May 24, 2013
May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Sept. 5, 2006
/ 12 Elul, 5766
Will Khaled Centanni and Ya'aqob Wiig, as apostates, be marked for death?
This is one case where silence isn't golden and ignorance isn't bliss. They are dangerous and dumb
It's not easy to be shocked by jihad these days, five years and numberless atrocities after the Twin Towers imploded on almost 3,000 fellow citizens. That said, I admit my own jihad-fatigue was broken shattered, really by the "conversion" to Islam of Fox journalists Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig videotaped during their two-week ordeal as captives of Palestinians in Gaza.
Why? Andrew G. Bostom, writing at Frontpage mag. tells us forced conversions to Islam "have been the norm, across three continents Asia, Africa and Europe for over 13 centuries," and cites contemporary examples in the jihad campaigns of Sudan and Indonesia. Even so, religious coercion, let alone "jihad campaigns," still seems appallingly new to us if by "us" I can still make myself understood to mean, generally, Western peoples in modern times. Indeed, I can't think of another hostage to jihad forced into Islam not even Daniel Pearl or Nicolas Berg, and not the U.S. Embassy hostages in Tehran a quarter century ago.
Is this incident a tip-off to a new level of unabashed religious abuse of traditionally (once upon a time) inviolate Westerners? In the "conversion" video, we see such abuse as the American and the New Zealander sit, costumed in Arabic robes, "forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint," as Centanni later revealed. Holding up a symbolic first finger, they read their lines in both Arabic and English, proclaiming their "new" faith, declaring their "new" names Khaled and Ya'aqob and calling on President Bush and Prime Minister Blair to do likewise. I didn't see the videotape on television (more on that below), but rather on Internet, where, like high-tech specters, "Khaled" and "Ya'aqob" will haunt their freed selves into cyber-eternity.
Or will they? Whether this "conversion" is legit probably depends on the eye or, rather, the religion of the beholder. The Koran says "there is no compulsion in religion" as did, absurdly, the video but, as Robert Spencer writes at Frontpage mag., traditional Islamic teachings about Muhammad, which reveal that the Islamic prophet's invitation to Islam was accompanied by "an inescapable threat" of subjugation and war, have left Islam with a different interpretation of "compulsion" from the West. That is, given accounts of Muhammad's own example, Islam doesn't really see forcible conversion in commonly understood terms of "compulsion."
So, what if Centanni and Wiig "revert" to their non-Muslim identities? Would such "apostasy" sentence them to death? (Leaving Islam is a capital crime under Islamic law.) Shocking thought. Of course, there's something even more shocking to the story than the religious charade itself.
No, it isn't the bizarre disclaimer Centanni felt compelled to append to his account of the shotgun-conversion "Don't get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it." While it's more than strange to hear a person who has been forced to choose between death and Islam flack for Islam as he resumes his life, there's something else. And it isn't praise for the "beautiful and kind-hearted" Palestinian people Centanni slathered around the microphone at his Gaza City press conference before, as Bostom noted, high-tailing it to safety in infidel-Israel.
The most shocking thing about the Centanni-Wiig "conversion" is the silence that has followed. First, there is silence from Islam. Shouldn't Muslim religious leaders, and particularly "beautiful and kind-hearted" Palestinian Muslim religious leaders, vehemently condemn the forced conversions? As Bostom put it, "Will such Muslim authorities at least recognize the acute predicament of Centanni and Wiig by issuing a fatwa stating that their 'conversion,' being under duress, was not bona fide, condemning in advance any Muslim who might now attack these journalists for 'apostasy' from Islam?"
Yes, of course, they should at least according to any Western understanding of compulsion and morality but don't hold your breath. Meanwhile, holding their breath is exactly what Western media are doing when it comes to covering (not covering) the story. Even Fox's Greta van Susteren, a tabloidesque host who never met a bodily fluid she couldn't elaborate on, went delicate on us the other night, failing, in a one-hour "exclusive" interview with the two men, to ask a single question about their religious ordeal presumably at their request.
Why? Who or what is served by shutting up? Only forces of coercion a word which, after all, implies the nullification of individual will. Which means this is one case where silence isn't golden and ignorance isn't bliss. They are dangerous and dumb.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading."
Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.
© 2006, Diana West