Irshad Manji, a Canadian author of The Trouble with Islam Today, suggests the democratization of key Islamic concepts such as ijtihad which she translates as independent reasoning but has been translated elsewhere as "to use all your power and effort in order to bring some hard and difficult works into existence" is imporant in modernizing Islam. She uses the concept of Ijtihad as a vehicle to democratize Islamic life. She defines it as the ability to critically reason, dissent, and reinterpret.
According to the interviewer, who has read her works, she is too pro-Western to the point of denigrating the Islamic world and tends to paint her arguments in polarizing, black and white terms. The interviewer presses her on some of her use of language. He also notes that there is a growing Islamophobia in places like France, the UK, and even the USA. There is certainly some of of that in the West. Dialogue and listening is important which is why I posted this interview.
She touches on women's rights including the use of the hijab. I have seen women wearing the hijab and have wondered about how free this choice is. As far as integrating Islam in Canadian life, Premier McGuinty contemplated the use of Sharia in Islamic communities to resolve certain civil, marital disputes. This was criticized not only by the legal community but many feminist Muslim women who saw the system of Sharia as tilting towards the male rights in the dispute. Their preference was for the current secular system. In the end, the idea was abandoned.
I am not sure how representative she is of the Islamic community but the interview is provocative. She is an openly gay Muslim women and discusses this briefly. She is not sure to what extent that may or may not play in her thinking. It is an interesting exchange.