Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Muslim R.A.H. Profile #1: Wafa Sultan




This is the first installment in a new series on Blovi-blog. Every couple of weeks I'll be featuring a new Muslim R.A.H. (Reformer, Apostate, or Heretic). The militants and fundamentalists steal all the limelight, while the challengers of the orthodoxy usually only garner attention when someone is trying to kill them. In that light, the R.A.H. will be dedicated to highlighting all the Muslim dissenters and critics out there. Yes, they do actually exist. Some of these people are quite articulate and perceptive, some aren't. But the all of them deserve some respect for promoting open debate about religion in the Muslim world.

My first profile is a rising star in the arena of critical debate on Islam, Wafa Sultan. In the last week or so, the video of her controversial interview on Al-Jazeera has been spending a lot of time zipping around the fiber-optic arteries of cyberspace. You can find Wafa Sultan's famous Al-Jazeera appearance here. Here is a link to the transcript of her Al-Jazeera appearance on the M.E.M.R.I. website. Here's are some of the more interesting remarks she made in the debate:

The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality.


The Prophet of Islam said: "I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and His Messenger." When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war. In order to start this war, they must re-examine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir and fighting the infidels.


What civilization on the face of this earth allows him to call other people by names that they did not choose for themselves? Once, he calls them Ahl Al-Dhimma, another time he calls them the "People of the Book," and yet another time he compares them to apes and pigs, or he calls the Christians "those who incur Allah's wrath." Who told you that they are "People of the Book"? They are not the People of the Book, they are people of many books. All the useful scientific books that you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free and creative thinking.


The Jews have come from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. 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. The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a Mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. 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.




Wafa apparently chose her words to be as provocative as possible for the Al-Jazeera audience. She passionately states her case and it's pretty obvious there's a great deal of anger behind what she says. If nothing else, you have to admire this woman's courage to assert her taboo opinions so openly. By openly stating such controversial views she is sure to have generated some debate in the Arab world. She does raise some valid points about the barbarity of religiously-motivated violence, it's prevalence in Islam today, and the orthodox ideas that perpetuate them. In traditional Muslim societies where this sort of debate is forbidden, this may be the first time they've heard an Arab woman openly make such arguments. However, much of what she says is overblown rhetoric, and of course it's completely one-sided. I came across this interesting rebuttal to the M.E.M.R.I video and transcript of her appearance on a Desicritics discussion thread (scroll to the bottom of the page, comment #18). I don't agree with all of the points, the posts author occassionaly resorts to Wafa-style rhetorical tactics at points and makes a spurious claim about her being a Coptic Christian. Nonentheless, I found the points about the translation and editing of the debate by M.E.M.R.I, and the misrepresentation of the Quranic passages Wafa makes reference to in the debate to support her claims to be very valid points.
Hmm, how is she a hero?

to those that will bother to learn:

i WATCHED this clip on Al Jazeera itself, and guess what, EVERY point she said was replied to, and after a certain point, she changed her tone... don't take memri seriously cause it's biased EVEN in words translated.

anywho, here are some points to those that'll bother to read:

1- This clip is incomplete, there's a HUGE part that's NOT in there, where SHE ended up looking like an idiot and changing her tone because she knew what she was saying was wrong. memri is VERY selective, notice the cuts in the video.

2- If you think stuff like this doesn't come on Al jazeera and other arab channels all the time, you're kidding me... you need to follow arab tv more before you critize it... believe it or not, Al-Jazeera was Bush's pal before they broadcasted something bush didn't like. Yay.

3- secondly mistranslations from memri such as "woman as a beast, no, woman as a mule" "are you a heretic, no , are you an Atheist" "secular, no, science believer" "i'm a secular person that does not believe in spirtual things, no, i am a science beleving woman that does not believe in anything paranormal" memri is VERY selective in translations to invoke even more anger. especially the heretic point, since he wasn't insulting her, he was asking her if she was an atheist or not. (and additon i'm just adding, he was saying that if she was an atheist, then there is no blame on her of committing blasphemy, which actually SHOWS civility)

4- other than her points, which mostly DON"T make sense and which SHE HERSELF retracted afterwards (in the part you don't see) it's obvious by anyone that knows arabic is that her Arabic is NOT native, it's TAUGHT as a second or third language. any phonetics expert could tell that.

5- it's obvious she hasn't been in most of the muslim countries lately if she thinks we're backwards and living in some sort of "repression and ignorance" do yourself a favor, do a search on Melody tv and/or singers such as the egyptain "ruby" the lebanese "nancy agram" and a zillion others, or do a search for arabic movies from even the 1950's and before.

6- she opposes that muslims refer to non-muslims with names they haven't chosen, well then she should be offended by the term 'goy' ,'gentiles', 'unenlightened' and whatever term christians use or used to denote non christians... and don't even CLAIM they didn't exist, because guess what, christians thought non christians were barbarians and savages and that's why there were missionaries, you know who else thought they needed to bring enlightment to others? the japanese when they invaded and buthchered china.
anywho, for the terms she opposes;

a- "Ahl el Beit" directly means "people of the house" meaning wise means: people of the house of God.

b- "ahl el kotob" directly means "people of the book" meaning wise means: people of the books of God, i.e people who believe in one of the holy books (torah, Enjeel, Qu'ran).

c- "ahl el Dhimma" directly means "people of Concience" meaning wise means: people who have concience.

d- "el nasara" directly means "the victory helpers" meaning wise: "those who saved the Muslims" or "those that stood by the muslims" in islamic history, when the Prophet Mohammed and his followers were being attacked and killed in Mecca, they left for Madina, Madina was a Christian City, and the people of Madina helped the Prophet and the muslims, and they shared their houses and Bread, el Nasara is a term used to show how much islam LOVES these people.

so far, the above three names AREN"T in any way offensive... now let's see what she says that SEEMS offensive:

a- " El Maghdoob 3alehom" (3 denotes a sound unavalible in english) : directly means :"those that are angered upon" meaning wise : "those that God frowns upon, or God is angry at" HOWEVER, this word is NOT used to refer to christians or jews , or even ANYONE in particular, it is used to refer to those that have gone astray and God is angry at, it's part of a prayer that basically is asking God not to be one of those Gone astray... not so evil sounding now is it?

b- "el khanzeer we'll Korooud" : "the monkeys and pigs" (both translations) : Everyone attacks this point for existing... HOWEVER what they don't understand, YES it exists in the Qu'ran but it's telling part of a story.
In the story, Some people angered God so God turned them to Pigs and Monkeys. and yes these people WERE jews. however this story is a story that PREDATES Islam by eons, and it's not used to riducle or attack jews, it's used to show that EVEN followers of God can anger God if they disobey him. in this vein i guess everyone should attack both the bible and the Qu'ran for having mass genocide (Noah's Flood).
are these words used in a bad way? Yes, sometimes by some people THEY ARE USED, but then again, so is the term Sand Nigger.

i can't recall what other names she was "angry at"

7- in NO part of Islam does it call to "Fight non muslims until they believe" in fact, in Part of the Qu'ran, The Prophet was sad that he couldn't get everyone to believe in God, and God told him " I ordered you to Preach to them, NOT to force or convert them,if you can go into the deepest earths or highest heavens, to find something that would make them believe, then do so, If i willed, i would make everyone a believer."

YAY FOR MISINFORMATION! i hope the above passage cleared up the view of "FORCING" someone into a religon, which DOESN"T EXIST in islam. and umais already said, it's spreading in europe and the usa and other western cultures... is anyone FORCING them to convert?

8- Muslims started a culture clash or a clash of civilizations? really? hmm, that's odd... i thought people were doing that for centuries and ages and ages.... even before the existance of muslims.... hmm... anyone care to clarify to me how this is even possible? is it a time paradox of some sort? did some muslim guy invent a time machine or something?

9- as for saying "they're people of all scientific books" yeah, go ahead and ignore all the arab and muslim influences on science... in fact go ahead and ignore the MUSLIM egyptain scientist called "Ahmed Zoweil" who's researches have more or less changed physics for the past few years. yeah.

10- As for her point that no jews burn embassies or kill germans... some probably did, but other than that, did she point out that they've killed and bombed arabs and their holy places?

Maybe she is secular, but she is misinformed in her suggestions that The arabic and muslim world hasn't added anything to the worlds of science. Perhaps not so much in the modern world but they paved the way, pretty much all modern maths (algebra and further concepts of greek geometry) originated in the mid east.

Now on her statement that other peoples (christians, buddhists and jews were what she mentioned) don't commit attrocities for their religions and specifically the Jews who have achieved everything with hardwork and perserverence rather than complaining and murder;

The creation of Israel is the bloodiest blackest event in Jewish history. Not only did they conduct an incredibly violent hostile takeover in 1948 after they were eventually awarded a state, before that time they committed acts of terrorism both in the mid east and on the King David Hotel (a British fortress in Jerusalem) to muscle their way into Palestine.

Another main pivotal argument for the creation of Israel, the rights and respect attained by jews as the speaker suggested, was the holocaust. It is known that the Zionist movement used the holocaust as leverage and continue to defend their actions and label anyone who questions them as antisemetic.

If 50 years ago is too long ago to consider Jewish terrorism as significant then consider everyday of the time since then. Israelis broke into ['Israelis' is wrong, I believe he's referring to Baruch Goldstein] a mosque not too long ago and sprayed hundreds of bullets into the place murdering many not so long ago is just one such example of terror comitted in the name of Israel.

Christians aren't much better, from the Crusades where they roasted babies up to the conflict in Ireland and one can even argue American foreign policy today is Christian aggression.

also be sure not to ignore the recent attack on a church by 3 israeli's (one jewish) (there's an article i posted about it on shoutwire) , the attack on people PRAYING at the Aqsa mosque, the uss liberty, the borrowing that's threatening to make the Aqsa mosque collapse and a million other such attacks... Yes i know not all jews have done this, but hey, since she's generlizing i might as well do the same!

11- Islam says Judgement lies with God only... which is why there is a story in the Qu'ran about a brother that was constently praying, and another that wasn't... the one that was praying went to his brother and told him that he's going to go to hell, in the end it was the brother that was praying all the time that went to hell because he had done more evil even though he was praying at the same time.


12- she is not an atheist, she is a Coptic Christian. [She's defended Copts publicly but is a Syrian of Muslim background] She's well known in egypt.

13- in the videoclip, in arabic, she ATTACKED ALL MUSLIMS, and supported ALL Jews, she did NOT single out extremists in islam.




The point about M.E.M.R.I. being biased has been reiterated by Juan Cole and Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta. M.E.M.R.I. has a very strong presence on the internet but undeniably has a strong pro-Israel agenda. Not exactly the most balanced source of information on the Arab media.

The NYTimes wrote a somewhat sympathetic piece on Wafa. In it we learn that the killing of one her professors during a vicious anti-Baathist uprising by Muslim militants is the key event that precipitated her questioning of Islam. By the way, this was a vicious uprising on both sides in which Syria's dictator at the time Hafez Al-Assad killed some 10000-40000 dissidents. You can find a somewhat more critical article about Wafa in the LA Times.

According to the NYTimes piece she's already received some death threats.
One message said: "Oh, you are still alive? Wait and see." She received an e-mail message the other day, in Arabic, that said, "If someone were to kill you, it would be me."

Dr. Sultan said her mother, who still lives in Syria, is afraid to contact her directly, speaking only through a sister who lives in Qatar. She said she worried more about the safety of family members here and in Syria than she did for her own.

"I have no fear," she said. "I believe in my message. It is like a million-mile journey, and I believe I have walked the first and hardest 10 miles."



