FOX reporters freed, but humiliated via forced conversion before release
If you ask me, the captors' forcing the two to convert to Islam at gunpoint was very likely intentional - they likely knew that they worked for a TV company that's not exactly going to fawn over them, and that could be one of the reasons why the terrorists pulled that sick, humiliating act on them.
That aside, as Debka points out, what's bad here is that the kidnappers walked away from this without punishment, and could keep on with similar crimes:
On the face of it, conversion to Islam would appear to provide a painless escape device for any hostage who happens to fall into fundamentalist terrorist hands. After all, once free, the hostage can always revert to his real faith or non-faith. It is hard to blame the two Fox News journalists, the American Steve Centanni, 60, and the New Zealander, Olaf Wiig, 36, for taking that path on to buy their way out of an uncertain fate at the hands of Palestinian terrorists – especially as they later reported they were forced to make the gesture at gunpoint.You have to wonder why the US isn't dealing with such terrorists with a hard hand, considering that these are enemies of the US as well, and not exactly people anyone sane would want to be friends with.
And, indeed the two journalists were released from 13 days of captivity in Gaza three hours after announcing their conversion on a new videotape released by the kidnappers in Gaza.
Relief over the two journalists’ coming safely out of their ordeal is quite apart from considerations of the consequences for the war on terrorism. It must be said that the Palestinian kidnappers also walked away without suffering any harm and can keep on snatching victims without fear – exactly as the same terrorist gang got away with murdering three Americans in Gaza in 2003. In fact, the prime minister Ismail Haniya, who belongs to an Islamist terror group, was allowed to take credit for the release after winning a face saver in the form of the conversions and an anti-American diatribe.
Some further points are worth considering:
1. Shortly after Centanni and Wiig were snatched by masked gunmen in Gaza on Aug. 14, the various intelligence agencies operating in Gaza knew who the kidnapper was: the Palestinian warlord Zakaria Dughmush, who had been hired by the same Hamas group which on June 25 kidnapped and - is still holding - the Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit.
Dughmush is a former follower of the late Jemal Semhadana, head of the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees who was killed in Rafah by rockets fired from an Israeli warplane on June 8, 2006. Semhadana was the first Palestinian terrorist to attack Americans. He staged the bombing attack of October 15, 2003 on a US embassy convoy from Tel Aviv as it drove past Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. Three American security officers died in that attack.
After Semhadana’s death, his PRC fragmented into several small militias, one of them led by Dughmush, a fundamentalist freelance terrorist, who set up base in Gaza City. He was adopted by Hamas, but also draws funds and weapons from al Qaeda and Hizballah elements working together in the Gaza Strip.
Also, as Michelle Malkin says at the end of her entry, this is far from over. And as Roger Ailes has said, journalists can't be pawns.
See also Freedom Zone's topic on the kidnapping mastermind, Zakaria Dughmush.
Others on the subject include Johnny Dollar, Ms Underestimated, Alabama Liberation Front, The Corner, Brain Shavings, Right Winged, Thespis Journal, Assorted Babble, Never Yet Melted, Dave Lucas' Notes, Plus Ultra, Woman Honor Thyself, Scottish Right, The Florida Masochist, bRight & Early, The Captain's Journal, Stander's Point, Anwyn's Notes (plus, another one), Noubless Oblige, The Broken Chair, Pirates Cove, The Political Pitt Bull, No-Pasaran, Wizbang, Sister Toldjah, A Blog for All, Brutally Honest, A Distant Soil, GraniteGrok, Small Dead Animals, PC Free Zone, A Tic in the Mind's Eye, Old War Dogs, Darleen's Place, Sierra Faith, Flopping Aces, Protein Wisdom, Amy Proctor, Skilletfan, Okie on the Lam in LA, Angry in the Great White North, Stuck on Stupid, Right Voices, Entrenched Meanders, ProCynic, Mike's Noise, Fore Left, The Cable Game, Crush Liberalism, The News Columnist, Right Minded, Gormless Norman, Digger's Realm.