Skip to comments.Journalists' Forced Conversion Not Contrary to Islam
Posted on 08/30/2006 8:45:43 PM PDT by Stoat
Journalists' Forced Conversion Not Contrary to Islam
by Robert Spencer
Posted Aug 30, 2006 The most bizarre element of the two weeks of captivity suffered by Fox News reporter Steve Centanni and photographer Olaf Wiig was the video that surfaced depicting their conversion to Islam. Even before the journalists revealed that their conversions had been coerced, there were indications that they were not acting freely. While reading a statement he himself had ostensibly written, Centanni stumbled over words, appeared to puzzle over the handwriting, and seemed to grimace after pronouncing the words peace be upon him after the name of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Most jarring was the video editors invocation of the favorite Koran verse of Western analysts of Islam and terrorism, There is no compulsion in religion (2:256). The irony of featuring this verse in a video depicting two forced conversions has been widely noted. In fact, however, the juxtaposition of this verse with the video of Centanni and Wiig was probably not simply transparent deception, as strange as that may seem.
Islamic law forbids forced conversion, but as Andrew Bostom documented earlier this week, this is a law that throughout Islamic history has all too often been honored in the breach. Nor is this yet another case of a twisting or hijacking of Islam; in fact, Islamic law regarding the presentation of Islam to non-Muslims manifests a different understanding of what constitutes freedom from coercion and freedom of conscience from that which prevails among non-Muslims.
Muhammad instructed his followers to call people to Islam before waging war against themthe warfare would follow from their refusal to accept Islam or to enter the Islamic social order as inferiors, required to pay a special tax (Sahih Muslim 4294). There is therefore a threat in this invitation to accept Islam. Would one who converted to Islam under the threat of war be considered to have converted under duress? No; from the standpoint of traditional schools of Islamic jurisprudence, such a conversion would have resulted from no compulsion.
Muhammad reinforced these instructions many times during his prophetic career. Late in his career, he wrote to Heraclius, the Eastern Roman Emperor in Constantinople: Embrace Islam and you will be safe (Bukhari, 4.52.191). Heraclius did not accept Islam, and soon the Byzantines would know well that the warriors of jihad indeed granted no safety to those who rejected their invitation.
After being freed, Centanni said: We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint. Dont get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do because they had the guns, and we didnt know what was going on.
Indeed, few in the West know whats going on regarding the example of Muhammad and the stance of traditional Islam on conversion. The human rights should have the courage to recognize and denounce this conversion-or-else directive, and to recognize the plight of those who even today suffer from its scourge. Moreover, with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad operating according to Muhammads instructions, this now has geopolitical implications. In his letter to President Bush, Ahmadinejad invited him to accept Islam, and then echoed the Prophet of Islam in delivering a threat to Bush through Mike Wallace: We are all free to choose. But please give him this message, sir: Those who refuse to accept an invitation will not have a good ending or fate.
Ahmadinejads threat, as well as the ordeal of Centanni and Wiig, epitomizes the threat that the global jihad represents to the freedom of conscience. Analysts are increasingly beginning to note that the conflict has ideological dimensions, but these dimensions are still imperfectly understood in the public sphere. Were Western leaders courageous enough to speak forthrightly about the threat we face as an Islamic jihad, they could use the conversions of Centanni and Wiig to illustrate one of the elements of Western civilization that is being challenged and that we are resolved to defend. Unfortunately, mired as they are in denial about the nature of the terror threat itself, they have made as yet no such resolution.
ROBERT SPENCER, the director of Jihad Watch, is a writer and researcher who has written six books, seven monographs, and well over a hundred articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism. His latest book is the New York Times bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (Regnery). He is also the author of Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World's Fastest Growing Faith (Encounter) and Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West (Regnery). He is coauthor, with Daniel Ali, of Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics (Ascension), and editor of the essay collection The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims (Prometheus). His next book, The Truth About Muhammad, is coming October 9 from Regnery Publishing.
Spencer (MA, Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) has been studying Islamic theology, law, and history in depth since 1980. He is an Adjunct Fellow with the Free Congress Foundation, and his monographs on Islam are available from the Foundation: An Introduction to the Qur'an; Women and Islam; An Islamic Primer; Islam and the West; The Islamic Disinformation Lobby; Islam vs. Christianity; and Jihad in Context.
His articles on Islam and other topics have appeared in the New York Post, the Washington Times, the Dallas Morning News, Canada's National Post, FrontPage Magazine.com, WorldNet Daily, Insight in the News, Human Events, National Review Online, and many other journals. He has consulted with United States Central Command on Islam and jihad, and has discussed jihad, Islam, and terrorism at a workshop sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the German Foreign Ministry, as well as on the BBC, CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, PBS, C-Span, and Croatia National Televison (HTV), as well as on numerous radio programs including Michael Savage's Savage Nation, The Alan Colmes Show, The G. Gordon Liddy Show, The Neal Boortz Show, The Michael Medved Show, The Michael Reagan Show, The Larry Elder Show, The Barbara Simpson Show, Vatican Radio, and many others.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Why should I believe what you say about Islam?
It is amusing to me that some people like to focus on my credentials, when I have never made a secret of the fact that most of what I know about Islam comes from personal study. It is easier for them to talk about degrees than to find any inaccuracy in my work. Yet I present the work not on the basis of my credentials, but on the basis of the evidence I bring forth; evaluate it for yourself. One example: after I spoke at the University of North Carolina, Professor Carl Ernst of the university wrote a piece about me warning that my books were non-scholarly and were published by presses that he believed reflected a political agenda of which he did not approve. That kind of approach may impress some people, but Carl Ernst did not (and cannot) bring forth even a single example of a supposed inaccuracy in my work. I would, of course, be happy to debate Carl Ernst or any other scholar of Islam about Islam and jihad; this is a standing invitation. Also, as this site has shown, I am always open to new information.
Q: Why have you studied Islam for so long?
This led to my consulting privately with some individuals and groups about Islam, but I had never intended to do such work publicly. However, after 9/11 I was asked to write Islam Unveiled in order to correct some of the misapprehensions about Islam that were widespread at that time.
Q: I've read that you are secretly a Catholic and have a religious agenda.
At this point the people most active, in various ways, in the work of Jihad Watch are a Catholic, a Jew, and an atheist. If we weren't so busy trying to awaken the Western world to the threat of violent jihad, we could walk into a bar and...(fill in your own punchline).
Q: I've read that you are a member of Opus Dei.
Q: I've read that you are actually Jewish.
Q: I've read that you are actually a Maoist.
Q: Why do so many people convert to Islam?
Q: Do you hate Muslims?
It is not an act of hatred against Muslims to point out the depredations of jihad ideology. It is a peculiar species of displacement and projection to accuse someone who exposes the hatred of one group of hatred himself: I believe in the equality of rights and dignity of all people, and that is why I oppose the global jihad. And I think that those who make the charge know better in any case: they use the charge as a tool to frighten the credulous and politically correct away from the truth.
Am I "anti-Muslim"? Some time ago here at Jihad Watch I had an exchange with an English convert to Islam. I said: "I would like nothing better than a flowering, a renaissance, in the Muslim world, including full equality of rights for women and non-Muslims in Islamic societies: freedom of conscience, equality in laws regarding legal testimony, equal employment opportunities, etc." Is all that "anti-Muslim"? My correspondent thought so. He responded: "So, you would like to see us ditch much of our religion and, thereby, become non-Muslims."
In other words, he saw a call for equality of rights for women and non-Muslims in Islamic societies, including freedom of conscience, equality in laws regarding legal testimony, and equal employment opportunities, as a challenge to his religion. To the extent that they are, these facts have to be confronted by both Muslims and non-Muslims. But I make no apologies: it is not "anti-Muslim" to wish freedom of conscience and equality of rights on the Islamic world -- quite the contrary.
Q: Do you think all Muslims are terrorists?
Q: Are you trying to incite anti-Muslim hatred?
Q: Are you deliberately ignoring more liberal schools of thought in Islam?
Q: I have read that you support forced deportation of US citizens who happen to be Muslim, harassment of law-abiding US Muslims (boycotting of their businesses, refusal to renew their cab medallions, refusal of their business permits) and other similar actions.
Q: But I have read that you advocate making the practice of Islam "difficult" in the U.S.
Q: Can you recommend a good English translation of the Qur'an?
There are other good translations. For years I have liked Arberry's for its audacious literalism and often poetic English. Compare, for example, 81:15-18:
فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّسِ الْجَوَارِ الْكُنَّسِ وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا عَسْعَسَ وَالصُّبْحِ إِذَا تَنَفَّسَ...in Pickthall and Arberry: Pickthall: "Oh, but I call to witness the planets, the stars which rise and set, and the close of night, and the breath of morning..." Arberry: "No! I swear by the slinkers, the runners, the sinkers, by the night swarming, by the dawn sighing..." Shades of the Symbolists. Arberry gives a hint of how the book sounds in Arabic, in which it is full of beguiling rhymes and rhythms.
Q: What can we do about this threat?
Q: Why are you doing this?
The Izlamotirds can die. Or they can convert to Christianity. We don't want them burning in an eternal hell do we?
Journalists' Forced Conversion Not Contrary to Islam
Well, its contrary to Christianity and the West.
They can kiss my royal irish behind.
Forced is forced
"The Izlamotirds can die. Or they can convert to Christianity. We don't want them burning in an eternal hell do we?"
Yep, I suppose the best thing a Christian could do would be convert them at gunpoint ... then kill them before they can recant.
Somehow, I don't have the feeling that your typical 25 year old jihadist would ever make a good Christian, but I suppose that sort of thing is best left to Higher powers to judge.
We don't want them burning in an eternal hell do we?
If they would kindly take off the suicide bomber belts and set down the AK-47's and get back to pumping my oil for me so that I can drive my big shiny American car, then I suppose not. If they continue on their current path, then I really don't care what happens to them in the afterlife as long as they get dead before any new victims do.
Okay then I see it that when the president of Iran invited Bush to embrace Islam and then said it will affect the safety of the future, he was actually saying that Iran has plans to attack America but they can be cancelled if Bush embraced Islam. So I think Nutjob was basically telling Bush Iran will attack us sooner or later.
I think they believe they are being fair. As in "We gave you a chance to convert, we invited you to convert. We tried to be fair but if you refuse...we have no choice but to kill you. It all up to you. " Noble ain't it??
FORCED CONVERSION IS INTRINSIC TO THE CULT OF ISLAM.
I went to LGF and saw the video. How horrifingly sad.
It's not hard to see what happened here - It's a sign of the weakness of the terrorists, not any sign of strength.
They needed a way to release these guys yet save face - when the journalists were convinced that this was they way to get out of it, they bowed down and praised alah ... the guys who let them go are not stupid, they knew that these two would immediately say they were forced.
Like the guy in India (?) who was declared crazy and released instead of being executed for changing from Islam to Christian ... it was simply a way out.
These guys are out, and more moderate muslems found a way to get them out.
Saner people are starting to gain some control --- this is a good thing.
They can kiss my royal irish behind.
I would not want one of those filthy Islamonazis anywhere close to any part of the anatomy of any Irish person. Our nation owes Ireland and the Irish a profound debt for the innumerable things that the Irish have done to make America a much better place than it would have been without them....we need to be respectful and protective of our Irish Friends and not allow any jihadists anywhere near them :-)
Bascially all Muslims in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia etc etc etc are all descendents of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Parsis and other religious persuasions who were forced into Islam.
If only they knew this historical fact and were given the freedom to choose their own religion.
Afghanistan, not India.
Last year, right?
Forced conversion is an oxymoron. You either adopt a faith voluntarily or you don't. There was no conversion.
They are special alright.
THEY speak for God as MONOTHIESTS (how is that done?) and would kill you for the very idea that the holy spirit could live in a human heart, THE very idea of Jesus....
3 Gods in one person? preposterous! How is that representitive of ONE God?
off with your head!
Yes. A large proportion of the Muslims in the Palestine, Jordan, Syria region had Christian ancestors, before Islam was forced onto them.
Regardless of the fear and implied threat involved, Steve Centanni converted to Islam. According to Islam and Muslims, he is considered to be a Muslim forever.
Steve Centanni is a Muslim. ...shocking, isn't it.
Yep ... didn't think I was right, and I knew that since combined, we know EVERYTHING, someone would come up with the right answer.
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