Memo to Clinton: Empower Muslim Women

It’s official: Hillary Clinton is the new U.S. Secretary of State. Now what? At her confirmation hearings in mid-January, then-Senator … Continued

It’s official: Hillary Clinton is the new U.S. Secretary of State. Now what?

At her confirmation hearings in mid-January, then-Senator Clinton proposed an array of ideas for exercising “smart power”: using micro-finance to mitigate global poverty, empowering women and girls in the Muslim world and, above all, recognizing that the interdependence of nations need not impose a burden on America. Interdependence — a word she invoked more than once — poses an opportunity for America.

How can Secretary Clinton piece these ideas into a coherent vision? One that respects both Islam and President Obama’s insistence, forcefully stated in his inaugural address, that Muslim leaders be held to account for what they build, not what they destroy?

My answer: Cultivate an Alliance of the Interdependent– a network of nations, supported by America but spearheaded by Indonesia, that invests in the entrepreneurial talents of Muslim women. I’ve fleshed out this proposal in a recent essay for Newsweek International.

Irshad Manji, creator of the PBS film “Faith Without Fear,” is a scholar with the European Foundation for Democracy and New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

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  • DebChatterjee

    Irshad,Thanks for the views. But, the “brand” of Islam that you profess is quite different from the wahabi and fudamentalist Jemmah Islamiyah sect that mullah Abu Basher professes. That very brand calls fotr decapitation of infidels amongst many things. How far can Secretary Clinton go, extending the welcoming hand of Obama’s policies, without being bitten by the venom of radical Islam ?

  • Paganplace

    I mean, really, this is *just* the kind of thing that falls under ‘Yes, We Can,’ even with Bush having near-bankrupted us with his ideas of top-down authoritarian ‘Clash of civilizations’ non-solutions, exercised in constant fear of other people trying to have a ‘clash of civilizations’ and create constant fear of other people to support their own authoritarianism… Like us. Micro-finance, especially with local influence, on a human and family level, is *just* the kind of tool that we can use as part of a world comunity. (It’s also a darn good place to invest, the returns can be amazing, compared to what, tax breaks for the rich, who’ll be rich no matter what they do?) Mega-finance has been collapsing all over itself, in spite of, if not because of, the previous administration’s attitudes. Justified by, really, disproportionate fear of ‘a few venomous snakes.’

  • azharo

    Why should anyone listen to someone who is clueless of what she talks about…..sorry , you have been debunked and marginalized to be taken seriously anymore. Especially when your funding source are bigoted racists.

  • halozcel1

    Dear Irshad Manji,Quran 33.33 says *Women,stay at your houses*How can/should they interpret these verses as non-orthodox interpretation ?

  • DebChatterjee

    Paganplace:You are simply OUT OF YOUR MIND. ENOUGH SAID !

  • coiaorguk

    I would like to ask Hillary why Hebba Aref and Shimaa Abdelfadeel, who wanted to see Obama on Monday at the Joe Louis Arena and were in a group that was separately invited by Obama campaign volunteers to sit behind the podium, were told by Obama volunteers that women wearing hijabs, the traditional Muslim head scarves, weren’t included in the invitation and couldn’t sit behind the podium.Aref, a 25-year-old lawyer, said a member of her group was told by an Obama volunteer that she could not invite Aref because of “a sensitive political climate.”What absolute political rubbish and terse discrimination that negates the forthcoming push by Hillary to empower Muslim woman and girls in Iran.Actually a hijab is a demure and sophisticated accessory for many British and American women.

  • SeekerOfTruth1

    I would have read Irshad Manji’s “To fix Islam..” but it is an obnoxious title to begin with and I suppose Manji takes pleasure in offending Muslims.

  • thetruthseeker

    What does Ms. Manji know of being a women, being a lesbian and a zionist a s s kisser. The only reason she has a mouth piece in WP and on Newsweek is because she is embraced by all anti-Islamic bigots for being nothing more than a apostate. If WP has so much of an integrity to present ideas from both sides than it would offer moderate muslims to come and talk as well. Example that runs to my mind is Hamza Yusuf or Yusf Islam. But i doubt that very likely.

  • carwash1

    I have been an admirer of Irshad’s courage until I saw her being exploited by rabbi Shmuley Boteach on one of the CNN shows recently. This rabbi is a symbol of intolerance for anything that is non-Jewish. He is a chameleon that can disguise as a man of God in front of TV audience. He could have fooled me but I had seen the real Boteach when he brutally demonized Jimmy Carter for being critical of Israel. I am sorry Irshad, you have to sleep in bed you made for yourself. You are no longer credible to help your own kind and that is real sad.

  • DebChatterjee

    Truthseeker wrote:”Example that runs to my mind is Hamza Yusuf or Yusf Islam. But i doubt that very likely.”Oh my !!! You are also offended that Osama bin Laden has also not been invited by WP. Isn’t it ?

