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Breakout from Islam’s mental prison

I AM sitting in a small book-lined room in Sydney's eastern suburbs with a petite woman in her late 40s dressed in a neat suit and sensible shoes.

Can this be the woman recently described as an "international sensation"? The woman who drove an American rabbi to publicly accuse her of being "Islam's Ann Coulter"? The woman who last year made it on to Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people? Is she really the "uncompromising firebrand in the defence of reason and liberty". Yes, she is. Meet Wafa Sultan.

Last year, the Syrian-born psychiatrist, who has lived in the US for almost 20 years, catapulted herself into the centre of the critical issue of our time: how will Islam embrace modernity? She entered the battle of ideas in a fiery debate with an Islamic scholar on Al Jazeera television when she criticised Islam for its backwardness, for shunning knowledge and progress, for propagating a "mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages".

One question not often asked is why a growing number of Muslim women are speaking out, demanding a reformation of Islam. And the next question is why these brave women are not hailed as heroes and champions by Western leaders at the highest levels. They operate at the fringes on the right side of a crucial battle of ideas. It's still just a handful. Women such Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somalia-born former Dutch MP and author of Infidel, and Irshad Manji, African-born Canadian Muslim and author of The Trouble with Islam. And Sultan.

The answer to the latter question is one for us to ponder. Sultan is unapologetically curt as to why Muslim women are rising to the challenge: "Muslim women have lost everything. They have nothing to lose by speaking up." The security surrounding her visit to Australia last week attests to the fact women such as Sultan have, on the contrary, plenty to lose. They risk their lives when they speak out. Whether you agree with Sultan or not, her arguments about Islam ought to be met with words, not violence. Yet Sultan is used to constant security, FBI visits and daily death threats.

Late on Sunday evening she sent me a collection of them, including this: "I'm warning you to back up or the sword will cut off you're neck."

A crackpot, perhaps. But the slaughter of controversial filmmaker Theo van Gogh in The Netherlands, the heart of multicultural Europe no less, is a reminder that some crackpots deliver on their violent threats. Yet, for Sultan, the choice was obvious. She eschews Islam because, she says, it has so little to offer women. She describes Islam as a war against women, perverted by fear of sex and sexuality that mandates the mistreatment of women.

Sultan spoke to The Australian about her life. "I remember as a little girl trying hard to avoid passing by my father while he was praying because Mohammed once said that if a dog or a woman passes by a man while he was praying he had to rewash himself and pray again, otherwise his prayer wouldn't be accepted.

"I remember hearing as an eight-year-old girl that a woman is nothing but shame. Her marriage will cover up one-tenth of her shame and her grave will cover up the rest of it. Can you imagine, at eight, being consumed by shame just because you are female?" she asks.

Many find Sultan's message too confrontational. Her friends have asked her to soften her words. But she refuses, arguing that her experience as an Arab Muslim woman needs to be exposed. She says that before the Al Jazeera interview, her focus was on educating people in the Arabic world.

"In my (Arabic) writing, I always compare my life in Syria and my life in America, and I let my readers reach a conclusion ... they have never heard such voices as mine."

She receives hundreds of emails each week and thousands of people in Arabic countries click on to her website. She describes the world as a small village, thanks to the internet, where others have the chance to hear and understand what is going on

They see how women in the West are treated. "When they compare it with themselves, they question: 'Why? Why only us? Why don't we enjoy our lives they same way Western women do?"'

The Al Jazeera interview was the West's formal introduction to Sultan. And she attracts her fair share of Western critics. She is, some say, manipulated by Jews and Americans. But, as she points out, "the Islamic media introduced me to the West, not the other way around. Prior to my interview, I didn't have any Jewish friends. I said it because I believe it."

The American rabbi who walked out on Sultan at a conference complained that she failed to allude to a healthy, peaceful Islamic alternative.

Yet Sultan is certain that Islam can reform and will reform if exposed to enough information and if Muslims are able to make choices.

"Human beings look for the best, but many Muslims don't know the best ... they are hostages of their own belief system for many centuries and now I believe, because of the internet, they are exposed to different cultures, different thoughts, different belief systems ... if they are given the freedom to choose, I believe they are ready to mix Islam with other thoughts, to improve it," she says in a voice filled with passion.

But it will be a long battle of ideas.

