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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Why I am not excited about Wafa Sultan.

Wafa Sultan is an Arab American psychiatrist living in Los Angeles. She appeared on Al Jazeera 2 weeks ago to debate a professor at Al Azhar university, the world's main Sunni Islam school.

The debate was posted on MEMRI which stated that over a million people downloaded the Al Jazeera program. She was also profiled in the New York Times.

I admit that what Wafa Sultan said on the program was unusual given the fact that she was being interviewed on Al Jazeera, a propaganda channel with an Islamist twist. However, I am not so excited about Sultan and I believe she and others who share her line of thought are very counterproductive to our region.

It was apparent from the interview that Wafa Sultan has stopped being a Muslim for reasons that she alone can tell. This fact alone will discourage even the most moderate Muslims from listening to her. She is exactly like Irshad Manji. Western readers can get excited as they want over Sultan and Manji, but don't expect Muslims nowadays to heed the call of a former Muslim (Sultan) or a lesbian (Manji)*.

In addition, I believe the Sultan vs the Al Azhar professor debate was an attempt by Al Jazeera to discredit anyone who thinks differently about Islam. By putting these 2 together, Al Jazeera was forcing its viewers to choose between Sultan and the professor. 99.9999% of viewers had no option but to side with their fellow Muslim the professor.

We don't need former Muslims, we don't need atheists, we don't need lesbians, what we need are reform minded Muslim thinkers. Only these people have the necessary legitimacy to pull us from the dark abyss we're in now.

*I have nothing against lesbians. I just wanted to say that her sexual orientation will discredit her in the eyes of most people here. Even Muslim wakeup do not endorse her.

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