Transcript and Video Link of Wafa Sultan Interview on Al-Jazeera
Syrian American Doctor of Psychology Wafa Sultan resides with her
family in a suburb of Los Angeles. When she was a medical student
at the University of Aleppo, in Syria, gunmen of the Muslim
Brotherhood burst into her classroom and, before her eyes, shot
hundreds of bullets into her professor while shouting, "Allahu
akbar!" "Allah is great!". "It was the turning
point of my life," she said recently, "and it has led me
to this present point."
An angry essay by Dr. Sultan on the Muslim Brotherhood appeared on
the Islamic reform Web site, Annaqed (The Critic), and led to her
invitation to debate a Muslim cleric last July on Al Jazeera, the
most widely viewed television network in the Arab world, and again
on February 21 of this year. Her blunt condemnation of Islamic
teachings and attitudes have caused clerics throughout the Muslim
world to heap condemnation her, and her answering machine has been
filled with threats. On the other hand, Islamic reformers have
Dr. Sultan's February 21 was videoed
and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI),
and has been viewed online by over a million viewers. What follows
is a transcript of that appearance.
[This introduction is a summary by Norman Manzon of the Monday,
March 13th, 2006 article, "Muslim's
Blunt Criticism of Islam Draws Threats," By John M.
Transcript of Interview
MEMRI TV PROJECT
Al-Jazeera TV (QATAR)
February 21, 2006
Host: Faisal al-Qassam
Panelists: Dr. Wafa Sultan
Egyptian Professior of Religious Studies Dr. Ibrahim al-Khouly
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 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.
Al-Qassam: I understand from your words that what is happening
today is a clash between the culture of the west and the
backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?
Sultan: Yes, that is what I mean.
Al-Qassam: Who came up with the concept of the clash of
civilizations? Was it not Samuel Huntington? It was not Bin Laden.
I would like to discuss this issue with you, if you don't mind.
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 believe in Allah and His Messenger." When the
Muslims divided the people from [sic] 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 this 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 the "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
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. 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.
Al-Khouli: Are you a heretic?
Sultan: You can say whatever you like. I am a secular human being
who does not believe in the supernatural.
Al-Khouli: If you are a heretic, there is no point in rebuking
you, since you have blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet, and the
Sultan: These are personal matters that do not 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
people's 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 [MEMRI: of the Holocaust] and
forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with
their terror; with their work, not with their crying and yelling.
Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and
20th centuries to Jewish scientists. Fifteen 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 the 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. - (Transcribed by Norman Manzon)
[According to the web site Aqoul, "MEMRI has published
translated and heavily edited portions of the exchange." They
therefore present "Wafa Sultan: Bigger, Longer, Uncut - The
Full Sultan Jazeera Transcript." To view this transcript,