Wafa Sultan (born June 14, 1958, Baniyas, Syria) is a medical doctor who trained as a psychiatrist in Syria, and an American author and critic of Muslim society and Islam.
Life and career
Sultan was born into a large traditional Alawite Muslim family in Baniyas, Syria. Although Sultan wanted to be a writer, and would have preferred to study Arabic literature, she studied at the Medical faculty at the University of Aleppo due to pressure from her family.
She was shocked in 1979 by atrocities committed by Islamic extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood against innocent Syrians. While she was a medical student, She witnessed the machine-gun assassination of her professor of the university who was renowned outside Syria. Islamic extremists shot hundreds of bullets into , Yusef al Yusef, an ophthalmologist from, shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ . From that point, She lost my trust in Allah and began to question Islamic teachings. It was the turning point of her life.
She worked for four years as a psychiatrist in a hospital. She, her teacher husband and children immigrated to the United States in 1989, where she moved to Los Angeles, California and became a naturalized citizen. Initially she had to work as a cashier in a gas station and behind the counter in a pizza parlour, but found her treatment in these jobs better than as a medical professional in Syria. From the time of her arrival she begun to contribute articles to Arabic publications in the United States and published three books in Arabic.
Sultan became notable after the September 11, 2001 attacks for her participation in Middle East political debates, with Arabic essays that were circulated widely, and for television appearances on Al Jazeera and CNN in 2005. On February 21, 2006, she took part in Al Jazeera’s weekly 45-minute discussion program The Opposite Direction. She spoke from Los Angeles, arguing with host Faisal al-Qassem and with Ibrahim Al-Khouli, a professor at Al-Azhar University in Cairo (Egypt), about Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations theory. A six minute composite video of her remarks was subtitled and widely circulated by MEMRI on blogs and through e-mail; The New York Times estimated that it has been seen at least one million times. In this video she criticised Muslims for treating non-Muslims differently, and for not recognizing the accomplishments of Jewish and other members of non-Muslim society while using their wealth and technology. The video was the most discussed video of all time with over 260,000 comments on the video-sharing website YouTube. The full transcript of the debate which was made public later, also raised many online discussions.
Following her participation in founding of the Former Muslims United on October 13, 2009, Sultan released her first book in English, A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam. In October 2010 Sultan was called as an expert witness to give testimony at the Geert Wilders trial. There she confirmed that she had met Wilders several times in 2009, had seen his film Fitna, and in general agreed with his views about Islam. On January 10, 2011, Sultan, opposing Ibrahim Ramey, appeared on the Russian television news show CrossTalk with host Peter Lavelle, where she stated: “I’m not against Muslims, I’m against Islam.”
In 2006 Wafa Sultan was named in Time Magazine in a list of 100 influential people in the world “whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.” Time stated that “Sultan’s influence flows from her willingness to express openly critical views on Islamic extremism that are widely shared but rarely aired by other Muslims.”
Sultan describes her thesis as witnessing “a battle between modernity and barbarism which Islam will lose”. It has brought her telephone threats, but also praise from reformers. Her comments, especially a pointed criticism that “no Jew has blown himself up in a German restaurant”, brought her an invitation to Jerusalem by the American Jewish Congress. Sultan believes that “The trouble with Islam is deeply rooted in its teachings. Islam is not only a religion. Islam [is] also a political ideology that preaches violence and applies its agenda by force.” According to her, Islamic teachings are responsible for distorting the terrorist and for killing his/her humanity. She describes herself as a Muslim who does not believe in Islam, yet remains associated with the faith through her birth. Wafa Sultan believes that King Abdullah can change Islam overnight, if sufficient pressure is put on him. She advocates nuclear attack on Islamic countries as a means of pressurizing them. She is concerned that nothing is being done about infiltration of Islam . She thinks getting involved in politics as the solution and supports Geert Wilders.
Wafa Sultan, joined author Ali Sina, the German activist Stefan Herre of Politically Incorrect; and the Israeli author Mordechai Kedar to form a new organization called Stop Islamization of Nations (SION) in the third week of January, 2012. Other members are the Hindu activist Babu Suseelan; Anders Gravers of Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE), Swiss politician Oskar Freysinger, Cliff Kincaid, editor of the Accuracy in Media (AIM) Report, and Ashraf Rameleh the President of Voice of the Copts. Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer are President and Vice President of SION.
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Aleppo, Syrian expatriates Adnan Halabi and Ghada Moezzin have disputed the account of Wafa Sultan about the firing and assasination of her professor in the campus of University of Aleppo. According to them, it took place off campus, and that no one had ever been killed anywhere at the university.