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Original cover of The Trouble with Islam
The Trouble with Islam Today, original title The Trouble with Islam is a 2004 book critical of Islam written by Irshad Manji, styled in an open-letter for Muslims world wide.


In the book the author aims to provide an examination of what she describes as "the inferior treatment of women in Islam"; "Jew-bashing that so many Muslims persistently engage in", "the continuing scourge of slavery in countries ruled by Islamic regimes", "literalist readings of the Koran" and "the lost traditions of critical thinking Ijtihad".

"The Trouble with Islam is an open letter from me, a Muslim voice of reform, to concerned citizens worldwide – Muslim and not. It's about why my faith community needs to come to terms with the diversity of ideas, beliefs and people in our universe, and why non-Muslims have a pivotal role in helping us get there." - "That doesn't mean I refuse to be a Muslim, it simply means I refuse to join an army of automatons in the name of Allah."


  • "The Letter"
  • "How I Became a Muslim Refusenik"
  • "Seventy Virgins?"
  • "When Did We Stop Thinking?"
  • "Gates and Girdles"
  • "Who's Betraying Whom?"
  • "The Hidden Underbelly of Islam"
  • "Operation Ijtihad"
  • "In Praise of Honesty"
  • "Thank God for the West"


  • The Trouble with Islam, St. Martin's Press (hardcover), 2004, ISBN 0-312-32699-8
  • The Trouble with Islam Today, St. Martin's Griffin (paperback), 2005, ISBN 0-312-32700-5

  • Finnish: Islamin kahdet kasvot, Tammi (paperback), 2004, ISBN 951-31-3076-2, translated by Tiina Sjelvgren
  • Urdu, Arabic, and Persian editions are available on her website here
  • Many other translations exist, from Hindi to German


The Trouble with Islam Today has been translated into more than 30 languages. Manji has made multiple translations of the book (namely Arabic, Urdu, Malay and Persian) available for free download on her website, with the intention of reaching readers in those countries where her book is banned.

Since its publication, the book has been met with both praise and criticism from Muslim and non-Muslim sources. Khaleel Mohammed, an imam and professor of Islam at San Diego State Universitymarker, wrote in his foreword to Manji's book that "Irshad wants us to do what our Holy Book wants us to do: end the tribal posturing, open our eyes, and stand up to oppression, even if it's rationalized by our vaunted imams."

Bina Shah on the other hand, believes that she provides "a million excuses for the excesses committed against the Palestinians." Her sentiments were echoed by M. Junaid Levesque-Alam, who claimed that the book ignored a wealth of scholarship by Jewish historians on Israeli ethnic cleansing, massacres, and torture committed against Palestinians. He also stated that the book is openly feted by ultra-conservative Americans who have advocated war on Iraq and Iran.

Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values at Harvard Universitymarker, suggests that Manji's book "[carries] a fresh and convincing message to the coming generation.”, while Andrew Sullivan, in a book review for the The New York Times called Manji "courageous" and opined that the book's spirit is "long overdue".

As'ad Abu Khalil, political scientist at California State University, Stanislausmarker, accuses Manji of disproportionately targeting Muslims, ignoring the peripheral context within which most Muslims live, and not applying the same critiques to other groups, notably those with allegedly more power in society such as conservative Christians. Abu Khalil also asserts Manji is not trained in Islamic scholarship, history, or the Arabic language, and as such ignores the multiplicity of debates and traditions within Islam. Khaled Almeena, editor of the Arab News in Saudi Arabiamarker, called the book "fraudulent" and stated that it is misrepresenting as a guide to Islam.

Quantara, a website promoting interfaith dialogue, mentions that "Irshad Manji breaks every taboo in the book while also challenging our prejudices about Islam. What's more, she does so as a Muslim, not as a Westernized woman preaching from the pulpit of a feminist ivory tower.". A contrasting view comes from Omar Afra, editor of Free Press Houston, who charges Manji with a failure to see the problems of the Islamic world in a socio-economic context. He also states that Manji "sees the mistreatment of women in the Islamic world as a monolith all the while ignoring rampant date rape and domestic abuse in Western culture."

Tarek Fatah, a fellow Canadian Muslim, who originally criticized The Trouble With Islam reversed his stance by saying that Manji was "right about the systematic racism in the Muslim world" and that "there were many redeeming points in her memoir".

While some critics cite Manji's unique cross-cultural perspective, one (an amateur independent blog) alleges that she goes too far in her criticisms of Islam and Muslims, and that there is a double standard between her criticism of Muslim states and her staunch defense of Israel.

See also


  1. PBS:Irshad Manji: The Trouble with Islam Today
  2. Project Ijtihad
  3. 'Bin Laden's nightmare' seeks Islamic reformation | UK news | The Guardian
  4. The Trouble With Irshad Manji October 3, 2004
  5. The Only Good Muslim is the Anti-Muslim by M. Junaid Levesque-Alam
  7. The Trouble with Islam January 25, 2004. Book review of "The Trouble with Islam".
  8. Debate with As'ad AbuKhalil at Democracy Now.
  10. - Book Review - The Trouble with "The Trouble with Islam"
  11. Thanks, but No Thanks: Irshad Manji's Book Is for Muslim Haters, Not Muslims November 27, 2003
  12. - Opinions - Canada's a centre for Islamic reform
  13. The Trouble With Irshad Manji October 3, 2004

External links

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