Radical Women

Cinnamon Stillwell at SFGate:
... the real radical women in the world go largely unremarked by the feminist movement. Today's true heroines are those who do battle with the gender apartheid, violence and oppression practiced against women in the Muslim world. There, women face not just phantom infringements to their civil rights and perceived slights to their sensitivities, but threats to their lives. With the call for reform in the Muslim world come the inevitable requirements of round-the-clock security.

Arab American psychologist Dr. Wafa Sultan is the latest to enter such dangerous waters.

Ever since Sultan took part in a debate on Al-Jazeera with Algerian Islamist cleric Ahmad bin Muhammad in February, the world has been riveted.

The two debated Islamic teachings and terrorism. But instead of the usual excuses, Sultan offered moral clarity. She blasted the Muslim world for being mired in a "medieval" mentality and she dubbed the war on terror not simply a clash of civilizations but "a clash between civilization and backwardness … between barbarity and rationality … between human rights on the one hand and the violation of these rights on the other, between those who treat women like beasts and those who treat them like human beings."

...Born in Syria to a middle-class family and raised a Muslim, Wafa Sultan began to reexamine her religious beliefs after a traumatic incident. A respected medical school professor was murdered before her eyes by two Muslim Brotherhood members shouting "Allahu akbar!" (God is great!). Eventually, she became a secularist and started writing for the Arab American Web site Anneqed.com. She became a strong critic of the intolerance and violence increasingly associated with the Muslim world. She also tackled the taboo subject of Muslim anti-Semitism, rejecting the hatred with which she had been indoctrinated as a child.

Lebanese Christian journalist Brigitte Gabriel has traveled the world sharing her experiences of persecution at the hands of Islamists in Lebanon. She and her family eventually found refuge in Israel, where she underwent an epiphany and, like Wafa Sultan, rejected the anti-Semitism she had grown up with. ...

Nonie Darwish is another Arab woman who has sought to bridge the gap with Israel as well as defend America's battle against Islamic terrorism. A former Muslim born and raised in Cairo and the Gaza Strip who later converted to Christianity, Darwish has lived in the United States for more than 25 years. ...

Irshad Manji is also a woman worth recognizing. A refugee of Pakistani descent from Uganda, Muslim journalist and activist Manji grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. She went on to pursue an impressive career, which now includes being a visiting fellow with the International Security Studies program at Yale University.

But it is her forays into critiquing Islam that have garnered Manji the most attention. As a lesbian, she faces a double dose of intolerance within Muslim culture, but she has never backed down. ...

And the list goes on: Hirsi Ali, Oriana Fallaci, Phyllis Chesler ...

Read the whole thing at the link.