The Douchebag Report

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Profile in Courage: Wafa Sultan

Far too many times lately, I've heard phrases completely misused. I've heard (or read) honorifics and complementary titles misappointed. I've heard Cindy Sheehan being called "Brave". I've heard Robert Byrd called "Statesman-like". I've even heard the painfully unfunny Stephen Colbert praised for "speaking truth to power".
And yet, little attention is paid to the genuine heroes of our time. Less, still, is there praise for them shouted from the rooftops.
Well, I may not be on the slate with a bullhorn, but I'll be damned if I'm going to pass up the opportunity to point out a genuine example of courage in today's world.
Today's profile in courage belongs to Dr. Wafa Sultan... someone who really does speak truth to power... and in the sense that the term is actually intended, too; doing so from a sense of conviction and moral obligation, in the face of grave personal danger.

Dr. Wafa Sultan, Doctor of psychiatry, author, public speaker and renowned expert on Muslim/Arab world affairs, was born in Baniyas, Syria, circa 1958.

Dr. Sultan began to doubt her Islamic upbringing in 1979, after seeing atrocities perpetrated by "The Muslim Brotherhood" against her fellow Syrians. Not the least of these crimes was the brutal murder of her University of Aleppo professor, which she personally witnessed, while a medical student there.
In Dr. Sultan's own words: "They shot hundreds of bullets into him, shouting, 'God is great!'.
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."

Shortly after September 11, 2001, Dr. Sultan started to gain more regognition, following her participation in several debates on Middle East political affairs, as well as several widely circulated Arabic essays she authored.

She had also, at that time begun to appear as a contributor and Muslim/Arab expert in several television appearances, including those seen on CNN and the Arab network, Al-Jazeera.

It was her latest Al-Jazeera appearance that has generated her biggest buzz, to date.
On February 21, 2006, Dr. Sultan, now a California native, participated via satellite from Los Angeles with an Al-Jazaeera program
on which she openly and courageously confronted the program's host, as well as his other guest, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli, on the nature of the conflict between Islam and Western culture.
Al-Khouli, a cleric and "Islamic scholar", made several attempts to refute Dr. Sultan's observations, with no rational result. When all reasoning seemed to abandon him, as is typically the way with Islamic hardliners, he tried to simply dismiss her as "a heretic", stating that he had, therefore, "no need to debate with you." Sultan relented, easily making her ponts with clarity, reason and a tenacity that must be admired, especially given the current climate, and the dangers these actions may pose to her, personally.

In a world of cowardly "heroes" and false courage, it inspires hope that there are still those out there who are willing to put themselves at risk, to do what is genuinely right.

Dr. Wafa Sultan, we salute you.

***Dr. Sultan is currently working on a new book, to be entitled;
"The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster". Look for it in 2007.***


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