While she's certainly captured a great deal of attention with her provocative statements, will her message have much resonance in the Muslim world? She's won a lot of admirers in the West. One of the many Western blogs bravely 'standing on guard for the free world against Islamofascism' has proclaimed her to be the first Muslim Voltaire. Maybe just a tad premature? ;-) After all Voltaire was a highly regarded intellectual before he ever took on the Christian establishment, was an outstanding scholar of Christianity, and wrote an enormous amount- he wrote over 20000 letters alone not to mention books, pamplets, novels etc. (he would have been a kick-ass blogger). Given that Wafa was born in the middle-east and is fluent in Arabic, she certainly has more credibility than some other 'Westernized' critics of orthodox Islam such as Irshad Manji. She has also won some praise from a few secular Muslims. However, I'm quite certain the majority of Muslims would interpret her message as nothing more than a full frontal assault on their fortress of faith. In their eyes she probably comes across more as dangerously unbalanced, and a 'brainwashed sell-out', rather than rational and brave. In the LA Times article she's quoted as saying "I don't believe you can reform Islam". Her message obviously isn't a constructive reformist one, nor is it truly one of religious tolerance. It's a strong athiest message, it is clear Wafa hopes to tear down the walls of a faith she's come to despise. Sometimes hearing this sort of message can be a good thing, it can help wake the great mass of slumbering and complascent believers. On the other hand, this approach can backfire and end up provoking a vicious backlash. Not to mention it helps to bolster some of the most unfair and one-sided anti-Islamic rhetoriticians that currently flourish in the West. While she does raise very important points about the intolerance and rigidity plaguing contemporary Islam, in my view her repudiation of all things Muslim is driven as much by anger and hatred as it is by reason. The website she started her career as a critic on Annaqed (The Critic), is full of similar enraged anti-Muslim and pro-US rhetoric. I'm partial to a more cold-blooded and synthetic approach to debating the issues- I think it produces a lot more meaningful progress in the long run and less destructive backlash. Even though I wished she toned down the rhetoric and took a more balanced approach, one has to admit her uber-confrontational style has stirred up some discussion among Muslims. Unfortunately, since much of what she says is unbalanced and totally lacking in nuance, it will be easy for critics to pick apart her arguments and ultimately ignore what she has to say.

One of the things this interview clearly demonstrates is that Al-Jazeera is a genuine forum for democractic and open debate. The accusation that they're a mouthpiece for extremists is misleading at best. They allow free debate like no other media outlet in the Arab world. Occassionaly free debate is going to bring up some voices that people won't want to hear but that comes with territory. Open Source recently had a very informative show on Al-Jazeera, you can find it here.

The debates were aired on the Al Jazeera show Al-Itijah Al-Mu'akis, Opposite Directions, a very provocative debate program hosted and put together by Dr. Faisal al-Qassim. The show is notorious for getting extreme voices on different sides of very devisive issues. Apparently this show is hugely popular and has a reputation for debating any issue, no subject or opinion is taboo- as demonstrated by the Sultan video. Ironically, Opposite Directions has been the source of much of the 'unacceptable comments' which have led to government censorship of Al Jazeera. Not only in Iraq but in the West as well. If the West is serious about encouraging free speech in the Muslim world it has to learn to tolerate shows like this. Of course there's going to be some people who espouse a militant Islamist perspective because it exists in the region, but at the same time there will be plenty of voices to argue a pro-Western and reformist ideas. In the end, censorship ends up cutting off debate.


Wafa Sultan's vital R.A.H. stats:


Religious status: Apostate, Secular humanist



Location: Syrian-born, Currently living in Los Angeles.



Raging Against the Mullahs Since:

July, 2005




What Got Her R.A.H. Ball Rolling:

Watching one of her professors being killed by militants from the Muslim Brotherhood.




Exposure Rating (0-10):

In the Muslim world- 5
In the West- 8



Likelihood of Influencing Muslim Reform (0-10):

2, she's declared herself to be non-Muslim. It's not going to win her much influence among the devout majority.



Special Abilities:

Talent for delivering a sustained, eloquent, and forceful rant in hostile territory.



Weaknesses:

Too much hate behind her words. One-sided, totally lacking in any nuance. Possibly emotionally unstable and probably will allow the anti-Islamists fawning get to her head.



Most provocative quote to date:
The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete.

24 Comments:

Anonymous Ben said...

It is long, and it took me a while to find the time to read the whole thing, but I greatly appreciate each part of it.

1:18 PM  
Blogger DrMaxtor said...

Good post.I disagree with the assertion that people like this ought to be respected because of the "debate" they supposedly generate. Such blatant dishonesty can never be the basis of any serious debate, and should be condemned and corrected. The only reason Wafa Sultan is being promoted is because she is regurjitating the failed and extremely ahistorical neocon narrative.
I'd be willing to wager plenty that this paper tiger wouldnt last 5 minutes against the likes of Dr.Zakir Naik. I'm not one to brag but I'd destory her in a debate(after facing off zionist extremists nobody is much of a challege)Ultimately it reflects poorly on the West which will accept and promote those "moslems" who have nothing whatsoever to do with Islam.
Wafa Sultan, a "Secular humanist"? Hardly. Perpetual opportunist and charlatan is more like it. Theres a lot of $$$ to be made.

2:25 AM  
Blogger DrMaxtor said...

I think its time that Arabs and Muslims start monitoring and translating the Western and Israeli press for the people back "home." Two can play at that, minus the selectiveness of MEMRI. BTW, "the Arab mind" with which Sultan is pictured above is a notorious anti-Arab book authored by a rapid Hungarian zionist low life Raphael Patai back in the 1950s. It brought back into circulation after 9/11.
Guess you can add "stupid" to Sultan's resume.

2:34 AM  
Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks for alerting me to your blog entry on Wafa Sultan.

Some of what she said resonated with me as correct, and she certainly has a great deal of courage.

Even from the MEMRI video, however, I could see that she overstated her case. It's simply not accurate to say that the United States shares no blame in the slaughter of American Indians, for example.

I think that she's a very angry ex-Muslim who wants to convince Muslims that they're being misled by fundamentalists. This will generate a lot of debate but perhaps not enough light.

I'll have too see more of what she says in order to have a fuller impression of her, and I may post a blog entry on her again then. Meanwhile, I'm struggling with Blogspot problems.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

4:29 AM  
Anonymous R. Raymond said...

