Arab-American Psychiatrist Wafa Sultan Blasts Islam, the Prophet Muhammad and Sheik Al-Qaradhawi, and States: When You Criticize Their Prophet, It Is As If You Chopped Off Muslims' Noses
Following are excerpts from an interview with Arab-American psychiatrist Wafa Sultan, which aired on Al-Hayat TV on May 29, 2008.
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Sultan is a Syrian-American psychiatrist from an Alawi family. She was herself a Sunni Muslim. Well, she was born and raised as one, at any rate. And, unlike many of her sympathizers, she does not hold with the opinion that Islam was "hijacked" by extremists. On the contrary, she says, serious research into the holy texts led to her own personal rejection of the religion. The faith, she says, cannot be reformed, but rather has to be "transformed."
She grew up as a religious girl in Banyias ("a small town on the Mediterranean"), attended medical school in Aleppo, and now lives as a secular American in California, where she settled in 1989, eight months after her husband, and two years before her two elder children (her youngest was born in the US).
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But 1979 was the real turning point of our lives. It was the year I witnessed the murder of a professor of mine. While shooting him, the killers were screaming "Allahu Akbar [God is great]!"
I was in a state of shock. The sound of the bullets became associated in my mind with Allah.
JP: Why was your professor targeted?
For no reason other than belonging to the Allawi sect of Islam - that of the president - while the majority in Syria were Sunnis. And at that time, there was a bloody conflict between the government and the Muslim Brotherhood. But I knew for a fact that he was not involved in politics. I was devastated, and began to question what kind of Allah this is.
JP: Until then, were you and your family devout Muslims?
Oh yes. I had to fast, I had to preach about Islam...
JP: What altered that?
After the trauma of the murder in the name of Allah, I delved into all the Islamic texts - the Koran and the Hadith - carefully studying each, one by one.
Look, the Iraqi woman on the panel [Pascale Warda] told me about a case of a man killed in Iraq for selling ice, since Muhammed didn't use ice. Can you imagine? According to Sharia, selling ice is a crime! She also told me that Iraqis believe that you must not put cucumbers and tomatoes in the same bag, because cucumbers are male and tomatoes are female. This is an example of a dangerous belief system driving bad behavior.
JP: Do you think a "transformation" will be best achieved through the men or the women?
Through the women. Muslim women have everything to gain by a transformed Islam and nothing to lose. They've already lost everything. Muslim men, on the other hand, won't relinquish their powers so easily.
JP: Are Western feminists on your side? I have encountered Americans and Israelis who - when it comes to the rights of women in Arab countries - side with multiculturalism. Has this been your experience as well?
Yes it has. I haven't received the kind of support I expected from women in the US. Recently, I gave a speech at the University of California, and during the question period, an American woman told me she didn't believe the things I was saying about Muslim men's treatment of women. She said: "Muhammed was the first man on earth to give women rights."
I responded, "Would you please tell me what some of those rights are, so I can tell Muslim women to be aware of them?"
She said, "I don't know, but I was invited to a mosque in LA, and that's what the mullah told us."
Can you believe how naive these women are?
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