Breaking news reports of Fox News journalists Steven Centanni and Olaf Wiig being released by their Palestinian captors, after the two were forced to convert to Islam, was greeted with a sigh of relief today by their Fox News colleagues, as well as by the world media in general. Centanni, Fox’ news anchorman for the Middle East, and Centanni, a Fox cameraman, had been held in captivity for two weeks by a previously unknown Palestinian “splinter group” who made to two not only make remarks against both America and Israel, but to undergo a forced conversion, under gunpoint, to Islam. Though the abduction of Centanni and Wiig were the longest of its kind by the Palestinians, it is definitely not the longest kidnapping of foreigners in this part of the word. News media staff members, and other people as well, have been kidnapped and held by similar insurgent groups in Iraq for months, before being either released of killed by their captors.
Though these two men are now greatly relieved to be free, and will soon be reunited with their families, other captives, Israeli Army corporal Gilad Shavit, and reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. These three are still the ‘guests’ of either the Hezbollah or of the Palestinians, and their fate is still unknown as no one in Israel has actually seen them since their abductions (Gilad has been missing for nearly six weeks now). Converting to Islam, as Centanni and Wiig are alleged to have done, is a phenomena that has been common throughout Islamic history. What makes this appear to be the norm in the Islamic world is especially true when heard about by Western Society. It’s very simple. Throughout Islam’s colorful history, many Muslims are the product of forced conversions; just like conversions to Christianity were in Spain, Italy, and Portugal during the time of the Inquisition. Though Mr. Centanni and Wiig’s conversions will most likely be disavowed by both, this wasn’t the case in Muslim countries, and many Muslims living today in the Middle East once belonged to other religious faiths.
The three Israeli captives have not been heard from, and no video tapes or DVD’s have been made with their statements, and was the case with the Fox Newsmen. This reality always presents a worrisome picture, as whether the three men are being treated decently; or whether they are even still alive. Hezbollah has so far never released any live Israeli captives, except for Elkanah Tanenbaum. And Tanenbaum’s silence during the entire 34 day ‘Lebanon II” conflict makes many wonder exactly what his real situation might have been during his three years as a ”guest” of the Hezbollah. Will the three captive IDF soldiers, all Jewish, also be given the ‘opportunity’ to convert to Islam as well?
Only with the release of the three Israeli soldiers will their tale be known to both Israel and the world at large. And that is providing they live to tell it.
(Photograph courtesy of AP.)