Forced to convert to Islam

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lwadkins

Puritan Board Junior
The kidnapped Fox News reporters were released unharmed. They stated that they were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint. http://tinyurl.com/jb526


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip "” Two FOX News journalists were released by their kidnappers Sunday, nearly two weeks after they were taken hostage in the Gaza Strip.

Steve Centanni, 60, and Olaf Wiig, 36, left Gaza and have since crossed into Israel after their release. The men left Gaza through the Erez border crossing.

The freeing of Centanni, a correspondent, and Wiig, a cameraman, ends the longest-running drama involving foreign hostages in Gaza.

Click here for the latest news from the Mideast

The two journalists were dropped off at Gaza City's Beach Hotel by Palestinian security officials and appeared to be in good health. A tearful Centanni embraced a Palestinian journalist briefly as he entered, then rushed upstairs as Wiig followed.

Centanni, in a phone interview shortly after his release, said "I'm fine. I'm just so happy to be free."

He said he was so emotional because he was out and alive.

"There were times when I thought 'I'm dead,' and I'm not," Centanni said. "I'm fine. I'm so very happy."

He recounted how he and Wiig were pulled out of their car on August 14 and taken at gunpoint into another car. The kidnappers blindfolded them and handcuffed their hands behind their backs with plastic ties. They were then transferred to another car and driven to a building that they later learned was a garage.

"We were pushed down onto the dirt-covered concrete floor and we were forced to lie face down with our handcuffs on," Centanni said.

"Olaf was in the same room with me. Our shoulders were wrenched back, very painful."

Both of the men were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint, Centanni said.

"We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint," Centanni told FOX News. "Don't get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do because they had the guns, and we didn't know what the hell was going on."

Centanni's brother, Ken, spoke to FOX News directly after the news was released.

"It's just a tremendous amount of relief, overwhelming relief," he said.

Later Sunday, Centanni and Wiig appeared before reporters, then traveled to the Erez crossing into Israel to leave Gaza.

"I want to thank everybody. I am happy to be here. I hope that this never scares a single journalist away from coming to Gaza to cover the story because the Palestinian people are very beautiful and kind hearted," Centanni told reporters. "The world needs to know more about them. Don't be discouraged."

Wiig also said he was worried that the kidnapping would scare off reporters.

"My biggest concern really is that as a result of what happened to us foreign journalists will be discouraged from coming to tell the story and that would be a great tragedy for the people of Palestine," Wiig said. "You guys need us on the streets, and you need people to be aware of the story."

Wiig's wife, Anita McNaught, thanked Palestinian officials and FOX News for their efforts in getting the men released. The men refused to take questions.

Before that, the two journalists made a joint appearance with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. Haniyeh, Centanni and Wiig sat in a circle of chairs at the Beach Hotel. Wiig was also accompanied by his wife.

The day had begun with promises by senior Palestinian officials that the two would be released in coming hours.

At the same time, before the journalists' release, a new video was released, showing Wiig and Centanni dressed in beige Arab-style robes. Wiig, of New Zealand, delivered an anti-Western speech, his face expressionless and his tone halting. The kidnappers claimed both men had converted to Islam.

The journalists had been seized in Gaza City on Aug. 14 by a previously unknown group calling itself the Holy Jihad Brigades. However, senior Palestinian security officials said Sunday the name was a front for local militants, and that Palestinian authorities had known the identity of the kidnappers from the start.

Haniyeh also confirmed the kidnappers were from Gaza, squashing speculation that Al Qaeda had directed the abduction. "The kidnappers have no link to Al Qaeda or any other organization or faction," Haniyeh said. "Al Qaeda as an organization does not exist in the Gaza Strip."

It remained unclear whether the kidnappers had ties to Hamas or the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent offshoot of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement. A third group, the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed Sunday it had helped mediate the release of the journalists.

In chaotic Gaza, gunmen often change their affiliation or form splinter groups. Their agendas are often driven by personal issues, including jobs and power for their clans, rather than by ideology.

