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Archive for the ‘mujahideen’ Category

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The below is linked from Jihadwatch.org. Since I frequently post about Islamic, Muslim, and jihadist issues, I thought it would be beneficial, not only to others who might have a passing interest in what Islam entails, but also to those who would like to fortify their general understanding of the subject–people with a thirst for more knowledge in this area. People like me for example.

Aside from informative websites like The Gates of Vienna, Dhimmitwatch and Jihadwatch, as well as countless others who operate to educate the open-minded in the ongoing war that is the global jihad, there are additionally uncountable books on the subject by such renowned authors as Robert Spencer, Serge Trifkovic, Daniel Pipes, ex-Islamic terrorist Walid Shoebat, and Ibn Warraq to name only a scant few.

If however, you’d rather simply begin with a general understanding of Islam, the Qur’an, and global jihad, the Islam 101 piece at Jihadwatch by writer Gregory M. Davis, PhD, author of Religion of Peace? and director of the highly informative documentary, Islam: What the West Needs to Know, is a great way to begin one’s apprenticeship on this matter, particularly if you are searching for the non-whitewashed, politically incorrect version offered by such groups and peoples as CAIR, George Galloway, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and Jimmy Carter–a tiny shortlist of appologists and obfuscators. In other words, this is an excellent beginning in ones’ enlightenment to the truth.

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Introducing Islam 101 – Part 1

Islam 101 is meant as an educational tool for people to become more educated about the fundamentals of Islam and to help the more knowledgeable better convey the facts to the uninitiated. All should feel free to distribute and/or reproduce it. It will become a new menu item at JW soon. Enjoy!

Islam 101

by Gregory M. Davis, PhD
author, Religion of Peace? Islam’s War Against the World
producer/director, Islam: What the West Needs to Know — An Examination of Islam, Violence, and the Fate of the Non-Muslim World

Table of Contents

1) Introduction

2) The Problem Clarified

3) The Basics
a) The Five Pillars of Islam
b) The Quran — the Book of Allah
c) The Sunnah — the “Way” of the Prophet Muhammad
d) Sharia Law

4) Jihad and Dhimmitude

a) What does “jihad” mean?
b) Muslim Scholar Hasan Al-Banna on jihad
c) Dar al-Islam and dar al-harb: the House of Islam and the House of War

i) Taqiyya — Religious Deception

d) Jihad Through History

i) The First Major Wave of Jihad: the Arabs, 622-750 AD
ii) The Second Major Wave of Jihad: the Turks, 1071-1683 AD

e) The Dhimma
f) Jihad in the Modern Era

5) Frequently Asked Questions

a) What about the Crusades?
b) If Islam is violent, why are so many Muslims peaceful?
c) What about the violent passages in the Bible?
d) Could an Islamic “Reformation” pacify Islam?
e) What about the history of Western colonialism in the Islamic world?
f) How can a violent political ideology be the second-largest and fastest-growing religion on earth?
g) Is it fair to paint all Islamic schools of thought as violent?
h) What about the great achievements of Islamic civilization?

6) Glossary of Terms

7) Further Resources

1. Introduction

My book and documentary are meant to serve as concise explanations of the major moving parts of Islam and their implications for Western society. They are meant as remedies to the often confused, misleading, and cluttered public discussions of Islam, which tend to leave the layman as much in the dark as to Islam’s nature and intentions as he was before. Islam 101 is a condensation of the book and documentary with the aim of lending clarity to the public understanding of Islam and of exposing the inadequacy of the prevailing views. It is also intended as a tool by which those more familiar with Islam’s true nature and goals may more effectively represent the facts to the uninformed.

MORE…

Islam 101 – Part 2

Here is the second part of Islam 101. (It didn’t all fit the first time.)

d. Jihad Through History

In 622 AD (year one in the Islamic calendar, AH 1), Muhammad abandoned Mecca for the city of Medina (Yathrib) some 200 farther north in the Arabian peninsula. In Medina, Muhammad established a paramilitary organization that would spread his influence and that of his religion throughout Arabia. Because there has never been a separation of the political-military and the religious in Islam, this development was entirely natural by Islamic principles. By the time of his death in 632 AD, Muhammad had extended his control in a series of raids and battles over most of southern Arabia. The conquered populations of these areas either had to submit to Muslim rule and pay a protection tax or convert to Islam.

