A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam

A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam

by Wafa Sultan


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On Feb. 21, 2006, the Syrian-born and raised Wafa Sultan gave one of the most provocative interviews ever given by a Muslim woman on the Al Jazeera network. In the middle of the interview she told her male Muslim interviewer that it was her turn to speak. And, she did. She told him to "shut up". This simple, yet radical, act of a Muslim woman asserting herself in the face of a Muslim man, catapulted her to fame. Now, for the first time, Wafa Sultan tells her story and airs her provocative views in a book that pulls no punches in looking clearly at Islam and the threat it poses for the rest of the world. Her viewpoint and opinions were hard won: As an intelligent young girl who would someday become a psychiatrist, she grew up in Syria under the thumb of a culture ruled by a god who hates women and all they represent. It is from this kernel of female hatred at the heart of Islam that Wafa Sultan builds her case against the mullahs and their followers bent on destroying the West. A God Who Hates is a fiery book that will remind readers why, even at a time when we are reaching out to others, we must be ever-vigilant about the threat Islam poses towards the West.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312538361
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 04/26/2011
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 611,081
Product dimensions: 5.44(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.71(d)

About the Author

WAFA SULTAN is a Syrian-born American psychiatrist included on Time Magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2006. She created a firestorm on Al-Jazeera as the first Arab Muslim woman on that network who demanded to be heard.

Read an Excerpt

A God Who Hates

By Wafa Sultan

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2009 Wafa Sultan
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-8453-9


A God Who Hates

MOST MUSLIMS, IF not all of them, will condemn me to death when they read this book. They may not even read it. The title alone may push them to condemn me. That's how things are with them. They don't read, or, if they do, they don't take in what they read. They are much more interested in disagreement than in rapprochement and they are — first and foremost — supremely interested in inducing fear in others with whom they disagree. They may even threaten to condemn you just for reading this book because, in their cruelty, they have learned something about how to control others: Nothing tortures the human spirit more effectively than making someone a prisoner of her own fears. I am, though, no longer afraid. Why? Let me tell you a fable that might explain how I confronted my fears of speaking out against the radical mullahs of Islam.

There once was a strong and inquisitive young man who loved to travel. In his thirst for knowledge, he moved from place to place and traveled from town to town, drinking in wisdom and recording everything that happened to him.

Eventually, he came to a beautiful village slumbering at the foot of a mountain surrounded on all sides by green hills where gentle winds blew intermittently, delighting the mind and refreshing the heart. In this beautiful place, he was shocked to see that the inhabitants of this village were sad. They moved sluggishly, dragging their feet. To him they appeared no more than moving phantoms, without body or soul. The sight of these phantoms terrified him. He became determined to discover what made them so and set off to see a fabled wise man who lived alone, in a hut, cut off from the village and its inhabitants.

When he met the wise man, he asked what secret lay behind this great paradox. He asked why these people lived in a state of subjugation and dejection in a village where everything would seem to suggest that the people would be blessed with happiness and well-being. The sage came out of his hut and pointed toward the top of the mountain. "Look at that peak. An enormous ogre sits up there. From where he sits, he raves and shrieks, filling people's hearts with fear by threatening to gobble them up if they leave their homes or do any kind of work at all. The people, terrorized by his shrieks, can live only by stealth. Only their survival instinct keeps them going. They steal out like mice in secret to gather enough to keep body and soul together. They live day by day, waiting impatiently for the moment of their death. Their fear of this ogre has sapped their intellect and depleted their physical powers, reducing them to despair and hopelessness."

The young man thought for a while and said, "I'm going to the top of the mountain. I will talk to this ogre and ask what makes him threaten and frighten these people. I will ask him why he wants to prevent them from leading their lives in peace and safety."

"Go up to the top of the mountain? No sane person would risk his life by daring to meet the ogre. I implore you not to do it for the sake of your life, young man!" But the young man would not be dissuaded. He was determined to do what he believed had to be done. And so, with slow but sure steps, he started on his way to the peak.

When the young man reached the peak, the ogre did, indeed, seem large at first; however, what he found as he walked on astonished him. The closer he got, the smaller the ogre became. By the time he arrived he found that this great ogre who terrorized many was smaller than his littlest finger. The young man flattened his hand, held out his palm, and the tiny ogre jumped onto it.

"Who are you?" the young man asked.

"I am Fear," the ogre replied.

"Fear of what?" the young man asked.

