Wafa Sultan

She faced restraint which stifled her life and virtually imprisoned her.

“My unfit mind devised a plan.”

She bribed an untrustworthy male acquaintance to be her children’s guardian, because she was not fit to be their guardian – being a woman.

“Liberty like mine was scarcely even imaginable.”

“Little by little, guilt and freedom inspired me to fight back….I began to fight for those I left behind…The road I have taken is dangerous…Even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t be able to peel off my skin.”

“I am here to unmask the true face of Islam…The abuse of women in Islam is legal…Can you imagine my frustration when people who have never lived under Islam deny the truth?”

Her own niece was forced to marry her cousin when she was 11, and he was over 40. This was allowed because the prophet married Aisha when she was 6.

Ok going to lose it now.

She’s choking.

This is hard. Deep breath.

Her niece kept begging her father to let her leave. He always said it was shame; he would talk to him.

At the age of 28 she killed herself by setting herself on fire.

The whole room lost it. Quietly.

Now it’s her patient.

Pregnant. Frantic. Husband dead 2 years. Husband’s brother having sex with her in exchange for money to feed her children. Returned after an abortion looking ill – she almost died – she had the op with no anaesthetic. Why? She didn’t have the money.

She used to cry all the time. Now she is free – but she still cries for all the Muslim women.

Not an eye in the house was dry.

“I was born in hell, I moved to paradise. Most Americans take it for granted, they don’t know how lucky they are.”

“Just walking to Starbucks by myself in the morning without being called a whore.”


  1. says

    Wafa Sultan is an amazing woman. There are some great videos of her taking on Islamic bigots on Al Jazeera. I do have some problems with some of the right wing groups she has been associated with in the USA. However I still have enormous respect for her.

  2. says

    Most Americans take it for granted, they don’t know how lucky they are.

    Which is more than a bit depressing given all the USA’s current problems.

    I especially liked this line of Sultan’s which I saw quoted on Twitter:

    The worst form of slavery is when the slave believes they are free.

  3. steve oberski says

    @Bernard Hurley

    I do have some problems with some of the right wing groups she has been associated with in the USA.

    That could be because groups on the left are too busy denying the truth of life under Islam.

    I suspect she did not run to those groups with open arms, she was pushed there.

    Similar I suspect to Ayaan Hirsi Ali after she was hung out to dry in the Netherlands and her relationship with the American Enterprise Institute.

    I saw Wafa Sultans take down of a Muslim cleric a few years ago on Al Jazeera and she was awesome.

    She got it bang on when she said:

    a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another that belongs to the 21st century… a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality

  4. says

    Watch some of the youtube videos of Wafa Sultan debating with Muslim imams and other so-called “scholars”. It’s quite frightening. As to her acceptance by “right-wing” groups, it’s significant that if you take a hard line against Islam, that’s the label you’ll get — right wing. We ignore what people like Sultan say, to a large extent, and then, when they tell their story, we think they are infected with a right wing bug. But look at photos of the Arab street. Do you really think that women like go round in bags? Of course, like fundamentalists anywhere, some women will wear these things as a mark of devotion and religious defiance, but the miserable truth, I’m sure, is much closer to Wafa Sultan’s telling of the story of oppression and victimisation. Seriously, we need to take voices like hers with a great deal more concern, and stop pretending that it’s just a cultural difference.

  5. says

    I sat next to Wafa at dinner last night, so I got to have a conversation with her. She has a tv show in Arabic that’s broadcast in the Middle East – and it’s hosted by a Christian station. She says that’s only because they will have her when no one else will. We need to fix this. I suggested she talk to RDF; Jen added Todd Stiefel. We have to take her away from the religious right. She’s on our team, not theirs!

  6. Godless Heathen says

    I really liked her talk and I really liked her comment that she’s not against Muslims, they are her people, but she is against Islam.

    This is the problem in the U.S. Right-wingers (as a whole) are not anti-Islam, they are anti-Muslim and there IS a racist component to that.

    Left-wingers don’t want to be anti-Muslim, so they distance themselves from the right, while ignoring the fact that they can be anti-Islam without being anti-Muslim.

    She also pointed out that she is more often given speaking platforms by Christian organizations than by secular organizations. I was discussing that with someone later and he pointed out that many fundamentalist Christians embrace Muslims who speak out against Islam because they want to convert them to Christianity. We need to counteract that by being supportive of those who reject Islam.

