[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
Muslim author in think tank call
Irshad Manji describes herself as a 'Muslim refusenik'
The author of a controversial book about Islam is calling for an international Muslim think tank.

Irshad Manji who has received death threats since her book was published said she hoped it would attract " reform-minded" Muslims.

The author wants changes in Islam's stance on issues such as human rights.

A spokesman for The Muslim Council of Britain said it did not regard Ms Manji as a "serious partner in the debate about theology".

"Change has to be driven by people who are experts in the field, who know where the need for change is and how to implement that change while remaining true to core principles," Ibrahim Mogra of the MCB told the BBC News website.

"With every passing day there is a movement within Islam that enables us to face the challenges which every new day throws at us
Ibrahim Mogra, Muslim Council of Britain
Canadian Ms Manji is due to make her call for a think tank at a public meeting in London on Thursday.

Ms Manji, who describes herself as a 'Muslim refusenik' said she hoped her proposed think tank 'Ijtihad' - the Arabic for 'independent thinking' - would bring like-minded Muslims together.

"This is an initiative, a foundation to help young people and young reform-minded Muslims in particular, develop the courage to step up to the plate and say what's on their mind.

"There are many more reform-minded Muslims out there, it's just that most of us are working in isolation," she said.

'Vocal and vitriolic'

However, Ibrahim Mogra of MCB said there was no need for a think tank of the type called for by Ms Manji as the Muslim faith was constantly adapting.

"We don't have such a concept of one particular time in history where you change things drastically and dramatically to face the challenge of modern times.

There is no doubt some young Muslims detest me and my message
Irshad Manji

"But rather with every passing day there is a movement within Islam that enables us to face the challenges which every new day throws at us," Mr Mogra said.

At the public meeting Ms Manji will raise some of the issues tackled in her best-selling book, which she has described as "an open letter from me, a Muslim voice of reform to concerned citizens worldwide - Muslim and not"

The book in which she calls for an Islamic reformation and accuses Muslims of "screaming self pity and conspicuous silences" has led to both acclaim in the West and condemnation from some Muslims.

"There is no doubt some young Muslims detest me and my message. They tend to be the vocal and vitriolic ones.

"But everywhere I go I am quietly approached by Muslims, especially young women, who are desperate to know that it is possible to dissent with mainstream orthodoxy while remaining faithful," Ms Manji said.




RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific