Tuesday, April 11, 2006

On the "Clash of Civilizations"

If you want to see a very smart person knock one out of the park,
watch this.

This woman, Wafa Sultan, is one of the most impressive speakers I've ever seen. The interview linked above has turned her into an international sensation. Al Jazeera brought her on as the Con viewpoint, and boy did they get one. Just to give you some context, she is a Syrian, raised Muslim, now living in California as a naturalized US citizen.

Although she does say that only Muslims burn down churches, which is patently false, she's right on the money for a lot of it. If you can't watch the video for some reason, there is a transcript, but it is a poor substitute.

Wafa Sultan

SAWB EDIT - shrunk the picture to not break the template


ruby booth said...

hey everybody, tell me if i ruined the world with that image and i'll take it out. i just thought i'd give it a try. the unrelenting text was starting to get to me.

petallic said...

Very impressive. It's a shame I'm heterosexual, 'cause that just about turned me on. She's an amazing speaker.

Thanks for that, Ruby. I'll be sharing that with lots of folks.

S.A.W.B. said...

It's ok Ruby, I edited the size of that monstrosity down. It's as legible as i could get it without hosing the template. I'll work on the template soon enough...

Laddi said...

I would definitely encourage others to read the transcript as the video leaves out some important text.

It's a shame she came out hard and strong with her atheism as many of her intended audience probably angrily changed the channel right at that point. At the same time, it's good she let it be known she wasn't Islamic, as her main point boiled down to separation of church and state in a very very roundabout way. I wish they would have shown more of what her "colleague" was saying as she made reference to some of his/her comments.

Given that she flat out said the predominant Islamic community is not civilized, this will be a hard sell to a fanatical bunch.

At one point she says, "Other people's beliefs are not your concern." While that may be her belief (and there may be millions of other people who support her stance) there are many people in many religions who disagree because that is their belief. That they are called on by a higher power to evangelize. So there is an inherent conflict: "I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe in it." But how far does her respect for their beliefs go? I respect your right to believe in it, but you have to respect my right not be proselytized upon. But the call to convert others is a FUNDAMENTAL part of their belief. Whether you agree with them or you wish them to leave you alone, they feel compelled, called upon to make sure those they know hear "the word" because it is their God-given obligation to make sure of it. For many, it is hard to respect what others wants when a power higher than anyone/anything else commands the exact opposite.

I am not saying I agree, but she is expecting a governing religion to respect rights which that religion says are wrong? The only answer is to have the government and church be separate, as that is the best answer, though even in practice hard to accomplish as we can see here in the US.

And thanks for sharing the links!

Laddi said...

I don't disagree, either. Editing that text really brought that sentence out of text.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Skepticism is my politically correct way of calling shenanigans.

I've only read the transcript, but there are many more factual inaccuracies that 'Muslims are the only ones burning down Churches.' If the video includes as many inaccuracies per capita to back up a reasonable claim, I will be yelling at my computer before it is done. I will deliver a rebuttal soon after.

She has a very interesting take on 'clash of civilizations' vs 'clash of eras' that is worth examining. But if all she does is back up her ideas with statements that only play into a narrative (that narrative being: the West is 100% civilized, the Islamic world is 100% not) then I will turn the channel because she has just become another part of the problem.

If she was a secular humanist saying such things about the excesses of Chrisitanity, she would be vilified by the right wing in this country as an example of what is wrong with academia & feminism.

Again, that's just from the transcript. I could be wrong.

Dante said...

I may not take to yelling at my computer, but Wafa Sultan sure does look like a patsy to me. I'm sure she believes in what she's saying and I think she makes some interesting points but she's sure not going to sway any Muslims as a godless heathen who is basically calling Muslims a bunch of savages while calling their enemies in the West civilized and rational.

ruby booth said...

SAWB, thanks a bunch. :)