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Friday, March 17, 2006

Wafa Sultan Takes on the Wrong Direction Islam is Heading

In trying to understand Islam, most Westerners are at a loss. But there is one thing we do know, that out of the ranks of Islamic followers come a certain breed of Islamic extremists, and as they blow up their bomb, or shoot that infidel, then they invoke the name of their God, usually saying "Praise Allah."

On Al-Jazeera TV February 21, 2006, an interesting debate occurred between an Arab American scholar from L.A. and a religious Imam from the Mideast. Similar to the cartoon controversy, there is now thousands of death threats against Arab-American Psychologist Wafa Sultan.

The Imam also declared that she is heretic who insults Islam, and if you read between the lines, according to Sharia law, that amounts to a death warrant. Al-Jazeera has made this debate available across the internet and so far it has been viewed over a million times. If you haven't seen it, the video is in Arabic, but with English subtitles. If you prefer to read rather than view, a transcript of the debate is here.

Here is a taste of what Wafa Sultan said:

"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 gets more intense after these opening remarks.

Why is Al-Jazeera making this public? Well, from their point of view, they want to get out her slanderous statements about Islam. I am sure the unintended result is the exposure of what is going wrong with Islamic extremists, and the reason why.


At 3:10 AM, Blogger Omar Barsawad said...

Just like with any kind of religion, ideology or culture - it takes time and interest to understand Islam.

Most of my life, I have worked around Westerners - and I am always surprised and even amazed at times, at how little Westerners do understand of Islam. The Western perception of Islam, is mostly influenced by what they they see and read on the news. After 9/11, in particular.

Having read much about the other world religions - I find them strikingly similar to what Islam is. And I know, should one intend to - then one can pick a part of any and twist it to give negative meanings. One too, can pick a part of history from any other great religions ang give it 'evilness'.

In most cases, it is not facts that influence our perceptions, but the society and culture we are in.


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