Wafa Sultan's seminal moment was when she took on an Islamic cleric on Al-Jazeera. The clip went viral on Youtube, and it really was a defining moment in the clash of civilizations. Here was a woman, basically considered "property" in the Muslim world and expected to do what she was told, turning around after she had been interrupted numerous times, and saying in effect, "Quiet, it's my turn."
Now comes her new book, A God Who Hates, which will undoubtedly prove to be a key resource in the resistance to jihad and Islamization. In it, the brilliant psychiatrist from Syria, now an American citizen, tells her own story.
It is the story of a Muslim woman who grew up in a country where she was indoctrinated in Islamic ideology. So her perspective is very important in terms of establishing the credibility of scholars like Robert Spencer and Dr. Andrew Bostom. But what makes this book great, apart from its breathtaking honesty and truth and the clarity and urgency of its warning, is that it is also a beautiful love letter to America.
Wafa speaks powerfully about what America means to her. It manifests itself in little things. She leaves her house at 5 am and makes her way to Starbucks to have her coffee without fearing that someone might see her and accuse her of immoral behavior.
To her, America means saying "good morning" to her neighbor and chatting with him for a few moments without being accused of having spent the night with him. America, for this courageous woman, means that her daughter can come home and tell her that she had lunch with her boyfriend without being beaten or accused of having impugned the family honor.
It is clear throughout A God Who Hates that Wafa Sultan was always a very independent thinker, even though there were times in her life when she did not immediately allow herself to go to the next step to which her thinking was leading her. She writes lovingly about her husband, who was very supportive of her. He was an open-minded thinker -- initially more so than was Wafa herself.
But she recounts in the book certain momentous events that jarred her thinking, such as in 1979 when Muslims screaming "Allahu akbar" murdered one of her professors, the ophthalmology lecturer Dr. Yusef Al-Yusef, whom she respected and admired. Wafa witnessed the murder - and at that exact moment started to question the nature of the Islamic faith.
"But I was afraid," she explained when I interviewed her recently, "to express my feelings. I was afraid to express my thoughts, because under Islamic sharia, a Muslim who dares to leave Islam or dares to convert to any other religion is to be killed. And every Muslim has the right to kill someone who has left Islam without being asked a question.
This is the Islamic law. Once you were born as a Muslim, you're not allowed to leave it. This is simply the Islamic law, and it seems to me it's very hard to convince Americans that this is the way it is."
The recent Rifqa Bary apostasy case shows how right Wafa is about that, and how urgent her message is. Rifqa Bary is the teenage girl, a Muslim in Ohio, who left Islam four years ago and converted to Christianity.
When her father found out about her conversion, she fled from her home in fear for her life. She said she ran away to Florida because she wanted to get as far away as she could -- because not only her family but the mosque and the community in Ohio is very devout, and as an apostate she is in danger. But now she has been returned to Ohio, in large part because American authorities don't know anything about Islamic apostasy law....
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wafa Sultan: "I am trying to send a message to the West"
But is anyone listening? Pamela Geller reviews Wafa Sultan's superb and essential new book for FrontPage: