Irshad Manji

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.

Semester Course
Spring 2014 PADM-GP.2196.001 Public Leadership and Moral Courage

What's the trouble with groupthink? When should you stand up to orthodoxy in your community? How do you deal with the inevitable backlash? Why does it matter to speak about truth in an era of cultural, religious and ethnic diversity? Above all, what does it mean to exercise moral courage, which Robert F. Kennedy called the "essential quality" needed to change the world?

Such ambitious questions will be explored in Public Leadership and Moral Courage. This course is part of the Moral Courage Project, which aims to challenge intellectual conformity and self-censorship so that individual talent can be discovered, developed, and deployed. We will be equipping you to create impact.

In that spirit, Public Leadership and Moral Courage will draw lessons from heretics throughout history. Along the way, students will be mentored sand sometimes pushed to practice moral courage in their own lives. This course aspires to produce leaders and not just study them.

Such ambitious questions will be explored in Public Leadership and Moral Courage. This course is part of the Moral Courage Project, which aims to challenge intellectual conformity and self-censorship so that individual talent can be discovered, developed and applied to building more honest communities.

In that spirit, Public Leadership and Moral Courage will draw lessons from heretics throughout history. Along the way, students will be mentored and sometimes pushed to practice moral courage in their own lives. This course aims to produce leaders and not just study them.


Download Syllabus
  Projects
Moral Courage Project
Description
Launched in 2008, the Moral Courage Project (MCP) aims to develop leaders who will challenge political correctness, intellectual conformity and self-censorship. In the best spirit of liberal education, the project teaches that rights come with responsibilities, that we are citizens rather than members of mere tribes, and that meaningful diversity embraces different ideas and not just identities.
Date Publication/Paper
2012

Manji, Irshad 2012. Allah, Liberty and Love: The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom
View Site
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

Manji, Irshad 2005. The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith
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.

 

 

In the Press

03/29/2014
It's time to reclaim Islam from the fanatics. Here's how
The Spectator
03/27/2014
It's time to reclaim Islam from the fanatics. Here's how
The Spectator
04/25/2013
Wagner professor uses YouTube to inspire students
Washington Square News
04/22/2013
A Moral Compass Some Can’t Ignore [Commentary]
New York Times
11/07/2012
The Association of Women Entrepreneurs and Executives Hosts The 2012 AWE Awards and National Conference
Sacramento Bee
10/08/2012
Dalai Lama tells peace symposium: 'Genuine, lasting peace is true, inner peace'
The Canadian Press
09/14/2012
House Subcmtee Examines 2009 Attack at Fort Hood, Texas
C-SPAN [Video - 19:58]
08/07/2012
Interview about Honor Killings
CNN
07/13/2012
In Malaysia, ruling party uses Islamic values to bolster support
Los Angeles Times
05/29/2012
By Unpopular Demand
The Economist
05/24/2012
Irshad Manji's Books Banned
The Sun Daily
05/21/2012
Sharing a Different View with Irshad Manji
The Sun Daily
05/10/2012
UGM takes heat from ban on 'Islam reformist'
The Jakarta Post
04/26/2012
Interview with Irshad Manji
Charlie Rose
12/21/2011
"Zeigt es der ganzen Welt!"
Die Welt
09/17/2011
Conversation with Irshad Manji
C-SPAN Book TV [Video]
09/13/2011
Islam's Civil War
The Daily Beast
09/10/2011
'I feel safe in New York' - reformist Muslim writer
The Times of India
09/08/2011
I do ask God: ‘Please don’t let my mother have to bury me’
Tehelka
06/18/2011
Reconciling Faith and Freedom
Montreal Gazette
06/15/2011
Allah, Liberty & Love
Kirkus Reviews
05/19/2011
Reaction to President Obama's Speech
MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show [4 minutes in]
05/07/2011
Islam Needs Reformists, Not 'Moderates' [Book Adaptation]
Wall Street Journal
04/22/2011
Quran-burning pastor stirs up new trouble
Hardball with Chris Matthews
03/18/2011
Keep calm, carry on (and devise a nuclear exit plan) [Commentary]
The Globe and Mail
09/12/2010
The State of Islam in America
ABC News "This Week"
09/01/2010
Is the Country Islamophobic?
MSNBC Hardball
08/27/2010
Must-Read Op-Eds
MSNBC Morning Joe
08/26/2010
Both Sides Wrong on Mosque Issue?
Fox News Happening Now
04/02/2010
The Top 25 Centrist Columnists and Commentators
The Daily Beast
12/25/2009
Week in Review: Mounting pressure on Iran’s government
World Focus (video)
12/11/2009
Five U.S. Muslims held by Pakistan for alleged militant links (video)
World Focus
11/18/2009
Wafa Sultan and the Nature of Islam
Politics Daily
11/09/2009
Let's analyze Fort Hood, not sanitize it
The Globe and Mail (commentary)
09/30/2009
Does Modern Culture Lack 'Moral Courage'? (video)
MSNBC
09/22/2009
Changing Lives
New York Times Review of Books
09/16/2009
Standing Up, Speaking Out
Cornell Daily Sun
05/04/2009
E Pluribis Islam? The fragile promise of Muslim diversity (op-ed)
Newsweek
02/24/2009
NYU Professor honored by National Organization of Women
Washington Square News
01/22/2009
Memo to Clinton: Empower Muslim Women (op-ed)
Washington Post
01/21/2009
To Fix Islam, Start from the Inside (op-ed)
Newsweek
01/15/2009
NOW-NYC's 29th Annual Susan B. Anthony Awards
Idealist.org
10/31/2008
Home for Halloween (op-ed)
New York Times
10/30/2008
Defying the 'dogma' of religion
Washington Square News
08/27/2008
The Only Good Muslim is the Anti-Muslim
counterpunch.com
06/06/2008
The Danger of Identity Pollitics (Op-Ed)
Philadelphia Daily News
04/13/2008
A Fresh Focus on Muslim Women
the Boston Sunday Globe