Thursday, June 28, 2007

Yahya Emerick's Critique of Irshad Manji

This is American Muslim writer Yahya Emerick's critique of Irshad Manji:

I recently read a book named, “The Trouble with Islam” by Irshad Manji. It was quite a piece of work. She is basically a self-professed lesbian Muslim “Refusenik”. (Whatever that is supposed to mean.) Her premise was that she was questioning the validity of Islam because some Muslims have done bad things, chiefly her parents, but also ordinary Muslims in third world countries. I’m not kidding. This is the entire crux of her argument: some Muslims are bad so Islam must be bad. Try that standard with Christianity and ordinary Christians! It would fare far worse. In chapter after chapter she berated one ignorant cultural custom after another, cited terrorist activities here and there and traced a meandering path through the ideology of the Wahhabis and came away saying that she was “on the brink” of stepping out of Islam and that Islam was darn lucky she was giving it one thread of a last chance.

Conversely, she had nothing but praise for the Western world. Nothing bad ever happened or happens. Western religions are noble and kind. Everyone is a free thinker and savvy human rights pacifist. Women are well respected and they have complete freedom and equality and the civil liberties and rights of all are sacred. So, in her conclusion, Islam had better shape up or she would leave it. There is a word for arguments such as hers and anyone who has ever taken a course in logic and rhetoric will know it: fallacy. A fallacy is an argument that is not only not proved but ill-conceived at its core. It is contradictory, disingenuous and easily disproved with logic that will uncover where the mistakes in reasoning occurred. Sadly, however, Ms. Manji is not the first to use this odd type of mis-logic.


jaycurrie said...

Wow, that is an embarrassing bit of prose. Good for you pointing out how really facile the writer's lack of argument actually is.

Pointing a finger and claiming "fallacy" without a shred of evidence is the sort of thing children do.

I applaud you for your courage in providing this sort of example. The poor man simply serves to prove Irshad's point in much the same way as Islamists who are prepared to kill for their religion have apparently missed the point that Islam is the religion of Peace.

I know that there are many Muslim intellectuals who are far more capable than this chap of engaging Manji at the level she is writing. I look forward to hearing from them on your blog.

sindbad said...


I think you have misunderstood me. I agree with Yahya Emerick's analysis of Irshad Manji. She really does use fallacy. In fact, that's the nub of what her writing is about. Please click on the link in the post for the complete explanation of the alleged fallacy in Manji's writing.

Conspiracy Smasher said...

I always have to laugh at muslims when they get angry about Manji. She is so much smarter than her critics and she knows EXACTLY what is wrong with islam as it is currently practised.

Anonymous said...

The critics of Brother Yahya Emerick have missed out two crucial points-Islam in its entirety is perfect-in Qur'an and sunna,there is a remedy for everything,as Al-Ghazali rightly pointed out.It is also the case that mankind was created imperfect,so of course,Muslims-as anyone else's behaviour will be imperfect.Interaction with other people is thus a test from Allah T'ala.
Manji shoots herself in the foot by not realising this.Lack of knowledge or denial of valid knowledge to fit one's agenda is the case here,as possibly her avowed lesbianism is the true motive behind her stance,as Islam expressly forbids such behaviour.Hence the rejection of Islam on such specious grounds.'No one is equal to Allah Subanahu wa t'ala'[Reported saying of Prophet Mohammed,sall'allahu wa salam]

Anonymous said...

Funny to see that none here have read the book, including Yahya Emerick.
All the critics that I look here are adressed in her book. AND they are founded, argumented, explained and exemplified - which is not done here.
I'm sorry for you, brothers...

sindbad said...

'Funny to see that none here have read the book, including Yahya Emerick.'

Quoting the first line of Yahya Emerick's critique:

'I recently read a book named, "The Trouble with Islam" by Irshad Manji.'

Anonymous said...

none of them actually read the article
does Ms. Manji pay you guys to come here and comment on these forums? or are you Manji herself??

Sara said...

I think Manji has grown into a more complex and interesting figure over the past few years than people give her credit for. I agree that this debut book of hers is ridiculous - it makes baseless arguments etc etc. But let's not get so obsessed with one book. More recently, I have watched her PBS documentary, Faith without Fear, and watched her debate with Dalia Mogahed about terrorism in the Muslim world, and I am very surprised to see that she is actually a very intelligent, articulate person. She is capable of seeing nuances and looking from different perspectives and debating intelligently, which makes me wonder why she came off as so stupid in her first book. Is it deliberate?

It's interesting to see that she's gotten so much media attention, and that when she made the PBS documentary, she actually painted Islam in a more positive light. She showed the positive aspects of Muslim history and argued that the intolerance we see of many Muslims today is not inherent to Islam, but more a result of socio-political factors. So I have to give her props for that. Perhaps her perspective has matured? I'm interested to see what she'll do next.

Loga'Abdullah said...

I reviewed Irshad Manji's book here - I think you may find it interesting

Feel free to contact me if you have any comments or suggestions about this book review.

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