MORE…

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Arab gentleman sand surfing in dunes outside Dubai

There’s nothing more to be said here. The below piece by blogger Fjordman is simply stunning. The writer eloquently encompasses what I feel concerning the West and western civilization and culture. Enjoy.

Marxism or Decadence? The Cause of Western Weakness

I sometimes am criticized for being too focused on the left-wing of the political spectrum and ignoring the problems caused by right-wing parties. First of all, the line of separation between what constitutes “Left” and “Right” in politics now tends to become blurred. And second of all, only a fool believes that everybody on one side is always right, and everybody on the other side is always wrong. I have been consistent in pointing out that the European Union, which I loathe, cannot be explained simply as a one-sided Leftist endeavor. It also contains elements of Big Business interests, political corruption and the general desire of politicians and bureaucrats to rid themselves of the restrictions imposed on them by a democratic society.

Angela MerkelAt the time I write this, the conservative German chancellor Angela Merkel continues to push for the implementation of the awful EU Constitution, and I just read a column by a free-market activist who champions continued mass-immigration, including from Muslim countries, because his ideological convictions lead him to conclude that free migration is always good and beneficial.

It is also true that not all those who undermine Western civilization through support for Multiculturalism and mass immigration do so out of a hidden political agenda. Some do it out of plain stupidity and vanity. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s most open-minded of them all?” It’s a beauty contest for bored, Western intellectuals who use immigrants as a mirror to reflect their own inflated egos, a sport where they can nurse their vanity in the mistaken belief that denigrating your own cultural heritage is a sign of goodness and lack of prejudice.

I suspect that part of the craziness on display now stems from feelings of guilt because of affluence. I hear so many of these open border activists talk about “solidarity,” but in reality it’s all about me, me, me. They don’t show much solidarity with their own children and grandchildren who are going to inherit the Balkanized nightmare they leave behind. It’s all about making them feel good about themselves right now, without regard for future consequences of their actions. So their “solidarity” is really an extreme form of egotism and holier-than-thou self-exaltation. Besides, many of them have lived sheltered lives for so long that they honestly don’t understand that something bad can ever happen to them. They’ve never had to fight for their freedom or their prosperity, which had been ensured by others.

So yes, there is a component of decadence, materialism, hedonism and nihilism without any specific ideological agenda at work here. But still, even if I try to be as objective as possible, it is difficult to avoid seeing that a disproportionate amount of our problems come from political left-wingers and that elements of it are indeed ideological. Besides, it is sometimes difficult to define where decadence ends and cultural Marxism begins. The Marxist-inspired “revolution” of the 1960s and 70s, which both at the time and in hindsight has been viewed as a watershed in Western history, was staged by people who had enjoyed unprecedented economic growth throughout their entire lives.

I can see no connection between Islamic terrorism and poverty, but maybe there is a connection between wealth and politically correct nonsense. Western Europe has enjoyed decades of affluence and welfare state boredom, and is crazier than any civilization before it in history, even paying its own enemies to colonize it and thinking happy thoughts about cultural diversity as it is being wiped out. Is cultural Marxism caused by boredom, which is again caused by affluence created by capitalism? It would be sort of ironic if that is the case.

To quote The True Believer by Eric Hoffer:

Eric Hoffer“The poor on the borderline of starvation live purposeful lives. To be engaged in a desperate struggle for food and shelter is to be wholly free from a sense of futility. The goals are concrete and immediate. Every meal is a fulfillment; to go to sleep on a full stomach is a triumph; and every windfall a miracle. What need could they have for ‘an inspiring super individual goal which could give meaning and dignity to their lives?’ They are immune to the appeal of a mass movement.”

