Culture Wars
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Episode 146
Featuring Irshad Manji
Demetri Kofinas speaks with Irshad Manji, a public intellectual, best-selling author, and Emmy award nominated documentary filmmaker whose latest book “Don’t Label Me,” attempts to educate readers on how to have conversations about politically sensitive subjects without inflaming the culture wars.

In Episode 146 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Irshad Manji, a public intellectual, best-selling author, and Emmy award nominated documentary filmmaker whose latest book “Don’t Label Me,” attempts to educate readers on how to have conversations about politically sensitive subjects without inflaming the culture wars. It should not surprise anyone to learn, therefore, that today’s conversation with Irshad is one of the most pleasant, honest, and meaningful that we have ever had on this podcast. 

Unlike this conversation, public discourse today often feels like a series of battles and skirmishes between two monolithic view points. Discussions likewise, are often seen as opportunities to try one another in the court of public opinion. If we accept that a pluralistic, democratic society is the best way to safeguard the values and freedoms that have allowed us to manifest our individual identities, then how can we be told that in order to protect those identities we should curtail the very freedoms that gave rise to them in the first place?

We are living through a very dark period in American life. Diversity has become a sort of “rallying cry” whose champions espouse exclusively in terms of race, gender, and sexual orientation. When it comes to opinions, values, and beliefs, tolerance for diversity of opinion is nowhere to be found. And yet, a pluralistic society demands that its citizens are granted the freedom to express themselves and their beliefs without fear or reprisal or condemnation. Those who seek to silence us therefore are not champions of liberty. They are tyrants masquerading as victims who seek to exercise power over the very people who they label as their oppressors.

Today’s conversation should serve (hopefully) as an inspiration for the types of discussions and free exchanges of ideas that we should all strive to have and which we need to have if we want to make it through this difficult period in our history.

You can access the episode overtime, as well as the transcript and rundown to this week’s episode through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily added to your favorite podcast application.

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Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

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Episode Recorded on 07/15/2020

Irshad Manji is a Canadian educator and the author of The Trouble with Islam Today (2004) and Allah, Liberty and Love (2011), both of which have been banned in several Muslim countries. Her latest book, Don't Label Me, was published in February 2019. Manji is a senior fellow at the Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy of the University of Southern California. Manji also produced a PBS documentary in the America at a Crossroads series, titled Faith Without Fear, which was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2008. A former journalist and television presenter, Manji is an advocate of a reformist interpretation of Islam and a critic of literalist interpretations of the Qur'an. In 2016, Manji and her partner, Laura Albano, were married in Hawaii. They live there with their rescue dogs.

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