"Look at any Islamic country. Tell me what you see. Poverty, backwardness, oppression, dictatorship, miserable lives. Somehow we have to help them change their way of thinking, their way of life. We have to re-create a new generation clean of hatred. We have been consumed by hatred. We are not practising our humanity. It's very sad."

Her message is clear. The West must be more confident about espousing its own values. And Islam must accept criticism as a sign of intellectual rigour if it is to reform into a belief system that embraces freedom and progress for its followers. Sultan is full of hope that the information revolution has cracked the wall around the Islamic prison. Not just for Muslim women.

I read another email she has translated from a 16-year-old Palestinian boy in Ramallah: "Without you, I would have been a suicide bomber. They taught me how to bomb, instead of teaching me to listen to music, or to enjoy looking at a beautiful painting. I don't believe you're human, you're a god."

Say what you will about Sultan's uncompromising message. She is part of a brigade of women, each in their own way dragging Islam into the 21stcentury.

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This article by Ms. Albrechtsen expresses a key and motivating point from Dr Sultan: "Look at any Islamic country. Tell me what you see. Poverty, backwardness, oppression, dictatorship, miserable lives. Somehow we have to help them change their way of thinking, their way of life. We have to re-create a new generation clean of hatred. We have been consumed by hatred. We are not practising our humanity. It's very sad." Her message is clear. The West must be more confident about espousing its own values. And Islam must accept criticism as a sign of intellectual rigour if it is to reform into a belief system that embraces freedom and progress for its followers. Sultan is full of hope that the information revolution has cracked the wall around the Islamic prison." As such, we must demand that the political platforms and ideological tenets based on the Quran - the political manifest of Islam - are put on the table, line for line, tenet for tenet, and exposed for what they are. We must learn that enjoyment is forbidden. We must learn that a Muslim life must be one of war, one of aggression, one of terror to fulfill his mission on earth. We must learn that a Muslim woman shall repress herself, in every way. With that, we will begin to learn and expose the source of the pathology of the captured and illiterate masses being indocrtinated with these ideas. Only then will Pandoras's box be opened. For those who believe they have been given the only source of salvation from the steamy horrors of this life, it can be a compelling mission. As death is the gateway to a better life, what's to fear? It must be the conscious agenda of every Western legislator, to countermand this ideological pathology, not leaving brave and isolated women like Dr Sultan and Kirsi Ali to fight this battle alone. For indeed, the battle has far reaching consequences for the integrity of the individual, for basic human rights, and for the personal freedoms of each and every one of us!

Posted by BB on 2007-08-28 11:12:41 GMT

No. In London, but have had server issues. Try again.

Posted by BB on 2007-08-28 10:47:35 GMT

Brian, Is your computer full??? some articles returned to me..

Posted by Gaye on 2007-08-28 00:32:42 GMT

A brilliant article that I hope many muslims study and also a great many misinformed intelectuals in the west.

Posted on 2007-08-28 00:28:16 GMT

Very well put Brian, You have to remember that the first quarter of the quran was full of love, tolerance and peace until Mohammad had amassed enough numbers to become a force, I believe that from the god that he chose to be his one god that his aim had always been to gather a army, making it a war cult, adding a god to his cause was brilliant it assured complete obedience.. Allah was one of 360 gods at that time or the time of his great grandfather, who was a god of agriculture which Mohammad hated, plus the sword and war, he chose this god because of the last two...making his intentions very clear before he started.. I will post another article

Posted by Gaye on 2007-08-27 21:21:45 GMT

Gaye, I have to say, the material you have exposed from the Quran seems like utterly frightening stuff. I can understand how the illiterate and somewhat emotionally dis-functional people coming from cultures promoting such propositions, could see this as a calling. If I were one that had nothing, knew rather little of the world and its wonders, and saw nothing as the most likely sum total of my life, this could be something I could be attracted to. Think of the havoc! Think of the devastation! Yet, the violence and fortitude it requires demands that they group in great masses, re-enforcing their fear and anger, and releasing it in a great rage - a rage, hatred and bitterness they essentially feel regarding the lives they are forced to lead. And regardless if they regret or recant along the way – the psychology of the masses will have been released. And surely, if one beats a person long enough, represses and refuses any form of warmth and love, it shouldn't surprise anyone that this person would become pretty dangerous. And so, in some form of catharsis, these young disenfranchised men and women seriously believe that this is what a life giving deity wishes for them. It becomes their mission. It makes a certain kind of sense, as all the hopelessness, servitude and pain would finally be for a reason. It would finally rationalize our existence, if there is nothing more than that and that is what I have been immersed in from birth. . What a horrible shame, and what horribly misbegotten misunderstanding of the human spirit this represents. How could anyone ultimately believe that any force of the most vast and encompassing kind, an intelligence too great to fathom from a human point of view, and one that truly created all life, would ever want this much death and destruction to be perpetrated by the living, and in his name?