"That depends on who you are. How each person sees me depends on how he imagines me. Some people fear illness, and they see me as disease. Others fear poverty, so they see me as poverty. Others fear authority, so they see authority in me. Some fear injustice, others fear wild beasts or storms, so that's how I appear to them. He who fears water sees me as a torrent, he who fears war perceives in me an army, ammunition, and suchlike."

"But why do they see you as bigger than you really are?"

"To each person I appear as big as his fear. And as long as they refuse to approach and confront me they will never know my true size."

I sometimes feel like that young man, a person who rebels against the wisdom of her time. I once lived in a village much like the one he discovered, for three decades. My love for it became an addiction from which I possessed neither the ability nor the desire to escape. The ogre, for a time, held me in his thrall, but no longer. Being enslaved to my own fears of the demon was a terrible time in my life, but I don't regret the experience. For me, all things happen for a reason and that experience only made me stronger. I was not born in that village in vain and I certainly did not leave it in vain. I left with a purpose not unlike that of the young man. I feel, on most days, that I must climb the mountain again and again with slow but sure steps and confront that ogre who, for me, is the horror of radical Islam. I do it to show the people of that village how small and cowardly he really is.

I have never in my life seen Muslims talk without disagreement. Perhaps I am alone in this, but I don't think so. If one says "Good morning," the other will reply, "But it's nighttime now." Their tendency to argumentativeness makes them defensive and their custom deems attack to be the best method of defense since it gives them the chance to shout and shriek. Shouting has become their hallmark and the main characteristic they use when they engage in conversation with someone whom they don't agree with. Without it they have no sense of their own worth or existence; without it they have no sense even of being alive.

They concoct reasons for disagreement and welcome it much more often than trying to bring different points of view closer together. Why? Disagreement and confusion keeps the ogre big and threatening, obscuring his true, puny nature. On top of shouting their way through a conversation, they have acquired the habit of shrieking, and they take pleasure in hearing their own shrieks. They believe that the louder they shriek, the more they prove they are right. Their conversation consists of shouting, their talk is a screech, and he who shouts loudest and screeches longest is, they believe, the strongest. They fabricate disagreements so as to give themselves an opportunity to shout. They seek contradiction so that they can scream.

I have often wondered how this shrieking and shouting began and have had to think back to the roots of Islam to understand it. If you were lost in the desert, unable to distinguish between north or south, your life threatened by hunger, thirst, and heat, and surrounded by sand dunes on all sides with no sign in sight of a human being who could rescue you — at that moment, a scream is all you have to convince yourself that you are still alive. You scream in the hope that a passerby will hear.

Many Arab history books tell us stories of the terror and desolation people suffered in the desert. The one I think best depicts this situation is the story of the Bedouin whose only son fell ill and lay on his sickbed dying of fever. His father, overwhelmed with paternal pangs of helplessness, went out into the night in search of a doctor. He lost his way in the depths of the desert and wandered along not knowing where his feet were leading him until, after an immeasurable length of time, he saw from afar a faint light. He ran toward it, only to discover that it was the campsite he had left, and that his son had already departed this life.

This story and others like it, which abound in Arab literature, give us some idea of the harshness of the environment in which Islam was born and thrived. It was an arid environment in which death from hunger or thirst was a constant threat, and the struggle with it was savage. Confronted with it, men could acquire no skills to combat it, and the scream remained the only way to overcome this unyielding threat. The ability to scream settled deep into the unconscious mind of the Bedouin as their most important survival skill. Islam canonized the Muslims' desert nature, and from that moment on they were unable to acquire new ways of communicating with others. But, I wonder, why does this shrieking and shouting persist?

When a person adopts a particular style of behavior, he observes the degree to which other people accept it. If they encourage him, or at least make no objection, he will continue. The way the world has retreated, and continues to retreat, in the face of the Muslims' screams and shouts, has played a major role in encouraging them to continue to behave the way they do. When others remain silent or worse, retreat, Muslims get the impression that they are right. Their shrieks no longer affect me, and I no longer hear them. If one of them wants to talk to me — and I have no doubt that a small minority of them is made up of rational people — they will discover that I am genuinely open to dialogue; however, not a single one yet has stepped up to have a rational dialogue with me that doesn't include shouting and shrieking.