And later Hoffer points out that “There is perhaps no more reliable indicator of a society’s ripeness for a mass movement than the prevalence of unrelieved boredom. In almost all the descriptions of the periods preceding the rise of mass movements there is reference to vast ennui; and in their earliest stages mass movements are more likely to find sympathizers and support among the bored than among the exploited and oppressed.”
– – – – – – – – – –
In The Weekly Standard, Michel Gurfinkiel notes that indeed, there are intellectuals “who relish the prospect of a new French Revolution, and welcome the suburban rioters as its spearhead. Nothing is more revealing, in this respect, than the success of a feverish political novel, Supplément au Roman National (A Sequel to the National Narrative), by 28-year-old author Jean-ric Boulin. Published two months ago, it forecasts a ‘social and racial’ revolution in France in 2007. First a wave of suicide bombings in Paris. Then martial law. Then, finally, the great rebellion of the French poor: the native underclass, the Arabs, and the blacks, who unite under the green flag of Islam and the tricolor of France and march on Paris — as a sort of Commune in reverse. Boulin gallantly supports such an outcome.”

The French RevolutionThere is, admittedly, something special about France and their love of revolts and mayhem. The French still haven’t recovered from their great Revolution of 1789. It is strange that a modern nation can celebrate as their national day the birth of a bloody upheaval which paved the way for mass-murder and authoritarian rule. But the fascination with Islamic movements is far from limited to France. It is partly based on hatred of the West and a belief that the world must be “liberated” from Western civilization, which is the cause of global injustice.

Elin BrodinNorwegian author Elin Brodin wrote an essay entitled “Western values are the worst.” According to her, “Modern Westerners are the most bigoted, self-righteous and deaf-blind creatures that have ever walked the earth’s crust. This goes for the left-wing and the feminists just as much as for everybody else. We really have to change our attitudes, not just our clothes, because now the question is whether this civilization should be transformed or fall. Because the West neither can nor should endure in its present form.”

City on FireIf you want to see a really nasty example of the hatred against Western civilization on display, here’s a link from Danish blog Uriasposten. Thyra Hilden and Pio Diaz projected video images of flames onto 1,000 square-metre glass screens in a museum in the central Danish town of Aarhus. The “art” exhibition was called “City on Fire – Burning the roots of western culture.” The artists assured us that “It is not actual fire that destroys actual buildings – but the idea of fire that destroys the historical and ideological roots of Western culture.” Part of their vision was “to create an aesthetic image of the deconstruction of the cultural roots of the Western world,” because as they said, Western culture was “very aggressive,” while Islamic culture has been far less so.

Bruce Thornton writes about Robert Conquest’s book Reflections on a Ravaged Century. especially his chapter on Soviet Myths and the Western Mind:

“As Conquest documents, many Western intellectuals and academics were delusional about the reality of the communist threat. For a host of reasons — a quasi-religious faith in utopian socialism, neurotic hatred of their own culture, vulnerability to an ideology that dressed itself in scientific garb, an adolescent romance with revolution, and sheer ignorance of the facts — many professors, pundits, politicians, and religious leaders refused to believe that Soviet leaders meant what they said about revolution and subversion.” Because of this, “throughout the Cold War, the Western resolve to resist Soviet expansionism was undercut by ‘peace’ movements, nuclear disarmament movements, calls for détente and ‘dialogue,’ and claims of moral equivalence between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.”

According to Thornton, other parallels between Cold War Sovietophiles and today’s rationalizers for Jihad present themselves. The academic establishment for most of the Cold War “was predisposed to leftist ideology.”

Arne TreholtUnfortunately, the Soviet-appeasers never had to endure the consequences of their actions. In Norway, I heard recently several left-wingers state that Arne Treholt, a senior diplomat who was convicted of high treason in the 1980s for spying for the Soviet Union, was actually a misunderstood hero who wanted “dialogue” with the Communists. A former member of the Labor Party, he was reprieved by the Labor government in 1992. He has always claimed his innocence, but admitted later that he was both careless and negligent and “drifted into some questionable areas” when he turned over confidential state documents to Soviet representatives and accepted money for them in return.

Ban the Bomb!When US President Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, after Jimmy Carter had made a mockery out of the presidency and his inaction contributed to the success of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, the massive Soviet military machinery placed medium-range SS-20 nuclear missiles to intimidate Western Europe and split NATO. They also encouraged massive demonstrations and campaigns within the West for unilateral Western disarmament. Yet Reagan chose to up the ante by deploying new U.S. nuclear missiles in Europe. He denounced the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire” and engaged the Soviets in a military build-up that bankrupted their fragile economy. Reagan, who dared to challenge blackmail from one of the most brutal regimes in human history, was reviled and ridiculed by the leftist intelligentsia, and is still hated even a generation after the Cold War ended. Yet a man such as Mr. Treholt, who appeased the same regime, is viewed in positive terms.

