Wafa Sultan interview

There’s an interesting selection from an interview with Wafa Sultan, a secular Arab-American, broadcast on Al Jazeera. (Thanks to D J Grothe for mentioning this.) It’s an eloquent expression of secularist frustration with fundamentalist Islam.

It’s unfortunate that this appears on the web site of MEMRI, a right-wing Islamophobic organization who I don’t trust very much. Still, just because they have an eye out for anything that puts Islam or Arabs in a bad light, they occasionally come across some sensible critiques of Islam as well.

About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11343561333869773127 debunking the idiots

    “We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people.”

    Sure, Goldstein must not have been Jewish.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826768452963498005 Jim Lippard

    The quoted statement is falsified by Baruch Goldstein’s 1994 rampage (and also by Alan Goodman’s 1982 attack outside the Al-Aqsa mosques), but wouldn’t you agree those incidents were exceptional, while killings by Muslims insurgents in the Middle East seem to be a bit closer to a rule?

    While the Israeli government has certainly engaged in abuses, Judaism seems to be a more peaceful religion than Islam. Of course, there are also a lot fewer Jews than there are Muslims; one could argue that Israel’s abuses are a demonstration of what happens when Judaism is the majority religion in a region. But even so, Israel’s record seems to be a incomparably better on freedom and civil liberty than the Islamic nations in the region. (And I’ll also note that both Goodman and Goldman were Americans.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11343561333869773127 debunking the idiots

    Let’s not also forget Jewish terrorism (understandable or not) until the founding of Israel. This is relevant if only because Wafa brings up history (“We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant” – actually, there was a plan by several Jews, including a famed poet Abba Kovner, to murder millions of Germans – see Tom Segev’s “The Seventh Million”).

    Yes, killings by Muslim fundies are frequent. Killings by Jewish fundies are a little bit less frequent, but do exist. Patently false statements like those quoted above, even if made in good faith, really don’t help. And it is hard to see how they could be made in good faith especially after the recent very well-publicized terror murders by Eden Natan-Zada.

    So either Wafa lies, or she is ignorant. In any case, she is not the right person to present a balanced secularist critique of Islam and Islamic fundamentalism. Unfortunately.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11343561333869773127 debunking the idiots

    As an addendum to the first paragraph above, some Jews _did_ seek revenge, even by most uncivilized means – see http://www.johnsack.com/an_eye_for_an_eye_2.htm

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05635329564241153424 Salvor Hardin

    The point still stands that Islam has the Greatest ammount of reform to do in the modern world.

    People like to bring up the Israelis, and other jewish violence or “plans” for violence. That said, I think it a hard case to make that the bulk of Israeli violence is comitted in a vacuum, just for the hell of it, as opposed to being more retalliatory in nature.

    In terms of NON retalliatory acts of violence and intolerance in the modern world, Islam has the worst record by FAR. The fact that MOST Muslims do not partake is not the point, the point is that Islam is being used as an ideological tool to a greater extent than any other major religion to promote violence and intolerance. Do you doubt this? Or do some want to bring up “other” groups to settle some axe to try to show that “other” groups are just as bad, please, spare me the broken logic.

    I notice the posters above neglected to mention the non retalliatory act of destruction of the buddhist statues in Afghanistan, by the Taliban (which the US Removed [while the UN talked] from power, continuing trials notwithstanding)

    Ancient Statues of the Buddha were blown up and assaulted, does anyone honestly think this kind of action would be done in a christian society? a jewish society? an atheistic society? or simply a secular one?

    A LONE act is not enough, isolated acts are not enough, but CONSISTENT acts of violence, AROUND the world from the SAME groups make it plain to all but the most dim among us sprinkles of Jewish violence are NOTHING compared to the TORRENT of violence stemming from the muslim world.

    The point STILL stands, and these pathetic attempts to equate jewish violence as IF it is ANYWHERE in the same league, or justification as Islamic fundamentalism run amoc is masochism to the nth degree.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11343561333869773127 debunking the idiots

    Helllooo! Nobody here is doing any equating. The point is strictly about Sultan’s credibility.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05760642713689938128 encausticus

    “Debunking the idiots” attacks Wafa Suktan’s credibility by citing isolated incidents of Jewish violence . He has no better way of responding: There is no question that the relatively small amount of Jewish violence is defensive or retaliatory in nature. No amount of petty picking away at picayune errors will change that. Moreover,this is but a minor part of Sultana’s courageous exposition.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11343561333869773127 debunking the idiots

    “”Debunking the idiots” attacks Wafa Suktan’s credibility by citing isolated incidents of Jewish violence .”

    The ones which Wafa denied.

    “He has no better way of responding:”

    When someone makes a claim, and the claim is false, I indeed have no better way of responding than proving that the claim is false. Ain’t it a truism?

    “There is no question that the relatively small amount of Jewish violence is defensive or retaliatory in nature.”

    Tell that to discredited Wafa Sultan.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05635329564241153424 Salvor Hardin

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05635329564241153424 Salvor Hardin

    WOW !!!

    Discredited !!!!!!!!!!!

    how picky, how fickle,

    If you have or ever will have kids I hope you are not this way with them…

    “Son, have you ever said something that was incorrect?”

    Son: Yes, probably

    “You have NO credibility, NOTHING you say now has ANY merit, keep your forked tongue behind your teeth!

    I have not crawled through fire and death to bandy and trade words with a witless worm!

    I dosown you, you are completely worthless”

    …. uh huh

    Perhaps its just a personality thing, but I am not nearly so fickle with people. I did not think EVERYTHING Wafa said was gospel, that crack that jewish scientists were responsible for the majority of the scientific discoveries was not true, though jews are over represeted, but on BALANCE, she was pretty damned on point.

    The fact that she was Arab, and Secular, AND taking a DIFFERENT message to the arab and muslim world was the main chip pile she brought to the table.

    Take out the incorrect comments, ok, that might have sated you, but the SAME message coming from one of us is not NEARLY as effective as having the same message coming from one of their own. The rarity of that kind of thinking among the arab world is what makes her advocacy so much more potent.

    So you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t Exhile her for not dotting her I’s and crossing her T’s

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11343561333869773127 debunking the idiots

    “The fact that she was Arab, and Secular, AND taking a DIFFERENT message to the arab and muslim world was the main chip pile she brought to the table.”

    She should not be used exactly because she is so easily discreditable. Especially since Arabs are so touchy about this topic. I’m sure that the messages about Jewish terrorists (like Natan-Zada) are emphasized in Arab press. That is exactly why an average Arab will dismiss her as a “Western”/Jewish plant after hearing her silly “we have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people”.

    Besides, did you ever stop to think WHY she said what she said? As I pointed out above, it is either ignorance, or a deliberate lie. In both cases she is useless.

    Suppose somebody said: “No Muslim has ever killed anyone in revenge”. This statement immediately discredits the person saying it. There’s nothing “fickle” about it. It’s like saying 2+2=10. Yes, Sultan’s statement is of _that_ magnitude of silliness. Yes, it alone discredits her.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05635329564241153424 Salvor Hardin

    “She should not be used exactly because she is so easily discreditable. Especially since Arabs are so touchy about this topic. I’m sure that the messages about Jewish terrorists (like Natan-Zada) are emphasized in Arab press. That is exactly why an average Arab will dismiss her as a “Western”/Jewish plant after hearing her silly “we have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people”.”

    I suppose YOU prove your own point. If someone makes 10 outstanding, valid, and SPOT ON points, with 1 or two being in error, And the result is the ENTIRE focus being put onto those errors…..

    Perhaps I expect too much of people, to actually be able to separate the valid points from the questionable ones. To give credit where it is due, and argue with the rest. To not be So petty (and YES it is PETTY) as to disregard EVERYTHING one has said due to an error on something contained in a statement.

