Thursday, March 02, 2006

Freedom of Speech in the Middle East: A Must-See Video

In an interview aired on Al-Jazeera TV, Wafa Sultan, an Arab-American psychologist, criticized the Muslim world in a particularly harsh and daring way. Excerpts thanks to

“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 is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings...

The Jews have come from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people. The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a Mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them.”

This video aired on February 21, 2006 is a must-see. Trancript can be found here.

It’s amazing that such a speech could be aired in the Middle East, where dissenting voices are not tolerated. Should a program like this give us hope that the Middle East is evolving? Or should we fear that Wafa Sultan may be the next name on a fatwa?


At Fri Mar 03, 09:23:00 AM PST, Anonymous Ricky said...

Wow. Great find. Lets hope this drop becomes a spring, a stream, and a river of pro-freedom muslims. When you think how during the Middle Ages, the Arabs were protecting knowledge and books from the Catholic Church - how far everything has flipped.

At Fri Mar 03, 03:23:00 PM PST, Blogger Filou said...

Ricky, your perspective is very interesting.

By the way, Friedman recently wrote a related piece in which he said:

"(Today) you seldom encounter a Muslim name in scientific journals. Muslim contributions to pure and applied science - measured in terms of discoveries, publications, patents and processes - are marginal. The harsh truth is that science and Islam parted ways many centuries ago. In a nutshell, the Muslim experience consists of a golden age of science from the ninth to the 14th centuries, subsequent collapse, modest rebirth in the 19th century, and a profound reversal from science and modernity, beginning in the last decades of the 20th century. This reversal appears, if anything, to be gaining speed."

Full article can be found at:


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