Irshad Manji

Irshad Manji

Formal First Name
1968 - present

Irshad Manji is a globally acclaimed educator, New York Times bestselling author, and advocate of a reformist interpretation on Islam. Irshad is the Founder of Moral Courage Project at New York University’s school of public service, a network of organizations which equip people to engage productively about polarizing issues. With over 15 years of research, writing, and teaching, she has innovated the Moral Courage Method of communicating across divides. Her courses are focused on how "to make values-driven decisions for the sake of their integrity – professional and personal". Irshad is one of the world’s most recognized authorities on Islam and it’s roles and influence in the world today. She is the author of The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in her Faith, which has been published in more than thirty countries, including Pakistan, India, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. She also founded Project Ijtihad, which aims to popularize Islam’s tradition of critical thinking and unites Muslim reformers and non-Muslim allies. In addition, she is the creator of the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary Faith Without Fear. She has also appeared on television networks around the world, including Al Jazeera, the CBC, BBC, MSNBC, C-SPAN, CNN, PBS, the Fox News Channel, CBS, and HBO.

Professional Experience

Academic History


  • She produced a PBS documentary in the America at a Crossroads series, titled Faith Without Fear, which was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2008.

  • The documentary explains her journey to reconcile Islam with human rights and freedom.

  • Through technology, Faith Without Fear is being shown in underground circles throughout the Middle East and North Africa.


  • She is an advocate of a reformist interpretation of Islam and a critic of literalist interpretations of the Qur'an.

  • Her latest book, Allah, Liberty and Love, is a guide to reconciling faith and freedom in a world raging with repressive dogmas.


  • She began her career working in politics in the 1990s, where she was a legislative aide in the Canadian parliament for a New Democratic Party member.

  • She was Press Secretary for Ontario New Democratic Party cabinet minister Marion Boyd, and speechwriter for Audrey McLaughlin.

  • She was a National Affairs Editorialist for the Ottawa Citizen and the youngest member of an editorial board for any Canadian daily.

  • She was a columnist for Ottawa's new LGBT newspaper Capital Xtra!, and participated in a regular "Friendly Fire" segment on TVOntario's Studio2.

  • She hosted and produced several public affairs programs on TV, including Q-Files for Pulse24 and its successor QT: QueerTelevision.

  • In 2002, she became a writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto, where she began writing her book, The Trouble with Islam Today.


  • 2015 Lantos Human Rights Prize, Tom Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice

  • 2013 Mansoor Hallaj Award for Free Expression, Muslim Canadian Congress

  • 2012 Humanist of the Year, New York Society for Ethical Culture

  • 2011 Award for Independent Thinking, Association for Women Entrepreneurs

  • 2009 Muslim Leader of Tomorrow, American Society for Muslim Advancement

  • 2007 Global Vision Prize, Immigration Equality

  • 2006 Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum

  • 2004 Oprah Winfrey's inaugural Chutzpah Award

  • 1997 Feminist for the 21st Century, Ms. Magazine


  • Don't Label Me: An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times (2019)

  • Allah,0 Liberty and Love: The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom (2011

  • The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith (2007)