November 2, 12:04
Dr. Wafa Sultan is a Syrian-born, American psychiatrist famous for her blistering critique of Islam in a debate with a Muslim cleric first aired on al-Jazeera television in 2006. The video of this controversial chastisement was posted online and has been seen by millions of people worldwide. So popular was this courageous and passionate exposé that TIME magazine voted Dr. Sultan one of the world's 100 most influential people of that year.
Dr. Sultan is also a co-founder of the American human rights group Former Muslims United, whose members include other important ex-Muslim activists such Nonie Darwish and Amil Imani, along with other brave souls. One of the main purposes of FMU is to ensure that Muslim apostates are protected under U.S. law, which charges people with murder who kill other human beings, regardless of their faith or non-belief. Unfortunately, according to the four main schools of Islamic jurisprudence, apostates from Islam can be murdered freely and legally
—and many of the Muslim faithful have been taught to believe this slaughter is necessary, according to "God's law."
Former Muslims United also educates the public as to other threats to their basic human rights and freedoms under Islamic or sharia law, which is being pushed in non-Muslim countries around the world. One look at the kingdom of Saudi Arabia reveals the fundamentalist Islamic state under sharia law—and this way of life is being exported globally along with an agenda to compel sharia law upon the non-Muslim population as well. Along with sharia comes apostate murder, legal wife beatings, "honor killings," child marriages, public beheadings, stonings and hangings, limb amputations, discrimination against and forced covering up of women, as well as other brutal and harsh atrocities and mistreatments of human beings.
Wafa Sultan is an active and courageous critic of Islam at its fundamental core, which includes not only sharia law but also violent exhortations within the Koran/Quran itself. For her vitally important work helping preserve democratic and free society, Dr. Sultan lives under a constant security threat. In order to tell her story and spread her message, she has a new book out explaining the quagmire in which much of the world finds itself currently sinking, A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam.
She has kindly agreed to an interview with me here on Examiner.com about her life and mission.
D.M. Murdock: Dr. Sultan, thank you for honoring us with this interview. You are a courageous woman for doing what you do. The first question is, have you personally received any threats against you for your work exposing the problems with Islamic law and tradition? Are any of these threats specifically because of your very public apostasy from Islam? How has your life been impacted by these threats?
"I receive death threats on a daily basis."
Wafa Sultan: I receive death threats on a daily basis. I'm a well-known writer in the Arab world. My writings expose me to millions of devout Muslims who have nothing positive to prove but the sheer cruelty of their teachings. Islam has deprived them of their intellectual ability to face criticism with an effective and acceptable way.
Being born and raised as a Muslim has helped me to realize how serious these threats are. While I try to not let the threats interfere with my mission, at the same time I don't ignore them either. Prior to the release of my book A God Who Hates, I was forced to go into hiding. It hasn't been easy, but since I believe in my mission, nothing will deter me from accomplishing my objective.
DM: You were born and raised in a country—Syria—that, although it supposedly has a "secular" government, is largely Muslim. How was life different in Syria than it has been since you became an American citizen? Specifically as a woman, how is your life different from what it would have been, if you had stayed within the Syrian Muslim culture?
WS: The idea of "secular" government is a misconception that needs to be clarified. There is no secular government in the Islamic world. Some governments pretend to be secular for two main reasons: 1. To prove to the West that they are "secular" and in that way to benefit economically from its dealing with the West; and 2. The despotic governments are always threatened by Islamists. That leaves those autocratic regimes with no choice but to hit the Islamists with an iron fist.
The continuous conflict between the two evils doesn't mean that the government is less Islamic. In Syria, as long as Islamists don't bother the government—especially the president and his family—they are free to do whatever they wish. For the last twenty years, the Islamists with the help of Saudi money have played a major role in radicalizing the Syrian public, while the Syrian government has been turning a blind eye.
The situation under Islamic Sharia is bad in every Islamic country, but the level of strictness is different from one country to another—depending on the degree to which these laws are applied and followed. On a scale of one to ten where #1 is the least and #10 is the worst, I would grade Syria #6 compared to Saudi Arabia, which deserves to get a #10.
However, my life in America is not comparable to my life in Syria at any aspect. Since I left my country in 1989, I have been enjoying my life as a free person. Regardless of the threats I receive ,I express myself freely and speak my mind without the fear of being killed by my family and associates.
Do you think that if I lived in Syria I could answer your questions freely the same way I'm doing it now?
DM: When you earned your American citizenship, you learned about the U.S. Constitution. What are some important differences between the American Constitution and Islamic/sharia law, as you understand them?
