ijtihad can restore to Islam, and the cruelty that Muslims will suffer at the hands of other Muslims if ijithad remains buried.
Throughout this high-stakes journey, Manji challenges herself to change. Wondering if her heart is blocked to the beauty of Islam, she invites one of her fiercest Muslim critics to break bread — and what she takes away aren’t crumbs. Yet Manji’s greatest epiphany comes from her pious mother. They don’t see eye to eye. But her mom’s dignified response in a moment of humiliation teaches Manji that Muslims can, in fact, have faith without fear. Islam allows it, if only Muslims will too.
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