Posted by BB on 2007-08-27 19:24:05 GMT

Waleed Aly is a very smooth and engaging Islamic apologist -- a real 'wolf in sheep's clothing'. While undoubtedly he himself does not advocate violence, he throws in enough moderate sounding phrases to confuse those who do not thoroughly analyse his statements. Basically he would try to sell you the idea that Sharia law fits well into our society and is just an extension of democratic values -- sheer utter crap, when Sharia law (Allah's law) is the polar opposite of democracy and negates the ideals of man-made laws! Because of his acceptability and the ease with which he is published he presents a real danger in placating people into thinking that all is well with the Muslim world apart from a few odd extremists, when the opposite is actually the case. Beware of his smooth viper tongue.

Posted by MT on 2007-08-27 07:43:43 GMT

I disagree that "terrible things were done in the old testiment." Remember, when the 7 nations were expelled from Eretz Yisroel, this was not because of the merits of Benai Yisroel, the Jews. This was solely because the accumulated evils of those people. Moses reminded the Jews again and again of their lack of worthiness, and their being "a stiff necked peoplke." Unlike the Quran, the old testiment cannot be read verbatum. It's a lock. It requires a key - the Talmud. It is codified and considered extirely wrong to be read and interpreted literally. Case in point: "eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:" this is not literal - not by any means. What is meant is that the fore-finger of a violinist and the fore-finger of a lawyer cannot be compensated for equally. The passage is the basis for case specific financial compensation, and whether the damage was deliberate or not. Moreover, while the Old Testiment is certainly responsible for us becoming civilized, i.e. a civilization per se, neither Jews nor Christians (or anyone other than Sadducees and Karites) site the Old Testiment as a verbatum "manifest," word-for-word, for it's ideology, social or political behavior. Therefore, I don't think we should allow a comparitive debate to occur. In the Christian and Jewish religions, the laws of the land prevail in all civil and criminal matters. If we are to argue about the merits of the Quran, as opposed to relevant civil law and the consitutions of each sovereign country, then let's put the Quran on the table, and have a real good look at it. That's the issue here.

Posted by BB on 2007-08-27 07:19:32 GMT

I needed the weekend to consider the one of the questions being debated about the usefulness of knowing the Quran's position on a number of issues. I feel that we're dealing with a political ideology. Unlike the party platforms of all legally sanctioned political parties, we cannot address the leader and architects of that party's ideology. Within a democratic framework, we are then at a distinct disadvantage. Political ideologies constantly address and redress issues that pop up, as they develop, to better define and apply their political perception of socioeconomic realities. What we are told is that the "party leader," the architect is invisible. His values and policies are documented in a manifest called the Quran. As such, party clergy have the particular role of interpreting those platform policies, for 'party members' [read: soldiers] and all those party members are urged to conscript the world into the party, regardless of means. Somehow, I sense our most powerful weapon is to demand that the rules of democracy are upheld to the letter by both parts, not just the one. That demands total openness about exact what that "manifest" is that is diligently sited and trusted, for a deeply scrutinized analysis of the text - as we do when looking at any political movement or ideology and it's specific party platforms. Our greatest weapon may well be that specific ‘manifest,’ the Quran, if it's details are brought to light in an open political and social debate. This is the difference between a debate in Australia and Saudi Arabia. That difference must be emphasized - as long as the debate is conducted in Australia. It's a case of house rules, or more specifically legal jurisdiction. If one on the other hand claims a deification of that jurisdiction, then surely, it includes Australia anyway. We must use democratic principals of full disclosure. It’s a 2 way street and the basis of any social contract. And given our decision to separate church and state, there is no question that theocratic disposition is being proposed, we have the inherent right under that framework, to dissect under full disclosure, the social and political framework being proposed. Information is power. Once politicians and ordinary citizens have the chance to actually read and consider the views, perceptions, policies, and proposals being offered up, it makes our decisions much less emotional, and far more informed. I like to sing. I like to dance. Upon learning that this is frowned upon in any given system of thought, I make my decisions accordingly. This put quite simply is how legislators operate.. Democracy insists on a common playing field. We should be insisting on our legislators having a far better awareness of the "party manifest," that Islamists, and if Dr. Sultan is correct, much of the Islamic world, adheres to.

