Faith without Fear: Irshad Manji's Quest Ian MacLeod

Faith without Fear: Irshad Manji's Quest Ian MacLeod

This is a TV distillation of a complex person, a complex subject and some very complex interactions between the two. But though many important issues are raised in this examination of Irshad Manji’s attempts to open up Islam, I rather suspect that her own work serves the discussion better than this 54-minute crash course. Manji, a Canadian broadcast personality and the author of the best-selling The Trouble with Islam, has been foursquare in her opposition to what she sees as the illiberal and oppressive extremes to which current Islam has pushed its followers. To this end, she interviews various individuals, from Manji’s own mother to a former bodyguard of Bin Laden (who enthuses about the possibility of his son being martyred) to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch Muslim politician whose collaboration with director Theo Van Gogh resulted in the latter’s murder. Though she makes a strong and passionate case for her beliefs, there’s no denying that an under-one-hour presentation is the worst possible forum for these arguments and the background information required to understand them. Though there’s a bit of history involving Islam’s more tolerant history (with a commitment to learning and argument dating back long before the Christian world wised up), it’s not enough and the piece winds up making a barrage of thesis statements it can’t hope to explore in depth. The interviews are also too brief to get a sense of the speakers’ points of view, which is frustrating when one or two of them start to say provocative things. I could say that this might be an interesting introduction for somebody but there are better places to go even for that. The only extras are five deleted scenes. (NFB)