Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dr. Wafa Sultan

New York Times profiles Dr. Wafa Sultan who three weeks ago was a largely unknown Syrian-American psychiatrist living outside Los Angeles, nursing a deep anger and despair about her fellow Muslims.

Today, thanks to an unusually blunt and provocative interview on Al Jazeera television on Feb. 21, she is an international sensation, hailed as a fresh voice of reason by some, and by others as a heretic and infidel who deserves to die.

In the interview, which has been viewed on the Internet more than a million times and has reached the e-mail of hundreds of thousands around the world, Dr. Sultan bitterly criticized the Muslim clerics, holy warriors and political leaders who she believes have distorted the teachings of Muhammad and the Koran for 14 centuries.

She said the world's Muslims, whom she compares unfavorably with the Jews, have descended into a vortex of self-pity and violence.

Dr. Sultan said the world was not witnessing a clash of religions or cultures, but a battle between modernity and barbarism, a battle that the forces of violent, reactionary Islam are destined to lose.

Perhaps her most provocative words on Al Jazeera were those comparing how the Jews and Muslims have reacted to adversity. Speaking of the Holocaust, she said, "The Jews have come from the tragedy and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror; with their work, not with their crying and yelling."

She went on, "We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people."

She concluded, "Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them."

Tough talk, certainly hard to take, but largely true. She has our deepest admiration.

8 comments:

Thamizhan said...

"Dr. Sultan bitterly criticized the Muslim clerics, holy warriors and political leaders who she believes have distorted the teachings of Muhammad and the Koran for 14 centuries."

I have seen the interview and she said nothing about teachings being distorted. Is there some other version that has this "distortion" point?

She said that the holy book and belief system itself has to be reformed. You are implying here that Islam is perfect and the followers are the ones who need to change - same idea pushed by Islamists.

Primary Red said...

Comparing us to Islamists is a bit rich -- and quite offensive, actually.

We have simply cited NYT's profile of her -- we did not see the interview on Al Jazeera (since we don't subscribe to that channel), but NYT's summary of her overall perspective appealed to us.

On the issue of Islamic reform, frankly, we have little desire to critique Islam's holy books. All we seek is for moderate muslims to assert themselves and forge a happy equilibrium with the rapidly advancing global community in which they should have a vital role. Dr. Sultan's view appears similar.

Best regards

Kathiawadi said...

PR,

Atanu Dey wrote about Dr Sultan and the post has got the link to the interview as well.

RPM said...

How many such Muslims do we need in order to put some sense in the terrible acts being carried out by the cowardly few?

Does sense even make it through those idiots' heads? No.

Thamizhan said...

Hmm missed that part about it being from NYT profile. In that case it is the NYT being PC.

From an Islamist perspective they are only trying to save us from the hell to which unbelievers will be sent. If you agree with that then there is no reason to be offended at having some things in common w/them correct? ah i digress here.

Atanu said...

RPM asked: "How many such Muslims do we need in order to put some sense in the terrible acts being carried out by the cowardly few?"

Cowardly? You think it does not require guts to blow yourself up to bits? Few? Just since 9/11, about 4500 deadly attacks have been noted. You call that few? (Reference: TheReligionofPeace.com.)

In an article Richard Dawkins wrote right after 9/11:

"Our leaders have described the recent atrocity with the customary cliche: mindless cowardice. "Mindless" may be a suitable word for the vandalising of a telephone box. It is not helpful for understanding what hit New York on September 11. Those people were not mindless and they were certainly not cowards. On the contrary, they had sufficiently effective minds braced with an insane courage, and it would pay us mightily to understand where that courage came from.

"It came from religion. Religion is also, of course, the underlying source of the divisiveness in the Middle East which motivated the use of this deadly weapon in the first place. But that is another story and not my concern here. My concern here is with the weapon itself. To fill a world with religion, or religions of the Abrahamic kind, is like littering the streets with loaded guns. Do not be surprised if they are used."

Apollo said...

i saw both her interviews and she did not say anything about distortion of teachings.infact she was called a heretic by one of the guys she was debating.

why doesn't the mainstream media of the stature of New york times lack the guts to Quote her as it is.

A. Shah said...

All you wanted to know about Wafa Sultan, the wannabe Voltaire of the Muslim world.

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