Andrew Bostom, who has written a detailed, erudite treatise entitled the Legacy of Jihad : Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims, weighs in on the Fox reporters’ forced “conversion.”
Forced conversions in Islamic history are not exceptional—they have been the norm, across three continents—Asia, Africa, and Europe—for over 13 centuries. Orders for conversion were decreed under all the early Islamic dynasties—Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, and Mamluks. Additional extensive examples of forced conversion were recorded under both Seljuk and Ottoman Turkish rule (the latter until its collapse in the 20th century). But the list is much longer yet. The Shi’ite Safavid and Qajar dynasties of Persia/Iran. During the jihad ravages on the Indian subcontinent, beginning with the early 11th century campaigns of Mahmud of Ghazni, and recurring under the Delhi Sultanate, and Moghul dynasty until the collapse of Muslim suzerainty in the 18th century following the British conquest of India.
Moreover, during jihad—even the jihad campaigns of the 20th century [i.e., the jihad genocide of the Armenians during World War I, the Moplah jihad in Southern India , the jihad against the Assyrians of Iraq in the early 1930s, the jihads against the Chinese of Indonesia and the Christian Ibo of southern Nigeria in the 1960s, and the jihad against the Christians and Animists of the southern Sudan from 1983 to 2001], the (dubious) concept of “no compulsion” (Koran 2:256; which was cited with tragic irony during the Fox reporters “confessional”!), has always been meaningless.
In the Western tradition, of course, a forced “conversion” is meaningless, because it doesn’t arise from true religious conviction. As I’ve been reminded, however, both from comments left at my blog and from reading articles about the reporters’ experience, a forced Islamic conversion is an entirely different kettle of fish. It subjects the convert to sharia law — whether he wants to comply or not — with all the penalties associated with violating that law. In addition, if he attempts to practice his own faith, the one in which he actually believes, he can be executed for apostasy. It’s a lose/lose situation for those unfortunate enough to be “enticed” at gunpoint into “embracing” a new religion. You’ll learn a lot — none of it good — just by reading the entirety of Bostom’s article.
UPDATE: Anna led me to a Caroline Glick column that manages seamlessly to discuss the incredible pressures placed on Centanni and Wiig — of the kind that would result in a forced conversion — and the Palestinians’ masterful media manipulation. Here’s a sample:
While their [the reporter's] remarks [praising the Palestinians] were covered extensively, no one seemed to think that the fact that their first post-release statements were made at a Palestinian Authority sponsored media extravaganza in Gaza was significant. No one noted that the men were flanked by Palestinian “security forces,” and stood next to Hamas terrorist leader and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
No mention was made of the fact that the two were initially kidnapped by just such PA “security officials,” or that Haniyeh is one of the leaders of one of the most fanatical jihadist organizations in the world, an organization that the majority of the “beautiful, kind-hearted and caring” Palestinians voted into office last January.
That is, no mention was made of the fact that until the two men left Gaza, they remained unfree. No one asked whether they had been given the option of not giving a press conference in Gaza. And now that they have spoken, there can be little doubt that a second press conference by the two men, in Israel or the US where no one will force them to convert to Judaism or Christianity or threaten to kill them, will draw far less media interest. After their press conference, the two men became yesterday’s news.