For me, someone who comes into this world without bequeathing a legacy leaves it without having fulfilled her purpose. Through looking at my childhood in that village and my departure for America I have tried to figure out why I was put on this earth. Every person can bring about change, and every change makes a difference. The world is a picture, and each person influences it, is influenced by it, and finally leaves a fresh mark upon it to give it new form. Those who do good works while they are on this earth beautify the picture. Those who do bad works disfigure it. I hope I was put here to do good works and beautify the picture.

The struggle between good and evil continues as long as the world goes on. I believe that good has prevailed, for the most part, and that it will continue to do so. The belief that evil will overrun the world is not the product of the twenty-first century. It has persisted everywhere at all times despite the fact that nothing could be further from the truth. Though the belief that evil has prevailed is groundless, I can understand why some people believe it. Evil shrieks loudly while goodness clothes the world in silence. It's easier to see the bad than the good. It is goodness, I believe, which has swept the world ever since the moment it came into being. Goodness, though, must be protected because if it is ever defeated by evil, our world will cease to exist. The wisdom of the age we live in cautioned me against writing this book and warned me that I might have to pay with my life for doing so, but I am undaunted. My belief that good will ultimately triumph over evil has encouraged me to speak out.

After the 9/11 terrorist attack Americans asked themselves:

"Why do they hate us?"

My answer is: "Because Muslims hate their women, and any group who hates their women can't love anyone else."

People ask: "But why do Muslims hate their women?"

And I can only reply: "Because their God does."

Even men in my own family have caused sorrow in the lives of their women. How often have I dreamed of digging up my grandfather's bones so that I could bring him to trial for the misery he visited upon my grandmother? The times are too many to number. But I won't be able to exact vengeance for her, for Suha, for Samira, for Amal, for Fatima, or for the millions of other women living under the gaze of a hate-filled and vengeful god unless I expose what it is that really squats at the top of that mountain.

When a woman — oppressed to the very marrow of her bones, terrified by life in a village that confines her to a prison narrower than the eye of a needle — finally takes flight and escapes the clutches of its ogre, she finds herself and her three children alone and outcast in the streets of one of the largest cities in the world with only a hundred dollars in her pocket and a thousand years' worth of grief in her heart. This woman cannot speak the local language and she knows nothing of local customs and traditions. All she possesses is bitter experience whose depths cannot be plumbed without a great deal of courage. At one time, that woman was me.

When my feet touched the ground at the airport in Los Angeles, it was not just my family I was concerned for. I also worried about the people I left behind in my village. In Los Angeles, my first job was pumping gas at a gas station. On the very same day I started that job, I wrote my first article that dared to question and disagree with the shrieking mullahs and began to claw my way along two paths. The first was the path my family and I were traveling as we tried to earn enough to live and better ourselves. The other path I found myself on alone wound its way through the hills in my mind as I looked for a way to confront the ogre and free my family from his tyranny. What a difference there was between the two paths. The first was governed by law and morality and, however difficult, appeared possible. The other was ruled by the laws of the jungle, which can harm you, even in a civilized place like the United States.

Courage alone made me push forward along the mountain path with the same energy I devoted to making my way in a society that respected me, no matter what my weaknesses were. As a woman, the knowledge I now had access to because I was living in America satisfied my ravenous hunger to learn and released me from many of my fears and weaknesses. I was surrounded on all sides by books as I worked to better myself and my family. Books, so frequently denied to women in my culture, were the things that saved me. Once you arm yourself with books, you become ever more powerful — a bulldozer — and completing the journey, no matter how long and how difficult, never seems impossible.

After seventeen years in America, I've achieved the position I wanted in my new country. I've also become acquainted with a different God than the one I knew in my village. I can still see the woman who greeted me at the Los Angeles airport. So many years ago I set foot on American soil and this young woman, with a smile that still warms my heart, said, "Welcome to America!" No one had ever welcomed me anywhere before. The ogre, the old God I knew, had not only deprived me of my right to hear these words; he had also succeeded in convincing me that I was not worthy of possessing that right. America gave me back my right to live in a society that welcomed me, and showed me, for the first time, that I deserved that right.

I emerged from the Los Angeles airport that day with a new understanding that perhaps others have always known, but which I just understood because of the kindness of a woman I'd never met before: People in every society worship their own image. Is the kind woman who welcomed me to Los Angeles not the God she worships? How much I wanted to exchange my ogre for her welcoming God at that very minute! I understood then that the God suits the person just as the lock suits the key. If a society has a defect, both lock and key have to be repaired. Fixing one or the other alone will not do. In my village, as in the America where I now live, the person is the God she worships. She regards that God as her ideal. She strives both consciously and unconsciously to draw closer to her ideal until she becomes one with it.

