Tuesday, March 14, 2006

More About Wafa Sultan

The LA Times has an article about Wafa Sultan, the Syrian-American woman who appeared on Al-Jazeera and spoke out strongly against militant Islam. Islam Fatally Flawed, Says Voice From Corona via Al Jazeera - Los Angeles Times:
A Syrian native, Sultan said she walked away from the faith of her family 27 years ago, when she witnessed the murder of her professor by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an extremist organization then battling the Syrian government. She said the men burst into her classroom at the University of Aleppo in northern Syria, where she was a medical student, and gunned him down, screaming, "Allah is great!"

"That was the turning point of my life," she said. "I was traumatized. I lost faith in God -- or their God -- and started to question every single teaching of ours."

She said that, a decade later, after practicing medicine in Syria, she and her husband moved to the United States, where she initially worked as a cashier and studied English at Cal State Long Beach. Today, the couple have three children. Her husband, David, runs an automotive smog-check station. She said she is waiting for acceptance into a residency program before she can be fully certified to practice psychiatry here.

But Sultan said her prime passion has always been speaking out about Islam, something she finally had the freedom to do after arriving in the United States. She began writing regular columns for a local Arabic-language newspaper. Five years ago, she began contributing to a website, http://www.annaqed.com, after the Arabic reference to "the critic."

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks brought her critiques new audiences. Last year, she began appearing on Al Jazeera, the world's most popular Arabic-language television network. Her appearance last month, however, attracted particular attention because she praised Jews for working hard to rebuild their community after the Holocaust, favorably comparing it to violent reactions by Muslims to their plights, whether in response to satirical Danish cartoons or subjugation in the Palestinian territories.

She said she has received death threats and been accused by Muslims of pandering to Christians and Jews with her critiques of Islam.

But Sultan insists that her motives are pure. "I am not against Muslim people," she said. "They are my people. I am just trying to change their mentality and their behavior."
Some Muslim leaders are quoted in the article as saying Sultan is nothing special and that reform of Islam can only come from within (i.e. through them). In their view it's only infidels that are making a big deal about this. Unfortunately, we don't have 500 years to wait for these guys to get the job done. We can count on them to stand up to those preaching hatred in the name of Islam, as soon as it's no longer dangerous to do so.

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