The article below at http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/b/marie-claire/3079/
Last year, Wafa Sultan sparked worldwide controversy when
she spoke out against Islam's treatment of women. Almost immediately, extremists issued a fatwa - or death threat - against
her, and her family disowned her. On a recent, secret trip to Australia, she explained her provocative views to Jana
Wafa Sultan is manoeuvred into the hotel lift like a precious parcel in the grip of an expert handler. Sultan's female
bodyguard is taking no chances even in the hushed and sparsely populated corridors of this elegant Sydney hotel. When the lift doors open again, we move briskly towards the room set aside for our
talk, the agile young minder sweeping the diminutive Sultan to safety.
From what? What threat could there be to this homely looking mother of three children? In fact, hanging over Sultan's
head like a sabre are two fatwas - legal rulings by Muslim clerics - that declare Sultan to be an apostate, a renouncer of
Islam. The formal penalty for such renunciation is death.
Sultan's rejection of Islam became known to millions worldwide when the Syrian-born psychiatrist, now a citizen of
the US, made an extraordinary appearance on the Qatar-based Arabic-language
TV network, Al Jazeera, in February 2006. Filmed speaking from her home in California, where she has lived since 1989, Sultan, with breathtaking audacity, confronted a Muslim cleric in a
Middle East studio with an explanation of why she had rejected the faith into which she was born.
Her eloquent critique of Islam was provocative and deeply damaging.
She described the difference between the Muslim world and the Western world this way: "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 civilisation
and backwardness, between the civilised 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 the other hand. It is a clash
between those who treat women as beasts and those who treat them as human beings."
The cleric’s reply, first on Christian
extremism, and then towards the end on how unclean are the American hands in the Arab states.
Towards the end of this he comments on the globalization, a policy the Arab states oppose.