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TheWIFTS FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL VISIONARY AWARDS
DEC 1st 2012
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Irshad Manji 
Visionary Award
  
 
About Irshad Manji
Director The Moral Courage Project New York University
  
Born of Egyptian and Indian heritage in Idi Amin’s Uganda, Irshad Manji fled at four years old, with her family from Uganda’s repression to a place where faith could be a comfort, not a curse. Educated in Canada’s public schools and the Islamic madressa that expelled her for asking too many questions, she learned the risks and rewards of truth-telling while still a child.

After earning the Governor-General’s medal as top humanities graduate at the University of British Columbia, she launched a successful career in public interest journalism and became, at only twenty-four, the youngest person to sit on the editorial board of a Canadian daily newspaper. But she did not sit quietly.

A best-selling author and award-winning television host, she came to understand the power of words and the potency of images. Her controversial book, The Trouble with Islam Today: a Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith, has been celebrated and condemned, published in more than thirty countries and banned in others. She has posted online translations for free-of-charge download to reach readers in the Islamic world. To date: more than one million downloads.

Her life’s journey to reconcile Islam and human rights has been chronicled in the Emmy-nominated PBS film, “Faith Without Fear.” Broadcast in America, Europe and South Asia, her compelling story now circulates in the digital underground of Muslim countries.

Irshad is currently professor of leadership and Director of the Moral Courage Project at New York University. The project aims to develop leaders who will challenge political correctness, intellectual conformity and self-censorship. In the best spirit of liberal education, the Moral Courage 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. She is creating a TV/Internet show to bring that message to mainstream America.

Her courage has drawn comparisons to Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, to Martin Luther and Sir Salman Rushdie, to Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan. She has been honored by Ms. magazine as a Feminist for the 21st century, by the National Organization for Women in New York with the 2009 Susan B. Anthony Award, and by Oprah Winfrey as the first Chutzpah Award winner for “audacity, nerve, boldness and conviction.’” She has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, a distinguished scholar with the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels, a visiting fellow at Yale, and a Muslim Leader of Tomorrow by the American Society for Muslim Advancement.

Still asking impertinent questions, still harmonizing faith with freedom, still standing up to the forces of prejudice everywhere, Irshad Manji shows us that one voice can challenge, and change, the world.

Picture of Irshad Manji ©.Tara Todras-Whitehill

http://www.irshadmanji.com
 



 
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