S.I. Hayakawa once said " that word is not the thing". In this case, the words are not the "meaning wise". While the post was an interesting rebuttal, the author used only denotation and left out the connotation. For example: "People of the Book" are also those who have corrupted Allah's word, not a good thing I would think; and "Dhimma" are also those who are to be subdued, subjugated, forced to live under Islamic repression.
An interesting thing about all religious works is that their content allows one to do what one wants while justifying it. This is what the current "fundamentalists" are doing, I shouldn't have used the word as it really conveys no meaning. The author of your quoted post made reference to some monolithic Islam that does not exist. There are documented historical references to Islamic massacres, forced conversions of the "I'll make you an offer you can't refuse" form similar to that which the Spanish Inquisition made to the Jews after the Reconquista, and any of a myriad of abuses that Christianity has so flagellated itself for the last hundred or so years. Islam has existed as both a religious and political ideology, intertwined, which opens the door wide for corruption in the name of Allah. Note that Christianity's corruption began when it assumed political power. Oddly, its martyrs only died at the hands of others, without killing, but I digress. Sorry for the sarcasm, but I have a hard time seeing martyrs as those who kill others.
The one part of the post that I was surprised you didn't address, was the fiction regarding the Jewish state. The original mandate for the Palestinian state was by the League of Nations in the early 1920's after the destruction of the Ottoman Empire, the Turks having made the mistake of being on the losing side of WWI. The Zionist movement had already started some 40 or so years earlier, with Jews moving back to Palestine (actually Judea and Samarra, the Romans renamed it Palestine to get back at those recalcitrant Jews)and buying property from the Arabs (who did not call themselves "Palestinians", I am old enough to remember) and then making the best of it with hard work. As an aside, Jews always comprised a large minority in the region, they didn't all leave. What the author blatantly left out was the reprisals against the Jews by the Arabs which started in the 1920's, I realize each blames the other, and continued sporadically throughout to this day, and that the Mandate specifically required the creation of an Arab state to match that of the Jewish. The misery of the palestinian Arab is due as much to his fellow Arab as to the Jew. The Holocaust, about which the Arab and Persian world is so very much in denial, had nothing to do with the Mandate, unless Dr. Who was involved, but did speed the exodus of the Jew from Europe. The current rise of anti-semitism in Europe will probably drive another exodus.
And in case the author was laboring under the misconception, Algebra was not "invented" by a Muslim. It was first used by the Babylonians (linear, quadratic, first-order indeterminate). Indians and Greeks wrote treatises on it before Islam existed, and Diophantus (Greek-Babylonian-Egyptian)is known as the father of modern algebra, as is Al-Khwarizmi. Both contributed much. Neither invented it. Just as Newton and Leibniz didn't invent Calculus, but made it coherent.
For the anti-semites: I am not Jewish, nor am I a Zionist puppet. In fact, I'm not Christian, not even a monotheist. And my last name is an "Ellis Island" name and has nothing to do with my ancestry.
Finally, off the subject of Islam, "balance" is an interesting term. Please give me a fair and balanced view of the Nazis, the Japanese Militarists, and the Ukrainian Holocaust (thought I was going to write "Armenian", didn't you?) . While you are at it, give me a solid philosophical basis for not hating the aforementioned, and why one should never "hate".
You have a good Blog, and my compliment is sincere.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Baghdad said...

I advise you post what you wrote on the following website forum that happen to be pro Wafa sultan

www.middleeastinfo.org

Keep it up

3:38 AM  
Anonymous bah said...

While you have taken my post without asking me (which is ok since i never really said no one can use it, and i never did sign up as any user, so yes i condone it, and if you want all my writings, tell me and i'll email them to you.) while you've taken my message(and have added to it) i still say well done.

you cleared it up especially when you said :

[quote]
Her message obviously isn't a constructive reformist one, nor is it truly one of religious tolerance. It's a strong athiest message, it is clear Wafa hopes to tear down the walls of a faith she's come to despise.
[/quote]

btw, i forgot to mention something, her dialect of arabic, isn't syrian (where she would've learned to speak arabic and stuck with the accent and dialect had she learned it there like she said.)
her dialect isn't even Formal Arabic language, her Dialect AND her accent are Egyptain dialect.
And while i have no way to prove that she's a coptic Christian, the part of the interview cut out, where the guy said "you're a coptic, not and atheist" and she didn't deny that, pretty much fills it for me.


i want to know something, did ANYONE bother to do some reasearch on her prof's murder to acknowledge if it's true or not?

6:18 PM  
Blogger A. Shah said...

Hey 'bah',

Thanks for letting use your post :) I would have asked permission but didn't have your email so I threw it up anyway (only recently did I notice it on Shoutwire). It was a good and thorough rebuttal, even if I did disagree with some minor points.

I would be very interested in reading whatever else you wrote on this. Maybe we can dissect Wafa's arguments in more detail on my website, it's a good way to start a discussion anyway. By the way, is there a internet link to the full interviews? I checked the Al-Jazeera website and couldn't find it.

It's interesting that you think she has an Egyptian accent. I came across some links on the internet that talked about her defense of Coptics, but found nothing to indicate she ever claimed to be one. Is the difference in dialect really that distinct that you can be certain she is using an Egyptian dialect, maybe her husband is Egyptian?Frankly, I also wonder if any journalists have bothered to check out her background to confirm what she is saying is on the level.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous bah said...

like i said, you're free to use my posts, and i might even email you with some of my other rebuttals (on several issues, not just wafaa sultan) i assume that you've already realized who i am, so i ask you to please not disclose my identity at the moment, because i'm already getting enough hatemail.

if there was a site or video capture of the full thing, i would've posted it long ago, even WITHOUT translation (since i don't know how to make subtitles) but the problem is that i saw it on tv , and i didn't capture it (nor do i have a capture card) so i can't prove it that way.
i'm thinking of askingg aljazeera to broadcast the whole thing and translate it to get the whole thing out.

memri is quite biased, if it's really a mideast watch like it claims, it should have translations of hebrew interviews and such, and more balanced coverage of people that are actually in support of usa policies or that call for peace...etc instead of solely featuring "anti muslim, anti west...etc" shit that are mostly individual opinions taken to be the general rule.


however, being that i'm egyptain american, and i have syrian, palestinian, lebanese , saudi and even JEWISH israeli relatives, i'm quite versed in arab dialects, it's VERY clear to me that the dialect she uses is not syrian, because syrian (or rather "Shamy" in general) dialect is vastly different from egyptain.. her dialect is almost 99% egyptain, however it could be libyan (not much though) or jordananian (a specific dialect not the general dialect) or palestinian , or even somethin completely else, but it is NOT Syrian.
Syrian dialect is quite heavier in sounds than other dialects.