  • MuhammadAyub

    I agree Americans can do alot.The question is what they would like.Its high time they realise what they have to do.As Presint Obamaa rightly said America needs to lead the world again.America can change the destiny of the world, the other way.For a prosprous and happier world.Where there is no terror or war against terror.People’s lives and property are protected.


    I saw Ms. Manji on that same show. Instead of concentrating on who she shared the stage with- I was struck with the sensiivity and wisdom of her words. I remember she said something similar to this- (please forgive my months old memory of a few second sentence) I thought it an astute perception of the nuances between our slanted personal views, and how easily they morph into something dangerous and ugly. If Ms. Manji isn’t there to offer balance, all we will hear will be the Rabbis opinions- which we hae been hearing non-stop-


    O, yes- i welcome any correction of my faulty paraphrase as she said it so much more elegantly-


    Hamza Yusuf has been a panelist here for over 2 years truthseeker-

  • SPARK1

    Halozcel1You make mockery of your own arguments when you quote from Quran with sinister intentions, a book upon which you have no faith.Taking its meaning out of context and twisting them to create an impression on the readers as if a “scholar” like you have discovered a point which was never known before is ridiculous.How a peson dipped upto nose in hatered for muslims and Quran can be honest to interpret Quran.As a matter of fact your pseudo”wiseman” image shatters with just a mild stroke of common sense.

  • SPARK1

    Halozcel1You make mockery of your own arguments when you quote from Quran with sinister intentions, a book upon which you have no faith.Taking its meaning out of context and twisting them to create an impression on the readers as if a “scholar” like you have discovered a point which was never known before is ridiculous.How a peson dipped upto nose in hatered for muslims and Quran can be honest to interpret Quran.As a matter of fact your pseudo”wiseman” image shatters with just a mild stroke of common sense.

  • Roger11

    Good suggestion. And a much better use of our tax-payer dollars than re-arming the Israeli death machine. It would continue the good work Obama’s mother did in Indonesia when she was working on her doctor’s thesis. What poetic justice that would be. But why confine it to Muslims. The same policies would work in Christian areas of Sub Sahara Africa and the idigenous areas of South America.

  • jamil51

    CCNLYou are wasting your time by cut/pasting the same views for many months.

  • spidermean2

    “when you consider the children slain by the terrorist George W Bush”If Bush was a terrorist, Iraq would be turned into powder and America will not experience this economic downturn. The guy is too kind giving away Americas money to uplift the idiots in Iraq who are fighting and bombing each other.

  • sjdason

    Why Indonesia? Recognize that India has more educated and erudite Muslims than Indonesia, and that Malaysia has no restrictions on women business owners, who can borrow and start their own businesses. Islam does not need to be a mad dog religion. I grew up in an Islamic country – no problems with skirts and blouses, and open faces. Recently when I visited, I was throughly appalled – young girls with rags covering their faces. Hate to tell you this, but Golda Meier was right. If women get raped at night, do not impose a curfew on them-instead lock up the men. Good luck Mrs. Clinton, women can bring change in families and children raised without benefit of hate, do not hate.

  • spidermean2

    Why Indonesia? Maybe the Indian society is worse?

  • emyers12345

    what a crock of bull – keep muslim women in their place. Islam is not wrong.

  • Farnaz2

    Muslim women are not proscribed from entrepreneurial enterprises as you know. There are some extremists among extremists who may attempt to shut them out of the world more or less completely, but they are not the norm. I can see no reason why entrepreneurialism should not be encourage for all Muslim women in which the host countries would not be a problem. I would certainly include Pakistan. The same is true for education, of course.In Orthodox Jewish communities, women now not only engage in small business endeavors but go on for Ph.D.s, and I see no reason why more Muslim women should not become doctors, lawyers, etc. There is a healthy tradition of professional Muslim women. Why not encourage it? Nurture it?

  • Farnaz2

    Another thought. Develop a mentoring program. Bring professional Muslim women from all over the Middle East and Pakistan, from the U.S. and Europe, into the picture. Bring in Muslim academics, higher education administrators. Involve institutes of higher education, etc.

  • halozcel1

    Enyers12345,You say *Islam is not wrong*.Yes,correct,you are right.What is wrong ? and Where is the wrongness ?Egypt was the center of Civilization 2000 years ago.Correct ? What is the situation today ?2000 years ago,there was Cleopatra,the most enpowered woman in all times.Would you please describe present situation.Many thanks.

  • asizk

    where is my comment posted over three hours ago????? Are free expression not allowed by those who know the issues well? All I said was that we should first liberate Palestinian women from israeli occupation-and build for them their destoryed homes in Gaza-before we embark on empowering Muslim women in the world-who are mostly and essentially free and empowered-except in Places where Talaban regins supreme?

  • CCNL

    What Ms. Clinton needs to do: Promulagate the Five Easy Steps to Deprogram/”Deflaw” Islam. Doing this will set women Islamic women free.To wit:Using “The 77 Branches of Islamic “faith” a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true “faith” (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings.” i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs. “1. Belief in Allah””aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc.” should be added to your cleansing neurons.”2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.”Evolution and the Big Bang or the “Gib Gnab” (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the “akas” for Allah should be included if you continue to be a “creationist”.”3. To believe in the existence of angels.””4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore.”Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels/”pwtfft”s to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans. Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the uneducated masses in line. Today we call them fortune tellers.”5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone.”Accept these five “cleansers” and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways

  • asizk

    SPARK1 : The regulars on this forum just simply ignore them altogether.Just let them advertise their own ignorance-it is good publicity for Islam:

  • InterfaithNation

    Att: DEEPAK CHOPRA et al:HINDUTVA (Hindu conquest of Earth, like once thought of Zionism & or AL TAQIYAH (Islamic Conquest of World) is at it again. “Oath?, Affirmation?, Swear?PS: How much money hath Ye Hindutvas (RSS) & Co made off unsuspecting Americans?. AND how many people hath ye decieved (globally) via “False” Philosophy, via not True/Right Philosophy nor []Way?Soon Soon, Very Soon CHOPRA et al, Ye Tactiks (Conspiracys) will be exposed to ALL Americans & Beyond!Father ‘Ghandi’ is rolling over in his grave (so to speaketh, via ‘Ashes’ wise).

  • arifrochy

    I am all for Empowering the Muslim women with due respect and dignity. BUT!! someone needs to ask Ms. Manji, if she belongs to the mainstream practicing Muslim women where they are supposed (compulsory) to pray five times a day, must fast 29 to 30 days during Ramadan (as per moon sighting but refrain during their monthly periods), gives Alms to the unfortunate in Arabic known as ‘ZAKAT’, has 100% belief in oneness of God and Muhammad as his only messenger, recites and follows the norms of the Muslim’s Holy book Quran. Just having a given or acquiring a Muslim name does not mean he or she is a Muslim. A person who practices the above rituals and beliefs can only claim and bear the values of ‘Islam’ and as such be a “Muslim”. My question to Ms. Manji, “Do you follow, believe and practice the above Muslim rituals as mentioned in the Quran to exercise the right of a Muslim”?

  • CCNL

    Reiterations are one of the strongest forms of education and living. Live and learn the flaws and errors of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism. Considering that the foundations of religions have mythical cornerstones for example Islam and Mormonism with their Gabriel and Moroni, it is good to reiterate the reality of these “pretty, wingie thingies”: Joe Smith had his Moroni.Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;Mohammed had his Gabriel (this “tinkerer” got around).Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other “no-namers” to do their dirty work or other assorted duties. Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these “pretty wingie thingies” to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us. Some added references to “tinker bells”.”Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah.”Apparently hallucinations did not stop with Joe Smith.Added details availably upon request.

  • halozcel1

    asizk,You are barking dog.asizk,Who is barking dog and who repeats cut and paste ignorance.Ms.Manji,You shall unconditional,unconditional,unconditionalleave islam/submission/cult of violence.This is solution,then all slave and subjugated women may be empowered,otherwise *empower muslim women* is a comedy and empty words.

  • halozcel1

    spark1,How do you know my intention ?If you dont like my comments,why dont you write *correct interpretation* instead of posting same cut and paste letters(Three times).spark1,

  • Manoo

    halozcel1:You talk of civilizations:I know the living civilizations very well as I travel and that in what conditions human beings dwells.

  • SPARK1

    helozcel1It is a technical up-loading mistake tht you say i posted for three times to you or cut/paste.My only point is that you have your own point of view but on a forum that do not mean to insult what the others believe.As I told you before you are not a scholar of Quran and what you write again and again on this forum just have one purpose to spread hate against Islam and muslims.

  • halozcel1

    Memo to Clinton: Empower Muslim WomenWhat will happen…..,What will happen if you empower *dishonorable women* of the barking dogs.What will happen if you empower dishonosable women who accept Dehumanization,Subjugation and Enslavement.First thing first,they must set free from *curse*.Honor and Dignity.These are Empowerment.You should understand and grasp the *Core Issue*.Women in Egypt(Cleopatra) were the most empowered ones in the world 2000 years ago.What happened….,what changed that present women need to be empowered ?

  • drpat2001

    The fact of the matter is that arab leaders are more fearful of a feminist american foreign policy than the fundamentalist muslims. If america is to play a major role in the middle east, and help forge a peace between israel and her neighbors, she should simply stop trying to impose cultural forms upon other nations and peoples. When they want to change their culture they will. Until then, lets keep our noses out of their business.