In the past two years, Palestinian militants have seized more than two dozen foreigners, usually to settle personal scores, but released them unharmed within hours. The holding of the FOX journalists had been the longest.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click here for the latest news from the Mideast

FOXNEWS.COM HOME > WORLD > THE MIDEAST



[Edited on 8-28-2006 by lwadkins]

[Edited on 8-28-2006 by lwadkins]

[Edited on 8-28-2006 by lwadkins]
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
The High Price of the Fox Kidnapping Release

The Hamas-led government won the freedom of the two journalists, but the deal may make it harder to gain the release of a captured Israeli soldier

By TIM MCGIRK/JERUSALEM

Posted Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006
Time Magazine

Two Fox News journalists were freed on Sunday in Gaza after a complex deal was hammered out between the kidnappers and the Hamas-led government of Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh. The negotiations brought an end to the two-week-long hostage ordeal, but it may complicate efforts to free another captive "” Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit "” held by Palestinian militants.

In its broadcasts, Fox News often portayed the Hamas militants as terrorists, but the kidnapping of the two journalists, sources tell TIME, had nothing to do with Fox's perceived pro-Israel stance or a serious attempt, as the captors first demanded, of swapping the pair for Muslim prisoners in the U.S. Instead, the two newsmen were more likely the victims of a vicious feud between various Palestinian militias.

Palestinian security sources close to the negotiators told TIME that the two Fox Newsmen "” reporter Steve Centanni, 60, from Washington, D.C., and New Zealand cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36 "” were kidnapped from Gaza to embarrass Haniyeh's government. The militants, who earlier identified themselves as members of the previously unknown Holy Jihad Brigades, were enraged with fellow Hamas militants because they too had joined in the daring capture on June 25th of Corp. Shalit, in which Palestinian gunmen tunneled under a wall and attacked an Israeli army post. But according to these security sources, the militant groups fell out after Hamas' military wing took control of Shalit and elbowed the other co-conspirators aside.

In revenge, these militants, who belong to a splinter group of the late Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, struck back by seizing the two journalists, these sources said.

Haniyeh was able to secure the journalists' freedom, but at a high price: he has agreed to give these armed extremists a role in deciding the fate of the Israeli soldier, these sources said. The kidnappers are more extreme in their approach to Israel (Prime Minister Haniyeh is a moderate within Hamas), and they will undoubtedly raise the ante for the release of the 18-year-old corporal, who is said to be in good shape even though his captors have so far refused to offer any proof he is still alive. So far, various mediators, including the Egyptians and the French, have tried to strike a bargain for Shalit's freedom, suggesting that the soldier be swapped for dozens or perhaps hundreds of Palestinians inside Israeli jails. Harder demands are now expected from the militant kidnappers.

The two journalists, freed early on Sunday, claimed their captors had treated them well but forced them to convert to Islam at gunpoint.

Elsewhere in Gaza, two Reuters television journalists were wounded on Sunday when an Israeli missile struck their armored car. The reporters' car was clearly marked "TV" and the crew were filming the destruction of an Israeli air raid when the missile struck. The Israeli military said the journalists' vehicle was acting suspiciously, a claim that the Foreign Press Association in Tel Aviv dismissed as "outrageous."
 

lwadkins

Puritan Board Junior
:ditto:

I don't know what faith these men hold to, but by God's grace I would die before I recanted:amen:
 

lwadkins

Puritan Board Junior
Wondered about that myself Ryan. :candle: Just what does it take for the media types to identify a threat? :detective:
 

jaybird0827

PuritanBoard Honor Roll
One thing we know for certain: The media has the highest respect for Islam. That's their funeral.

My tenure as a Puritanboard Sophomore has now commenced. Woo-hoooooooo!

[Edited on 8-28-2006 by jaybird0827]
 

lwadkins

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by jaybird0827
One thing we know for certain: The media has the highest respect for Islam. That's their funeral.

My tenure as a Puritanboard Sophomore has now commenced. Woo-hoooooooo!

[Edited on 8-28-2006 by jaybird0827]

Congratulations Sophmore :banana:
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
LadyFlynt,

Sorry, not even a false conversion...they would have to just shoot me.

I was thinking the same thing...they would have to kill me.