    My take on it is that since most people in the U.S. are Christian, most atheists are former Christians and don’t think to include atheists who have rejected other religions in their speaker lineups. Add to all this the fact that she is a woman and an immigrant and, frankly, it’s not surprising that the mainstream American secular movement ignores Wafa and others like her.

    I’m glad there are women out there who are actively supporting her (like you, Ophelia!).

  7. says

    From the way Liz talked about it yesterday, I’m pretty sure this will be on the RDF agenda now. Her interest was by no means casual. (That’s my elegant understatement.)

  8. bricolivia says

    I am almost finished with “A God Who Hates” and I think that Wafa’s words should be read by everyone. I have started to suggest her book to friends. I think politicians, teachers, anyone who wants to understand the mentality behind Islam should read, listen, watch Wafa and others like her. I am a Christian and her beliefs, or anyone else’s, is not a concern of mine. I am more concerned with getting truth and understanding out before it’s too late for the world.

  9. proudmuslimwoman says

    ok, so this is one woman who wanted to get out of the religion and now she is spreading all these bad thins about Islam. I am a Muslim woman and I have never in my life experienced oppression and neither of any of all the woman whom I know. You speak so much about the history and origin of Islam but have you studied the history of Nabi Muhammad (saw)? He had the best of character and was the best towards his wives and companions. He was the example for our men. Those who treat their woman with oppression are not following Islam and they need to reprimanded and put right not Islam. In the Quraan there is a complete chapter dedicated to woman. Telling everybody how to treat their woman. Telling everybody that woman cannot be forced into marriage. Woman are to be treated with respect.
    Why is it that when a Muslim person does something wrong everyone goes against Islam, but there are so many other bad going on in the world. However these religions, or these leaders have the perfect “excuse” and therfore it is acceptable.
    You need to repent seriously Wafa!!!!

  10. proudmuslimwoman says

    I come in peace.
    The Quraan cannot just be interpreted by anybody. Ask any scholar or learned person and the Ayah will be explained. Allah is not allowing men to beat their wives. Our husbands are in charge of us, but in the sense where they see to all our needs and we are loyal to them. When Allah mentioned in the Quraan that a man can “tap” his wife it was only to draw her attention to him, NOT TO BEAT HER. People are always taking out verses which suit them to insult Islam. THis is a beautiful religion and teaches you to be a good person to everybody and to be fair and just with everyone. And about the statement where Muslims always shout to each other??? You cannot brand all Muslims with bad experiences which you might have encountered because then each and every person would be bad, because everywhere there are people who were doing something wrong so why are they not branded?
    I am not here to scare anybody away from Islam but rather to let you know that there is much more to this religion than what Wafa is saying. I truly hope those who are reading this blog are actually doing their own research into Islam and even trying to experience it first hand.

  11. proudmuslimwoman says

    Covering ourselves is not oppression. Would you rather have every woman walk around half naked, men staring at them and leaving nothing untouched? That might be the way you dress, the way you allow your children to dress and the dress code in which you think makes woman feel sexy and liberated. But somehow deep down you have to realise that dressing in that certain way is not doing you any good. Why would you want every person to see your body?

    I know the people on this blog have a great hate for Islam, but I still do not understand why? Is it because of what Wafa is saying? You think she is a great woman because she is standing up against Islam? How about a woman like me, who has not had a bad experience in Islam and has never been ill treated by a man? I am speaking of my true experiences too? Will I ever be seen as a great woman who needs to be heard? NO, because I am not against Islam.

  12. proudmuslimwoman says

    No where in the Quran or Sunnah is abuse to woman legal. And no where does it state that a woman can be forced into marriage, she needs to give her approval too.
    A woman can issue her husband a divorce on the ground that he abuses her. Did you know that? So then if abuse was legal then this would not be possible. You cannot mix culture with Islamic teachings. You need to know what Islam teaches you and then you will not be confused and misled by culture. There are many people who have follow their culture so strongly that they end up thinking and believing that it is part of their religion.
    Beating and abusing your woman are definately not legal, but rather a bad form of culture and custom which might have gotten mixed up in some Muslims lives. But a Muslim following the teachings of Islam correctly will surely know, that is nit allowed. Allah has dedicated an entire Surah (chapter) in the Quran to woman, how we should be treated.

  13. says

    Hey – not wearing a bandage around your head is not “half naked” – it’s not any kind of naked. And not wearing a bandage around your head is not about feeling “sexy”; it’s about feeling comfortable and free to move and breathe.

    The bandage around the head doesn’t prevent anyone from seeing the body.

    It’s not Islam, it’s culture, you say – but the two are not separate. Islam is part of the culture you’re talking about.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *