|Head to Head is Al Jazeera’s new forum of ideas - a gladiatorial contest tackling big issues such as faith, the economic crisis, democracy and intervention in front of an opinionated audience at the Oxford Union.
Is there really a problem with Islam today? Critics see Muslim women as downtrodden and sectarian conflict dominates the headlines, but for many Muslims this is a gross misrepresentation.
In this episode of Head to Head at the Oxford Union, Mehdi Hasan challenges controversial Canadian author Irshad Manji, writer of The Trouble with Islam Today and also Allah, Liberty and Love on the need to reform Islam, the notion of Ijtihad, the problem of Islamophobia and what Muslims need to own-up to.
Manji is an author and broadcaster, but also the director of the Moral Courage Project. She strongly believes that Islam needs reform. Mehdi Hasan challenges Irshad, asking where the problem lies, and whether critics sometimes encourage Islamophobia.
“Muslims are the trouble with Islam today,” says Manji. “We have allowed tribal culture to colonise the faith of Islam. It’s the behaviour of Muslims that defines, in every generation, what Islam is.”
And joining the discussion are: Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra who was elected as an assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain in 2008 and who is also the chair of the Inter Faith Relations Committee, and serves as an imam and scholar in Leicester; Halla Diyab, an award-winning Syrian writer, filmmaker, broadcaster and women's rights activist, and the author of controversial TV dramas such as Beautiful Maidens and Your Rightful Disposal; and Myriam Francois-Cerrah, an academic and journalist focusing on Islamic movements and political culture.