Posted by BB on 2007-08-26 16:31:35 GMT

Lenin said that 'peace' is when all resistance to communism stops. Mohammad says that 'peace' is when all resistance to Islam stops... Just a few more.. Ishaq:308 “Muhammad halted on a sandhill and divided the booty Allah had given him. They congratulated him on the victory Allah had granted. But one of the warriors replied, ‘What are you congratulating us about? We only met some bald old women like the sacrificial camels who are hobbled, and we slaughtered them!’ The Apostle smiled because he knew that description fit .” Qur’an 9:29 “Fight those who do not believe until they all surrender, paying the protective tax in submission.” Qur’an 8:39 “Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah.” Qur’an 8:39 “So fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world).” Ishaq:324 “He said, ‘Fight them so that there is no more rebellion, and religion, all of it, is for Allah only. Allah must have no rivals.’” Muslim:C9B1N31 “I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and believe in me (that) I am the Messenger and in all that I have brought.” Tabari VI:138 “Those present at the oath of Aqabah had sworn an allegiance to Muhammad. It was a pledge of war against all men. Allah had permitted fighting.” Tabari IX:22 “The Prophet continued to besiege the town, fighting them bitterly.” Qur’an 8:39 “So, fight them till all opposition ends and the only religion is Islam.” Every one knows the aims of the Mafia, thus if an operation is carried out by only a dozen of them, does this mean that the rest of the Mafia are not in agreement with the operation. Would it not be more so when the gang involved had a god who orders them to slaughter anyone who wont join their gang .

Posted by Gaye on 2007-08-25 12:59:20 GMT

Qur’an 8:7 “Allah wished to confirm the truth by His words: ‘Wipe the infidels out to the last.’” Ishaq:208 “When Allah gave permission to his Apostle to fight, the second Aqaba contained conditions involving war which were not in the first act of submission. Now we bound themselves to war against all mankind for Allah and His Apostle. He promised us a reward in Paradise for faithful service. We pledged ourselves to war in complete obedience to Muhammad no matter how evil the circumstances.” Ishaq:204 “‘Men, do you know what you are pledging yourselves to in swearing allegiance to this man?’ ‘Yes. In swearing allegiance to him we are pledging to wage war against ALL mankind.’” Qur’an 8:12 “I shall terrorize the infidels. So wound their bodies and incapacitate them because they oppose Allah and His Apostle.” Ishaq:588 “When the Apostle descends on your land none of your people will be left when he leaves.” Ishaq:327 “Allah said, ‘A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. Muhammad, you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But Allah desires killing them to manifest the religion.’” Qur’an 33:26 “Allah made the Jews leave their homes by terrorizing them so that you killed some and made many captive. And He made you inherit their lands, their homes, and their wealth. He gave you a country you had not traversed before.” Bukhari:V5B59N516 “When Allah’s Apostle fought or raided people we raised our voices saying, ‘Allahu-Akbar! Allahu-Akbar! None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.’” Ishaq:285 “Then the Apostle went raiding in the month of Rabi u’l-Awwal making for the Quraysh. Then he raided the Quraysh by way of Dinar.” Bukhari:V5B59N569 “I fought in seven Ghazwat battles The first quarter of the quran is love, tolerance etc, then when their numbers grew to become a force, it changes to a god who wanted all slaughtered if they did not submit, perhaps this is why Mohammad chose the moon god ali, because he was the god of agriculture the sword and war. If most of the Quran was made up of peaceful words as other religions are, then we could say that it is just a few fundies, but unfortunately it is the essence of Islam. We don't have Christian Terrorists, Jewish terrorist, Buddhist terrorists, Hindu terrorists etc, and yes people from all religions have done things wrong but unlike Islam, it is not part of their religions..

