Irshad Manji

Founder & Director, Moral Courage Project

Irshad Manji is the Founder and Director of the Moral Courage Project, which equips students to make values-based decisions. She has turned her journey as a religious reformer into teachings about professional leadership, informed by cutting-edge research from across the disciplines.

As a reformist Muslim, Irshad puts moral courage into practice. Her latest book, Allah, Liberty & Love, is a guide to reconciling faith and freedom in a world raging with repressive dogmas. Fareed Zakaria of CNN and Time magazine lauds Allah, Liberty & Love as being “at the forefront of some crucially important trends” that are “changing the world of Islam.” Irshad’s previous book is the international bestseller, The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith. In-between her books, she created the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary, Faith Without Fear

In both the business and nonprofit arenas, Irshad's work has earned high recognition. The World Economic Forum names her as a Young Global Leader. The New York Society for Ethical Culture has given her its rare Ethical Humanist Award. And Oprah Winfrey bestowed on Irshad the first annual Chutzpah Award for "audacity, nerve, boldness and conviction."

At NYU Wagner, Irshad teaches Moral Courage and Your Purpose. Among the professional skills that students can expect to learn: articulating how you want to serve your society, identifying your core values, turning your values into action, knowing when to step up or step back, and staying motivated to deliver on your vision.

Moral Courage

What exactly is moral courage? How has it been exhibited throughout history? Through the Moral Courage Channel on YouTube, we see it being exhibited today. Which raises the next question: Can anybody develop moral courage? Finally, why is moral courage a pre-condition of cultivating purpose?

Identity 

Knowing your identity is a good thing. Or is it? Surprisingly, identity can be a major obstacle to developing moral courage and achieving wholeness - or integrity. What is the difference between identity and integrity? To grow from identity into integrity, what questions do we need to ask ourselves?

Integrity

What does it mean to "have integrity"? How do we know when we have it? Why does integrity matter for personal and professional advancement?

Turning Identity Into Integrity

Many successful people have transformed their identity into integrity. As a result, they have served a greater good. What can such people teach us? We examine the stories of Robert F. Kennedy on the one hand and Oprah Winfrey on the other.

Impact

Gandhi famously said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” How does self-transformation translate into social impact? 

The Three I’s Start Within You

Identity, integrity and impact are the three i’s of cultivating purpose. How do these dots connect in your life? Where on this journey will you need moral courage to move forward? What are concrete ways in which you can sustain your moral courage?

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2012

Abstract

The New York Times bestselling author to whom Oprah gave her first ever “Chutzpah” Award, Irshad Manji writes a bridge-building book that is both a stirring reflection and a path to action.

Allah, Liberty and Love shows all of us how to advance the twenty-first century reformation in Islam. As a Muslim who bridges East and West, Irshad Manji paves the way to reconciling faith and freedom—and she does by teaching “moral courage,” the willingness to speak up in the face of intimidation.

What prevents young Muslims, even in the West, from expressing their need for religious reinterpretation? What scares non-Muslims about openly supporting liberal voices within Islam? How did we get into the mess of tolerating intolerable customs, such as honor killings, and how do we change that noxious status quo?

Calling out both the fatwa-flingers and the mute moderates, Irshad offers the ultimate guide to becoming a gutsy global citizen. Prepare to be informed as well as inspired.

2005

Abstract

This book is an open letter from me, a Muslim voice of change, 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.

The Trouble with Islam Today shatters our silence. It shows Muslims how we can re-discover Islam's lost tradition of independent thinking -- known as "ijtihad" -- and re-discover it precisely to update Islamic practices for the 21st century. The opportunity to update is especially available to Muslims in the West, because it's there that we enjoy precious freedoms to think, express, challenge and be challenged without fear of state reprisal. In that sense, the Muslim reformation begins in the West.