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March 13, 2006

Out Of Darkness, Light

"I believe our people are hostages to our own beliefs and teachings"

Did she sense, when she spoke these words, the gathering storm?

Dr. Sultan, who is 47, wears a prim sweater and skirt, with fleece-lined slippers and heavy stockings. Her eyes and hair are jet black and her modest manner belies her intense words: "Knowledge has released me from this backward thinking. Somebody has to help free the Muslim people from these wrong beliefs."

Perhaps her most provocative words on Al Jazeera were those comparing how the Jews and Muslims have reacted to adversity. Speaking of the Holocaust, she said, "The Jews have come from the tragedy and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror; with their work, not with their crying and yelling."

She went on, "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."

She concluded, "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."

Her views caught the ear of the American Jewish Congress, which has invited her to speak in May at a conference in Israel. "We have been discussing with her the importance of her message and trying to devise the right venue for her to address Jewish leaders," said Neil B. Goldstein, executive director of the organization.

She is probably more welcome in Tel Aviv than she would be in Damascus. Shortly after the broadcast, clerics in Syria denounced her as an infidel. One said she had done Islam more damage than the Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, a wire service reported.

DR. SULTAN is "working on a book that — if it is published — it's going to turn the Islamic world upside down."

"I have reached the point that doesn't allow any U-turn. I have no choice. I am questioning every single teaching of our holy book."

The working title is, "The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster."

Did this tiny woman somehow sense that even as she spoke, close to the land of her birth a onetime Marine was being slowly tortured in the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful, may blessings be upon him? That his body would soon be found dumped on a garbage heap? That, though it appeared he had been tortured and beaten with electric cables, the family of one of his co-hostages would refuse to believe the reports, preferring instead to cling to the belief that non-violent resistance to Islamofascism was the only path to peace:

We need to help preserve what is human in all of us and so offer glimpses of hope in a dark time.

We unequivocally reject kidnapping and hostage-taking. In such an event, CPT will attempt to communicate with the hostage-takers or their sponsors and work against journalists' inclination to vilify and demonize the offenders. We will try to understand the motives for these actions, and to articulate them, while maintaining a firm stance that such actions are wrong. If appropriate, CPT will work with diplomatic officials from our representative governments to avoid a violent outcome.

We reject the use of violent force to save our lives should we be kidnapped, held hostage, or caught in the middle of a violent conflict situation. We also reject violence to punish anyone who harms us. We ask for equal justice in the arrest and trial of anyone, soldier or civilian, who commits an act of violence, and we ask that there be no retaliation on their relatives or property. We forgive those who consider us their enemies. Therefore, any penalty should be in the spirit of restorative justice, rather than in the form of violent retribution.

We hope that in loving both friends and enemies and by intervening non-violently to aid those who are systematically oppressed, we can contribute in some small way to transforming this volatile situation.

Tom Fox, Springfield, VA
(plus other members of the CPT Iraq team)

How much of what was human in Tom Fox got through to his kidnappers? Did they give peace a chance? Did his non-violent intervention transform their hearts? And exactly what kind of "restorative justice" is appropriate in the case of torture and murder of a non-violent activist who loved his enemies right up until the end, one wonders?

Interestingly enough, Tom Fox was in Iraq to help Palestinian Iraqis against what he saw as an unjust American occupation. He refused to condemn, opppose, or otherwise speak out against Islam or the insurgency.

But it was not speech, blasphemy, or any other such issue that caused his body to be found on a rubbish heap in west Baghdad. He did not resist or condemn radical Islam; in fact, he traveled half-way across the world to help Palestinian Arabs. But radical Islam did not show him the same forebearance.

The irony of Tom Fox's death is that it shows that peace was not the answer either. Nor was silence. Or tolerance. All Tom Fox's enlightened tolerance gained him was an agonizing death at the hands of zealots who viewed his determination to forgive them as confirmation that Western culture is rotten to the core.

But they were wrong in this, for the West has two answers to men with no souls.

One is people like Tom Fox who lose the will to defend what is worth defending; who turn a blind eye to the nature of evil. He is a man who had everything but did not value it and was not willing to defend it so that it should not pass from this earth.

The other is Dr. Wafa Sultan, a woman whose voice, had she stayed in the land of her birth, we should never had heard. No one knows better than she the risks she takes by speaking out. And yet she does so anyway, in defense of that which is beyond price. Dr. Sultan is the West's answer to radical Islam: a living sword thrust into the beating heart of terror.

Out of darkness has come light, and it seems somehow all the more fitting that it should be a woman who dares to say, "You will not silence me and mine. Some things are intolerable."

If only her courage were a universal value.

Posted by Cassandra at March 13, 2006 06:02 AM


I don't see her as questioning the Koran, only the actions of those who profess to believe it. She has seen that non Christians have earned the respect of the world by their fruits...and by their fruits shall ye know them. Okay, simplistic, but this is an intensely meaty topic and I think you have done it justice. I hope to see you following her. Well done, Cass.

Posted by: Crckt [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 13, 2006 10:22 AM

Thank you, Cricket. I, too, see Islamofacism as a perversion of Islam.

Posted by: Cassandra [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 13, 2006 03:49 PM

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