Posted by Gaye on 2007-08-25 12:48:23 GMT

MM, if they discarded the evil parts of their books they would only be left with I think it was about 14 pages.. And yes there were some terrible things done in the old testament, but it was not the main theme of the Bible, as it is with Islam.. In short, Moses said that we should do unto others as we want them to do to us.. Although there has been times when nations have gone out and killed in the name of God??, we are told that we are not to kill, we are to love our enemies, some what different from Islam where they are to slaughter ALL in the world who will not submit.. In times past leaders have been able to manipulate the people into going to war for their god simply because they are illiterate , but Moses said, we are not allowed to kill..Jesus said to love their neighbours, forgive those who hurt you etc, the leader of Islam however raided villages, skited about killing the Jews and taking their land, and he said that a prophet could not take captives until he had made a great slaughter in the land..this is the man whom they follow today.. I will post a couple of verses of their prophet..

Posted by Gaye on 2007-08-25 12:37:13 GMT

MM, well said.. excellent, 10 out of 10...if only others though out the world could see what you have written.. There are so many fantastic comments on here.. You said that We have the brains and the brawn to overcome them, so true, but whilst there are millions of them following what Mohammad did, and what the Quran says to do, there will never be peace. Only and only when all Muslim religious books are destroyed will this hatred and slaughter stop. We can quieten it for now by keeping their people low, but that is not the answer as these books will always be there and the clerics, Imam will always teach what their glorious leader did and taught, to slaughter all who will not submit. I Would prefer to see these people join the human race and start loving and caring for others and become equals with us, instead of the inferior beings that they are being kept in by their teaching...

Posted by Gaye on 2007-08-25 03:10:44 GMT

MM, doesn't it make you wonder why there to many thousands of them killing, and why it is only their religion which is killing.. It takes more than a few terrorists to slaughter tens of thousands of people every year as is happening in the world.. Read the Quran and others of their holy books, don't start in the first quarters of the Quran as when their numbers were only a very few, the verses were of love, tolerance peace etc thus the first part of the Quran was really lovely, but once they gathered enough people to become a force the Quran changes into a revengeful, hateful, murdering book, authorized by their god, or so Mohammad said..??. MM they are just following what most of the Quran says.. Even Mohammad sent raiding parties out and he went on many raids to slaughter and take slaves but especially booty which is how they survived. Mohammad said that it was not fitting for a prophet to take captives until he had made a great slaughter in the land. MM this is the man whom they love and follow, and they are told that they are getting rid of the evil in the world, us... and that god will reward them greatly. The only way that they know that they are going to definetly get to paradise is by being killed while they kill the infidels, pagans, Christians and Jews, we are vial to them.. unless they die while being martyrs they are never given that reassurance at all, ever. cunning of Mohammad to say that eh..

Posted by Gaye on 2007-08-24 12:51:10 GMT

MM: "What we can do is take them away from from its evil teachings and their evil leaderships!" Sounds good. What's your plan?

Posted by BB on 2007-08-24 12:22:40 GMT

Christians & Jewish martyrs say; "I will die for what I believe". A Muslim martyr says; "you will die for what I believe".... The Muslim Qur'an is unique among all the sacred writings in the entire world -- because it alone counsels its followers to make war on unbelievers. Strange how a few cartoons bring such a reaction from this religion of peace, yet there was NO MUSLIM OUT RAGE when Muslims flew into American buildings killing 3500 people with no Muslim outrage, yet our leaders rush to appease Muslims when a few cartoons enrage the Muslims of the world,, Sunni Bombers Target Shia Children Playing Soccer - 12 Dead... no Muslim outrage.. • Muslims fly commercial airliners into buildings in New York City....... No Muslim outrage. • Muslim officials block the exit where school girls are trying to escape a burning building because their faces were exposed. No Muslim outrage. • Muslims cut off the heads of three teenaged girls on their way to school in Indonesia. A Christian school...... No Muslim outrage. • Muslims murder teachers trying to teach Muslim children in Iraq..... No Muslim outrage. • Muslims murder over 80 tourists with car bombs outside cafes and hotels in Egypt..... No Muslim outrage. • A Muslim attacks a missionary children's school in India. Kills six. ....No Muslim outrage. • Muslims slaughter hundreds of children and teachers in Beslan, Russia. Muslims shoot children in the back..... No Muslim outrage. • Let's go way back. Muslims kidnap and kill athletes at the Munich Summer Olympics..... No Muslim outrage. • Muslims fire rocket-propelled grenades into schools full of children in Israel. ....No Muslim outrage. • Muslims murder more than 50 commuters in attacks on London subways and busses. Over 700 are injured..... No Muslim outrage. • Muslims massacre dozens of innocents at a Passover Seder..... No Muslim outrage. • Muslims murder innocent vacationers in Bali..... No Muslim outrage. • Muslim newspapers publish anti-Semitic cartoons..... No Muslim outrage • Muslims are involved, on one side or the other, in almost every one of the 125+ shooting wars around the world..... No Muslim outrage. • Muslims beat the charred bodies of Western civilians with their shoes, then hang them from a bridge..... No Muslim outrage. * Muslims have caused over 8570 terrorist attacks since Sep 11th, thousands dying and even more are hurt...and still No Muslim outrage.... * A couple of years ago, Nigerian Christians endured 1,500 to 2,000 massacres by militant Islamists - 269 churches being burnt to the ground and 60,000 to 65,000 people being displaced..... and yet, their leaders, their religious leaders/Clerics etc said not a thing... there was once again No mass Muslim outrage..... When their leaders and religious leaders say nothing world wide, doesnt this alone tell us that this violence for Allah is all part of Islam..