Sadly, conservatives demsontrated negligence after the Cold War. We never properly denounced Marxism as an ideology as well as discredited those individuals who had supported it, the way it was done with Fascism after WW2. That was a mistake. We had a massive fifth column of left-wingers during the Cold War who sapped our strength and appeased our enemies. These very same groups have been allowed to continue their work uninterrupted, and went straight from appeasing Soviet Communism to appeasing Islamic Jihad.

The Seventh WarThe book The Seventh War, by Israeli journalists Avi Yisacharov and Amos Harel, is based on interviews with Hamas Islamic terrorist leaders in Gaza and Israeli prisons. Hamas leaders told them clearly: “It was the Israeli left and your peace camp that ultimately encouraged us to continue with our suicide attacks. We tried, through our attacks, to create fragmentation and dissention within Israeli society, and the left-wing’s reaction was proof that this was indeed the right approach.”

The West and Westerners in general are treated as the “global oppressive class” by our Marxist-inspired academic elites. From historical experience, in Socialist societies, those deemed a part of the “oppressive class” have at best been deprived of their property, at worst been physically eliminated. Western Leftists really believe their own rhetoric about the West being the cause of most of the problems of the world, and want to “liberate” the planet by bringing down the oppressive class, aka the West.

We could go into long debates as to whether this is compatible with the doctrines of classical Marxism, since most Islamic and Third World nations are far from industrialized. It is true that Karl Marx initially stated that capitalism was a necessary transitional stage for Socialism. Most Socialists before WW1 believed that the Marxist revolution would start in Germany, precisely because it was a more advanced capitalist and industrialized economy. But Lenin decided to start in Russia after the opportunity provided by the first revolution in 1917, despite the fact that it was far from a developed capitalist economy at that point. Marxist strategies have thus changed considerably during the past century. By far the one element that has remained most consistent is the tendency to view society primarily in economic terms, through the prism of groups exploiting other groups. In general, Marxist tools for analysis have survived far better than their practical solutions and are still influential.

Karl MarxIt is, in my view, impossible to understand Multiculturalism without taking into account this profound influence of Marxist thinking. Marxism states that culture is only of minor or secondary importance, while the primary moving factor is the struggle between the oppressed and the oppressors. This leads to treating cultural differences as insignificant, and thus the conclusion that major differences in performance between groups are caused by poverty and exploitation. This is exactly the picture we are presented by our media as the source of the difficulties in the Islamic world.

Moreover, the very idea that it is ok to stage massive and risky social experiments involving millions of people is one that was passed on from Marxism to Multiculturalism. As Friedrich von Hayek warned: “We must shed the illusion that we can deliberately ‘create the future of mankind.’ This is the final conclusion of the forty years which I have now devoted to the study of these problems.”

Antonio GramsciThe Frankfurt school of cultural Marxism, with such thinkers as Antonio Gramsci and Georg Lukacs, aimed at overthrowing capitalist rule by undermining the hegemonic culture. According to Gramsci, the Socialist revolution, which failed to spread following the Russian Revolution in 1917, could never take place until people were liberated from Western culture, and particularly from their “Christian soul.” As Lukacs said in 1919, “Who will save us from Western Civilization?” This could be done through breaking down traditional Judeo-Christian morality and family patterns and undermining the established institutions from within. In 2007, we can see clearly that this strategy has been quite successful in Western media and academia, which are not only neutral or lukewarm in defending our civilization, but are in many cases actively aiding our enemies. The irony is that most Westerners have never heard of Gramsci, yet ideas similar to his have had a huge impact on their lives.

In Scandinavia, it is a well-documented fact that journalists are much more left-leaning than the general populace. In France during the Muslim riots in 2005, several journalists stated openly that they downplayed the problems caused by immigrants in order not to boost the support for “right-wing parties,” and in Britain, leading figures from the BBC readily admitted that they actively champion Multiculturalism in their coverage. Even British Prime Minister Tony Blair, himself from the Labour Party, complained in the January 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine about relations with Muslims that “many in Western countries listen to the propaganda of the extremists and accept it. (And to give credit where it is due, the extremists play our own media with a shrewdness that would be the envy of many a political party.)”

Daniel Pipes notes that “Significant elements in several Western countries – especially the United States, Great Britain, and Israel – believe their own governments to be repositories of evil, and see terrorism as just punishment for past sins. This ‘we have met the enemy and he is us’ attitude replaces an effective response with appeasement, including a readiness to give up traditions and achievements. Osama bin Laden celebrates by name such leftists as Robert Fisk and William Blum. Self-hating Westerners have an out-sized importance due to their prominent role as shapers of opinion in universities, the media, religious institutions, and the arts. They serve as the Islamists’ auxiliary mujahideen.”

Pipes warns that “Pacifism, self-hatred and complacency are lengthening the war against radical Islam and causing undue casualties. Only after absorbing catastrophic human and property losses will left-leaning Westerners likely overcome this triple affliction and confront the true scope of the threat. The civilized world will likely then prevail, but belatedly and at a higher cost than need have been. Should Islamists get smart and avoid mass destruction, but instead stick to the lawful, political, non-violent route, and should their movement remain vital, it is difficult to see what will stop them.”

In short: You know you live in a Western country when the media is cheering for your enemies, when your schools and universities teach your children that your civilization is evil and when your politicians think it’s a sign of “extremism” if you want to protect your nation’s borders.

Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once said that “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” Perhaps we will win this struggle for liberty only when Western left-wingers decide that love their children more than they hate Western civilization. If they have children in the first place, that is.

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Below are three segments from the British television show, Dispatches. This particular episode aired yesterday on British television and focused on various Islamic mosques and gathering places, particularly a Birmingham mosque where hatred and swift and unrepentant brutality against believers and non-believers alike are regularly preached.

Of course, this is nothing new. Islamists, taking inspiration from the Qur’an, have been evangelizing such loathsome exhortations for centuries, while elevating their prophet Muhammad as a symbol of the perfect man in whom all should strive to emulate. Muhammad, a man who via the “divine” word of Allah, teaches that marrying children is a noble practice (in fact he did so–the nine-year-old girl, Aisha was among his many wives), that killing non-believers is justified simply because they don’t believe, that beating wives is necessary, and polygamy should be encouraged, is the prophet whom all Muslims should aspire to imitate in word and deed. Even in this day and age, Muslims strive for jihad in order to create a sharia Islamic state throughout the world.

I don’t want this to happen. Nor do I wish to be relegated to dhimmi status under such an oppressive and fascist (interpreted as the nation of Islam) regime. I have lately been reading quite a bit about Islam, including the Qur’an itself, and though I’ve never really been one to denounce an individual’s right to their religious beliefs and practices, the more I learn about Islam, the more I see the Prophet’s “religion of peace” as nothing more than a thuggish cult bent on world domination. Go ahead. Call me Islamophobic (such a ridiculous word), but this stuff truly, and I believe justly, frightens me.

Now I would simply like to see someone here in America do a similar undercover investigative report into various mosques and the religion of Islam such as the documentary below from the BBC’s Channel 4’s (thanks for the correction Veronica) Dispatches program. Unfortunately, there seems too much political resistance and repression of free speech in the States right now to allow something of that sort.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

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Most in this country will probably consider September 11, 2001 to be our modern “Date which will live in infamy.” But on this day December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked and absolutely destroyed by squadrons of imperial Japanese fighter pilots. Rather than reflect on that date, as is so often done on television news casts, magazine and newspaper articles, and internet websites–really, the subject’s pretty much covered everywhere else–I’d rather point to this short but laconic editorial by the always controversial writer, Robert Spencer from his website, JihadWatch.org.

I agree with all that he expresses here. I only hope that the leaders and/or future leaders of this country will seriously consider how dangerous capitulating political correctness can be, and the damage that non-action will have on our country.

“All that is required for evil to triumph is for a few good men to do nothing.”
Edmund Burke – Philosopher (1729 – 1797)

Un Zero survolant Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1946

Five years after Pearl Harbor, the war was over. The Third Reich was kaput. The Japanese were vanquished as well.

But five years and counting after 9/11, there is no victory in sight. There is not even much clarity about why we are fighting, or whom we are fighting. Some of the most important victories in this shadowy twilight war have come in the form of arrests of those who were plotting attacks even more heinous than 9/11, but these arrests have an unfortunate side effect: they perpetuate the illusion that we are not seriously threatened, that there is nothing to be particularly concerned about — after all, they haven’t struck since 9/11. They probably can’t. They probably just got lucky on that day.

One main reason, meanwhile, why the war is so poorly understood and controversial: the enemy is not a nation-state but an ideology, an ideology which has been spread throughout the world and can now be found in practically every nation on the planet. Because of the religious derivation of this ideology, analysts are generally reluctant to identify it properly or fully. They don’t wish to examine how this ideology is advancing through peaceful means. They refuse to consider the ways in which it threatens American society, laws, and mores. And multiculturalism dins into all our ears that all value systems and belief systems are equal, and that only “bigots” oppose one or another, or dare to examine how one may be contain incitements to violence and supremacism.

That’s why after more than five years it still feels as if we have barely begun. Few in the Muslim world are willing, as he notes, to confront the deep roots that jihad violence has in the Islamic texts, and no one among the Western government or media elites is daring to ask them to do so. The myth persists that Americans can adjust the U.S. policy in a way that will end the global jihad — by leaving Iraq, or ending support for Israel, or by cleaning up American society, or what have you. No one in official Washington seems capable of realizing that the jihad would proceed against us no matter what we do or don’t do, because it springs from imperatives within Islam that are not dependent upon the character of the infidels who must be fought.

It is crucial now that we identify forthrightly what we are up against, so as to be able to fight against it more effectively. But I have said this for years, and we are no closer to doing it than we were the first time I said it. Yet the longer we postpone doing it, the more likely it is that the carnage of September 11 will be just a prelude.

May the courageous ones who fought to defend America, Britain, and Western Europe from the Axis scourge be blessed today. And may we prove to be their worthy sons and daughters.

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Epilogue • Family reunion

Lessons learned for Jill and the Monitor about her campaign for freedom. What’s happened to Alan’s family?

| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

On April 2, 2006, a white Lufthansa 747 with the designation “Hamburg” written on its side taxied up to a gate at Boston’s Logan Airport. At 12:22 p.m., Jill Carroll stepped off the plane and onto US soil.

As she passed through customs, agents and other officials on duty crowded around for a chance to see her. Whisked into a waiting car, she was driven to the Monitor’s headquarters in Boston’s Back Bay, a police escort around her and news helicopters overhead.

Jill was traveling light. She’d left a big yellow bag of clothes and toiletries from her captivity in the Green Zone in Baghdad. She’d decompressed there for a day, talking to members of the US Embassy’s Hostage Working Group, before traveling on an aircraft carrying American casualties to Ramstein Air Force Base in Landstuhl, Germany.

(Photograph)
ZIPPY! Jill’s family shouted her nickname out of the window as she pulled up in front of a Boston apartment on April 2, moments before they were finally reunited.
MELANIE STETSON FREEMAN – STAFF
Photos: Homecoming photos

In Boston, her car went straight into the underground garage of the Christian Science church headquarters. In a preplanned bit of evasion, she was led through basement corridors under the complex to a loading dock on a nearby side street. She then jumped into a blue van – easily missing the media horde camped outside the Monitor building.

The van went only a few blocks, to a nearby church-owned townhouse. There, Jim, Mary Beth, and Katie crowded around an open window, yelling her nickname, “Zippy!”

Jill met them coming down the hallway in a whole-family embrace. She wept and said, “I’m sorry.” She was home.

(Photograph)
SISTERS REUNITED: Katie and Jill Carroll hug in Boston on April 2 upon Jill’s return from Iraq. Their parents, Jim and Mary Beth Carroll, look on.
MELANIE STETSON FREEMAN – STAFF
Photos: Homecoming photos

Nearly five months on, what’s to be learned from Jill Carroll’s kidnapping and release?

Monitor editors and correspondents were heartened by the global condemnation of the kidnapping, especially from Muslim religious leaders and even militant groups, such as Hamas. They remain proud of the media campaign they helped mount, from the solicitation of statements on Jill’s behalf to the public service announcements that ran in the Iraqi media. They believe it was targeted to the right audience – the Middle East – and well placed. They know the kidnappers saw some of it.