for some odd reason, even though i have ZERO love for the muslim brotherhood and i do believe they could do such a thing, i doubt that her story is valid, or at least it's as valid as she says... quite honestly i agree with you on her being angry, and lashing out, i swear if she was in any way constructive, instead of full out , full blown propaganda spreading and attacking, i would be her FIRST supporter, in fact, there have been debates and religous debates and political debates and such all over the muslim world (on issues even as far as the hijab being religous or not, with books published on it) but what she did was attack attack attack, accuse accuse accuse, twist and turn and lie and ignore facts and history, for instance she says that jewish people never protested in violence, what about the Jewish israeli that assasinated Yitzhak Rabin (Bless that man) because he disagreed with his policies?


regardless, i could take the low road and attack her character, but i don't want nor need to because her arguements are so weak and factless that they can be easily debuked, however the debuking will rarely see the light of day, because at the end of the day, i truely believe that the media just wants to attack islam, and that the only reason she's even getting the time of day, is that she's attacking islam.
why?

for example, there's a list of condimnations of terrorism and beladin by almost every major islamic organization and ruler, but was that said by the media?
no instead you have people asking why moderates aren't talking out against it, because they haven't heard or seen it.
you never hear about how much the muslim world itself was suffering from terrorists before the usa even got attacked, you never hear about the war against terrorists that took place in egypt with police against the terrorists until the military intervined, dozens and dozens of officers died, not counting the egyptain MUSLIM citzens that were the primary target of those terrorists, and how there is no love in the arab world of terrorists.
you will not hear about instances where the muslim clerics released fatwa's that suicide bombings are haram , and you'll hear of radical clerics that condone them.
you won't hear about the muslims and arabs wearing yellow arm bands after 9-11 in solidarity with the american people. you will never hear about how the head priest "Father Shenouda" and almost every other egyptain Priest refuse to meet with the U.N comission that's supposed to investigate discrimination, not because they are forced not to , but because in their own word "we did not ask for help from anyone, we can solve our problems ourselves with our fellow egyptains, and there is no crisis " and when they said that they got a reply from an egyptain priest living in europe saying "if you don't do what i want, i'll turn the tables on you."

you hear about the priest that says left egypt cause he's afraid to go back because he's afraid of discrimnation, and have him crying about how he misses his mother and such (what kind of man, afraid of attacks against his "people" leaves his mother alone among those he claims will attack his "people"?),and people all sympathize with him and say egypt is terrible, and yet you won't hear that he's a thief that's been denounced by egyptain christians, because he went on a research loan to the usa, on terms that he'd come back and work in egypt for a certain amount of years, and how he didn't return, and didn't pay the funds back WHICH IS THEFT OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS.

look, i'm a muslim, and i will gladly accept critism and discussion of Islam and muslims (heck i critise muslims myself) but i DO NOT and WILL NOT condone attacks done in such a low matter that they resort to propaganda and lies.

in her recent clip, she talks about how the Qu'ran will inspire kids to be terrorists if read to them because their young minds will misinterpret them, and yet she ignores the fact that the bible has quotes that are FAR FAR FAAAAR more violent than the Qu'ran, quotes that inspire rape, genocide, murder, slavery ...etc


she has done more damage to a possible muslim-western dialouge than almost anything else sans israel.

that's enough for now.

5:29 AM  
Blogger A. Shah said...

Hey 'bah',

Again I agree with a lot of what you have to say. Her arguments are unfair and one-sided, and they lend credence to some of the most dangerous types of anti-Islamism that thrive all over the world nowadays. One thing I have to say in her defense though is that I think she has the right to believe or say whatever she wants. At least by airing her views in the open if gives people a chance to dissect what she's saying. Put it this way, even if she didn't make these statements in public, she and many many others would still harbour them in private. At least by airing them publicly they can analyzed critically. Ultimately, I don't really think her arguments can be that harmful as long as there are people out to check her rhetorical excesses. According to that LA Times article I have a link to in my post she hasn't really had any contact with reform minded Muslims. Hopefully with time she'll learn to moderate her excesses and tone down her anti-Islamic and fundamentalist secularist stance a bit.

And finally there is some truth to what she says. Even though what she says is one-sided, angry, and aggressivly athiestic, she has some valid points. There are serious problems in the Islamic world that are largely derived from how many Muslims interpret their religion. In my opinion, politicized and militant versions of Wahhabi-style Islam is bringing misery, destruction and stifling freedom in much of the Muslim world. The fact that she can't distinguish between Wahhabism and militant Islam, and the moderate face of Islam which I belive is truly embraced by the majority of Muslims is the greatest flaw in her rhetoric.

And by the way, yes I totally agree with you can find similar aggressive messages towards 'unbelievers' in Christianity and Judaism (however, the major eastern polythiestism-derived religions seem much comfortable with living with a bewildering variety of somewhat contradictory schools of thought within one faith). That said, I think it's undeniable that at this moment in history there is a greater percentage of Muslims that are willing to act on those intolerant teachings than there are in Christianity and Judaism. In my opinion this will eventually change when the Muslim world becomes more secular. Christianity went through some very bloody periods in the process of becoming secular, and Judaism had secularism forced upon it because of its perpetual minority status. I think the Islamic world is going through the process of secularization now, and will eventually emerge from it with more stable, healthy and progressive societies. Wafa is wrong when she says that Islam cannot be modernized and purged of it's intolerant strains. I think the vast majority of progressive-minded Muslims believe this too, and that's why she will likely have little impact on the debate over religious reform in the Muslim world.

10:27 PM  
Blogger A. Shah said...

R. Raymond thanks for your thoughtful comments,

While the post was an interesting rebuttal, the author used only denotation and left out the connotation. For example: "People of the Book" are also those who have corrupted Allah's word, not a good thing I would think; and "Dhimma" are also those who are to be subdued, subjugated, forced to live under Islamic repression.

One of the things that I think is profoundly misrepresented in the West is this idea of Dhimmitude. First of all, in comparison to Christianity and Judaism, Islam actually stands out from the three by actually 'officially' (i.e. you can find explicit teachings in its holiest text) accepting that other faiths have some validity. Yes there are passages about 'smiting the unbeliever' but you can find just as much of this in various passages of the Bible. Since Islam came after the other two religions and shares many of the same messages and stories, its not surprising that from a historical perspective Islam has actually tended to show more tolerance of Christians and Jews than vice versa. Admittedly, this situation has been reversed in contemporary history because of the greater secularization of the West compared to the Muslim world. Nonetheless, if you take a longer historical perspective, I think it is the case that the devout Muslim has shown more willingness to live with and tolerate devout Christians and Jews than vice versa. This is born out by the long-term presence of Christians and Jews, which has dramatically changed because of immigration in very recent history, in Muslim lands. Jews in particular were generally treated with far more respect in the Muslim world than in Christian lands up until a couple of centuries ago (of course I'm not including the holocaust which was arguably ultimately rooted in the natural anti-Jewish sentiment that can be derived from Christian theology). Yes I do agree that Muslim countries are at present less tolerant of other faiths, but I think that singling out the Islamic religion as a whole as being particularly intolerant of other faiths is a distortion.


