Skip to comments.Proving Their Worth - Al Qaeda and Converts to Islam
Posted on 04/28/2004 5:21:30 AM PDT by SLB
Anyone who has flown since September 11 has experienced the heightened security put into place as a result of the attacks. Most of us have adjusted to the new realities. And were not the only ones adjusting. The people responsible for the heightened securityal Qaedahave also adjusted.
After September 11 officials stepped up their scrutiny of people seeking to enter the United States bearing passports from Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries. While civil libertarians and Muslim-American groups protested, al Qaeda adapted.
As Robert Leiken of the Nixon Center wrote in the New Republic, Osama bin Laden is replacing Muslim immigrants in his operations with Western converts to Islam. Its easy to see why: European nationals with European passports and faces are less likely to arouse suspicions among American officials. Whats more, most Western Europeans arent required to obtain visas before traveling to the United States.
We saw a glimpse of this tactic in the case of British convert Richard Reid, the shoe bomber. More recently, a French Muslim convert is alleged to have ties to a suspect in the Madrid bombings. And, as Leiken tells us, theres potentially a lot more where these two came fromthat is, Europe.
Thats because Europe has seen the rise of what are called protest converts to Islam. As the French scholar Olivier Roy put it, these young people convert for the same reason that American kids get multiple tattoos and body piercings: to stick it to their parents [or] to their principal. Just as Europeans in the 1970s went to Bolivia or Vietnam, these kids convert. Its a way of identifying with a Third World cause.
Al Qaeda targets these people. They are full of rage, and they want to prove themselves. Theyre eager to show other Muslims their worth. And al Qaeda is only too happy to oblige them with radical imams publicly preaching violence and martyrdom, as articles in the New York Times this weekend underscored.
Remember, too, that this tactic isnt limited to Europe. In prisons across America, thousands of inmates have converted to Islam. And, as Ive said on previous broadcasts, the extremist form of Islam has found its way into our prisons as well. While the vast majority of converts have no interest in joining al Qaeda, September 11 teaches us that it takes only a few to pose a horrendous threat. Just take a look at the case of Jose Padilla, the American, who was converted in prison and accused of plotting to detonate a dirty bomb.
So, even if authorities find a way to cope with European converts, theres still the problem of the home-grown variety.
These developments remind us that, whether we admit it or not, we are in a clash of civilizations with the Islamic world. That doesnt mean that we are at war with every Muslim. What it means is that theres something about Islam that poses a potential threat to our security and our way of life. If you doubt that, ask yourself whether you can imagine a graduate of Prison Fellowships full-time prison program setting off a dirty bomb.
We need to pray that our leaders can adapt to this frightening new reality. And we need to remind them that a religion where proving your worth consists of killing civilians shouldnt be called a religion of peace.
What is to keep it from happening? Nothing. Americans will sit back on their butts and let this happen.
We have got to do more than be sick of this. Actions speak louder than words.
We are way too complacent. Just wait until the next incident on American soil. IMHO it will put 9-11 to shame as far as the toll of human life is concerned. Will we wake up then?
Many Ameicans are already waking up. And those who are sill asleep will have a very rude awakening when the Islamists start attacking our schools, buses, malls, etc. You will see an anger and retribution that the World hasn't seen for decades. It's only a homicide bomber away.
Not an apt comparision. A lot of our soldiers have tatoos and some probably had piecings. I wouldn't use this as a basis of judgement regarding love of America or of anyone's country.
I would use converting to Islam when it is the self-stated enemy of your civilization, nation and way of life, as a means of expressing rejection of all of that.
These young people in Europe are hungry for something to live for. The crass, shallow belief system of Europe has given them nothing. Their elders mock us Americans and our Cowboy President with our deep religious faith and our love for what God has given us.
They are reaping what they sowed.
Last century, we saw Europeans as our fellow guardians of a shared Civilization that was worth fighting for and preserving.
I don't think there is much commonality left.
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