briefing by Wafa Sultan
MIDDLE EAST FORUMS
Wafa Sultan is a Syrian-born psychiatrist who immigrated to the U.S. in 1989. She is most well-known for appearing on Al-Jazeera in 2006 in a debate with sheikh Ibrahim Al-Khouli, when she delivered a memorable attack on Islam (which has since caused her to live in hiding). She just released a new book, entitled A God Who Hates. On October 20, Dr. Sultan addressed the Middle East Forum via conference call.
Islam is intrinsically destructive-that is Dr. Sultan’s message. She began by discussing how she came about this conclusion, which is the story of her largely autobiographical book.
In her view, the Muslim world needs reform in three areas: Muslim nations must 1) grant their citizens the right to practice any-or no-faith; 2) they must reform school curricula, which currently teach intolerance and hatred for non-Muslims; 3) they must grant equal rights to women and eliminate the oppression Muslim women currently experience.
Dr. Sultan stressed this last point, saying the West has long ignored the plight of Muslim women, which is why her book spends extra time addressing the problems women face in the Muslim world. Her recommendation is for the West to cease apologizing for Islam and instead confront Islamic teachings directly and “put pressure” on Muslims to “come up with honest answers.”
Asked whether rejecting Shari’a is tantamount to rejecting Islam itself, Dr. Sultan answered in the affirmative: to be a Muslim, one must accept the laws of Islam as laid out in the Qur’an and the words and deeds of Muhammad (the Hadith). Thus, while she accepts that there are “moderate Muslims,” she insists that Islam itself is not and cannot be moderate. Still, she hopes that those who are trying to reform Islam will one day prove her wrong.
In response to a question on whether putting pressure on the Muslim world, as Dr. Sultan recommends, could provoke a backlash, she said that there would indeed probably be an initial backlash and perhaps an increase in violence. Regardless, Muslims will sooner or later have to confront the reality of Islam’s “cruel” and “backwards” teachings.
Finally, asked about what Americans can do to make people aware of the threat, Dr. Sultan urged for pressure to be put on the U.S. government to confront Islam without politically correct restraints. She concluded by asserting her dream-that one day her native Syria will be as free as the United States.
Summary written by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi