Monday, January 12, 2009

Wafa Sultan interviews on Al Jazeera television

I got a link to an interview shown recently on an Arab financed TV station in Dubai, Al Jazeera television. The woman is Wafa Sultan, an Arab-American psychologist from Los Angeles and I've included the link because her tone of voice and body language is wonderful - I recommend everyone watch it if possible. As well, the body language of her male colleague is very telling - he is so dismissive and condescending.
Arab TV Broadcast

The clip has been edited - I think the interviewer may have said a few things that were taken out due to being repetitive or inconsequential once she made her reply. So it's mostly Wafa Sultan speaking about the clash between Western & Eastern culture and some back & forth with the obnoxious bearded turban guy who clearly will never agree with her.

I've also included a transcript of her interview since popular opinion is that the clip from Arab TV won't be around for long. So I'm sorry if it's gone. I'm amazed at the things she says, and that they were broadcast on that station. I think it's something that needs to be said and needs to be heard. I admire her for saying it because this sort of logic is completely dismissed by eastern traditionalists when delivered by a westerner. Likely, it will be dismissed coming from her as well because she's "a heretic" as her condescending colleague points out. I respect her for saying what she says - she has every right to say it, coming from that heritage. I don't know that I have the right to be so outwardly critical, or would I then be making myself into what she criticizes when quoting her colleagues terms for us... But I do hope to always be an example to other humans in how I live & interact with my fellow man, and I am really at a loss as to how to be an ambassador to the Muslim nations at this point in time. How do you befriend someone that doesn't want to be your friend? (Gee, I feel like I know a little about that one, living here in Utah) I guess my approach would have to be an attempt to get rid of the "us & them" idea. But it's hard to be friends with isolationists. And this battle going on is serious, with no end in sight. There's no reason for those intent on making war to stop. The only thing that will change the situation is a shift in thinking. Hopefully with enough people speaking out, it will slowly occur.

Wafa Sultan: The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand,and the violation of these rights on the other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete.

Male Arab Muslim Interviewer: I understand from your words that what is happening today is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardsness and ignorance of the Muslims?

Wafa Sultan: Yes, that is what I mean.

Interviewer: Who came up with the concepts of a clash of civilizations? Was it not Samuel Huntington? It was not Bin Laden! I would like to discuss the issue if you don't mind...

Wafa Sultan: The Muslims are the ones who began using this expression. The Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations. The prophet of Islam said: "I was ordered to fight the people until they believed in Allah and His Messenger." When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war. In order to stop this war, they must reexamine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir and fighting the infidels. My colleague has said that he never offends other people's beliefs. What civilization on the face of the earth allows him to call other people by names they did not choose for themselves? Once, he calls them Ahl Al-Dhimma, another time he calls them "People of the Book," and yet another time he compares them to apes and pigs, or he calls the Christians "those who incur Allah's wrath." Who told you they are "People of the Book"? They are not the People of the Book, they are people of many books. All the useful scientific books that you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free and creative thinking. What gives you the right to call them "those who incur Allah's wrath," or "those who have gone astray," and then come here and say that your religion commands you to refrain from offending the beliefs of others? I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I am a secular human being. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe in it.

Male Arab Muslim Colleague she refers to: Are you a heretic?... Are you a heretic?

Wafa Sultan: You can say whatever you like. I am a secular human being who does not believe in the supernatural...

Male Colleague: If you are a heretic, there is no point in rebuking you, since you have blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran...

Wafa Sultan: These are personal matters that do no concern you! Brother, you can believe in stones as long as you don't throw them at me. You are free to worship whoever you want, but other peoples beliefs are not your concern, whether they believe that the Messiah is God, son of Mary, or that Satan is God, son of Mary. Let people have their beliefs. The Jews have come from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. we have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people. The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a Mosque, kill a Muslim or burn down an embassy. Only Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people and destroying embassies. this path will not yield any results! The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them.

1 comment:

  1. I love that last line she says. That is the most profound and the message that really needs to get across to the Muslim people. Seriously, why should I bother to respect them and their beliefs, when all they want to do is destroy my country and my freedoms simply because I don't follow their religion. Give me a good reason why I should! What's so great about being a Muslim. Show me something, crank something out that might be good for all mankind, and I might look into it. Give me something to look forward to in the future if everyone was to become Muslim. The only thing that they have contributed to humankind in my life time is terror and bloodshed and millions of people focusing on them fighting amongst themselves for over 30 years. They simply follow the rule, Join us or die. There is no other religion on earth that does this. It's crazy to think that after all of the hundreds of thousands of years that humankind has been around and the advances that we've made in this world, that there still exists such a vast group of extremists in the world. They are all tone deaf to what is actually happening in the world, because they only hear the frequency that has been pumped into their brains generation after generation, that they are right(eous) and the rest are infidels.
    I only hope that Ms. Wafa Sultan's words are the reality pill that they begin to swallow and to wake up and look at the rest of the world and decide to join the party.