Following are excerpts from an interview with Arab-American psychiatrist Wafa Sultan, which aired on Al-Hayat TV on December 4, 2008.
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"Islam Has Distorted the Concept of Honor"
Wafa Sultan: "If Islam really treated women with honor, we would see the positive consequences of that honor over the course of the past 14 centuries. Islam did not treat women with honor. On the contrary, it has distorted the concept of honor.
"My brother Rashid, I can call this pen a knife for 14 centuries, but it will never become a knife. It will remain a pen. Islam has turned these concepts upside-down, and has forced its followers to see things as their opposites – to view killing and beheading as an act of tolerance, to view taking a woman captive as an act of compassion, to view the plundering of spoils of war as their right, and to view masturbation against a little girl's thighs as marriage.
"Thus, it has destroyed the intellectual structure of the Arabic-speaking nation, and has produced people who cannot distinguish between things and their opposites – people with distorted thinking and warped mentality, as infertile as barren land, which cannot yield a thing.
"The best proof of this is the reality of Islam. When the Prophet Muhammad married the child 'Aisha, this was not an act of honor toward her childhood. When Muhammad married Zaynab, the wife of his adopted son, after seeing her naked and desiring her, this was not an act of honor toward married women. When Muhammad married the Jewish woman Safiya, upon his return from a raid in which he killed her father, brother, and husband, this was not an act of honor toward her. The same goes for all his marriages."
"The Subjugation of Women Reduces Them to a Level Lower Than Beasts – Not to Mention the Laws of Inheritance, Testimony in Court, The Beating Of A Wife Who Refuses to Go to Bed With Her Husband, And 'Honor' Crimes"
"Accusing women of being 'lacking in brains' is not an act of honor toward her. Human beings – whether male or female – are the property of their Creator. No human being has the right to own another. The subjugation of women reduces them to a level lower than beasts – not to mention the laws of inheritance, testimony in court, the beating of a wife who refuses to go to bed with her husband, and 'honor' crimes.
"Muhammad said in a hadith: 'Three things spoil one's prayer: a woman, a black dog, and a donkey.' Do they ever give this any thought? Do they realize that Allah chose the female body for his greatest invention – creation itself? Wouldn't it be moral to bestow upon the female body a certain holiness, instead of viewing it as impure?" [...]
"In The Arab Countries In Particular, You Cannot Say That the Status of Women Has Nothing to Do With Islam... Islam is An All-Embracing Faith, Which Intervenes in the Smallest Details of a Person's Life"
"As for the intellectuals who claim that Islam honors women, they remind me of someone trying to catch two rabbits, which are running in opposite directions, and never catching either one. On the one hand, they try to convince the reader or the viewer that they are 'liberal' and progressive, and support women's rights, while on the other hand, they try to please the clerics and their followers by claiming that Islam honors women. History will show that they were deceivers, not intellectuals.
"In my opinion, in the Arab countries in particular, you cannot say that the status of women has nothing to do with Islam. You cannot deny that there is a connection between the two. Islam is an all-embracing faith, which intervenes in the smallest details of a person's life – beginning with the way he should enter the toilet, and ending with – excuse my language – the way he should wipe his behind.
"Since Islam is an Arab religion, it has succeeded in erasing the culture, customs, and traditions of the Arabic-speaking peoples, more than in Islamic nations that are not Arabic speaking. Therefore, in the Arab world in particular, the status of women is an inevitable outcome of the Islamic teachings." [...]
"I Firmly Believe That the Islamic Faith Was Created to Serve Muhammad, and to Legitimize His Desires and Urges"
"I firmly believe that the Islamic faith was created to serve Muhammad, and to legitimize his desires and urges. As evidence, we have 'Aisha's words: 'I see that your Lord hastens to satisfy your desires.' These words, which she said with innocence and spontaneity, embody the goal for which the Islamic faith was formed.
"Islam allowed men to marry infants in order to justify Muhammad's marriage to 'Aisha. Islam forbade adoption in order to justify Muhammad's marriage to the wife of his adopted son – a thing forbidden by the pre-Islamic moral values of the Arabs. Islam permitted taking women captive and violating their honor in order to justify Muhammad's marriage to Safiya, after killing her husband, her father, and her brother that same night. Can you imagine any woman on the face of this earth witnessing with her own eyes the killing of her husband, her father, and her brother, and accepting the religion of their killer on the spot, and sleeping with him?! Can the human mind possibly accept such a story?" [...]
"I Have Witnessed Many Crimes Against Women Perpetrated Within My Extended Family and In the Framework of My Work"
"I personally did not suffer, but I have witnessed many crimes against women perpetrated within my extended family and in the framework of my work. As a doctor, I have entered homes that have not seen the light of day, and I have witnessed many crimes against women, perpetrated under the influence of Islamic teachings.
"In my family – at the age of 12 at most, my sister's daughter was forced to marry her cousin, who was over 40 years old. Her life with him was an intolerable hell on earth. When she felt there was no escape from this hell, she committed suicide. She set fire to herself, and within minutes she became ashes, leaving four children behind."