I guess that is the difference between most Americans who claim to be Christians and the Muslims, many American's who claim to be Christians don't see their "Christian faith" worth dying for.

[Edited on 8-29-2006 by BJClark]
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Were the two Fox news journalists professing Christians prior to their Islamic "conversion"? What exactly were they converting from?
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
VirginiaHuguenot,

Honestly, I don't know, I was just getting ready to do a search on this though, so if I find something I'll post the link.

Were the two Fox news journalists professing Christians prior to their Islamic "conversion"? What exactly were they converting from?
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
VirginiaHuguenot,

Thus far I haven't been able to find anything concerning their personal beliefs, however, one article about Wiigs father refers to him as a Reverend.

I did a search on him and found he is a Methodist Minister.

Were the two Fox news journalists professing Christians prior to their Islamic "conversion"? What exactly were they converting from?
 

lwadkins

Puritan Board Junior
I've noticed that there is a lot of chatter out there about the issue of making a false conversion to save your life in a similar situation. Heard it discussed on a number of talk programs. Also will their lives be in danger now that they have stated that they do not stiil hold to their conversion to Islam?
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Palestinian group to target non-Muslims

By MAGGIE MICHAEL
Associated Press Writer

September 2, 2006

CAIRO, Egypt - Palestinian militants who held two Fox News journalists hostage for nearly two weeks threatened in a statement posted online Saturday to abduct non-Muslims visiting the Palestinian territories and kill them unless their demands were met.

The statement, posted in the name of the Holy Jihad Brigades on a Web site frequently used by militants, said the group would kill any hostages it takes unless they converted to Islam, paid a ransom or Muslim prisoners were exchanged for their release.

"Any infidel blood will have no sanctity," the group said in the statement.

It was not possible to verify the authenticity of the statement, which was dated August 27 "” the day militants released American journalist Steve Centanni, 60, and New Zealand cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36. They were seized Aug. 14 in Gaza City.

The militant group had demanded the release of Muslim prisoners held by the United States in exchange for freeing the journalists.

During their captivity, the journalists were forced at gunpoint to declare that they had converted to Islam, Centanni told Fox News after he was released. The group said in its statement that the journalists' declaration saved their lives.

"Nothing but Islam gave their blood sanctity and prevented their slaughter," the group said.

It added, "We are not the sort of people who are fooled ... but only God knows intentions."

Before their release, a video was released in which Wiig delivered an anti-Western speech, his face expressionless and his tone halting.

Palestinian security officials said the name of the group was a front for local militants. They said they had tracked down the kidnappers "” whom they would not identify "” through third parties, but did not say whether the journalists' were freed under a deal.

Several Muslim clerics have issued edicts in the past stating that a visa issued by an Islamic country to a non-Muslim person carries an implicit guarantee of the holder's safety.

One of the most recent fatwas, issued in August by an Egyptian cleric, asserted that the guarantee applies to visiting Israelis in spite of popular anger over Israeli military action in Gaza and Lebanon.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Originally posted by jaybird0827
One thing we know for certain: The media has the highest respect for Islam. That's their funeral.

My tenure as a Puritanboard Sophomore has now commenced. Woo-hoooooooo!

[Edited on 8-28-2006 by jaybird0827]

I was thinking that was pretty quick for you to be promoted. 6.7 posts per day I see. Only about half of what Andrew does! :lol:
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Peter
In honesty, I'd probably (insincerly) convert in that situtation too.

1) I'm glad for your honesty

2) do you think this is something you need to evaluate in yourself or do you think this is acceptable to insencerly convert?
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
The question is whether we'd verbally repudiate Christ if a maniac threatened to kill us otherwise. I'm afraid I would. Of course I don't think its acceptable. I'm just being realistic about the extent of my corruption. I resolve against all sin however I know I will sin. It's not because of any deceit in my resolution that I know this. It is because I know I am a wretched sinner. I have stumbled at much lighter temptation then the risk of my life so in honesty I say I'd probably convert. I thank God for those Saints that love not their lives even unto death but if fear got the best of so godly a man as Cranmer I know I dont even stand a chance.
 
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