The woman at the Los Angeles airport gave me hope that people can change. Before a human being can change, however, the God he worships must be remolded. When I think of the waste of human life we see around us, I am disgusted. I am horrified by the waste of life that is the young Muslim who blows himself up in the midst of a crowd of schoolchildren. He kills twenty-eight people and himself because he is entirely deluded by the lie, forced on him by his God, that the deaths of these children will buy him entry to paradise and his houris. Isn't that young man striving to identify with that ogre, that God who hates, squatting on the hilltop in that melancholy village? Does he not hope to control and influence others through fear? If we want to transform others like the unfortunate young Muslim suicide bomber into reasonable human beings and preserve our world, we first have to help them see their ogre clearly and show them how to exchange their God who hates for one who loves.


The Women of Islam

PEOPLE HAVE OFTEN asked me what turning point brought about the dramatic change which altered the course of my life. I believe my life really began in the third grade when I learned to read. From that point on, I developed an insatiable appetite for every book that came my way. By the time I got to the fourth grade, I was getting lost in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Gone with the Wind, and the mysteries by Agatha Christie. My teachers, family, and family friends were generous in their attention and treated me as if I was a gifted child because of my precocious reading habits.


Excerpted from A God Who Hates by Wafa Sultan. Copyright © 2009 Wafa Sultan. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

