Wafa Sultan and Former Muslims United
Posted Apr 6, 2011

Wafa Sultan and Former Muslims United

by Sheila Musaji

Wafa Sultan first gained notoriety in 2006 after an Al Jazeera interview in which she said “The clash we are witnessing around the world is ... a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another that belongs to the 21st century.  It is a clash between freedom and oppression.”  **

She has been a regular speaker at David Horowitz’ “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” events on college campuses **

She was a speaker at Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s anti-Muslim event at CPAC **

Wafa Sultan went to Amsterdam to testify in an Amsterdam Court on behalf of Geert Wilders.

Wafa Sultan was one of the featured speakers at last the launch of the Freedom Defense Initiative, which was organized by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. While she was in Washington, she also took part in a panel discussion organized by Former Muslims United and sponsored by the Center for Security Policy.  Geller and Spencer are the co-founders of the SIOA which has been designated as a hate group by the SPLC.  See below for articles on Geller, Spencer, Gaffney, and other Islamophobes


“I believe King Abdullah can change Islam overnight, but you need to put pressure on him to do it, and the same kind of pressure you put on Japan, you might need it“ at that moment someone from the audience interjects and asks, “atom bombs?” Wafa Sultan replies, “Yes. At some point the West will need to do it.” This statement is quite revealing considering how in 2007, at a right-wing David Horowitz funded conference called “Restoration Weekend,” Wafa Sultan said, “I will change 1.3 billion Muslims…they have to realize they have only two choices: to change or to be crushed.”  **

Westerners “don’t want to judge anybody based on their [religion],” Sultan said, “[But] Islam is not a religion. Islam is a very dangerous political ideology…. There is no such thing as radical Islam and regular Islam or spiritual Islam….There is only one Islam.”  ***

“Shouting has become their [Muslims’] 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 eve of being alive. ... 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. ... Islam canonized the Muslims’ desert nature, and from that moment on they were unable to acquire new ways of communicating with others.”   ***

“The first moral question a person learns is the difference between the concepts of “yes” and “no”—in other words, the ability to decide what to accept and what to reject. ... A Muslim lives his whole life and dies without ever having learned this lesson. Islamic culture has no clear concept of “yes” and “no.” The two opposites are confused in a way that makes Muslims’ behaviour incomprehensible to others who interact with them.”   ***

At Glenn Beck’s “Secular Islam Summit” Sultan told Beck that Islam cannot be reformed:  “Believe me, personally, I don’t believe Islam really can be reformed unless we recreate a totally new belief system…. I don’t see any difference between radical Islam and regular Islam…. You cannot be American and Muslim at the same time.”  ***

Wafa Sultan, along with Nonie Darwish is one of the co-founders of Former Muslims United.  I wrote about FMU and their “freedom pledge” in the article Former Muslims United Freedom Pledge Against Punishment for Apostasy a “Red Herring”

At the end of September, a group called Former Muslims United created a pledge against punishment for apostasy and sent it out to leaders of Muslim organizations across America asking them to sign it.

The “pledge” begins with a long list of partial quotes then states:  “Therefore:  To support the civil rights of former Muslims, also known as apostates from Islam, I sign “The Muslim Pledge for Religious Freedom and Safety from Harm for Former Muslims”:  “I renounce, repudiate and oppose any physical intimidation, or worldly and corporal punishment, of apostates from Islam, in whatever way that punishment may be determined or carried out by myself or any other Muslim including the family of the apostate, community, Mosque leaders, Shariah court or judge, and Muslim government or regime.”

