Wafa Sultan is renowned for her taboo shattering interview on Al Jazeera, when she skewered a poor Muslim cleric with a long overdue diatribe on the faults and blindnesses of Islam. This book is a piece with that mission. It is searingly honest, largely autobiographical and brims with horrific experiences derived from her family and medical practice in Syria, and with the now well described duplicity of many Arab-speaking acquaintances in the West. It is peppered with ascerbic analysis for this behaviour, the naive Western response and valuable insights into the Middle Eastern mind. The role of honour, the difficulty of apologising, saving face, the state of the conscience are among some of the crucial themes she touches on.
Her description of the Arab and Muslim neurosis (if not psychosis) about Israel is especially illuminating, and reveals just how poisoned and distorted much Middle Eastern political and journalistic discourse has become. Detractors should learn to read Arabic or read accurate translations of publications to find ample confirmation for what she claims, if anything she understates it.
She doesn't adequately explain why the West is so cowed by Islamic morality, and given her history, understandably doesn't have a clear sense of just how deeply Western morality has decayed, why for example the rocketing teenage pregnancies, STDs, broken families and feral children that Muslims clerics so often harp upon are indeed hallmarks of dangerous lawlessness in Western society. Muslims have a point when they speak with disdain of Western 'values', but Wafa Sultan's rejoinder would no doubt be that much of that 'morality' is also hollow and deeply hypocritical, and may act as a shield for disgusting abuse, as evidenced by her numerous accounts.
The book however makes tentative positive recommendations and serves as a salty, prophetic wake up call that both Muslims and other faiths would do well to read carefully and critically.