    How pathetic, but you are proof that people really are that cheap and petty, people really will throw the baby out with the bath water.

    I do not think in this way, I can separate the valid points she makes, and the incorrect points. The arguments made, in my view are not tied and bound together, they are independant, each standing on its own merit, or falling due to a lack of it.

    That others cannot make such a distinction says more about their integrity and objectivity on an issue than any others.

    Granted, if have the things the woman said were bald face lies or fallacies, she would have some serious issues. But she is so close, with just the tiniest bit of critique, she would be completely correct and sound in her arguments.

    She was more right than wrong, and what she was right about is far more relevant than some minutia about some jewish act of terror by some random and incredibly infrequent jewish soul.

    The important topics raised concerned the state of the Muslim world in many countries, those other diversions when compared to that REAL topic were worth less than a spec of dust.

    That fools may ignore the throng of valid points and focus on that spec of dust does not mean we should not turn the attention back to the REAL and RELEVANT issues.

    In terms of messed up thinking, incorrect ideas, who do you really think has further to go to become completely correct?

    Wafa? or that Cleric?

    Wafa has FAR less work to do to become more credible in terms of truth. So salvage her, do not chuck her away like a used Pinto.

    She is NOT a Pinto, She is a Chrylser 300 with a couple chips in the paint. You don’t Total that! you patch up the rough spots.

    You act as if she is as bad off as that Cleric!

    He is more like a Pinto, with Fire and flood damage, no tires, a cracked head on the engine block, a broken windshield, no headlights, and a screw driver for an ignition.

    Now THAT is when its time to get another spokesperson.

    Like I said, you are as picky as some myopic crazies might be on this issue.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11343561333869773127 debunking the idiots

    “I suppose YOU prove your own point. If someone makes 10 outstanding, valid, and SPOT ON points, with 1 or two being in error, And the result is the ENTIRE focus being put onto those errors…..”

    Is someone says in all seriousness that 2+2=10, he is useless at least as a mathematician. Dixi.

    “I do not think in this way, I can separate the valid points she makes, and the incorrect points.”

    So what?

    “That others cannot make such a distinction says more about their integrity and objectivity on an issue than any others.”

    Hey, wasn’t it you who said:

    “Take out the incorrect comments, ok, that might have sated you, but the SAME message coming from one of us is not NEARLY as effective as having the same message coming from one of their own. The rarity of that kind of thinking among the arab world is what makes her advocacy so much more potent.”

    You’re contradicting yourself. An average person who sees such an idiotic statement made by a speaker will likely dismiss the speakers’ case altogether, especially considering his/her environment, not exactly friendly to Jews. We’re not talking about an intellectual elite here, you know.

    “That fools may ignore the throng of valid points and focus on that spec of dust does not mean we should not turn the attention back to the REAL and RELEVANT issues.”

    Those who really care about serious issues will forget about Wafa Sultan.

    “Wafa has FAR less work to do to become more credible in terms of truth. So salvage her, do not chuck her away like a used Pinto.”

    When she will stop making idiotic statements, she will need no “salvaging”.

    “She is NOT a Pinto, She is a Chrylser 300 with a couple chips in the paint. You don’t Total that! you patch up the rough spots.”

    Do try.

    “You act as if she is as bad off as that Cleric!”

    No, I don’t act that way. Don’t delude yourself.

    “Like I said, you are as picky as some myopic crazies might be on this issue.”

    Her speech discredits her. There’s nothing “picky” about pointing this out. It was very easy for her not to make that obviously false statement, yet she did. Why? Try to answer this question.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10671566813714872544 Amirk

    Here is the other side of Wafa Sultan discussion on al Jazeera — part that was missing in mermi tv and hundreds of youtube videos of that discussion

    Part1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRLWFKB30yk

    Part2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4tKZv4THCA

    Part 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us1dtTFHYjk&

    Part4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpRPnwYHc9w


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X