Named as one of Time's 100 Most Influential People for 2006, Wafa Sultan made some terrific waves in a Feb 2006 public debate on Al-Jazeera. She fought a good fight against the equally well-versed Dr Ibrahim Khouly, and some of her questions were thought provoking:
"The Jews have come from the tragedy and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror; with their work, not with their crying and yelling. We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people."
True, true. It begs the question why Muslims feel they need to resort to such methods. Violence begets violence, its a vicious cycle.
The usual response from the Muslim world was to be anticipated: she's a heretic, an infidel, etc, etc, etc. The usual response from the West was to be anticipated: she's a modern woman, enlightened, etc, etc, etc. Both would be equally wrong: she's disavowed Islam, so while she is a heretic, that condemnation means very little to a woman protected by the laws of the United States -- she can say anything she wants, and if action is taken against her, it will only serve to prove her conviction and martyr her in the eyes of the West. As for her being a hero for the West? If anyone cared to read the full transcript of her debate with Dr Ibrahim, she was pretty well beaten.
The rhetoric was impressive, but Dr Ibrahim easily fended her off with the often used, and very effective defense: "the actions of one Muslim should not be projected on Islam" (as the actions of one Christian (or Jew) should not be projected on Christianity). She really had no answer (though she tried) for that, and for me, that cost her the debate.