Al Qaeda Says: Convert or Else!

Al Qaeda has released a new video, with an introduction by Zawahiri, that stars an American formerly known as Adam Yehiye Gadahn. Gadahn, who has been featured in al Qaeda videos before, urges all Americans to avoid the wrath of al Qaeda by converting to Islam.

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Al Qaeda’s public relations efforts have always been a little clumsy, in part, I think, because the terrorists follow Western media so closely. Their videos tend to echo Democratic Party talking points–the famous bin Laden effort just before the 2002 Presidential election was straight out of Michael Moore–and it’s understandable that, based on what they see in American media, they expect the American people to be persuaded.

This time, Gadahn’s message is conversion:

Gadahn delivered a lecture on Islam and the “errors” in Christianity and Judaism. He also the United States is losing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and told U.S. soldiers they are fighting President Bush’s “crusades.”

“Instead of killing yourself for Bush … why not surrender to the truth (of Islam), escape from the unbelieving army and join the winning side. Time is running out so make the right choice before it’s too late,” he said.

“You know that if you die as an unbeliever in battle against the Muslims you’re going straight to Hell without passing ‘Go,'” Gadahn said on the video, addressing American soldiers. “You know you’re considered by Bush and his bunch of warmongers as nothing more than expendable cannon fodder … You know they couldn’t care less about your safety and well-being.”

“We send a special invitation (to convert to Islam) to all of you fighting Bush’s crusader pipedream in Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever else ‘W’ has sent you to die. You know the war can’t be won,” he said, using Bush’s nickname.

Gadahn also urged other Americans to convert to Islam.

“It is time for the unbelievers to discard these incoherent and illogical beliefs,” he said. “Isn’t it the time for the Christians, Jews, Buddhists and atheists to cast off the cloak of the spiritual darkness which enshrouds them and emerge into the light of Islam?”

No, actually. This could turn out to be the least successful religious appeal of all time. The terrorists are used to obtaining “conversions” through the threat of beheading, and have lost the touch when it comes to subtler appeals.

I found Gadahn’s reference to Islam as the “winning side” interesting. I think that today’s Muslim imperialists have the same conviction that their victory is historically ordained that once sustained the Communists. Back in the days when I hung out with Communists, they used to say that the best motivation for a convert to their cause was a desire to be on the winning side. At that time, of course, lots of people believed that Communism was the wave of the future. Even some anti-Communists, like Whittaker Chambers, thought that Communism, in the end, probably couldn’t be stopped.

Someone–if I could remember who, I’d credit him–wrote recently that the Islamic terrorism we are now experiencing is analogous to the Bolshevik and anarchist terrorism of the early years of the 20th century. If that’s true, we have a long road ahead of us. Europe will very likely succumb to Islam in the years to come, for reasons of demography and spiritual and intellectual exhaustion. But Americans are no more interested in converting to Islam than they were in adopting socialism. And Americans not only are more stubborn about such things than Europeans, they are also better at reproducing.

So, no matter how tarted up with Democratic Party rhetoric al Qaeda’s pitch may be, as long as the bottom line is: convert to Islam or be murdered, they will get precious few takers.

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