An interesting thing about all religious works is that their content allows one to do what one wants while justifying it. This is what the current "fundamentalists" are doing, I shouldn't have used the word as it really conveys no meaning. The author of your quoted post made reference to some monolithic Islam that does not exist.

I agree with this, Islam has a variety of traditions. Some very intolerant and some actually very open-minded.



There are documented historical references to Islamic massacres, forced conversions of the "I'll make you an offer you can't refuse" form similar to that which the Spanish Inquisition made to the Jews after the Reconquista, and any of a myriad of abuses that Christianity has so flagellated itself for the last hundred or so years. Islam has existed as both a religious and political ideology, intertwined, which opens the door wide for corruption in the name of Allah. Note that Christianity's corruption began when it assumed political power. Oddly, its martyrs only died at the hands of others, without killing, but I digress. Sorry for the sarcasm, but I have a hard time seeing martyrs as those who kill others.

Yes, there are instances of Islamic attrocities particularly during warfare, but honestly overall I think if you look at the grand sweep of history devout Muslims have actually shown themselves to be more willing to tolerate religious minorities than devout Christians. Of course this pretty much reversed itself after the 'Christian' world started rejecting its religious heritage around the time of the enlightenment. I think one of the reasons its hard for many 'Westerners' to see this is because there is a 1300 year old historical bias against Islam, since Christianity and Islam came in conflict with each other very early on (note: Muhammad himself had good relations with the Christians of Medina and the Christian Abyssinian's, even if the Muslim Arabs began their rapid conquests of Christian territory immediately after under the 'holy' caliphs).

I agree with your point that politics has been more deeply intertwined with Islam than it has been with Christianity- and I do think this is a factor in the greater secularization that presently exists in the Christian world. I think this has to do with historical happenstance than anything else. Jesus was killed shortly after the start of his ministry, and he never came close to displacing the powers-that-be in his own lifetime. Given he, nor his immediate followers, ever remotely had a chance of leading any armed struggle against Romans or the Jewish establishment, its not surprising the new testament would be filled with 'pacifistic' messages. Muhammad on the other hand, while persecuted and rejected in the beginning, did end up conquering most of his 'pagan' enemies within his lifetime. I think one important thing to note is that standard Christianity is largely a product of a highly political act on the part of Constantine. And the Catholic and Orthodox churches which were the inheritance of Constantine's political consolidation of the faith. This process is a very interesting story in and of itself, and its described in detail in book called 'When Jesus Became God' (you can find it in the list of amazon books I have up). Nonetheless, it is true that the religion and the state has been more clearly decoupled in Christianity than Islam.

The argument that there are no Christian warrior 'martyrs' is clearly false as evidenced by the Crusades, Joan of Arc, etc.


The one part of the post that I was surprised you didn't address, was the fiction regarding the Jewish state...The misery of the palestinian Arab is due as much to his fellow Arab as to the Jew. The Holocaust, about which the Arab and Persian world is so very much in denial, had nothing to do with the Mandate, unless Dr. Who was involved, but did speed the exodus of the Jew from Europe. The current rise of anti-semitism in Europe will probably drive another exodus.

I agree that the actions of the various Arab factions did contribute greatly to the misery of the Palestinians, and this wasn't treated fairly in the original post. On the other hand, this doesn't negate the injustice done when Palestinians were stripped of their ancestral lands and the inhumane way they were treated which was primarily a result of the creation of Israel and the influx of European settlers. I'm certainly no expert in this area, but I'm pretty sure that holocaust guilt did have a heck of a lot to do with the Balfour declaration in 1948 which really set the stage for the creation of Israel. And the successful settlement of European Jews prior to 1948 was largely a product of European colonialism- something that's breezily dismissed here in the West.


Finally, off the subject of Islam, "balance" is an interesting term. Please give me a fair and balanced view of the Nazis, the Japanese Militarists, and the Ukrainian Holocaust (thought I was going to write "Armenian", didn't you?) . While you are at it, give me a solid philosophical basis for not hating the aforementioned, and why one should never "hate".

I'm not a moral relativist, I do think there are abhorent ideas that should be fought. I think militant Wahhabi-style Islam is a very negative force in the world, and I do condemn it. However when you try to clump together all of Islam with this relatively modern rigid and backward interpretation of the faith, I have to respectfully object. When I criticizing Wafa for lacking 'balance' in my post, this is what I was trying to get at. To put it in your words, she kept referring to Islam as if it were a monolithic faith, ultimately condemning it as a whole- this was why I described her as 'lacking balance'.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Matt Fields said...

The bit about Not Rebuking Her based on whether or not she's an atheist -- or, as Memri translated it, heretic -- is besides the point, as she herself pointed out clearly. It's an attempt to shift the topic to Wafa Sultan instead of religious violence, and does not answer her one bit. It matters not whether the imam was attacking her as a heretic or condescending to her as an infidel, either way it was ad hominem, and she was quite right to say "what you call me doesn't matter."

