By Beila Rabinowitz
September 19, 2006 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - In a previous piece FOX Journalists Centanni And Wiig - Hostages for Life we explored how jihad through conversion has emerged as a terrorist tactic against "unbelievers" both in the Middle East and in the West.
In the recent al-Qaeda video, Adam Gadahn - a California convert to radical Islam - 'invited' Dr. Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Steven Emerson and Michael Scheur to convert to Islam as he did and then to use their 'swords' in the service of al-Qaeda. Adding ominously that "time is running out so make the right choice, before it's too late and you meet the dismal fate of thousands before you."
Gadahn's "invitation" was specific:
"If the Zionist crusader missionaries of hate and counter-Islam consultants like Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Michael Scheuer, Steven Emerson, and yes, even the crusader-I n-chief George W. Bush were to abandon their unbelief and repent and enter into the light of Islam and turn their swords against the enemies of God, it would be accepted of them and they would be our brothers in Islam."
Dr. Pipes was the first to decline and wrote:
"I note your offer for me to change sides in the current war. But I am faithful to my own religion, to my own country, and to my civilization. I will do my part to defeat radical, totalitarian Islam and to usher in the emergence of a modern, moderate, and good-neighborly Islam in its place.
Robert Spencer also rejected the invitation:
"Thank you for the invitation, Adam, and for your thoughtfulness in extending to me in particular a personal call. But I'm afraid I must decline. While I appreciate that I would be your "brother in Islam" if I became a Muslim and turned my "sword against the enemies" of Allah, I cannot and will not give in to violent intimidation, come what may, and I do not want to live in a society that bows to such intimidation."
Spencer countered al-Qaeda's offer with one of his own:
"I invite you to accept the Bill of Rights, and enter into the brotherhood of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. My invitation does not focus on my religion, although I invite you to that also, but rather on a framework within which people of differing faiths can live in peace, harmony, and mutual respect -- provided that none of the groups involved cherishes supremacist ambitions to subjugate the others."
Al Qaeda's unprecedented singling out of four individuals was a paradoxically heartening message, albeit one fraught with menace for the men who were named. The recognition that individuals who were working to combat radical Islam were having their intended impact - and hence were known individually within the terror network - was heartening, but the knowledge that a call to convert could be a prelude to an attack, and a public refusal of the offer would be akin to laying down a gauntlet, means that all those named would be well advised to be extra vigilant.
Steven Emerson did not issue a direct response but an entry about the tape on his Counter Terrorism Blog noted that:
"?sensationally but not unexpectedly, an al Qaeda spokesperson -American for the circumstance- "name" a number of intellectual-enemies in this country: Daniel Pipes, Steven Emerson, Robert Spencer and Michael Sheuer. In my observation of the movement, this is a crossing of a red line. Rarely jihadi Terrorists at this high level media exposure, named symbols of their enemy's intelligentsia. But more troubling is the fact that scholars Pipes and Spencer, and journalist Emerson have been consistently "marked" for political attacks by US-based Islamist organizations and web sites. A simple internet search (you may google it instantly) would show readers that these three leading critics of what they have always described as "radical Islam" have been already portrayed by lobbies in this country and under its laws, as "Islamophobes." The convergence of qualification between al Qaeda and these American organizations of US intellectuals is certainly disturbing. As far as the naming of Michael Sheuer on that list, it could be analyzed as a reminder of his past role as a chief of the Usama Bin Laden unit at the CIA years ago. And in addition to "experts" named in the tape, Gadahn goes on a ferocious attack against American "Tele-Evangelists" and their media (you can easily figure out who) showing the other type of foes al Qaeda is very upset with?"
Especially significant is how the MSM, has avoided the call to convert directed at the four men.
Michael Scheur the ex CIA agent who was in charge of the agency's bin-Laden unit did not respond directly to the conversion 'invitation' and wrote an analysis entitled "The Western Media's misreading of the Al Qaeda videotape" where he warns that the tape was dangerously consigned to "the dustbin of irrelevancy because it was mistakenly assessed as:
1. A PR campaign aimed at softening al-Qaeda's image as one of proselytizing instead of violence.
2. That journalists and media experts have gotten a false sense of relief that there was no blatant threat in the video - an argument offered by unnamed US officials who consider Gadahn to be "a minor player whose words are not as important as those of bin-Laden and Zawahiri."
3. A mere attempt to keep the group relevant.
Lastly, what Scheur calls an "invisible theme" that entails the Western media's obfuscation of the fact that "al-Qaeda's audience is as much Muslim as American."
Taking note of such, the tape must be taken as both a warning and an ultimatum - a revelation as to the religious nature of this conflict and also a possible precursor to a pending attack, instead of a blustering bid by al-Qaeda for media attention.
The idea of conversion being an important component of jihad was also ignored in the case of Centanni and Wiig, whose deafening silence when appearing on TV talk shows after their release indicated that they had nixed the topic, despite the fact that this was a central and horrifying and aspect of their saga.
Islamic law calls converts "reverts" and 'inviting' people to Islam means submitting to what was a previous state. In this schema, conversion is irreversible and any attempt to then repudiate the religion renders one an apostate subject to the death penalty.
In the case of Pipes, Spencer, Emerson and Scheur, the personal invitation to convert issued by ex Christian Adam Gadahn cannot be dismissed as merely an odd al-Qaeda media stunt.
Understood in its entirety, it is sign that the Islamists have become brazen and emboldened - a troubling signal linking Muslim groups worldwide which practice Da'wa [aggressive conversion and propagation efforts] with what Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi called the most effective way of turning America into an Islamic State - "Not by the sword but by Jihad through conversion."
Gadahn refers to his targets as "high ranking enemies of Islam" whom he grouped along with President Bush though he addressed his conversion call to all of the American people.
The four men singled out individually have been engaged in the intellectual struggle against Islamism here on the home front; Gadahn's entreaty was an invitation to switch sides and put their efforts in service of al-Qaeda. Their refusal to do so and assertion that they will continue to fight radical Islam has life and death implications.
Adam Gadahn said he wanted to be as a "lamp spreading light" and his call to convert was directed at all Americans.
Al-Qaeda, through Gadahn has done us a service in their recent message, making ever more clear the terms of this conflict. We should therefore stand with those who have rejected al-Qaeda's "invitation" and assert our unwavering commitment to defeating radical Islam, jihad and its now integral component - conversion through force of arms.
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