It’s presumptuous to say it led directly to her release, but “I do think that changed the mental climate,” says Richard Bergenheim, editor of the Monitor.

Another obvious conclusion is that Iraq has become a very dangerous place for the news media. More than 100 journalists, including interpreters and assistants, have died there since March 2003.

Since Jill’s kidnapping, the Monitor has upgraded its security measures in Baghdad – both because of what had happened to her and because of the worsening situation on the ground. Editors won’t detail those measures, so as not to undermine their effectiveness. The paper has kept a British security firm on retainer for consultation.

As for Jill herself, she says that her experience taught her about priorities. Throughout her 82-day ordeal, she missed her family and her friends. Work and success didn’t seem so important anymore. “I never once wished I’d filed one more story,” she says.

But she doesn’t regret going to Iraq in the first place. She was doing what she had always wanted to do – foreign reporting. Since her release, she has returned to Egypt, and is glad of it. She experienced again the distinctive culture of the Islamic world in a peaceful context.

“What happened to me is not the whole Middle East,” she says.

Jill is no longer a freelancer. To provide financial support in anticipation of her eventual release, the Monitor quietly made Jill a full-time employee a week after she was abducted. This fall, she’s been accepted into a journalism fellowship program at a major university. After that, she plans to return to writing from overseas.

Why was she released? Probably no one really knows except for her kidnappers. Maybe the public pressure worked. Maybe private whispers via Western and Middle Eastern intelligence convinced influential Sunnis that harming Jill wasn’t in their best interest.

Maybe as the political situation changed, so did the priorities of her kidnappers. Maybe the kidnappers just got what they wanted – publicity or the release of women from Abu Ghraib prison. Or maybe Jill herself – the smart, young American who spoke Arabic – helped alter her captors’ plans.

“One of the most effective weapons against terrorism is the truth. The truth was that Jill Carroll was not the enemy of her captors. Her father spoke that truth, and the rest of the world repeated it,” says Christopher Voss, special agent with the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit in Quantico, Va.

As far as the Monitor and Jill’s family can determine, no ransom changed hands to win her release.

Earlier this month, the US military announced that it had captured four of Jill’s suspected kidnappers, after raiding a total of four locations in Baghdad, Abu Ghraib, and a village west of Fallujah. US sources in Baghdad have told staff writer Scott Peterson that the man Jill knew as “Abu Ahmed” (aka Sheikh Sadoun, say US military sources) was arrested by US Marines on May 19. The others in custody are guards, not the top figures in the group.

Members of murdered translator Alan Enwiya‘s immediate family have left Iraq, where they felt endangered. They are applying for US government permission to join their extended family in the US.

Jill never met the man who shot Alan. She was told that Alan’s killer died a few weeks later during an insurgent military operation.

Driver Adnan Abbas, having survived the abduction, was initially a suspect. He passed a polygraph test, and was cleared by Iraqi police. He, his wife, and four children (including a newborn) have also moved to another country. Their future remains uncertain, but their ambition is to live and work in the US.

The Monitor has established two funds to help these families start new lives. Among the donations received so far: The $800 cash the mujahideen gave Jill just prior to her release. She plans to sell the gold necklace and donate those funds, as well.

How to help
(Photograph)
HOWARD LAFRANCHI/THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

Alan Enwiya is one of nearly 100 journalists and media assistants killed in Iraq since March 2003. Alan (left side of photo) is survived by his wife, Fairuz, his two children, Martin and Mary Ann, and his parents. They have left Iraq and hope to move to the US where they have relatives.

Jill Carroll’s driver, Adnan Abbas, is a witness to Alan’s murder. He, his wife, and their four children (including a newborn) have also fled Iraq for their own safety.

In response to readers, the Monitor has established funds to help each family start a new life. Donations may be sent to:

The Alan Enwiya Fund
c/o The Christian Science Monitor
One Norway Street
Boston, MA 02115

The Adnan Abbas Fund
c/o The Christian Science Monitor
One Norway Street
Boston, MA 02115

Donations can also be made online.

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