Freethought Heroine Award

Wafa Sultan – 2006

Introductory remarks by Annie Laurie Gaylor, Oct. 7, 2006.

The bravest people in the world today, in my opinion, are the women raised in Islam who publicly reject religion or Islamic repression over their lives. I am thinking of the Bengali author Taslima Nasrin, who was named our Freethought Heroine in 2002, and women like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, featured in the film, "Submission," for which Theo Van Gogh was murdered in 2004. And I'm also thinking of the women whose names we don't know, who are simply going about their business and are not about to be stopped by religion, such as those women brave enough to go unveiled or without burqas in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Our Freethought Heroine 2006 is such a woman, daring to look Islam in the face and defy it.

Wafa Sultan, M.D., grew up in Syria, and studied medicine at the University of Aleppo. She and her husband, David Sultan, came to America in 1989, where they live in Southern California and have three children. In fact, this weekend marks their wedding anniversary so we're grateful to them for celebrating it with us! The family are all now American citizens.

Dr. Sultan caught the world's eye in July 2005, when she, as a former Muslim who is now a secular humanist, debated religion with a Muslim cleric on Al-Jazeera TV, and again in February 2006. She will be showing some clips from those dramatic appearances.

Dr. Sultan was named this year as one of Time Magazine's "100 People Who Shape Our World."

Dr. Sultan is working on a book with a really phenomenal title: "The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster."

We are honored to name Wafa Sultan as our Freethought Heroine this year.

Speech coming soon.

Photo by Brent Nicastro

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