Converted to Islam at gun point, kidnapped reporter reveres Islam

(Be sure to see VFR’s explanation of how one becomes an expert on Islam.)

After newsmen Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig were released today in the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian gunmen who had kidnapped them two weeks ago, Centanni told Fox News that his captors had forced him to convert to Islam. He continued:

“Don’t get me wrong, I have the highest respect for Islam. We learned a lot of great things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do, because they had the gun.”

In an e-mail with the subject line, “Future of the West,” Ben comments:

After they kidnapped him, put a black cover over his head, forced him to convert to Islam etc., he says, after he’s been freed, that he has the highest respect for Islam. Not with a gun to his head did he say he had the highest respect for Islam, but said this talking to Fox News right after his release.

This is exactly what liberals would do if Islam took over the West—they would submit to conversion and live under its rule.

I can’t believe the world I’m living in.

Earth to George W. Bush and his brain-numbed followers: The kidnappers did not force Centanni and Wiig to convert to Islam because the kidnappers are “fascists” who “hate our freedoms.” They forced them to convert to Islam because they are Muslims who believe in Islam. Yes, Islam tells them to hate our freedoms. But the primary thing is the belief in Islam, not the hate of our freedoms. How can we successfully fight an enemy whose existence we don’t even recognize?

Moreover, such forced conversions are exactly what Muslims have been imposing on non-Muslims for the last 1,400 years, through jihad war, razzias (raids), kidnapping, slavery, conquest, and dhimmitude. In reply, the Muslims insist that they don’t force people to convert. Rather, as Sayyid Qutb (pronounced KUTub) argues, jihad war is waged to bring people under (divinely led) Islamic rule, thereby freeing them (freeing them from their false human will, that is) to choose Islam freely. What Muslims call “freedom” is what we call compulsion. In fear of being killed, and in hopes of being released, Steve Centanni agreed to convert to Islam. The choice was not what we would call a free one. But now, having become a Muslim and so transformed himself, he can’t take it back, even though the gun is no longer pointed at his head. And so he loves Big Brother—I mean, he has the “highest respect” for Islam.

And this, as Ben points out, is the inevitable future of the West, unless we recognize that Islam (not “fascist terrorists,” in Victor Hanson’s phrase) is our enemy, and begin to defend ourselves from it.

- end of initial entry -

Dan R. writes:

Larry, I think an alternative explanation is that Centanni, especially in his capacity as a Fox employee, believes in Islam as a peaceful religion, just as his prophet George Bush has said it is, and regards the kidnappers as among those usurpers of the peaceful religion. Thus he can say laudatory things about Islam and in his own mind regard the conversion as bogus, being that it was at gunpoint, and not a conversion to the true Islam. Of course all this could be quickly resolved by asking Centanni if he now regards himself as a Muslim.

Russell W. writes:

Of course the statements about these former captives having “the highest respect for Islam” after their ordeal are rather depressing, but I think you emphasize the wrong reasons why. In your post, it sounds like you’re interpreting his statements to mean, “I have the highest respect for the brand of Islam that countenances war, kidnapping, beheading, forced conversion and all manner of terrorism to spread the faith.” But clearly he means (and the mainstream media will interpret his comments as): “I have the highest respect for the true Islam, which is a beautiful religion of peace…” etc.

Now, I know you think this dichotomy is entirely false and that only fools who have become experts at denying reality can continue to believe it. In this, I wholeheartedly agree. But that’s where the point of our disagreement with the media and “respectable conservatives” lies, and that’s what should be made the focus when people with our views repeatedly try to make these “take the wool from your eyes” points.

LA replies.

You may well be right: what he means is that he respects the good Islam, not the bad Islam that kidnapped him. So I may have been wrong to think that he’s been traduced by his Muslim captors. Instead, he’s been traduced by the Mahdi from west Texas, who has told him that Islam is a religion of peace.

Also, when I read your sentence, “I know you think this dichotomy is entirely false and that only fools who have become experts at denying reality can continue to believe it,” I initially thought you had written, “fools who have become experts BY denying reality.” And that would be really be getting at the truth about them. Their certification as official experts about Islam is based on their skill in constructing politically acceptable ways of denying the reality of Islam. Muslims are violent because they don’t have laptops! (Give that man a Pulitzer Prize.) Muslims are violent because they are sexually frustrated! (Give that man an op-ed.) Muslims are violent because they are alienated! (Give that man an endowed chair.) Muslims are violent because they have not been integrated into our consumerist society! (Give that woman a publishing contract.) Muslims are violent because we have not made sufficient efforts to find and encourage moderates! (Give that man a think tank.) Muslims are violent because they hate freedom! (Give that woman a Cabinet post.) But if someone said that Muslims are violent because they are followers of a religion that commands violence as a sacred obligation, he would be certified, not as an expert, but as an extremist.