This FMU group has certainly not paid any attention to what has already taken place within the Muslim community, particularly here in the United States.  TAM has an extensive resource collection of articles and information about this called Apostasy and Freedom of Faith in Islam, and we have published many articles discussing this subject.  Most importantly, Muslims themselves have created such a pledge more than two years ago.  This FMU pledge is simply another attempt to create propoganda (planting the idea that American Muslims have not taken a position against punishments for apostasy) and to attempt to make it seem as if only former Muslims can stand for what is right, and frankly to attempt to increase the visibility of the FMU at the expense of the Muslim community.  This is shameful behavior (although typical of members of this group who go beyond denouncing Islamic radicalism to denouncing all of Islam) and is simply another example of attempting to marginalize the Muslim community and bolster the false claim that Muslims don’t speak up against injustices, extremism, etc.

Back in March of 2007, Dr. Umar Farooq met with many Muslim scholars, community leaders, etc. and released a statement which we published on The American Muslim site (TAM), and on a website set up by Dr. Farooq at ( http://apostasyandislam.blogspot.com/2007/03/statement-muslims-uphold-faith-of.html ).

Here is the statement that was signed by over 100 individuals back in 2007 and which goes well beyond this FMU pledge (Note: I was number 24 to sign):

Muslim Academics/Scholars/Imams/Professionals uphold the Freedom of Faith and the Freedom to Change one’s Faith

“ ... Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error ...” [2:256]

This is Islam’s unambiguous affirmation of freedom of faith, which also applies to changing of faith. The Qur’an illuminates before the humanity the two highways [90:10], one of which leads to salvation. Islam is an invitation to the highway toward salvation, but it is based on FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

Apostasy (riddah) is a major issue that affects the understanding of, and perception about, Islam. Historically, Muslim scholars have not factored in the distinction between apostasy (changing one’s faith, which is strictly a sin against God) and treason (strictly a civil offense against an established public order) when it is stated that Islam mandates capital punishment for riddah. That unnuanced perspective about apostasy has fueled negative propaganda against Islam and a negative image of Muslims. In recent years in some notable and well known cases, a fatwa (legal, non-binding opinion) was issued against alleged apostates and, at times, even a bounty was announced on their head.

Many Muslim scholars and academics have argued against the stated historical position as inconsistent with the Qur’an and on the grounds that killing someone for making a considered choice negates the very Islamic value and principle of freedom of choice, affecting Islam’s position on universal human rights.

Freedom of choice in faith is central to Islam. This has been exemplified in the Qur’anic narrative regarding the choice made by Satan in contrast with Adam and Eve, and the broad agreement of Muslim scholars that only faith freely adopted is meritorious before God. Throughout history prophets and the communities of their believers have struggled to secure freedom of faith for themselves. Indeed it is a principle quintessential to both Islam and humanity.

Choosing a path in line with our beliefs about salvation has significant consequences in terms of our afterlife. In this world that freedom is bestowed upon us by God, which, by implication, must include the possibility of changing one’s faith. Freedom of religion is meaningless without the freedom to change one’s religion. Denial of such reciprocal rights is also inconsistent with the principle of justice (adl/qist), as clearly enunciated in the Qur’an [4/an-Nisa/135].

The Qur’an does not specify any worldly punishment or retribution solely for apostasy. Similarly, there is no clear prophetic judgment on apostasy, nor examples that such punishment was meted out (during the time of the Prophet or in the period of the Righteous Caliphate) to someone solely for abandoning Islam as a creed, in contrast with apostasy-cum-treason, involving taking up arms against the Muslim community or the state.

Islam upholds the fundamental principle pertaining to freedom of faith [“Let there be no compulsion in Deen” 2/al-Baqara/256; also see 39/al-Zumar/41]. Thus:

We the undersigned Muslims from diverse backgrounds affirm: The freedom of faith and the freedom of changing one’s faith.  In light of the Qur’anic guidance and the Prophetic legacy, the principle of freedom of faith does not lend itself to impose in this world any punishment or retribution solely for apostasy; thus there ought not to be any punishment in the name of Islam or fatwa calling for the same.

