Today, Fareed Zakari presented Irshad Manji on his Global Public Square program on CNN, introducing here as “gay” as well as advocating free thinking in Islam. This was part of Zakaria's preparation for a Monday night special "Why they hate us" -- and CNN has a habit of delaying its special reports when anything "happens".
Manji related a story of being told in school, “you believe what we tell you to believe, or you leave”.
She then discovered the “public library” (yes, “it’s free”), where she learned that in the past Islam had a tradition of open inquiry of faith.
Manji also discussed the "72 virgins" idea, saying that the word for "virgin" might really have mean't "raisin" and that the number 72 doesn't really appear in the Koran.
Within the Christian world, the Baptist denomination has a similar paradox, with a tradition of individualized exploration of faith despite an authoritarian ministerial structure within the Southern Baptist Convention, the “buckle of the Bible belt” and the source of anti-gay rhetoric in the past.