Selling snake-oil to the Christian right?
Many of my colleagues are pretty sure that Muslim extremists are planning all-out war on the USA. Some have attended conventions (with names along the lines of “Conference on the Christian Family) where well-known guest speakers made the case that Islam is inherently against us. Some have 20th-century eschatological views that hold war to be inevitable, and a necessary step toward the return of Jesus Christ. John Hagee, a preacher who advocates that view, has had considerable influence in Washington, D.C.
Now it appears that three of the better-known authorities may be hucksters. Consider these excerpts from a story called Snake Oil Sellers of the Christian Right? from the Inter Press Service, reprinted in CommonDreams:
WASHINGTON, Feb 21 (IPS) – The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs came under heavy criticism earlier this month from Muslim and religious freedom advocacy groups after it invited to a conference three self-professed “former terrorists” with strong links to the Christian right. […]
Collectively known as the “3-X Terrorists”, Walid Shoebat, Kamel Saleem and Zacharia Anani are front line soldiers in the U.S. “culture wars” […]
To supporters, the 3-X represent “moderate” voices; they are self-professed Muslim extremists who converted to evangelical Christianity and are now exposing Islam for what it really is. To critics, they are frauds, accused of fabricating much of their past exploits as mass murderers in order to peddle their Islamophobia on the lecture circuit and on cable news networks, including Fox News Corp. and CNN. […]
The relationship between the evangelical Christian Right and 3-X runs deep, with connections to Reverend John Hagee’s Christian-Zionist Christians United for Israel (CUFI), as well as Focus on the Family, part of the para-church organisations that promote social conservative public policy in the U.S., and have maintained close relations with the George W. Bush administration. […]
Anani claims he has killed at least 223 people as a Lebanese militant during the early 1970s and was “almost beheaded” for converting to Christianity. A 2007 report in the Canadian Windsor Star cast doubts on his jihadi past; according to Tom Quiggin, a Canadian court-qualified expert of global jihadism, some of Anani’s accounts did not correspond with actual historical events.
“Mr. Anani is not an individual who rates the slightest degree of credibility, based on the stories that he has told,” said Quiggin, a senior fellow at the Centre of Excellence for National Security in Singapore.
Christian Right friends, I hope you’ll evaluate carefully what you hear. As you may recall, the USA based much of its policy toward Iraq on the false testimony of Iraqi nationals Ahmed Chalabi and Rafid Ahmed Alwan (a.k.a. Curveball), despite evidence that should have called their credibility into question. Hundreds of thousands perished, and there is no end in sight.
Some years back, a woman claiming to be a survivor of childhood Satanic ritual abuse toured churches telling her story and claiming to be the missing daughter of Anton LaVey, author of The Satanic Bible. Churches were moved, giving freely to help her put life together.
Later on, I came across a researcher who investigated claims made to churches, who knew the LaVey story well. His take: LaVey had no such daughter!
Eager to help, he publicized results of his inquiry rather widely, only to discover that the churches that had aided her had stern criticism for him! SRA stories (all of which were eventually found bogus) were the buzz in those days. People didn’t want to hear his “smears” on the story of this “poor, unfortunate woman,” who proved to be, of course, a con.
I suspect that today Muslim extremism plays a similar role: the dark secret that only true believers, who know the nature of things to come, can see. Suggesting otherwise elicits nods of pity: the speaker is sadly uninformed, perhaps seduced by liberalism, and playing into the hands of the enemy.
When will we learn? The spectacular story—the one that elicits sad clucking and ominous conversations, but can’t be independently researched—is usually way off the track. And there are plenty of people—some of good motive, some not—who will do their best to make it look true.
Tags: war+on+terror, 3-X+terrorists, Shoebat, Anani, Kamel+Saleem, culture+wars, religious+right, Christian+right, Focus+on+the+Family, John+Hagee, CUFI, Christians+United+for+Israel, Islamophobia, Monte Asbury