Arab-American Psychologist Wafa Sultan: There Is No Clash of Civilizations but a Clash between the Mentality of the Middle Ages and That of the 21st CenturyFollowing are excerpts from an interview with Arab-American psychologist Wafa Sultan. The interview was aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 21, 2006.
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.
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?
Yes, that is what I mean.
Who came up with the concept of a clash of civilizations? Was it not Samuel Huntington? It was not Bin Laden. I would like to discuss this issue, if you don't mind...
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 into 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 start 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 that 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 wrath." Who told you that 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.
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli:
Are you a heretic?
You can say whatever you like. I am a secular human being who does not believe in the supernatural...
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli:
If you are a heretic, there is no point in rebuking you, since you have blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran...
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 (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 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.Amazing.
It was a pretty powerful speech. How typical that the religious nutjob can only respond by calling her a heretic, etc. I think she overgeneralized a bit. "We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people?" Untrue.ReplyDelete
It's nice to have some secular people out there doing some of the shouting, though.
How typical that the religious nutjob can only respond by calling her a heretic, etc.ReplyDelete
I actually wondered at that point if a religious Jew would respond the same way. Sadly, I'm not sure they wouldn't.
She did overgeneralize, but her point was spot on.
Good point, Ezzie, about what a religious Jew might say. I've seen as bad.ReplyDelete
What is interesting is that if you were to look back about 1100 years to compare the Arab world against Christian Europe, it would be the Christians who were backward and ignorant and the Arabs world that was civilized and rational -- with a large Christian minority that was well treated and a small Jewish minority that thrived. How things have changed!
Another great example of the blogosphere creating a positive fire-storm. Ever since I've seen the video on Monday, posted it on my site, and seen it in other places, this story has gained so much steam. I've started getting e-mails about it. This is awesome!! I think this woman's career is about to take off in an even more serious way.ReplyDelete
"We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people"ReplyDelete
We haven't? Hnh. Could have sworn we had. I guess Kach doesn't exist. Or Naturay Karta (sp?).
"Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies."
So wait, when White Supremacists burn down churches, it's because they're Muslim? Go figure.
He makes some valid points, but he does seem to be bringing his own baggage to the table.
Charlie: My father likes to point out that for many centuries Jews lived far better under the Sword of Islam than we did under Christian brotherhood.
And yeah, the heretic crack reminds me of some Ravs I have known.
CH - true that.ReplyDelete
OC - I saw the big bloggers picking it up yesterday, such as Malkin. A couple people who were here and saw it said, "I hope she doesn't get killed soon."
ML - Granted, I noted the same. However, her point is still on target. A person who was here, when I said that, actually argued that while there have been a couple of individual nuts, they didn't kill as a form of protest, but simply as an act of hatred - and they were mentally off.
Radical Islam is, however, not all Islam, just as Kach is not all of Judiasm.
Just felt the need to point that out.
This doesn't make it okay, but to damn all of Islam for their actions is not right.
Remember that Yishmael buried Avraham Avinu side by side with Yitzchak.
Of course it's not representative; it is, however, a much larger portion of Islam - it's not individuals, but entire swaths of Islamic society. Furthermore, the rest of the Islamic world is silent. How many Wafa Sultan's are there?! Not enough.ReplyDelete
How many Jews got up and denounced Baruch Goldstien?ReplyDelete
Actually, quite a few Ismalic groups slammed the protests for getting violent.
Yes there is a larger portion, but here's also a larger population. We're talking scale here.
And for the record, the Danish paper WAS wrong, but so was the reaction. And the fact that it was very orchistrated. They ran months ago, but then someone was offended.
ML, actually many Jews denounced Baruch Goldstein and almost nobody agrees with what he did, except for the few crazies out there who also believe that Rabin's assasination was in the best interest of the Jewish Nation. However, per capita compared to radical Muslims, the number is significantly slim.ReplyDelete
There may be over a billion identified "Muslims" in the world, but when tens of thousands show up at protests to burn embassies and kill Christians, you cannot make the claim that these people are in the minority.
Can you name one instance where Jews or Christians have protested something down by the outside world by killing others or by burning down Mosques? Have you seen a violent protest carried out by Jews to protest the violently and horrifically anti-semetic cartoons published in the Muslim/Arab and European world? Just one would be fine by me.
Finally, when you make excuses and justify murder and mayhem and have to go out of your way to apologize or say that free speech "has its limits" (it wasn't like someone was screaming fire in a public theater, and if the Supreme Court ruled that burning an American flag is freedom of speech, this case in no way falls under the realm of "fighting words".), then you might as well start paying your dhimmi tax now because democracy and freedom should never have to defend itself in the eyes of tyranny and oppression. How can we sit back and promote democracy and freedom in the world at the same time that we're actually apologizing for it?
Furthermore, The Arab/Muslim world is using the PC apologetic sentiment of the world to claim that anything that they see offending Islam needs to be apologized for, and the world has to get down on its knees and beg for forgiveness.
With your remarks, you are playing right into the hands of those that want to put you into servitude. Not all Dr. Sultan's comments are 100% true, but their sentiment is clear. There is no other religion, among the big major ones, i.e. Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. (I don't know every religion in the world), that proclaims that it is OK to use violence, terrorism, etc against innocent civilians in the name of their religion. When Goldstein committed murder, the vast majority of the Jewish world condemned him. When White Supremicists burn synagogues, the vast majority of the Christian world is quick to condemn them. Both of these cases are extremely rare, irregardless. Aside from Baruch Goldstein, can you name a time when a Jews walked into another group's area and blew themselves up on a crowded bus and then applauded by a vast majority of the Jewish leadership and world?
Seriously, comparing the two cases to "prove" that Dr Sultan is incorrect in her interpretation of modern Islam and its teaching and teachers is a poor case of ad hoc comparison. Her point is clear and well put. To justify the actions of terrorists and killers is reidiculous.