Wafa Sultan in May 2012
|Residence||Los Angeles, California|
|Alma mater||University of Aleppo|
|Known for||Criticism of Islam|
Life and career
Although Sultan wanted to be a writer, and would have preferred to study Arabic literature, she studied at the medical faculty at the University of Aleppo due to pressure from her family, stating that she was shocked into secularism by the 1979 atrocities committed by Islamic extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood against innocent Syrians. She states that while she was a medical student, she witnessed the machine-gun assassination of her professor, Yusef al Yusef, an ophthalmologist from the university who was renowned outside Syria. "They shot hundreds of bullets into him, shouting, 'Allahu Akbar!' " she said. "At that point, I lost my trust in their god and began to question all our teachings. It was the turning point of my life, and it has led me to this present point. I had to leave. I had to look for another god." She worked for four years as a psychiatrist in a hospital.
She, her teacher husband, and children immigrated to the United States in 1989, where she moved to Los Angeles, California and became a naturalized citizen. Initially she had to work as a cashier in a gas station and behind the counter in a pizza parlour, but found her treatment in these jobs better than as a medical professional in Syria. From the time of her arrival she begun to contribute articles to Arabic publications in the United States and published three books in Arabic.
Sultan became notable after the September 11, 2001 attacks for her participation in Middle East political debates, with Arabic essays that were circulated widely, and for television appearances on Al Jazeera and CNN in 2005.
On February 21, 2006, she took part in Al Jazeera's weekly 45-minute discussion program The Opposite Direction. She spoke from Los Angeles, arguing with host Faisal al-Qassem and with Ibrahim Al-Khouli, a professor at Al-Azhar University in Cairo (Egypt), about Samuel P. Huntington's Clash of Civilizations theory. A six-minute composite video of her remarks was subtitled and widely circulated by MEMRI on blogs and through e-mail; The New York Times estimated that it has been seen at least one million times. In this video she criticised women's situation in Muslim countries, Muslims for treating non-Muslims differently and for not recognizing the accomplishments of Jewish and other members of non-Muslim society while using their wealth and technology. The full transcript of the debate, which was made public later, also raised many online discussions.
Following her participation in founding of the Former Muslims United on October 13, 2009, Sultan released her first book in English, A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam.
In October 2010 Sultan was called as an expert witness to give testimony at the Geert Wilders trial. There she confirmed that she had met Wilders several times in 2009, had seen his film Fitna, and in general agreed with his views about Islam.
On January 10, 2011, Sultan, opposing Ibrahim Ramey, appeared on the Russian television news show CrossTalk with host Peter Lavelle, where she stated: "I'm not against Muslims, I'm against Islam."
Sultan describes her thesis as witnessing "a battle between modernity and barbarism which Islam will lose". It has brought her telephone threats, but also praise from reformers. Her comments, especially a pointed criticism that "no Jew has blown himself up in a German restaurant", brought her an invitation to Jerusalem by the American Jewish Congress.
Sultan believes that "The trouble with Islam is deeply rooted in its teachings. Islam is not only a religion. Islam [is] also a political ideology that preaches violence and applies its agenda by force." In a discussion with Ahmad bin Muhammad, she said: "It was these teachings that distorted this terrorist and killed his humanity".
In 2006 Wafa Sultan was named in Time Magazine in a list of 100 influential people in the world "whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world." Time stated that "Sultan's influence flows from her willingness to express openly critical views on Islamic extremism that are widely shared but rarely aired by other Muslims."
In the same Time interview, Sultan described herself as a Muslim who does not adhere to Islam, yet remains associated with the faith through her birth, rather than belief; "I even don't believe in Islam, but I am a Muslim."
Stop Islamization of Nations
Sultan, is a board member of Stop Islamization of Nations (SION), an organization founded by Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and Anders Gravers of Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE). Other board members are Ali Sina, ex-Muslim activist and author; Stefan Herre, a German activist of Politically Incorrect; Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli author; Babu Suseelan, a Hindu activist; Oskar Freysinger, a Swiss politician; Cliff Kincaid, editor of the Accuracy in Media (AIM) Report; and Ashraf Rameleh the President of Voice of the Copts. Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer are President and Vice President of SION.
- John M. Broder (2006-03-11). "For Muslim Who Says Violence Destroys Islam, Violent Threats". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- Abdussalam Mohamed (March 3, 2007). "Wafa Sultan: Reformist or opportunist?". Southern California InFocus. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
- Ruthie Blum Leibowitz. "One on One: A woman's work in progress". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2008-03-01.
- Gerard Henderson (2007-08-28). "Welcome to all who pass the test". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-03-01.
- Brenda Gazzar (July 16, 2006). womensenews.org "U.S. Muslim Women Weigh Anti-Islam Firebrand".
- Wendt, Jana, A Matter of Principle: New Meetings with the Good, the Great and the Formidable, Melbourne University Publishing, 2008, p.46
- Kerry Howley. "Breaking the Silence: One woman is risking her life to speak the truth about radical Islam.". Readers Digest. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- John M. Broder (2006-03-11). "The Saturday Profile; For Muslim Who Says Violence Destroys Islam, Violent Threats". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- Heffernan, Virginia (2007-11-04). "God and Man on YouTube". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
- Transcript Translation: al-Jazeera - The Opposite Direction 26/02/2006 Translator: Meph www.aqoul.com, March 22, 2006
- Elisabeth Eaves (October 27, 2009). "Islam On The Couch - An ex-Muslim psychiatrist is attacked for apostasy". Forbes. Retrieved 2011-10-01.
- Baudet, Thierry (19 January 2011). "Thou Shalt Not Offend Islam". City Journal. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
- RT news: CrossTalk: host Peter Lavelle, at marker number 17.10  RT news: CrossTalk: host Peter Lavelle, at marker number 17.10 
- "A "crack in the wall" - Wafa Sultan on the mohammed cartoons". Retrieved 2008-10-14.
- "LA Psychologist Wafa Sultan Clashes with Algerian Islamist Ahmad bin Muhammad over Islamic Teachings and Terrorism". Middle East Media Research Institute. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- Asra Nomani (2006-04-30). "Wafa Sultan". Time. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- "The People Who Shape Our World". Time. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- Reuters.com; Press Release, "Stop Islamization of Nations (SION) Calls on UN to Protect Christians of Syria", January 20, 2012, Retrieved February 5, 2012
- Sultan, Wafa (2009). A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-53836-1.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Wafa Sultan|
- (Arabic) Wafa Sultan's articles at Al-Hewaar Al-Mutamaddin
- by Wafa Sultan -Who Should We Believe? June 12, 2009 at Hudson New York
- Heroes & Pioneers; Wafa Sultan - A Daring Voice Calls For a New Islam TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World
- "Dr. Wafa Sultan: A Lost Opportunity"
- "Meet Islam's Ann Coulter" Rabbi Stephen Julius Stein