1 A God Who Hates 1

2 The Women of Islam 11

3 Finding Hope for the Men of Islam 27

4 A Quest for Another God 39

5 The Nature of God in Islam 51

6 Muslim Men and Their Women 71

7 First Step to Freedom 91

8 "Who is that woman on Al Jazeera?" 111

9 Islam Is a Sealed Flask 155

10 Islam Is a Closed Market 179

11 Every Muslim Must Be Carefully Taught 191

12 Clash of Civilizations 203

13 Living in the "New" America: Thinking About Colin Powell and President Barack Hussein Obama 233

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A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Shakesphere More than 1 year ago
Keen awareness of the affects cultural beliefs have on individuals & how the person behaves, moves and interacts within the world. A must read for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As we try to wrestle with and understand the recent tragedy at Fort Hood, might I recommend a book that I just completed last night. The title is: "A God Who Hates," authored by a female psychiatrist who was born and raised a Muslim - her name is Wafa Sultan. I devote much of my time to reading about terrorism and those nation-states, organizations, and individuals who commit themselves to supporting and/or carrying out acts of terrorism - particularly the radical Islamic variety - and our efforts to counter it. Of all the books I have read on the subject recently, hers is one of the more enlightening and truthful that I have come across. The book is available at any Barnes and Noble bookstore, online, etc. She was born and raised in Syria, educated as a medical doctor, and emigrated to the United States in 1988. Her book gives reader's an insider's view of the Islamic culture that she was raised in and her professional training as a psychiatrist provides her observations as to why she believes terrorism has been embraced by so many adherents of that culture. She does not downplay the real danger that we are facing from these adherents. She does not engage in political correctness. Here is a quote from her book: "The Koran says: 'Allah has purchased of the faithful their lives and worldly goods and in return has promised them the Garden. They will fight for His cause, slay and be slain.' (9:111) And so it is the Muslim's objective in war either to kill his enemy or to be killed by him, and he considers himself to have won whichever turns out to be the case. If the Muslim kills the enemy he has won, but if his enemy kills him, the Muslim's victory is even greater, as this action on his enemy's part has served only to allow the Muslim to meet his God all the sooner." As you might imagine, she has placed her very life in danger by speaking out as she has. Her book is a story of personal courage in the face of evil. By writing this book, she decided to do something about it. "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it" -Albert Einstein
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank You Wafa for writing this book. Your first hand experience validates your writing. I have already passed on my book and plan to not only buy additional copies, but to email and recommend to my Pastor as well as famiy, friends and acquaintances. I must also recommend the new revised addition by Hal Lindsey's, "The Everlasting Hatred,The Roots of Jihad", (just released) which gives deep historical understanding why the Muslims want to build a mosque by ground zero. It traces the history, from the beginning. The most significant thing Wafa says in the last couple of chapters is that there is a difference between what the Arab version of Islam reads compared to the West's interpretation, which is why everyone should read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be extremely enlightening. It is very difficult for the Western mind to wrap itself around the philosophy found in Arabic Islam. This book clearly paints the picture of the thought process and its ramafications. It is fascinating, sad and unsettling but very informative and I think all of Western thought should read this book. I also feel that Wafa Sultan is a very brave woman and I wish her well and that the good Lord would protect her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This provocative memoir is a must read of the year. I couldn't put it down until I had finished. Simply amazing.
juli1357 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2006, Wafa Sultan is a Syrian-born American psychiatrist who believes that the harsh desert culture Islam arose from has influenced the way Muslims conceptualize God, particularly it's negative teachings about the roles and status of women. As she is the first to admit, her critics accuse her of "cherry-picking" parts of the Koran and hadith's to support her position. Even so, as a woman who was born and lived in Syria for 30 years before immigrating to the U.S., she knows of what she speaks and is to be commended for her willingness to share her perspective, even though doing so garners her death threats from Muslims who feel threatened by those among them who would dare to challenge the status quo, considering them apostates who are damned for eternity. Although I found this book interesting, I much preferred Irshad Manji's The Trouble With Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith. A South Asian Muslim born in Uganda, Manji and her family immigrated to British Colombia when she was four years old. As a result, she grew up in a multicultural society where she experienced a much higher degree of freedom than did Wafa Sultan. Rather than reject Islam, Manji seeks to reform Islam, often by reminding readers of the true teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and explaining how overtime, those teachings have been twisted by his successors. Someone once said "Islam has the best religion but the worst followers", a statement that Manji seems to support, whereas Wafa Sultan uses her personal experiences to discount Islam entirely. By comparison, Manji's book is much better written and researched than Wafa Sultan's, and in the end, more optimistic about the future of Islam.
juglicerr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Wafa Sultan speaks of 'a god who hates', she means one who hates women, argues that people who hate their own women cannot love anyone else. Sultan argues that Islam developed among highly competitive and combative Bedouins struggling for survival in the harsh environment of the Arabian desert, and encourages a suspicious and combative outlook on life that is out of place in the contemporary world, and makes it difficult for Muslims to live on terms of respect and tolerance with other people.It is quite interesting to contrast this book with the sunnier Red, White, and Muslim: My Story of Belief by Asma Gull Hasan. Hasan's work is a bit more happy theory, while Sultan's shows the disillusionment of someone who has seen theory fail in practice. For example, Hasan presents the argument that it is fair for men to get twice as much of an inheritance as women since men are responsible for supporting the family. One used to hear such arguments when men in the US were openly paid more for the same job than women. Sultan presents stories of husbands who die or desert their families, which happens all too often in the real world.Sultan thinks that we should be far more wary of the potential effects of Islam on our culture. I am inclined to let people make their own decisions to the point that my friends has suggested that I have definite anarchical tendencies. I have no patience, however, with the sort of shallow, unthinking multiculturalism that regards all differences as superficial, and stupidly supposes that we can affirm everyone's beliefs, even when they are diametrically opposed.Not the only book to read on Islam and the West, but definitely one that should be read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is written by a Muslim woman who, during an interview on the al-Jazeera network, told the male Muslim interviewer to "shut up" because it was her turn to speak. This had never happened before, especially on television in the Islamic world (a woman never tells a man to "shut up" there). She was instantly famous. Overnight, in fact. After the interview-that is, after the tore her male Muslim opponent a new one, showing her viewpoint to be superior to his-she wrote this book. It's about her journey out of Syria and to America. The way Sultan was treated as a Muslim woman in America was far superior than the way she was treated in Syria, a predominately Muslim country. In the book, Sultan has many critical words for Allah (whom she humorously calls an "ogre"), for the philosophy of raiding (a dominant trait in the Muslim's psyche), for how Muslim men treat Muslim women in the Middle East (it's not good), and for the conceit of Muslim males (who think they're superior to everybody else, since the make-believe Allah has commanded them to fight the "infidels" until Islam dominates the globe). She also ends with a warning to America as many Muslims who emigrate to the West are intent on destroying it. A provocative and relevant book, especially with the "refugee" crisis now sweeping across Western Europe and perhaps eventually to America. Read, think, and decide for yourself. Readers would also like "Jenna's Flaw," a novel about the death of God, the crumbling of Western civilization, and how the West can save it.
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newyorkstar More than 1 year ago
This woman deserves nothing but a shoe thrown at her. if she is so ashamed of her religion why doesn't she change her name. she is putting herself in a bigger sin by speaking bad of her religion and carrying a Muslim name. Horrible!!
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