12:47 PM  
Anonymous bah said...

again, notice how it was taken out of context, he was asking her NOT to attack her, but to say that if you're not of a religon,i cannot hold what you say against you. everyone seems to translate that to an evasion of the questions, guess what THERE WAS A PART CUT OUT before he asked that question, yet for some reason, people can't identify cuts in video WHEN THEY"RE FREAKIN OBVIOUS.

he WASN"T attacking her (unlike she did at parts in the discussion) nor was he condescending her.

jeez, i wish i had the power to get aljazeera to release the whole damn thing.

maybe then we wouldn't have these insistant type replies.

anywho,

@Akeel

yes the problems are from the interpretations.
Wahabinism is NOT the problem, as Wahhabi is quite moderate, niether is fundementalism... see here's the thing, people view fundamentism as wrong, but that term basically means " return to roots or strict" and there's nothing wrong with that.

i consider myself a Muslim Fundamentalist, why? not because i'm retarded and want to blow someone up or some stupid shit like that, because THAT is RADICALISM, but i'm a Fundamentalist, because i'm tolerant, nice to my neighbours, believe in fighting only in defense...etc

so yeah.

the problem is her quotes ARE harmful, because barely ANYONE checks her rhetorial excesses (like no one realizes that guy from an anti-islam site has been proved wrong a gazillion times) they just take it as such, like the recent order of hanging of a rape victim in iran, did anyone check the facts? see if the girl did get raped and was doing it in self defense, and the judge ordered her killed, then as a muslim i DEMAND to have him tried as a murderer... but the thing is, what if she just claimed that and she actually did it in cold blood and the evidence and witnesses proved that? what if a gazillion other things? did anyone check that? no, they just used "Iran sentences 17 year old rape victim to death" as a way of spreading how vile the muslims and islam are.
she's more or less going to be used the same, trust me, there is not ONE debate she could raise with her attacks, that isn't already active in the muslim world, so she hasn't caused the muslim world to debate itself, but rather given more ammunition to those attacking islam, which quite honestly is just wrong.

Islam is a religon of Moderation, Everything in islam is said to be done best by moderation, except things like work with passages like "God Likes that if someone does a job , he does it Well" or "be kind to thy enemies, and return his scorn with kindness, lest s/he become your dear friend"

there's a quote that says "Religon is Ease not Strictness"

but who hears about that?

instead, all you hear about is people like beladin.

you see why i dislike what she's saying?

the problem you do not understand, is islam does NOT have intolerant teachings (unlike the bible and Torah) but rather passages that are misinterpreted by some (including those fucking terrorist bastards such as fuckladin) as intolerant.

i won't disagree on you with the percentage, but can you tell me the actual percentage of religous extremism in each religon?

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the MEMRI doctored tape of the debate.

I read some of the Arabic writings attributed to her on: http://www.annaqed.com/category.aspx?category=wafasultan

She claims that she was a doctor in Syria for some time. That means that she lived in Syria for at least 20 years of her life.

What puzzles me is her accent. In no way shape or form could she have lived in Syria for 20 some years and speak Arabic which such non Arabic broken accent.

Could 'Wafa Sultan' be the Nom de Guerre of an Israeli Mossad agent posing as ex Muslim to ride the wave of Muslim hating season and give immoral support to the Zionists who actively and successfully (Iraq war) seek to have the Christians do their dirty genocides and massacres

Her broken spoken Arabic leads me to suspect this woman has never been an Arab or Muslim. Ever!

1:12 AM  
Blogger A. Shah said...

Could 'Wafa Sultan' be the Nom de Guerre of an Israeli Mossad agent posing as ex Muslim to ride the wave of Muslim hating season and give immoral support to the Zionists who actively and successfully (Iraq war) seek to have the Christians do their dirty genocides and massacres

Dude, I hope you're out trolling because you're sounding more than a little loco. I do wonder if anyone has bothered to check out her story though before they started the Wafa love fest.

1:53 AM  
Blogger DANK said...

So who should we, the ignorant and unenlightened of the world, turn to for information on the state of the Arab world, and the direction that fundamentalist Muslim belief will take in the next 5 years? YOU?!! Not friggen likely.

Any time I see someone take this amount of time lampooning someone, I cant help but feel I should re-read the media for what is TRUE! You cant think that I’d believe someone who has taken all this time to break down, and rebut the words of the first female that the western world has herd speak out against the laws and rules of Islam, and how that specific religion has been subverted to the capricious wants of a select few rulers, in some rather "needy" countries of the world. Or can you?

Lets say 40% of what she said was even remotely correct/salient. Is that any better/worse a ratio that anyone would get on either CNN or AlJ? This is a media skirmish, and nothing more. DO BETTER, and you wont have to worry about such press. The fact that the western world is in a position to believe someone like her is a statement as to how badly Islamic policy makers have dealt with the current situation in SEVERAL countries. Not just the ones we hear about every day.

Stop using people as weapons, and harming civilians, and the above, your article, and hers will all be a thing of the past.

Blowing up those statues in Afghanistan was a HUGE mistake that Islam will have to repay for a long long time.

9:23 AM  
Blogger A. Shah said...

'dank',

Any time I see someone take this amount of time lampooning someone, I cant help but feel I should re-read the media for what is TRUE!

I wouldn't say I was 'lampooning' her in that article. I was analyzing her arguments, and examining the merit and possible impact of them.


You cant think that I’d believe someone who has taken all this time to break down, and rebut the words of the first female that the western world has herd speak out against the laws and rules of Islam...

Isn't taking the time to analyze someone's argument, rather than just reacting on emotion, the right thing to do? Like I said in the article I think Wafa raises some valid points but only present one side of the of it. Given her approach, it might get her a lot of attention but it's unlikely to trigger much meaningful debate in the places that need it the most. I included that post giving a detailed rebuttal to her in my article because I thought it demonstrated pretty effectively how a Muslim would see her argument as being unfair and uninformed and would therefore dismiss her criticism.


Lets say 40% of what she said was even remotely correct/salient. Is that any better/worse a ratio that anyone would get on either CNN or AlJ? This is a media skirmish, and nothing more. DO BETTER, and you wont have to worry about such press.

See you're doing the same thing she does, which is one of the reasons I'm criticizing her. Again, I agree she raises some valid points. However, she clumps the entire religion into the same category. She has said in her LA Times article that doesn't think Islam is capable of being reformed. I personally think the religion can adapt, like any other faith, and have a place in the 'modern' world. And the point is most devout Muslims will react very negatively to what they see as their faith being slandered. What is needed is some real debate about the nature of the religion. I agree that most Muslims don't engage in it, which is ultimately the reason the faith has not adapted much. However, Wafa's approach will do little to provoke the deep examination and debate that is needed.

Blowing up those statues in Afghanistan was a HUGE mistake that Islam will have to repay for a long long time.

