May 12, 2012

FASCISM: Reactionary Islamist goons attacked Irshad Manji—a young reformist Muslim woman from Vancouver, British Columbia—with sticks and iron bars while she was promoting her new book in Indonesia. She’s okay, sort of, but her assistant was rushed to the hospital and two others are injured.

Here is Paul Berman’s take in The New Republic.

It is fashionable among the Western apologists for the Islamist movement to insist that genuine reformists and liberals have no audience in the Muslim world. The claim is false. Manji’s earlier book, The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith, has been published, according to the EFD, in more than 30 countries. Manji runs a website, irshadmanji.com, offering translations in Arabic, Urdu and Farsi, which are said to have been downloaded more than 2 million times. But then it shouldn’t be necessary to cite numbers to demonstrate the ability of the genuinely independent thinkers to make themselves heard. Why else are they attacked, after all? Nor do these attacks occur only in Muslim-majority countries. Manji has lately had trouble in Amsterdam, too—where, as everyone will remember, she is hardly the first person to come under attack.

Who will defend these people, these truest heroes of modern freedom? That is the only question.

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