In addition, we call upon:

our esteemed scholars (ulama) and jurists (fuqaha), to address this inconsistency between the Islamic principle of freedom of faith and the position mandating punishment for apostasy, and to bring our legacy of Islamic jurisprudence and general Islamic discourse up-to-date for the times with reference to indisputable and categorical Islamic principles.

our fellow Muslims, to be informed of Islam’s position on apostasy and to uphold the principle of choice so that we may exercise tolerance towards those who have left the “straight path” and deal with their subsequent views and actions (even when they are against Islam) within the conext of human rights and civil liberties allowed by law.

Imams and religious leaders, to educate and sensitize Muslim masses about notions of fairness and justice inherent in Islam and respond to apostasy in a dignified, constructive and patient manner.

governments of Muslim-majority countries, to address this matter constitutionally as well as legally, and actively engage in a process that eventually discards any law entailing punishment for apostasy.

Islamic organizations, to uphold universal human rights (not inconsistent with Islam) and to defend the rights of ex-Muslims in regard to apostasy.

The Executive Board members of Former Muslims United are:  Nonie Darwish, Katrina-Cati Kaiser, Walid Shoebat, Wafa Sultan, Ibn Warraq, Jamal Jivanjee, Kamal Saleem

The Qur’an on freedom of thought, conscience and religion:

[10:99]“If it had been the will of your Lord that all the people of the world should be believers, all the people of the earth would have believed! Would you then compel mankind against their will to believe?”

[2:256] There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in GOD has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient.

God Almighty never gave any guardianship role to the Messengers or Muslims over this issue: 

[33:40] Muhammad was not the father of any man among you. He was a messenger of GOD and the final prophet. GOD is fully aware of all things.

[4:80] Whoever obeys the messenger is obeying GOD. As for those who turn away, we did not send you as their guardian.

[6:66] Your people have rejected this, even though it is the truth. Say, “I am not a guardian over you.”

[6:104] Enlightenments have come to you from your Lord. As for those who can see, they do so for their own good, and those who turn blind, do so to their own detriment. I am not your guardian.

[18:29]”(O Prophet Muhammad) proclaim: ‘This is the Truth from your Lord. Now let him who will, believe in it, and him who will, deny it.’”

[6:107] Had GOD willed, they would not have worshiped idols. We did not appoint you as their guardian, nor are you their advocate.

[10:108] Proclaim: “O people, the truth has come to you herein from your Lord. Whoever is guided is guided for his own good. And whoever goes astray, goes astray to his own detriment. I am not a guardian over you.”

[11:86] “Whatever GOD provides for you, no matter how small, is far better for you, if you are really believers. I am not a guardian over you.”

[42:48] If they turn away, we did not send you as their guardian. Your sole mission is delivering the message. When we shower the human beings with mercy, they become proud, and when adversity afflicts them, as a consequence of their own deeds, the human beings turn into disbelievers

[4:137] Those who believe, then reject faith, then believe again and again reject faith, and go on increasing in disbelief, God will not forgive them nor guide them nor guide them on the way. 

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person:

[2:178] O you who believe, equivalence is the law decreed for you when dealing with murder - the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the female for the female. If one is pardoned by the victim’s kin, an appreciative response is in order, and an equitable compensation shall be paid. This is an alleviation from your Lord and mercy. Anyone who transgresses beyond this incurs a painful retribution.

[2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. ...

[16:126] And if you punish, you shall inflict an equivalent punishment. But if you resort to patience (instead of revenge), it would be better for the patient ones.

[17:33] You shall not kill any person - for GOD has made life sacred - except in the course of justice. If one is killed unjustly, then we give his heir authority to enforce justice. Thus, he shall not exceed the limits in avenging the murder, he will be helped.

Everyone is entitled to these rights and freedoms without distinction:

[2:136] Say, “We believe in GOD, and in what was sent down to us, and in what was sent down to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs; and in what was given to Moses and Jesus, and all the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction among any of them. To Him alone we are submitters.”

[49:13] O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant.

