It's interesting to compare the path that CPT member Tom Fox chose with Wafa Sultan's. Wafa Sultan is an Arab-American who argued vociferously against Islamic clerics on Al Jazeera, creating an international stir. Accoding to the New York Times summary of events:
Three weeks ago, Dr. Wafa Sultan was a largely unknown Syrian-American psychiatrist living outside Los Angeles, nursing a deep anger and despair about her fellow Muslims.
Today, thanks to an unusually blunt and provocative interview on Al Jazeera television on Feb. 21, she is an international sensation, hailed as a fresh voice of reason by some, and by others as a heretic and infidel who deserves to die.
In the interview, which has been viewed on the Internet more than a million times and has reached the e-mail of hundreds of thousands around the world, Dr. Sultan bitterly criticized the Muslim clerics, holy warriors and political leaders who she believes have distorted the teachings of Muhammad and the Koran for 14 centuries.
She said the world's Muslims, whom she compares unfavorably with the Jews, have descended into a vortex of self-pity and violence.
Dr. Sultan said the world was not witnessing a clash of religions or cultures, but a battle between modernity and barbarism, a battle that the forces of violent, reactionary Islam are destined to lose.
In response, clerics throughout the Muslim world have condemned her, and her telephone answering machine has filled with dark threats. But Islamic reformers have praised her for saying out loud, in Arabic and on the most widely seen television network in the Arab world, what few Muslims dare to say even in private.
Both Fox and Sultan employed nonviolent methods to achieve their ends. Given the death threats leveled on Hirsi Ali, the Danish caricaturists of Mohammed, Salman Rusdie and others it is arguable that Dr. Sultan by her open opposition to Islamism is showing as much personal courage as anyone in the CPT. Since Dr. Sultan probably has relatives and friends in Syria or the Muslim community in America, she is likely in a more vulnerable situation than a Western Peace Activist who is only in the Middle East temporarily.
To Tom Fox's question "How do you stand firm against a car-bomber or a kidnapper?" -- a question to which he never provided an answer except to say it was not fighting -- Wafa Sultan's answer is that you start by denouncing it. You begin by intellectually opposing the ideology that drives it; that legitimizes it; that portrays it as attractive to children from their cradle. The CPT website, on the other hand, says that denunciation is part of the problem, because it dehumanizes the denounced; hides our Western guilt; and shows a lack of tolerance and respect for Islam. On the Jyllands-Posten cartoon controversy, the CPT says:
We, the members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq, are disturbed by anti-Muslim cartoons from twelve different artists published in September by Denmark's daily paper the Jyllands-Posten. The publisher claims the freedom of speech to publish the cartoons, but we believe they are only spreading hate and bigotry. To those who believe and act as if terrorism is an essential part of the Islamic faith, we say No! Stop! We cannot stand by and remain silent when our gracious Muslim brothers and sisters are being defamed.
Which of these, the Arab woman or American man, do you think was a neighbor to those threatened by terrorism? Go and do likewise.