Irshad Manji, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Wafa Sultan
Manji says she's Muslim. Ali says she's moved on. Both must be brave to take the stands, threats, and abuse they take.
It's not my business to determine who's a Muslim, how they should behave or speak, or the rules for leaving Islam. I support all their rights to say what they want to say about any religion. Go ahead, tear up Theism or Deism, personal favorites at times. I can take it.
An ocean and a continent away is Dr. Wafa Hannah, a middle-aged, Syrian-American psychiatrist who lives in the Los Angeles area and speaks fluent Arabic. She was invited to go on Al-Jazeera and debate Islam and the so-called 'clash of civilizations'. Jaw, say hello to floor. This clip is so extraordinary, it has been clicked on by more than a million people worldwide so far. The man chairing the discussion made a wise decision to keep his head down, but the Algerian Islamist who was... debating is too strong a word as he hardly got a chance to get a word in -- her opponent, kept coming back in disbelief to take another hit. This debate, which was translated by MEMRI and is run on their site, has made Wafa Sultan a worldwide recognizable, and quoted, name.
So Irshad Manji, Aayan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan all have international recognition.
Deservedly so. They should have more. Maybe jihadys will spontaneously combust from the uncovered hair rays?
Open discussion, even ridicule, of religion is a cornerstone of freedom. Taking critical issues out of public debate to avoid offending amorphous concepts like "religious defamation" will cause religion to grab more and more issues and concomitant priviliges.
She waves a large bound book that, she says, contains the names of 21,676 people who have died resisting the clerical regime. Another 120,000 people have been executed since the mullahs took power in 1979, she claims. Now Iran's rulers are trying to develop a nuclear weapon.
"We have always said that a viper cannot give birth to a dove, but nobody believed us," she told the Sunday Telegraph. "Only a fraction of the true nature of this regime, which is a brutal dictatorship of religious fanaticism, has come to public attention."
British MPs, lawyers and human rights campaigners are among those who have recently travelled to hear Mrs Rajavi, 52, hold court on behalf of the National Council for Resistance for Iran (NCRI). Yet while some see her as the best hope to lead a moderate Islamic government in Teheran, others are more cautious.
When I finish Jefferson's War by Joseph Wheelan I'll review Oriana Fallaci: Force of Reason (Litigated in Europe!)