Former Muslims United was established in 2009 by Wafa Sultan and Nonie Darwish.  Wafa Sultan is the President of FMU.  In its mission statement, the “Former Muslims United” (FMU) stated that “Former Muslims United does not criticize any religion, in the sense that the religion is practiced as a personal relationship with God,” and that it sought to create a support group and civil rights group for those who left Islam.

According to R.E.A.L.  The objective of FMU was to create a group on the anniversary of the creation of the Bill of Rights, which includes Amendment 1 of the Constitution that states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  In their founding meeting, the FMU met on Capitol Hill in the House Longworth Congressional Office Building, which included attendance by the current leaders of the Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) group (that are now leading protests seeking to prevent building of American mosques.) 

But according to the FMU, a key concern of its directors is “exercising their right to religious freedom.”  The FMU has ended up with a different focus. While reportedly created to help those who sought to change religions from Islam “exercising their right to religious freedom,” the FMU has now taken a position that seeks to challenge the religious freedom of Muslim Americans.  In Tennessee, the FMU has provided significant support to the campaign against a planned mosque expansion in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where it has had an electronic billboard to urge the local public to protest against a Murfreesboro mosque expansion. Muslims in Murfreesboro have been worshiping in the city for 30 years.



Affirmation of Freedom of Expression and Belief in the Quran, Haris Aziz http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/affirmation_of_freedom_of_expression_and_belief_in_the_quran/
Afghan Convert Controversy: A Counter-Perspective on Apostasy in Islam, Yoginder Sikand http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/afghan_convert_controversy_a_counter_perspective_on_apostasy_in_islam/
Apostasy, Freedom and Da’wah:  Full Disclosure in a Business-like Manner, Mohammad Omar Farooq http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/apostasy_freedom_and_dawah_full_disclosure_in_a_business_like_manner/
Apostasy and Religious Freedom, Louay Safi http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/apostasy_and_religious_freedom/
Are The Scholars The Same As God Himself?, Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/are_the_scholars_the_same_as_god_himself/
The Case of the Afghan Apostate, Hasan Zillur Rahim http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_case_of_the_afghan_apostate/
Freedoms of Expression and Belief, Istiaq Ahmed http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/freedoms_of_expression_and_belief/
Intellectual Apostasy, the Real Issue, Ibrahim N. Abusharif http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/intellectual_apostasy_the_real_issue/
Is Killing An Apostate in the Islamic Law?, Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/shariah_is_killing_an_apostate_in_the_islamic_law/
Islam and Freedom of Thought, Akbar Ahmed and Lawrence Rosen http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islam_and_freedom_of_thought/
Islam and Pluralism: A Contemporary Approach, Shah Abdul Halim http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islam_and_pluralism_a_contemporary_approach/
Islam and Punishment for Apostasy, Asghar Ali Engineer http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islam_and_punishment_for_apostasy/
Islam and Religious Freedom, Asghar Ali Engineer http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islam_and_religious_freedom/
Moratorium on Death Penalty, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/moratorium_on_death_penalty/


At Geller’s CPAC event, Wafa Sultan says “Islam is a ... dangerous political ideology which aspires to world domination”  http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201002220029
Exposing Wafa Sultan’s contempt for Muslims, thinly concealed as critique, Tarek Fatah http://www.averroespress.com/AverroesPress/Main/Entries/2010/3/19_Exposing_Wafa_Sultan%E2%80%99s_hatred_of_Muslims,_thinly_concealed_as_self-righteous_critique.html
Islam’s Ann Coulter, Stephen Julius Stein http://www.islamdaily.org/en/islam/4554.islams-ann-coulter.htm
Wafa Sultan: A Poseur Playing off of Ignorance to Further Hate http://www.loonwatch.com/2009/11/wafa-sultan-a-poseur-playing-off-of-ignorance-to-further-hate/
Wafa Sultan: Craven Loon’s Speech at Ahavath Torah http://www.loonwatch.com/2009/12/wafa-sultan-craven-loons-speech-at-ahavath-torah/ 
Wafa Sultan Meets Intelligent Person and Gets Flabbergasted http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/01/wafa-sultan-meets-intelligent-person-and-gets-flabbergasted/
WAFA SULTAN: Reformist or opportunist?,  Abdussalam Mohamed http://www.infocusnews.net/content/view/4009/135/
Wafa Sultan’s Attacks Will Not Bring Positive Change, Zuriani ‘Ani’ Zonneveld http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=359x298
Wafa Sultan’s Lost opportunity http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_lost_opportunity_response_to_dr_wafa_sultan/
Why Rabbi Stephen Stein walked out of a Wafa Sultan event, Tarek Fatah http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-op-stein25jun25,0,3931395.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions


Ayaan Hirsi Ali - see TAM Responses collection

Zachariah Anani *

Glenn Beck (media) - see TAM Responses collection

Rev. Flip Benham and Operation Save America *

Aubrey & Joyce Chernick and the Fairbrook Foundation (financier)  *****

Phyllis Chessler *

Ann Coulter (media) - see TAM Responses collection

Nonie Darwish *

Alan Dershowitz - see TAM Responses collection

Steven Emerson and the Investigative Project **

Brigitte Gabriel and ACT for America ***

Dave Gaubatz *

Frank Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy **** and ****

Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs and SIOA ***

Sean Hannity (media) - see TAM Responses collection

David Horowitz *****

Charles Jacobs and Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America CAMERA and David Project **

Zuhdi Jasser and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy ***
Note:  Jasser is a Muslim, and defines himself as a devout Muslim, nevertheless his actions and statements separate him from the mainstream American Muslim community, and at the very least play into the hands of the Islamophobes

Rev. Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Christian Center *

Joe Kaufman - see TAM Responses collection

Sam Kharoba (fake counter-terrorism trainer) *

Charles Krauthammer (media)  - see TAM Responses collection

Michelle Malkin (media) - see TAM Responses collection

Bill O’Reilly (media) - see TAM Responses collection

Marty Peretz (media) - see TAM Responses collection

Daniel Pipes ****

Kamal Saleem *

Michael Savage (media) - see TAM Responses collection

Debbie Schlussel - see TAM Responses collection

Stephen Schwartz and Center for Islamic Pluralism - see TAM Responses collection

Walid Shoebat **

Ali Sina and Faith Freedom International *

Robert Spencer and Jihad Watch ***

Mark Steyn (media) - see TAM Responses collection

Wafa Sultan - see TAM Responses collection

Tom Trento and the Florida Security Council/United West Organizations *

Bat Y’eor **

David Yerushalmi and SANE ****

Those in bold are key figures


—  Islamophobia no longer questioned - even by our elected representatives for a lengthy list of anti-Muslim, Islamobophic quotes by elected representatives and government representatives

—  Christian brotherly love is difficult for some to obtain for anti-Muslim quotes by Christians including Christian clergypeople.  Members of this group include: Rev. Jerry Falwell, Bryan Fisher (American Family Association), Rev. Franklin Graham, Rev. John Hagee, Rev. Rod Parsley,  Rev. Pat Robertson (Christian Coalition, 700 Club), etc.

—  Jewish “Ahavah shel achvah” Brotherly Love is Difficult for Some to Attain for anti-Muslim quotes by Jews including Rabbis.

There would appear to be an Islamophobia industry engaged in what Max Blumenthal calls a Great Islamophobic Crusade.  In regard to the production of “Relentless”,  “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War on the West” and “The Third Jihad” TAM has published this article and Richard Silverstein has discussed the anti-Muslim propaganda during the last election cycle here, and the money trail between these groups here  and here

Original posting on TAM responses section — Wafa Sultan - [1](Hesham Hassaballa),  [2], and Wafa Sultan and MEMRI [3] , and article “The Muslims are Coming” [[4]], Islam’s Ann Coulter [[5]] (Julius Stein), [6] (Loonwatch) - at Toronto Jewish synagogue [7] (Tarek Fatah)