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Al Qaeda to America: Convert or die

Reader comment on item: [The Need to Name and] Know Thy Terrorists

Submitted by Joshua Truax (United States), Nov 19, 2002 at 21:22

Once again, Daniel Pipes hits it right on the head. As if we needed another reminder of that assessment, we got one last week, albeit in an unusual form. In al Qaeda's prepared statement released last week, along with their predictable threats and America-bashing, they audaciously called upon us, the American people, to convert to the very religion that inspired al Qaeda's mass murders of our families, friends and fellow Americans on 9/11/2001 and in previous attacks.

Although they stopped short of making conversion to Islam an explicit demand, the implicit threat carried by the statement was quite ominous indeed: 'If America will not convert on its own, we (i.e. the militant Islamist movement) will eventually become strong enough to topple the government and convert America, and her people, by force." As far-fetched as that may sound to you and me, to al Qaeda it evidently sounds like an attainable goal, and they are certainly capable of inflicting a tremendous amount of damage to this country in pursuit of it.

While the media (even the famously conservative Fox News) generally glossed over the convert-or-die remark in its reporting on al Qaeda's prepared statement, its significance was not lost on me. As far as I am aware, this is the closest that al Qaeda has ever come to explicitly declaring an "Islamic Republic of America" as its ultimate long-range goal, once again underscoring that America's real enemy is an ideology, not a methodology.

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