Posted by Gaye on 2007-08-24 03:50:27 GMT

MM, while I agree with you on a practical level, we know there are many roads to Rome. Any doctor will tell us that without understanding the source of a disease, you will never cure it - you merely deal with the symptoms. This isn't about a power structure instinctively resisting change. We need to understand why Islamists feel it's justified to maim and kill, in the name of Islam - not just stopping them here and now from doing so. And when the claim is made that all Muslims have some intimate empathy for those heinous acts of violence, it's incumbent upon us to determine if that's true, and if so, why. As we see, once a human being becomes a "guided missile," there is no defense. Nor, can we cannot just send 1/6th of the planet's population "away." Islam is here to stay. To understand why the illiterate Arabic masses have such a harsh anti-human view of life - while possessing so much wealth - is at the core of what's being debated here, in all its facets. Know thine enemy! The fact that 1.3 billion people adhere to Islam, makes it an historical imperative, in my opinion, to gain a specific insight into the doctrines that guide them passionately and violently to our doorstep.

Posted by Brian on 2007-08-23 16:06:18 GMT

MM, you are so right, you said..It is what their leaders and particularly the fundamentalists teach their flock that makes a difference....and these women know what their leaders and clerics are teaching.. Please try reading the last three quarters of the Quran and others of Muslim holy books so as you can understand why such hatred is being taught in their Mosques, schools, and homes... They don't see it as hate, they see it as getting rid of the evil in the world, us.. MM, Islams oppression of women is some what different to the 60's and 70's when I was about 12, we didn't have to fight a religion whose leader said that women were nothing and that if people left Islam that they were to be slaughtered.. We didn't have a religion whose leader said that all who were not Muslims were not innocent and that they were to never be friends with outsiders as non Muslims were evil and to be kept away from.. We didn't have a religious leader who said that it was not fitting for a prophet to take captives until he had made a great slaughter in the land... They do not consider us to be their sisters as we are evil, and Mohammad said that they are not allowed to be friends with non Muslims unless for the cause of Allah...

Posted by Gaye on 2007-08-23 13:05:23 GMT

While I agree with MM that the role of women is important - and as Wafa Sultan said - 'women are msot vocal as they have nothing to lose since they have lost so much already' - and women are very bravely at the forefront, however, I don't quite agree that women are the main key. This is wishful thinking from a western viewpoint, and belies the depth of the Arab dominant male shame culture, as well as the absolutist religious drivers to hatred and violence. These religious aspects must be exposed and challenged, not brushed over, to awaken the upcoming generation. Yes - women are one of the keys but not all. It is hard to know the best way to begin tearing down those structures, but certainly Wafa sees her role as waking people up to the inherent evils of Islam -- 'cracking the box open'. Tough as that may seem, I believe she is right. No appeasement, no kowtowing, no dhimmitude mentality, -- we must collectively decide that western-style liberal democracies are superior, more ethical, more humanist, and we must mentally aim to win this war, both physically and mentally. Islam as a violent, expansionist political system must not win in the west and must be clearly and unequivically defeated - and be seen to be defeated - to lose its allure to generations of misguided Muslim zeolots.

