Wafa Sultan at Women in Secularism 2012

You also get to see Wafa Sultan’s talk…which was one of the most shattering things I ever saw/heard. Be prepared for that. Have a stack of paper towels handy.

But do not miss it.



  1. says

    I have been listening to the video of Wafa Sultan’s talk since clicking on the link here. What strikes me about Sultan’s view of Islam is that it is almost as unqualifiedly negative as my own. Her support of burqa bans is one I agree with, but most liberals oppose. Her view of the danger of Islam to secular democracy, as I think it is, is undoubtedly right, in my view, though liberals tend to water this danger down until it almost disappears. How does one say these kinds of things without seeming simply negative and racist? Islam is a dreadful religion, and the fact that the Roman Catholic Church is reaching out towards Islam because Islam is also theocratic in inclination is significant, I think, for future public policy initiatives in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, where Catholicism is already heavily represented, and Islam becoming more so. There is a period of real danger for democracy ahead, and I think we should face up to the fact and start doing the kinds of things that are necessary, to force religion into the back seat. Only laws restricting the free public exercise of religion will do this, in my view. I’m old. This is not going to affect me personally, but it will affect others, and it seems to me that it endangers freedom to such an extent that something must be done now, or it will really be too late.

  2. says

    I should have added that Sultan’s speech is very powerful, and a much needed corrective to all the over-cautious proponents of freedom who do not see the danger that some ideologies pose to freedom. People recognised this in respect of communism. Why can they not recognise a much more insidious danger that faces them in Islam and other religions, but especially Islam? I ordered Sultan’s book A God Who Hates on the strength of this.

  3. don1 says


    I was with you up until ‘Only laws restricting the free public exercise of religion …’

    Exercise your religion within existing laws as much as you want, as I’ll exercise my lack of it. But within, and not one inch without. But no, I will not go down that road.

  4. says

    Don, my point was simply that the free public exercise of religion licenses the imprisoning of women in bags, and I do not think that that is appropriate. Indeed, I think this endangers freedom for all of us, because it allows one group, Muslim men and the Muslim officials (who are all men), to restrict the freedom of all the women in that group. That’s not acceptable to my mind. I think Sultan is right. Ban the burqa. It has no place in a free society.

  5. steve oberski says

    The free public exercise of religion could also allow for polygamous marriage in democratic nations but typically this is not legal as polygamous marriage is almost never an informed, consensual choice by the women involved and is invariably part of a patriarchal system where women are viewed as chattels.

    I think this is exactly analogous to the wearing of the burqa.

  6. Wave says

    A very frank, brave and informative speech. More people need to be listening to women like her, but don’t.

    Wafa’s biggest enemies, however, are western, post-modern feminists who have taken it upon themselves to portray opponents of sharia as bigots.

    In Canada, members, FEMALE members, of both the University of Windsor’s and the U of T’s law faculties, in an ostentatious display of impressive, progressive credentials, are actually teaming up with those beguiling, bearded, medieval tenors of shaira in an effort to ‘mainstream’ islamic misogyny.

    Ms Sultan would never, ever be allowed to give such a talk at many canadian campuses, including a good number of those considered the most prestigous.

    Some feel they’re “debunking” sharia myths, when in fact they’re being used as dupes by islamists. The prof in the story below actually accepted a prize handed out by a muslim institute in Chicago staffed almost entirely by hardcores. “Islamophobiawatch” once posted a glowing story and a link to that award and the institute, but it has since been removed.

    Itrath Syed mentioned in this article is one such hardcore who has ingratiated herself, as have many others just like her, into Canada’s “fadish” and superficial left. Opposition to islamist/sharia misogyny is now a form of bigotry and racism against women of colour, you know. And FGM only serves to make a women prettier…yeah.

    Atheist, secularist feminists have much more on their plates than they think.


  7. says

    Wave – some Western feminists. (Maybe more than some postmodernist feminists – I don’t really know, and it seems to me the label is not so much a badge of honor as it used to be.) There are also Western feminists who are strongly opposed to that view. I’m one, and people who like this blog tend to be of that view (though there are a few who think it slops into what they call “Islamophobia”).

  8. Wave says

    As a Canadian, all I can say is that Wafa Sultan would NOT be welcomed on many university campuses. She’d also be rudely treated at many women’s studies departments.

    The prof Julie Macfarlane is a swivel-eyed fool who’d never “stoop” to debating someone like Ms Sultan. She takes her marching orders on islam from progressive muslim *feminists* like Itrath Syed promoting a salafist MB platform.

    But Hey! Ms Macfarlane is debunking islamophobic myths!

    Pity that over the years she’s had unfettered access to thousands of young impressionable minds.

    Mayo Moran, the dean of U of T’s law faculty (Canada’s largest, I believe), is worth a gander as well when it comes to this crap about women and debunking islamophobic “myths”.

    From what I can glean, she takes her marching orders on sharia and feminist self-realisation from a bevy of Beards her institution has hired as advisors.

  9. Rodney Nelson says

    Islamophobia has raised its ugly head.

    she takes her marching orders on sharia and feminist self-realisation from a bevy of Beards her institution has hired as advisors.

    As they say in wikipedia, citation needed.

  10. theoreticalgrrrl says

    Thanks for posting this. I couldn’t watch it all straight through, I had to take a few breaks before I could finish. I can’t fathom how anyone could treat another person the way women are treated in Islam, let alone a woman or girl’s own a father or mother or brother.

    @Wave: “Atheist, secularist feminists have much more on their plates than they think.” Hmm, you know what I think? Are you psychic? If you are psychic you’re not a very good one.

    “There are also Western feminists who are strongly opposed to that view. I’m one, and people who like this blog tend to be of that view.”
    Yes, exactly.

    I’m one too. Please don’t be patronizing or make sweeping generalizations, Wave. It blows my mind too that any woman in her right mind can support sharia law. But it’s not only women or post-modernists or whatever, there are also men who support this. Wafa’s biggest enemy is anyone, whatever they label themselves, who think “culture” or religous tradition are more important than women’s rights.

  11. says

    theoreticalgrrrl – I know, about needing breaks. Hence the warning. Imagine seeing it live – we didn’t get breaks and Wafa was right there in front of us. I was live-blogging and tweeting it, and I think I mentioned a lot of emotion…mine and everyone else’s.

    I sat next to her at the dinner. She’s extraordinary.

  12. smipowell says

    Thanks so much for posting this video. It was powerful. The Q&A was powerful, as well.

    I am about the same age as Eric; however, I am not as pessimistic as he–in part because I am mindful of how much change there has been in our thinking on gender equity in the US during my lifetime. On the other hand, I am also mindful of how far we have to go as so terrribly many incidents and comments in the secular world have made clear over the last couple of years.

    I appreciate the courage and outspoken nature of Ms Sultan and of Ms Benson and so many others. Keep up the pressure and keep educating us all.

  13. theoreticalgrrrl says

    I can imagine Ophelia. I have a big box of kleenex on my desk and needed it just five minutes into her speech. This needs to be front page news. This is an humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. And I can’t stand the term “Islamophobia”, it’s completely ridiculous. I’m not phobic of Islam, I see its violent misogyny and I don’t believe I should be expected to respect it in any way.

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