Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  The Islam Ingredient, and Religion  
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Major Players
Links & Misc.



Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems

Naturally, the Armenians have used the "Moslems vs. Christians" card to excellent advantage these many years. A part of them must have yelped with glee during September 11, knowing it would soon be open season on Moslems in the West... and surely the object of their derision, Turkey... as a predominantly Moslem country... would emerge the worse for wear.

The article, "Jerry Falwell calls Islam's prophet a 'terrorist' ," precedes a Sam Weems letter directed to a television evangelist who aired an anti-Muslim program. Remarkable... keeping in mind Sam Weems was as devout a Christian that ever existed. (However, what should be remarkable... that's what a TRUE Christian does. Just like what a TRUE Moslem, or a TRUE Jew would do. A TRUE religion-minded person spreads love, not hate.)

What follows is a thoughtful reminder that acts of violence and terrorism have been committed in the names of many religions, historically.


The Rev. Jerry Falwell will call Islam's founder and most sacred figure, Mohammed, "a terrorist" on 60 MINUTES this Sunday night, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. (OCT 03 2002)

"I think Mohammed was a terrorist. I read enough by both Muslims and non-Muslims, [to decide] that he was a violent man, a man of war," Falwell tells CBS. "In my opinion. Jesus set the example for love, as did Moses, and I think Mohammed set an opposite example."


Jerry Falwell calls Islam's prophet a 'terrorist'

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Rev. Jerry Falwell says "I think Muhammad was a terrorist" in an interview to be broadcast Sunday on the CBS program "60 Minutes."

The conservative Baptist minister tells correspondent Bob Simon he has concluded from reading Muslim and non-Muslim writers that Islam's prophet "was a -- a violent man, a man of war."

"Jesus set the example for love, as did Moses," Falwell says. "I think Muhammad set an opposite example."

CBS released a partial transcript of the interview Thursday. Falwell's comments occur in a segment about American conservative Christians' political support for Israel.

Falwell stood by his opinion in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. He said Simon asked directly whether Falwell considered Muhammad a terrorist and he tried to reply honestly. The minister said he would never state his opinion in a sermon or book.

Jerry Falwell

Rev. Jerry Falwell

"I've said often and many places that most Muslims are people of peace and want peace and tranquility for their families and abhor terrorism," Falwell said. "Islam, like most faiths, has a fringe of radicals who carry on bloodshed wherever they are. They do not represent Islam."

Other conservative Protestant clergy have made sharply critical remarks about Islam and Muhammad in the past year. They include Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son and successor, TV evangelist Pat Robertson and leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention.

In response to Falwell's remarks, Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relation in Washington, said: "Anybody is free to be a bigot if they want to. What really concerns us is the lack of reaction by mainstream religious and political leaders, who say nothing when these bigots voice these attacks."

Hooper noted that Falwell and Robertson will speak at next week's Christian Coalition convention in Washington alongside House Majority Whip Tom DeLay and other politicians.

"How can these elected representatives legitimize this kind of hate speech by appearing on the same platform with Islamophobes and Muslim-bashers?" Hooper asked.

Falwell was widely criticized last year after he said on Robertson's TV show that pagans, abortionists, feminists, homosexuals and civil liberties groups had secularized the nation and helped the September 11 attacks happen. Falwell later apologized.


Holdwater: Especially after the attack on the World Trade Center, it has been open season on Moslems in the United States. Go to web sites of pseudo-Christian leaders such as the Reverends Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson, and you will find pages declaring how unsuitable for humanity Moslems are (one way they try to prove their case is to cite the more medieval passages from the Koran, neglecting to add there are equally medieval passages from the Bible). Truly. What could be more idiotic than getting into a "My religion is better than yours?" argument... particularly by religious "leaders." The actual question is.... what could be more indicative of a tiny, cobwebbed mind than the aforementioned posses?

There are wonderful things written in all these ancient books of religion, as well as things that are totally out of tune with our modern times. Falwell must have skipped over the parts where the "terrorist" prophet Muhammad taught: "Freedom of thought, tolerance and mutual respect are the main principles of humanity.... Never use brutal force...Teach your children to cherish peace... Do not judge people on the basis of their religion, color or race..."

(On second thought, Falwell may have read those passages and experienced a seizure, since the thoughts behind those words run totally contrary to the way his itsy-bitsy mind works.)

I like the last line in the article above, where Rev. Falwell apologized for outrageous comments made elsewhere. Seems like he stood his ground firmly on his "Islam is a bad religion" issue (easy to do when most of the country agrees with him), however, in the recent past he also apologized for claiming the characters on a children's television show (the Teletubbies) were homosexual, and for proclaiming the anti-Christ will be Jewish. He's becoming as apologetic as Hugh Grant in any of his recent movie roles.


The Bristol Herald Courier; "Bible doesn't say"

I am writing this letter in praise of Bishop Walter F. Sullivan of Richmond for his stand against ignorant bigots like Jerry Falwell. Bishop Sullivan seems to have actually read the Bible and sticks to what is actually in there and doesn't try to rewrite the scriptures. He doesn't interject his personal ideology or politics like the many Falwell Baptists of this region. I would also like to support the Virginia General Assembly in its bill commending Bishop Sullivan.

The facts are that the Bible doesn't say when Armageddon will happen, who or what faith the Antichrist will be, or even who the people in this mythical (or perhaps symbolic?) war would be. Most likely, Revelations refers to the persecution Christians were suffering at the hands of 2nd and 3rd century Rome, and that is who the story was probably aimed at.

All of these TV preachers (none have any credentials or standing in theology) make a mockery of the Christian faith by interjecting personal and right-wing politics into their churches. The fact that Falwell made these stupid remarks in Sullivan County reflects the mindset of certain people that claim that Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence are derived from the Bible and the Ten Commandments. Falwell is dead wrong, and so are they. (Holdwater: See Page Bottom.)

In conclusion, we need more Christians like Bishop Sullivan who will speak up and protect the Bible from people whose main motivation is greed and political power. Christians need to stop sending millions of dollars to amateur doomsday prophets on TV that self-interpret the scriptures to fulfill their own fantasies. Why not give this money to local Christian charities to help local people? When Christians start learning what is actually in the Bible, and stop being told what is in it, those of us that don't believe in the Bible will be a lot less vocal. Read the Bible and actually follow it!

Lewis Loflin
Bristol, Va.


"It is past time for Christians like me to stand up and be counted in dealing with extremist preachers who attack all Muslims as being the same."

Sam Weems

Of course, Sam Weems was one of a kind. He is sorely missed.


Weems' Issues with an Anti-Islam Church Sermon

August 11, 2002

Rev. John Hagee, Pastor
Cornerstone Church
Dallas, Texas

Dear Pastor Hagee:

I watched your television program today titled "Islam and Israel. I note that you stated that 19 of 21 Islamic countries are radical extremists. However, you didn't say who the Muslim countries that were not in the extremist camp and by this omission you have done a great disservice to one great Islamic nation that has many years of proven friendship to both Israel and the United States. That country is Turkey.

I have just written a book and I am enclosing a copy as my gift to you. It was just released in May of this year. I do hope you will find some of the proof I provide helpful to you.

First of all I am not a Muslim nor am I from the Near or Middle East. I am a life-long Baptist born in Arkansas. I spent two months in Turkey last year producing a professional video titled "The Seven Churches Of Revelation." All seven of these churches of Asia Minor of the Christian Bible are located today in modern Turkey. The Turkish government has done a great job preserving our Christian heritage. In addition to visiting the seven church sites I also visited the Island of Patmos. The Greek Orthodox Church maintains the cave where John received his great revelation. I must say the "Christian" Greeks do not do as good of a job helping Christians as the "Muslim" Turks do.

I was in Istanbul on September 11th. I was completing the final editing of my video. Within 30 minutes of the time the third plane hit its target in Washington, D.C. the Prime Minister of Turkey was on national television. He told his people that the United States was under a terrorist attack and that this was not a religious act. He went on to say that what took place in America was murder and this was what was taught in the Koran.

The Prime Minister told his people that he had placed Turkish troops on the highest alert and that he had called the President of the United States to say if the United states went to war--the Turks were ready to go, side by side, with their American friends. Over the next few days I had the opportunity to speak with countless numbers of Turks--taxi drivers, waiters, waitress, individuals who worked in the small shops and the large stores. Without exception, the Turkish people were united in backing their Prime Minister in sending their young men to fight and die with Americans in fighing our War On Terrorism. Next door "Christian" Armenia did not do that--they have worked to hinder and delay America's war on terrorism for selfish reasons.

Pastor Hagee, Turkey is 98% Muslim! As the Bible teaches--"What greater love can a man have but but to lay down his life for a friend!" I beg to differ with your comment today that the Koran teaches that "you can't be a good Muslim and have a Jew or a Christian as a friend." The Turks have given their lives fighting in every war America has fought since World War II. You do a great injustice to lump Turks with all Muslim extremists. Just think of the extremists we have in the Christian world. If you are going to preach about Muslim terrorists then in all fairness you must also teach about Christian state terrorism as well.

While working on my video I visited many Christian churches in Turkey. They all have total freedom of religion and speech. The Turks neighbor, Armenia, claims to be the first Christian church on earth. Why are there more open and operating Armenian churches in Turkey today than there are open and operating Armenian churches in Armenia? Why for example are there no operating and open mosques allowed to function in Armenia today? Why doesn't Armenia allow even other Christian churches to operate other than it's state owned one church?

