Wafa Sultan provides a valuable addition to the body of literature that reveals life in Moslem societies, in her case the seemingly secular state of Syria. Nonie Darwish writes about Egypt, Brigitte Gabriel describes her childhood in Lebanon whilst Ayaan Hirsi Ali exposes her homeland Somalia, part of her childhood spent in Saudi Arabia and the situation of women amongst Europe's unintegrated immigrant communities. A God Who Hates is a blend of autobiography and an analysis of what ails the culture.
Sultan's book confirms the opinion of the aforementioned authors, an position that contradicts the "narrative" of the mainstream media and academics in Middle Eastern studies departments of a "religion of peace" given a bad name by a few radicals. It is more ideology than religion in which the position of women is rather grim, as Sultan reveals the degradations suffered by her grandmother, mother and sisters. Women are considered inferior throughout these societies - helpless victims of Sharia law
that opens them to abuse.
The author insists that the hatred emanates from the Islamic scriptures and tradition. Like Ali Sina's psychobiography Understanding Muhammad
, she analyses the personality of the prophet, the god and the influence of the nomadic desert existence that gave birth to it. Sultan confirms what Ayaan Hirsi Ali
reports about the antisemitism she encountered in Saudi Arabia, a phenomenon seemingly universal in the Arab World. This observation is also echoed by Nonie Darwish in Now They Call Me Infidel
Of particular concern are her citations of the qualities of the deity in the Koran as Avenger, Compeller, Death Bringer, Harmer, Humiliator & Imperious and her theory that these appellations have been internalized and are being acted out
by the followers of the religion. Her portrayal of the raging, bellowing deity that terrifies the believers into submissive despair is tragic and frightening. She makes a convincing case that the belief system itself is responsible for the intolerance, misogyny and social ills that plague Muslim societies.
Sultan demonstrates how a variety of evils result from the fear-based ideology. Ordinary believers are caught in the mental vise of its harsh tenets. She discusses the famous interview on Al-Jazeerah TV and the impact it has had on the Muslim world. She is grateful to her adopted country for the sanctuary, freedom and joy it gives her. Her description of the small things that she appreciates is very moving and shows how much we westerners take for granted. She encourages the USA to resist the proliferation of radical Islamism and to take a pro-active approach in combating it.
In the concluding chapter Sultan criticizes Colin Powell's remarks made during the US presidential election campaign of 2008. On "Meet The Press" Powell claimed that nothing would be amiss with Americans electing a Muslim President. She points out Powell's perilously limited understanding and the political correctness
behind it that renders rational discussion of the ideology's destructive aspects virtually impossible.
I highly recommend this often harrowing but ultimately uplifting account of a journey to physical and spiritual freedom along with Ayaan Hirsi Ali's The Caged Virgin and Infidel, Brigitte Gabriel's Because They Hate and They Must Be Stopped
, Now They Call Me Infidel and Cruel and Usual Punishment by Nonie Darwish as well as The Force of Reason
by Oriana Fallaci.