June 25, 2006

"Islam's Ann Coulter."

An op-ed (by a rabbi) about Wafa Sultan (whom we talked about a few months ago, when she made a big splash):
As I experienced the fervor sparked by Sultan's anti-Muslim tirade and stoked by a roomful of apparently unsuspecting Jews, I thought: What if down the street there was a roomful of Muslims listening to a self-loathing Jew, cheering her on as she spoke of the evils inherent in the Torah, in which it is commanded that a child must be stoned to death if he insults his parents, in which Israelites are ordered by God to conquer cities and, in so doing, to kill all women and children — and this imagined Jew completely ignored all of what Judaism teaches afterward?


Dave said...


On a Sunday?

At least I just got home from a night out.

Ann Althouse said...

That cat bite is keeping me up.

ronin1516 said...

I think the difference is this - that modern day Judaism hasnt been infected by the insidous virs of a virulent sort of extremist interpretation of the Wahaabi/Deobandi/Salafi sort. I dont think that there are any Jews, even extremists , say of the Kach types, who are as hate-filled , and willing to kill and torture innocents as Muslim extremists are.
That, I think is the difference between what a person exposing Islam VS a "self-loathing" jew critiqueing Judaism.

wtanksleyjr said...

Yeah, not really plausible -- the Muslims have a long history of this kind of thing, from the death of their founder and on; the Jews have only their early pre-conquest.

P. Froward said...

Y'all should read the whole editorial. The bit Ann quotes sounds like he's reasoning by analogy (i.e. "Gilad Atzmon is a few valves short of a saxophone, so she's nutty too"), but there's actual content there: He disagrees with specific things and explains why. He may be wrong but he's making a real argument.

Incidentally, he missed the point about not being able to translate the Koran: It's not something she came up with; it's Islamic doctrine. We can't guess what point she was making either, because he left out the context.

LAT log-ins here.

Elizabeth said...

I agree, P. He's making a good argument, drawing on the Islamic institutions with which he is familiar, and who are clearly trying to build a sort of modern Islam. But there's a place for Sultan, as well, in the discourse.

His analogy with Judaism falls short, as Islam has not gone through the reformations and Enlightenment changes that both Judaism and Christianity have, since the late 1600s. Until there is a formal reformation of original doctrine, Islam can just as readily be defined by Sultan as by Rabbi Stein.

Finn Kristiansen said...
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Finn Kristiansen said...

It's interesting that Stein uses The Islamic Center of Southern California, and various female Islamic friends of his, to support his views.

He suggests that the Islamic Center has no overseas funding, which to me, basically helps to disprove his point. It would be truly revealing (and representative of mainstream Islam) if the center was funded by Syria, or Iran or Saudi Arabia, and did all the good work it is now doing. But it is not. So in effect, it is obscure, an unrepresentative effort at Islam, an anomaly. And you don't judge the value of anything based upon its least representative component.

Then too, the point that his female Islamic friends are permitted to travel, does not in fact shed any light on the actual circumstances of their day to day domestic situation.

(I recall all my father's female friends thinking him an absolute delight, and his words during Bible studies the fountain of brilliance, while at the same time, at home, my mom was taking hell).

The truth remains that you cannot find any major Islamic nations that function on a level that allows for any dissent or divergent ways of thinking or living. Perhaps Egypt and Indonesia to some degree?

But where are the strongholds of Islam? Places like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran are the bedrock of Islam, and it can be argued that women in these locations are free in some things, but not truly free to make their own path. Their rights are defined by the ruling authorities in every way.

Wafa Sultan might in fact go a bit far, but what she is saying needs to be said. And just because she is saying it to a group of Jews does not make airing the dirty laundry wrong.

Some things just need to be pointed out, and in front of any audience, whether it's Bill Cosby speaking out on black issues, or Ms.Sultan laying out how things are for the majority of Islamic women.