Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Forced Conversions in Islam Nothing New

Andrew Bostom at The American Thinker provides some historical context to the recent forced coversions of FoxNews reporter Steve Centanni and photographer Olaf Wiig to Islam. In the article, entitled "This Is Your Gazan Conversion," after citing a long list of historical precedents Bostom adds this series of questions:

Given this enduring and ignoble historical legacy, it remains to be seen whether contemporary Muslim religious authorities—particularly those within Palestinian society, and affiliated with Hamas or Fatah—will condemn publicly the forced conversions of the kidnapped Fox reporters.

Moreover, will they be joined by a chorus of authoritative voices representing the entire Muslim clerical hierarchy—Sunni and Shi’ite alike—from Mecca and Cairo, Qom and Najaf, to the Muslim advocacy groups in the West (such as CAIR in the United States, and the Muslim Council of Britain in England)—unanimous in their condemnation of this hideous practice, and formalized by a fatwa stating as much?

These groups can and should be judged according to their reaction to this hideous practice. When they have a mind to do so, they are able to speak quite loudly and command media attention.

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?

These thoughts reflect my own expressed in a previous posting on this matter. In a double irony I concluded that post with this phrase:
Is there anyone in the Muslim world who will step forward and challenge the . . . charges that I have made here? Although I sincerely pray that someone will sincerely challenge me I am not holding my breath.
Charles Johnson, in his response to to the questions raised in Bostom's article, writes,
So far, the silence has been deafening.