Op-Ed: Western Christians Are Out Fighting en Masse for Islam
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
The latest video of Jihadist propaganda from Syria shows the black flag proclaiming allegiance to Allah and a man who calls himself Abu Abd Al-Rahman.
"I am French," he says. His parents were baptised as Catholics - as was he - and they know him as Nicolas. He is a 30-year-old convert from a middle-class background in Toulouse, where four Jews were gunned down last year. His mother works for the French army. In the the video, Nicolas appears in military fatigues, a Kalashnikov rifle across his legs.
French intelligence believes there are 220 Frenchmen who have gone to fight in Syria so far. 40 of them are Christian converts. The estimates of Westerners fighting in Syria range from 600 to 1,000 fighters. The vast majority are "white converts to Islam" or "naturalized immigrants with a Muslim background".
The estimates of Westerners fighting in Syria range from 600 to 1,000 fighters. The vast majority are "white converts to Islam.
His name was Ibrahim Giuliano Delnevo. He was a regular guy from Genoa, Italy's biggest sea industrial location. Raised as a Catholic, Giuliano converted to Islam and was killed as a "martyr" in Syria. He was fighting with the jihadists against Bashar el Assad's secular regime.
There exists a generation of Western converts to Islam in deep intimacy with death. Delnevo had written that "everyone meets the good actions in the tomb as a friend, while evil deeds instead increase the suffering."
According to Delnevo's father, "my son died as a hero".Giuliano Delnevo died fighting a war fought between Arabs, but his death tells us a lot about the West.
The son of Dimitri Bontinck was a Jesuit from Belgium as well as a normal western child, who had the best Catholic education. He is now "lost" in Syria.
This is not the story of Patricia Hearst, the hostage who embraced her captors. There is no Stockholm syndrome to analyze here. Instead, these converts are the lost children of the West. It is like the Red Army Faction, the Baader Meinhof gang in Germany in the autumn of the seventies, when the left spoke of militarization, but in fact a small educated middle class was militarized and in the name of the class struggle, as the poet Jean Genet said, tried to plant a spear "in the fat flesh of Germany."
This is the first generation of Westerners which has immolated itself upon the altar of a pure choice of apocalypse. There is no Hanoi behind these "new Vietcong", as they have been called by the sick imagination of the left. There is no Moscow, there is no Beijing, there is no Havana, there is no Ramallah. There is only Jihad, the war for heaven and for hell. And "paradise under the shade of swords."
John Walker Lindh was the beginning of this tragic metamorphosis. Unrecognizable with a beard when he was captured by the US forces in Mazar el Sharif, Lindh was a happy boy who grew up in Marin County, the US region most celebrated for its hippy lifestyle. Walker's parents, like those of Giuliano Delnevo, are Catholics. They named him in honor of John Lennon. Walker became interested in Buddhism, only to fall in love with the hip-hop. He rejected the "rigidity of the Catholic Church" to embrace the most austere form of Islam.
These converts see themselves as heroes and victims of a society deemed "unworthy", "wicked", "apostate." Like all converts to Islam, Walker has joined the repugnance for the West with the liberal conservative loathing of modern permissiveness. Islam, for these converts, is the point where the extremes mix and explode.
In the liberal enclave of California, as in the leftist Italian province where Delnevo grew up, there is no "wrong" and "right", but only judgment (hateful) and tolerance (admirable). The liberal doubts and the progressive choices of Walker's permissive environment found a "final solution" in the absolute certainty of a medieval faith - it is brutal, irresistible. This is the lesson of these converts to Jihad.
These former Christians today are now the avant guarde of terrorism: Adam Gadahn, the translator of Mullah Omar, who figures in the FBI's most wanted list; Shane Kent, who has red hair, a former rock musician trained in a camp in Afghanistan; the Australian David Hicks, who has become kangaroo skinner "Al Qaeda's 24 Carat Golden Boy"; the French Willie Virgile Brigitte, who participated in the assassination of Afghan leader Ahmed Shah Massoud; Alexandre D., another French convert who just tried to cut the throat of a French soldier on patrol in Paris; the French convert Pierre Richard Robert, "the emir with blue eyes" who in 2003 organized the Casablanca bombings which killed 45 people.
Take one of the leaders of the dell'Hofstadt Group, the Dutch cell that planned the murder of Theo van Gogh, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders, a white convert to Islam named Jason Walters. The son of an African-American military man stationed in the base of Soesterberg and a Dutch woman, Walters had a few dreams at high school: "Get married and have two children, a good job and a house".
Michael and Michael Adebolajo Adebowale are the two former Christians who just slaughtered the British soldier Lee Regby in the heart of London with a machete.
Only a small percentage of converts to Islam embrace terrorism. But it is true that the increasing number of converts bears witness to a unique phenomenon in the West, comparable to the de-Christianization that devastated Europe in the sixties. In England there are 100.000 converts, two-thirds women, seventy percent white. It began with the musician Cat Stevens, aka Yousuf Islam, and went on with Richard Reid, the terrorist who wanted to blow up a Paris-Miami flight 63 American Airlines with explosives in his shoes and who converted to Islam in a British prison.
But even in the bombings of 7 July 2005 there was a convert, Germaine Lindsay, "a father and a loving husband." When he blew up in Kings Cross, his wife was expecting a second child. Germaine had just bought a car seat for the baby. Lindsay's wife, Samantha Lewthwaite, also converted to Islam and she fought with the Shahab in Somalia. Among the reasons given for the conversion, many cite "lack of morality" and "sexual permissiveness" of English society.
These converts are all good children of the European bourgeoisie, as was Fritz Gelowicz, who recently wanted to commit a massacre at the airport of Frankfurt, a symbol of "the harmony of the German middle class," the father is a seller of solar panels, the mother is a doctor.
These converts are the symbol of the end of the Western city, the Brechtian "Im Dickicht Städte", the New Canaan of Dvorak which Sayid Qutb, the father of Islamic fundamentalism, saw in New York as "saturated with lust." Fanaticism is preferable to Komfortismus.
These Christian converts to Islam proudly betray the West. And one day these blond-haired, blue-eyed fighters will return to Europe's cities and turn them into nightmares.