Most Muslims I know were disgusted by the actions of the Taliban. Muslims should definitely stand up and totally condemn such outrageous acts, I agree not enough do but many have repeatedly done so.
On the other hand, why should the entire religion be smeared by the actions of a group of semi-literate and war-ravaged fanatics? Why should some peace-loving Sufi, or a moderate Muslim be maligned by the actions of people like that? People whom they have no contact with or influence over. Does that seem fair or reasonable to you? The fact that the ENTIRE religion and all its forms can get smeared by the actions of the most extreme Muslims is a good indication of precisely how little people in the ‘West’ know about the religion.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think she is a Zionist. Plant. POssibly Jew..Or she could be a zionist Arab. There are some. Yasser Arafat was a Zihune Jew..You can tell she is well taught by some Zionist GOV.

11:54 PM  
Blogger A. Shah said...

Again, hopefully you're a troll. If not then why post anonymously. Be a man and stand by your words rather than smear people on the internet in anonymity.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Ses7 said...

To the author of this blog:

Your comments, "much of what she says is overblown rhetoric, and of course it's completely one-sided", and arguments over translations such as 'mule' or 'beast' are indicative of a religion / mind-set that need to belabour such points in order to counter Wafa's views. In short - you're MISSING THE POINT! Wafa's message is simple and universal: Live and let live. Celebrate your religion, but let others celebrate theirs in peace. Follow your own beliefs without denouncing the beliefs of others. Live according to your faith, but don't trample the human rights of others, including women. When Wafa responded to the muslim cleric about whether or not she was a heretic, her answer was "that's my personal business". And it is. You were right about the early Christian crusaders and other atrocities committed in the name of religion. However, these practices occurred in the Middle Ages and the world has left them behind and moved on. Islam hasn't. Whatever your views on Israel and their war, at least they are fighting it on their own front and focussing on military targets where possible. They are not given to blowing up innocent people on buses/trains/towers on the other side of the world to get attention. Islamic fundamentalists do. Until Islam stops teaching its young hatred and fear, it will never win the respect of the world and the killing will go on and on...

9:53 PM  
Blogger Schizo's rainbow said...

I dont have an idea how long it took to finally read this blog,but all I can say is "two thumbs up!" though,her whole conversation partly seems manipulated and partly based on a layman info, one seizes to wonder why such depth of appreciation for the jews on one hand and such superficial factual knowledge on the topic she most despises on the other hand?
The whole concept of muslim extremist blowing up churches or anything for that matter has already been rebuked by the Islamic scholars as anything but Islamic teaching. Had the lady really been a muslim previously or taken a day in her life to read the Islamic teachings, perhaps she'd known better. I do agree with some of the comments put up here as her being a ploy of the zionists.Now dont get me wrong, I have nothing against the jews and do agree that they indeed suffered in the past history but most of all one must know the differance between zionism and judaism before basing their point of view on hearsay. The two being quiet contrary to the one another.
Nonetheless,we are all entitled to our point of views and I hope you post this blog on other sites,specially the wafa sultan's cheering parties!

9:47 AM  
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12:50 AM  
Blogger Double Penetration said...

yes the problems are from the interpretations.
Wahabinism is NOT the problem, as Wahhabi is quite moderate, niether is fundementalism... see here's the thing, people view fundamentism as wrong, but that term basically means " return to roots or strict" and there's nothing wrong with that.)

In answer to this comment i would like to say that its not fundamentalism that is wrong - its the actions of the fundamentalist. Since the fundamentalist adheres to the word of scripture with such dedication, they will refuse anything that does not agree with what those words of the scripture says. For example here are two quotes from the Qu'ran

" Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and goods; for theirs ( in return ) is the garden ( of paradise ): they fight in his cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qu'ran." [Qu'ran 9.11.1]

" It is a 'divine' commandment to persecute Jews and Christians, to defeat them in battle and then to consign them either to slavery or to death." [Surah 8:39; 9:5, 29: 47:4]

I got this from a terrorist site instigating terrorism on Australia.

NOW, to a fundamentalist who adheres 100% to the word of scripture, in Muslims' case the word of Allah and the word of God -a fundamentalist believes everything that the authority of scripture says - to be true - The Truth.

A liberalist however will accept the jist of the message however will make up his own mind, using his OWN BLOODY BRAIN to draw a conclusion. This is the problem with fundamentalism - you stick to the roots yes, but so blindly that you narrow your path down extremely - so that you cant see anything APART from what the scripture says. Now, if a collection or a community of people as a whole have a fundamentalist attitude the chances of breeding terrorists, is going to be much higher than that of a liberalist community, who dont just use one source as their source for authority.

(i consider myself a Muslim Fundamentalist, why? not because i'm retarded and want to blow someone up or some stupid shit like that, because THAT is RADICALISM, but i'm a Fundamentalist, because i'm tolerant, nice to my neighbours, believe in fighting only in defense...etc)

Fair enough, you might not go blowing people up, but fundamentalist attitudes to scripture leads to the same problem that Wafa Sultan is addressing and the message i took from the video. that message is : why cant people believe in what they believe in - why do they HAVE to believe in ISLAM. I'm assuming that in the scripture people have to believe in Islam or they are doing wrong (therefore they go to hell, they are sinning etc) - therefore a fundamentalist is going to believe that only his religion is right and everyone elses' is wrong simply because he sticks so dearly to one source.

So, in the scripture why do people have to follow the way of islam? isnt a believer of God still a believer? If in the Qu'ran it says : everyone must believe in islam or they go to hell - then fundamentalists will conclude that this is 100% true - this is why i feel that a fundamentalist attitude is wrong.

Finally, i would like to ask a genuine question to every muslim reading this article - to give their opinion on whether they believe a person will go to hell, if they do not believe in islam. Or whether Islam allows people to believe in whatever religion they want? Simply because the answer to this question has never been clearly given to me.

Thanks

10:51 PM  
Blogger MEHDI said...

First of all, I would like to salute such a brave individual as Dr. Sultan. As an arab, I would love to see more of her on open airways and international stations for the world to see that not all arabs agree with to the beliefs of these uneducated morons calling themselves fundamentalist or any other garbage. Dr. Sultan is the true voice of every religion any where around the world. a true Muslim would take every word said during that interview on al jazeera and think of it seriously, this might bring peace finally to the middle east. I personaly think every religious book should have on it's cover in big block letters the following: BE AND LET BE.

4:05 PM  

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