Wafa Sultan is the new voice of "Muslim" woman bashing Muslims. She's been profiled in the New York Times and is being promoted and supported by Zionist organizations because of her "courageous" message.
Far from being courageous, she's a coward. It is very easy to bash Muslims in this country; Muslim bashing is in fact a cottage industry, a national sport, and a definite career choice, for both men and women. If you combine that with Arab bashing then you have arrived. It will get you book deals and TV appearances. You will be placed on a moral pedestal. This country loves nothing better than one of "them" giving legitimacy to racist, bigoted, idiotic statements about Muslims and Islam.
There have been Muslims criticizing their religion and those that abuse their religion and they have been risking their lives and liberty to do so. They weren't profiled in the New York Times and they won't be invited to speak in Israel. They weren't rewarded the way Wafa Sultan is being rewarded. Just to give one recent example, Tareq Ramadan, a Muslim intellectual whose project is to reform Islam, had his visa revoked and was denied entry to the US. Real reformers of Islam are not liked by the groups that are promoting Wafa Sultan's rubbish. Those critical of Islam from a secular position, such as the late Iqbal Ahmad and Edward Said, are not liked either because their criticism is linked with their overall project of secularization and anti imperial politics.
Wafa Sultan's statement about the Jews not reacting in violence to the crimes of the holocaust shows an idiocy beyond measure. When Hitler was engineering the holocaust, there were Jews who resisted and fought back. This resistance stopped when Hitler was defeated. Jews conducted terrorist attacks on the British in Palestine. That's the analogy that she needs to make, not her false one singling out Muslim violence. She also seems to forget that the State of Israel was an act of violence against the Palestinians and the terrible tragedy of the holocaust has been used over and over and over again to transform this violence--to hide it, to gloss over it, and to perpetuate it every day.
But even if what she says is "true," it is false. It is not what she says as much as why she's saying it and to whom that actually determine the "true" meaning of her words. Her initial remarks on Al Jazeera TV may have been intended for an Arab audience and to counter a smug extremist. But her "translated" remarks, now disseminated and framed by American media, Zionist organizations, and Arab and Muslim bashers in the blogosphere are "false." And she's playing the new role they devised for her: she supplied the "life story" to authenticate herself as really one of "them", and she is offering her self as a " lone voice in the wilderness" to separate herself from all the others who speak out against injustice and for reform. She's used and she is relishing it!!
For those of us, religious and secular, who are critical of our societies, traditions, and "religions," and who are against terrorism, Wafa Sultan is another reminder of how hard it is for us to speak. We always speak up fearing not death threats from Muslim extremists, but "integrity threats" from CNN, Fox, and New York Times. When we speak, we worry what will happen to our words, dreading that they will be used to justify carpet bombings (to liberate the women of Afghanistan) or Palestinian bashing (to defend against so-called honor crimes). With every entry I post on this blog, with every conference paper I give or article I write, I have that fear in mind.
People like Wafa Sultan make our job harder and the "integrity threat" scarier.
Al Jazeera TV always annoyed me with its way of framing the debates: the likes of Wafa Sultan who give secularism and reform a dirty name vs. the benighted Islamists. Well, I reject both sides. Both are benighted and ignorant. The only difference between them is that one is the darling of mainstream America and the other is their enemy. At least for now. Let us not forget that Bin Laden was once praised by the then President of the United States Ronald Reagan as a "freedom fighter." Where was Wafa Sultan then? Other secularists and reformists spoke up against that then and were called "professors of terror" and "anti Americans."
As a Palestinian, as a secular woman, and as a human being, I'm offended by the stupidity and cowardice of this woman's statements.