But your wording is also correct: they have become experts AT denying reality. THAT is what they are expert at. That is what constitutes their expertise.

Ben writes:

This constant hand wringing about Islam in the west is becoming unbearable for me. Liberalism really is madness.

LA replies:

What handwringing to you mean.


By the “experts” as you call them.


Oh yes, LOL.

“ … We’re making them feel alienated … We’re not making them feel welcome enough … Our fear of terrorism is angering them … Our support for Israel makes young Muslim men feel that they must kill us … We must do more to assimilate them … “

But remember, on top of all this, Auster’s First Law of Majority-Minority Relations in Liberal Society: The WORSE a designated minority group behaves, the MORE we must blame ourselves for it. So the handwringing that bothers you is only going to get worse and worse … until the liberal bubble bursts.

Laurium writes:

Centanni has signed his death warrant (and that of his friend and co-worker) by admitting they were both converted.

We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint,” Centanni later told Fox. “Don’t 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 didn’t know what the hell was going on.”

Islam does not allow an exception for “gunpoint” conversions as opposed to heart-felt, sincere, believing conversions. In fact, history tells us that most conversions to Islam for many, many centuries have been “convert or die” conversions And very effective conversions they have been! Even if you don’t believe, if you are forced to say the words and know that going back on them is a death sentence, you keep your mouth shut, “go with the flow” so to speak, and after a generation, your whole country is Muslim.

Centanni is as ignorant as a box of rocks. Once you have said the Magic Words (“There is only one god, Allah, and Mohammed is his last prophet”), you are a Muslim. Of course, being Muslim, any conversion back to Christianity or Judaism is apostasy and punishable by death under Sharia law. You figure Centanni would know this, having spent so much time over there.

But no. Having converted to Islam he had to compound his problems by telling the world! In the quote above, Centanni said right out loud that he was “converted”. If he goes back to his prior religion (assuming he has one), devout Muslims anywhere in the world are encouraged to kill him. As much as they may want more Arab sympathizers in Palestine, they will not tolerate a high profile apostate in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, or any other Islamic country he travels to.

Centanni with his big mouth has just destroyed his career in the Islamic world——-unless, of course, he follows through on his conversion. Had he kept his mouth shut, word probably would never have gotten around. Even if it was spread about, he could always deny it. But, no, he had to open his big mouth and tattoo a target to his own forehead. Somebody needs to talk to the boy before he goes back in the Gaza ghettoes and gets his throat cut. We’ll see what kind of “high respect for Islam” he continues to have when he has to watch his back every second. What a p**z.

Alan Levine writes;

This Centanni character is probably crazy, but I would treat statements by anyone in captivity or just released from it with reserve, or even suspicion of irony. I recall the remark of Sigmund Freud’s sister on being released by the Nazi police “I can heartily recommend the Gestapo to anyone!”

LA replies:

Yes. I’m reminded of the Patty Hearst case, in which she was kidnapped, held in a closet, and mistreated by bizarro leftist revolutionaries, and then began cooperating with her captors in criminal acts. I always felt it was wrong to prosecute her for committing acts that began by her being kidnapped, abused, and brainwashed.

Russell W. writes on August 28:
One last point: I’m listening to Dennis Prager right now talk about this episode. He plays the tape where one of the men, under clear threat of death, declares himself a muslim. Prager then asks, “What can a decent muslim possibly think about his religion when he sees something like this?!” His tone of voice was almost triumphal, as if he figured all the “decent” muslims the world over would suddenly be ashamed or something.

If you recall the email exchange where I described Prager’s unwillingness to confront the idea of Islam being the problem rather than certain muslims, this will come as no surprise.

LA replies:
So the kidnappers made a videotape of themselves using the threat of death to force their prisoners to convert, and they’ve released this for public viewing?

Even though they’ve released the two men, they’ve “had their way” with them, like a man who has had his way with a woman. I hear that Rush Limbaugh is upset that the media is praising the kidnappers for their “non-violent” treatment and release of the two men. Forcing people to convert to Islam under threat of death is non-violent?, Rush asks. Indeed, liberal Westerners are so indifferent to religion that converting to Islam probably seems no more significant to them than choosing one brand of designer sunglasses over another.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 27, 2006 08:00 AM | Send

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