The 12th season of the Newport Beach Public Library’s Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series ended with a bang — certainly not with a whimper — last weekend.
A dynamo named Irshad Manji lived up to the title of her documentary for the Public Broadcasting System called “Faith Without Fear” in which she took on “the packagers of Islam” with a kind of joyous fervor that would have seemed reckless had she not backed up her words with a multitude of facts.
“I’m not here to be popular,” she told us, “just useful. I have more Muslims hating me than hated George Bush, but each of us has to stand up to our own. When I discovered that I would end up being indoctrinated instead of educated had I been stuck in religious schools, I chose to study Islam at a public library. We’re in trouble. We need to stretch our thinking. We have a right to ask our questions out loud.”