Posted by MT on 2007-08-23 13:00:02 GMT

Singing Law r40.3 (Ibn Hajar hayatami): As for listening to singing that is not accompanied by instruments, one should know that singing or listening to singing is offensive except under the circumstances to be mentioned in what follows. Some scholars hold that singing is sunna at weddings and the like, and of our Imams, Ghazali and ‘Izz ibn ‘Abd al–Salam say that it is sunna if it motivates one to a noble state of mind that makes one remember the hereafter. It is clear from this that all poetry which encourages good deeds, wisdom, noble qualities, abstinence from this worldly things, or similar pious traits such as urging one to obey Allah, follow the sunna, or shun disobedience, is sunna to write, sing, or listen to, as more than one of our Imams have stated is obvious, since using a means to do good is itself doing good. Dancing Law r40.4 (Nawawi: (n: with commentary by Muhammad Shirbini Khatib)) It is not prohibited to dance ((Shirbini) which is not unlawful because it is only motions made while standing or bowing. Furani and others have expressly stated that neither is it offensive, but rather is permissible, as is attested to by the hadith related in the Sahihs of Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) stood before ‘Aisha (Allah be well pleased with her) to screen her from view so that she could observe the Abyssinians sporting and dancing)—unless it is languid, like movements of the effeminate. So, according to Allah’s law, standing, bowing and walking are Islamic dancing and these are allowed. Any other form of dancing—the cultural dances of all nations (like Indian dance, Western dance, Thai dance, Malay dance….etc.) are strictly forbidden.

Posted by Gaye on 2007-08-23 01:35:46 GMT

Brian, here is another one for you..I have many like this... Allah does not like the tolling of bells and music Muhammad never had any likings for music and songs. The bell is the musical instrument of Satan… (Sahih Muslim, 24.5279) Book 024, Number 5279: Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The bell is the musical instrument of the Satan. Similar ahadith are found in Sunaan Abu Dawud. Let us read another hadith from Sunaan Abu Dawud. Singing, playing and simple amusement without musical instrument is allowed… (Sunaan Abu Dawud, 3.41.4905 We might think this hadith permits Muslims to indulge in contemporary music and songs. But we are dead wrong. The translator of Sunaan Abu Dawud writes that dancing, singing and music of modern times, especially by women are completely prohibited (Hasan, 2001, p. 3.1371, foot note 4284). And Sahih Bukhari too confirms that music, fine dressing and wining are absolutely forbidden. Those Muslims who enjoy music, fine silk, drinking and sex—some of them Allah will destroy, some of them will be transformed into monkeys and pigs… (Sahih Bukhari, 7.69.494v) What a miserable people...

Posted by Gaye on 2007-08-23 01:32:52 GMT

I have heard that thousands of Muslims are escaping from Islam, has anyone heard this.. and how do we find out if it is indeed true. Of course these would be those who have not been slaughtered from trying to leave Islam..

Posted by Gaye on 2007-08-23 01:20:16 GMT

Robin, you are fantastic, you made me laugh so much... comments on here are just wonderful, and I do so appreciate the fact that so many of u are so knowledgeable of Islam it stops me feeling so alone in trying to wake people up.. Our leaders and many people seemed to ignore what is going on in the world by Muslims and they just seemed to keep making excuses for Islam.. NOTHING we do can change Islam, if we took out the bad parts of their holy books it would only leave a tiny few pages, it is time that our governments let the people know what is in these books so as the Muslims and non Muslims who don't really know are made aware, although from the bad comments against us from a few Muslim women, I cant for the life of me know why they wouldn't know.. They are just waiting until their numbers are great enough to do their dirty deeds to us, just as Mohammad did. They have no appreciation that we were loving enough to take them out of their horrific situation.. Someone said to me the other day that their own lands are desolate, and now so is ours.. Islam is akin to Marxism, communism, and socialism.. many Muslims were in the SS of Hitlers army, they slaughtered the Jews there and will continue in Israel, then they say that they will come for us...

Posted by Gaye on 2007-08-23 01:14:12 GMT

Wafa Sultan is very brave and inspirational (check out a letter in today's Australian supporting her as well - and hopefully there will be more). Quite apart from gender problems in Islam, the main issue is that is in NOT a humanist religion. Unlike other religions such as Judaism and Christianity (even with the transgressions of the latter) which have basically humanist basic concepts, Islam is anti-humanist and treats people as servants of Allah to be disposed of as required. It has more in common with viral replication -- i.e. it is all about propagating Islam at the expense of humanity rather than for it. It is a rogue cult of respression, violence and death. I honestly cannot see that anything in Islam is of value or relevance to the modern world, and the opposite is the case. Forget global warming -- If Islam has its way the world won't survive long enough to warm up, or if they dominate the world life may not be worth living.