WS: In essence, I began learning about the U.S. Constitution the first moment I arrived in the United States. I learned about the Constitution not necessarily by reading it but rather by experiencing life as a free woman—freedom that has been granted to me under the full protection of the American Constitution. Since then, I have been enjoying my life as a liberated human being, able mentally and intellectually to make my own choices and by that shape my destiny.
"Under Islamic sharia, a woman is not considered a free being. She is mentally unfit to decide her own life."
In contrast, under Islamic sharia, a woman is not considered a free being. She is mentally unfit to decide her own life, so she is to be under her husband’s control. She has no right to marry a man of her choice without her father's or another male family member’s consent. She has no right to divorce by her choice or to gain her children’s custody in case of divorce. The value of her life is half the value of her husband.
In brief, women are the commodity of their husbands and extended family, and therefore their free choice is entirely restricted under Islamic sharia.
DM: As a psychiatrist, how important do you feel are freedom of thought and speech to the emotional, psychological and spiritual health of a human being?
WS: Humans can't prosper intellectually, mentally and emotionally without being able to think and express their thoughts freely. Throughout history, great civilizations have always been the product of free minds. If we take a look at any tyrannical society, regardless of the nature of its oppression, religious or politics, the results are nothing short of coercion, poverty, and backwardness at all aspects of life.
There is an Arabic saying which we repeat but never apply: "A healthy body is always managed by a healthy mind." It's a matter of fact that our physical health is also a product of our healthy mind. Therefore, a human being will never have a healthy mind unless he is able to nurture and express it freely.
DM: As an ex-Muslim, do you consider yourself an atheist or secularist, or do you adhere to a different set of religious beliefs or spiritual practices? Or perhaps none of the above? Do you agree that people should be free to believe or disbelieve in religious dogma of whatever kind, so long as they do not impose it and themselves on others?
"Generally speaking, I consider myself a spiritual person who believes in the existence of a divine power that to some degree controls this universe."
WS: It depends on how we define secularism. Generally speaking, I consider myself a spiritual person who believes in the existence of a divine power that to some degree controls this universe. I consider this power to be a source of positive energy that can inspire human beings to be kind and compassionate. I don't follow a specific religion, but I respect the right of others to freely choose and practice theirs. My simple philosophy is, you have the right to worship a stone, so long as you don't hit me with it.
DM: If you had one thing you could say to the American public, what would it be?
WS: In my book, A God Who Hates,I tell my life story, through which the reader can get an intimate understanding of life—especially a woman’s life in an Islamic society and the ominous reality of Islam in general. It is imperative for Americans to get educated about this topic, including on the foundation of the Islamic religion and its political ideology.
There are four main entities in our society that need the proper education:
1. Government officials—especially those who deal with our security—must acquire the knowledge by studying Muslims texts, including Koran and the Sunna from Arabic sources, word for word without alteration of the texts. That will underscore the predicament of political Islam, which aspires to submit the western world under Islam and sharia.
"The media needs to avoid being politically correct, and be forthright in discussing brutal Islamic related news stories."
2. The media needs to avoid being politically correct, and be forthright in discussing brutal Islamic related news stories. Unfortunately, the heartbreaking stories of honor killings are gradually growing in number here in the U.S. as well as in Europe.
3. The academia needs to avoid whitewashing Islam and to teach Islamic studies from a scientific perspective so that students get the correct information. For example, students need to know the reality of Jihad from a geopolitical and historical perspective. In that way they may learn the devastating consequences of Islam’s expansion throughout history and the brutality which had been used to conquer and spread Islam.
4. Lastly, non-Muslim proponents of interfaith dialogue must get a comprehensive education on various important Islamic concepts from reliable scholars of Islam as opposed to apologist scholars like Karen Armstrong and Professor John Esposito. With proper and solid information, participants in interfaith dialogues need to be bold enough and ask their Muslim counterparts the harsh and unpleasant questions regarding Islam. That may generate some productive outcome in forcing Islamists who are mistakenly considered "moderates" to unveil their true intentions.
In short, the pervasive political correctness in our society is an epidemic of great proportions. With its moral relativism and multiculturalism, it leads to a drastic decline of Western values, and if it continues unrestrained, it may well lead to the destruction of Western civilization as we know it today.
DM: Thank you, Dr. Sultan, for your courage and intelligence in speaking out on behalf of human rights for people worldwide. We wholeheartedly support your efforts and hope you will be safe and active for a very long time.
PLEASE PASS ALONG THIS IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO AMERICA!
Sources & Further Reading
A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam
Former Muslims United
Ex-Muslims in U.S. want civil rights assurances
Death threats against ex-Muslims
A Truly Sacred Scripture