Monday, September 04, 2006
Which Islam Was That, Again?
A new video clip has been making the rounds; in it, a convert to Islam named Adam Gadahn harangues the West in general, and his fellow Americans in particular, to stop fighting and learn to love Islam.
Have a look; it's good for entertainment value, if nothing else. (Believe it or not, he praises Robert Fisk, Seymour Hirsch, and David Galloway by name -- but then chastises them for not going far enough, since they haven't converted to Islam yet.)
His rhetoric also ought to make the American left uncomfortable, because at times he sounds remarkably like a combination of John Kerry and John Murtha. Is it really a winning political strategy to sound identical to this man, who openly calls on all Americans to convert to Islam or die?
I believe it is in response to that, in part, that Tom Glennon has written a lengthy piece on the "accidental comedy" of radical Islam. (Hat tip: Solomonia.) I'll excerpt some of it here, but the whole thing is delightful:
The second item that brought a wry smile to my face was the release of a new al-Qaida tape from al-Zawahiri., the second in command of that terrorist organization. Mr. al-Zawahiri threatened continued death and destruction to Americans, and all things associated with Western culture. While this was not new, he did offer to mitigate this mayhem if Americans would immediately convert to Islam. According to Mr. al-Zawahiri, a mass conversion of Americans would be viewed positively by the Jihadists, and our lives would be spared. Like Mr. Annan’s Syrian announcement, these pronouncements were made with a perfectly straight face. What made me believe this was actually a satiric monologue, rather than a serious statement, were the things left unsaid.(emphasis added)
Muslims in Afghanistan who believe in education, more freedom for women, voting for political leaders, and other aspects of modern culture are routinely murdered by the ... [Muslim] remnants of the Taliban. Mr. al-Zawahiri did not explain which type of Islam he expects us to embrace.
In the same vein, Mr. al-Zawahiri did not specify if he expects us to become Shiite or Sunni Muslim. While Americans may believe the distinctions are similar to deciding between becoming a Baptist or a Lutheran, Muslims seem to take this much more seriously. Events in Iraq show quite clearly that many Sunni Muslims take great pleasure in slaughtering Shiite men, women and children, while Shiite Muslims seem to share this value system as they continue to abduct, massacre and bomb scores of Sunnis on a daily basis. Making the wrong choice of which sect to join appears to carry some serious ramifications.
Also untouched is the matter of ethnicity. In the Darfur region of Sudan, Arab Muslims continue to murder, rape and dispossess tens of thousands of Black African Muslims. Does this mean that if we convert to Islam, White American Muslims will be required to make war against Black American Muslims? And since I am not an Arab, which ethnicity would I have to join?
The final unstated requirement has to do with Jihadist factions. I would assume Mr. al-Zawahiri would expect us to join al-Qaida, or at least support them. However, relationships between different terrorist organizations seem to be a tenuous matter. Having to choose between al-Qaida, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and the plethora of lesser known organizations can be a dicey thing, since they are apt to shoot at each other almost as often as they shoot at us.
All of this leads me to suspect that the offer to spare Americans from murder if we convert to Islam is actually an expression of Mr. al-Zawahiri’s wry sense of humor. He knows that even if we do convert, we will almost certainly make some wrong choices among the multiple options I have mentioned. Therefore, we would still be targets, and the continued efforts of the Islamists to exterminate us could continue unabated.
You know, he has a point. If conversion to Islam won't save me from Sunni violence against Shi'ites, or Shi'ite violence against Sunnis, then why should I bother? Much better for me to remain a Jew; at least that way, I know where I stand.