Posted on 2007-08-22 09:03:09 GMT

Dear Jenny, the Australian government had nothing to do with bringing Wafa Sultan into Australia either over or under the radar. An interdenominational group called Multinet brought her here and felt it prudent, with 2 fatwahs on her head and the fatwah givers' propensity for violence in response to comments not to their liking, to keep her visit secret till she left our shores.

Posted by Franita on 2007-08-22 07:35:15 GMT

Dr. Sultan's article reminds me a bit of a movie, where under cover operatives are hypnotized, sent to the free world. They receive a phone call years later, with a coded message. The operatives immediately begin their mission of death and destruction, fulfilling our greatest nightmare. I'm not sure if I fully agree with her, but I do believe that amongst every 100 people there are 4-5 very, very smart persons. Amongst every 1000 people there is an actual genius. If those 1000 people were to organize, on the basis of the 40-50 individuals capable of leading with tremendous motivation, and without fear of death, with a threatening ideological plan, this is frightening. Divide the 1.3 billion members of the Islamic world with this factor, and look forward in time. This is why I believe there is sufficient basis to be very, very concerned. The Nazi's were also fervent zealots, in deep ‘belief’ of their cause. God was also on their side. Unfortunately, the Nazi’s created strong ally relationships with various Islamic leaders, uniting in their hatred of Jews, under the banner of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Whether Dr. Sultan is over exaggerating the case, I cannot say. Only time will tell. I personally believe that we need to confront Muslim leaders, the greater Islamic community, Arabic nations, and our own political and legislative representatives with their responsibility, in the face of this threat to democracy and freedom. Dr. Sultan should really direct her efforts as much to the greater Islamic community, as to the West. Unfortunately, being critical of Islam amongst Muslims is a life threatening occupation – even for a psychiatrist. But, it shouldn't surprise anyone that nations and ideologies characterized by psycho-sexual repression, violence, sociopathic world views, and somewhat pubescent ontological insecurities are thus driven by envy, spite are also completely focused on men, and their simple lusts. Even as a man I can recognize that. Surely, the Western world has a long way to go as well, but Western cultures are far further along that road, and our progress bears witness to that fact. This is not the case within Islam. Islam is built on fear. Fear of God, fear of punishment, fear of freedom, fear of women. Instead of a man learning to control and socialize his sexual impulses, he forces a woman to cover herself from head to toe – which would be perfectly analogous to covering and encasing our cities and roads with leather, rather than putting shoes on our feet. The Islamic world denies the equal protection by law and ethics of women, and thus denies them their basic human rights. So, long before we should be speaking to the governments of Russia or China about their abuses of human rights, we should be addressing the mothers – and mother’s to be - of every child in the Islamic world, i.e. some 650.000.000 women, and demanding from their governments their inalienable rights and freedoms to pursue what makes them happy, and their full access to the decision making process of their society. Brutality and dogma will have to govern in a world where women have no choice, or voice. It was the case in medieval Europe, and it's the case in every Islamic nation, i.e. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, etc. etc. Nothing will change until the world insists that women are granted human rights with the Islamic world – and not as suicide bombers, or willing participants or captives within their own structural repression, but as equals, or in fact, our “better half.” They are the component all societies need. They are the component that political ideology lacks. Islam has omitted the touch of mother's love and wisdom. Compound that through 1400 years, add a billion impoverished people, add general illiteracy and hate propaganda in their schools, give their clergy and royalty unbridled control, hand governmental control from father to son, place oil resources and petro-dollars at their feet, and armies in their women’s bellies, and you have what we have today: the greatest threat to mankind since Nazi Germany. It doesn't take a genius, or a psychiatrist, to recognize that.

Posted by Brian on 2007-08-22 07:23:31 GMT

She needs to speak to the Moslem comunity, not to us really

Posted by Ike Brajtman on 2007-08-22 01:41:19 GMT

My question is this. Why did the Australian Government feel they had to 'sneak Wafta Sultan in'?

Posted by Jenny on 2007-08-22 00:45:27 GMT

Long may Wafa have the courage and strength to drag Islam - Fourteen centuries is a long and arduous path toward reason enlightenment and modernity.

Posted by Franita on 2007-08-21 23:32:29 GMT