Do watch this really interesting 4.5-minute clip from Egyptian television. The clip was originally on MEMRI TV, which has the note: “Egyptian TV Host Kicks Guest Out of Studio for Expressing Controversial Ideas on Religion; Al-Nahar TV (Egypt) – May 13, 2014.” And the title of the clip is “TV host Riham Sahid interviews Egyptian Salafist-[a branch of Sunni Islam]-turned-skeptic Dr. Noha.”
In it, a Muslim doctor is interviewed by a seemingly liberal Muslim television presenter, but it all winds up in a heated debate about what “real” Muslims believe, with the presenter, Riham Sahid (as opposed to the interviewee Dr. Noha, who wears hijab to hide her identity), taking the hard line: Allah and not Muhummad wrote the Qur’an, and sharia law should be implemented everywhere. It’s quite startling to hear Sahid, appearing as a modern woman in modern Western dress, favor chopping off the hands of thieves and stoning an adulteress to death (she doesn’t mention the adulterer).
But it’s heartening to hear Dr. Noha stand up for her views, calling much of Islam “a myth,” asserting that Muhammad himself and not Allah wrote the Qur’an, and claiming, based on experience, that Allah doesn’t respond to prayer. In fact, Noha seems to be a hairsbreadth away from being an atheist—and, given the punishment for that under sharia, maybe she is.
Sahid gets really exercised at the challenges to her faith and winds up calling the courageous Dr. Noha “ignorant.” In fact, Sahid says, not realizing the irony, “I am proud to be an ignoramus.” Finally, the exasperated Sahid boots her interviewee out of the studio, saying that she had wasted her time with a “crazy woman.” But it is Dr. Noha who is rational and Sahid who is deluded.
Reader Hardy sent me that clip with a note:
I’m awestruck by the bravery and decency of the guest in this interview. What can we do to support, encourage and protect people like her? Because, as much as we all like to imagine that we’re fighting the good fight against ignorance and superstition, she really is on the frontline… and the risks for her are very real.
Indeed! Kudos to the very brave Dr. Noha. It’s easy to go after Islam from the safety of our computers in the West, but it’s people like Noha who take the very real risks that we don’t bear. That’s why it was so ludicrous for Brandeis to withdraw its offer of an honorary degree to the courageous Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who travels with an armed guard 24/7 because of her apostasy. Yet Ali continues to speak out against the oppressive sexism of Islam. I wish Noha health and safety.
A side note: to complicate matters, Sahid herself, as I posted some months ago, crossed swords with an Islamic cleric on another t.v. interview, refusing to wear the veil to conform to the cleric’s beliefs (the clip is here). In that case, Sahid walked off the show. It is so curious, and a mystery to me, that a woman who refuses to wear the veil nevertheless advocates sharia law’s call for aputating of hands and stoning of adulteresses!
When someone like Sahid holds such bizarre views, it really confuses me about what a “moderate” Muslim really is.