Here is one basic fact you must know and understand before you preach another sermon attacking ALL Muslims. Turkey is a great friend and ally of Israel. Just last week the Turks agreed to provide Israel the water its needs to grow for the next 30 years. By listening to your sermon one would never know realize there is such a close working relationship between Turkey and Israel. The Turks are true NATO partners and Jews and Muslim Turks have fought and died together in US wars since World War II.

You preached today that terrorist acts are taught and accepted by all Muslims as part of the Koran. This is not true as to Turkey! It is very clear that all Muslims do not interpret the Koran as you said. I know for a fact that the Turks brand of Islam doesn't teach hate in their Koran as you claim they do!

You also said that women have no rights in Islamic countries. Rev. Hagee you really do need to visit Turkey and see for yourself that this is not true as to the Turks. Thanks to Ataturk, in 1923 Turkish women were given equal rights as men and they are so enjoyed there today. We would not be having Muslim terrorism today if all Middle Eastern Muslim countries had followed Ataturk's lead after World War I. A major problem today in the Middle East is caused by European "Christian" nations attempting to set up colonies in the Middle East at the end of World War I. These selfish
"Christian" actions are what provided the cannon fire used by Muslim extremists today. I never hear any "Christian" preacher making mention of this fact.

I also disagree with your comment that there are two Korans--one teaching racial hate in the native Middle Eastern language and a more moderate and different Koran that is published in English. I can assure you that the Koran used in the Turkish mosques is the same as used by Islamic terrorists. The Turks do not teach extremist radical hate of Christians.

I spent two months in Turkey on my last trip there. I visited homes and discussed many subjects with the people including religion. You claim today that the word "Allah" comes from the root word of pre Mohammad and it means "Moon God." This statement is nonsense! Christians could learn from the Muslim practice of prayer 5 times each day. In the Muslim homes when the call to prayer is heard you see many members of the family quietly slipping away to their private prayer closets. Pastor Hagee, just how many menbers of your church quietly slip away just one time during each day to their Christian prayer closets? Based on my personal experience of several months I can assure you that the Turks believe and worship the one true God just as you and I do.



Turks have a real love in their hearts for "Christian" Americans. You made the point today that God is love. Pastor, I saw love expressed to me many times in many ways in Turkey by Muslims.

You spoke of the horrible thing going on in California today and how bad it is that children of that state are taught about Islam for a three week course. Permit me to share with you the rest of the California story. If you are going to tell a story you have a Christian duty to tell the entire story and not just part of it. How do you explain the self-called first Christian state in earth, Armenia, and its lobby in California that now requires ever child in the state to be taught that Turks committed the first genocide of the 20th century on their people. Pastor Hagee, this is a bald faced lie from the pits of hell! This horrible lie was made up and first told by the high priest of the state owned Armenian Church trying to get foreign Christian governments to come in during World War I, take Muslim lands by armed force, and then give the lands to fellow Christian Armenia. Armenia has created their "genocide industry" for one reason and one reason only--to deceive and fleece the Christian world--such as you and the members of your Cornerstone Church in Dallas, Texas. Read my book--its all there. I document what I write.

You claim that in the Muslim world there are no women's rights. Pastor, you must read the latest United States Department of State's report on women's and human rights in Armenia. The men of "Christian" Armenia are no different than the Middle Eastern Muslims. If Armenia is truly the first Christian state on earth--why in the world don't they treat their women with fairness and equality like their Muslim Turkish neighbor does?

You claim there are no human rights in the Muslim world. This isn't true as to the Turks! You really should check out Armenia, the self claimed early Christians. These Armenians were partners with Hitler during World War II and they believe in ethnic/racial purity today just as Hitler did. More than 95% of Armenia today is pure ethnic Armenian. Minorities are not permitted to hold office in this tiny state and the courts and elections are corrupt. Why don't you preach about how the first Christian church state treats its minorities?

Let's talk briefly about freedom of religion in Armenia — the first Christian state on earth. You would not be allowed to send missionaries from your church to Armenia. The state and church are one as stated in the Armenian constitution. No other Christian faith but their church is permitted. Read my book Pastor Hagee — I prove this fact over and over again.

In 1992 the "Christian" Armenians, with the help of their big brother and fellow "Christian" Russia, made a sneak attack of "Muslim" Azerbaijan and murdered and drove more than one million poor souls from their homes. These poor Muslims now live a terrible tent city refugee existence — all in the name of Jesus Christ. Would Christ have done such a thing — NEVER! Yet today throughout the Christian world, churches and pastors such as in your Cornerstone Church stand silent to such evil fellow Christian "terrorist" acts against Muslims. By your silence you and Cornerstone Church approves of such "Christian" terrorism and you preach sermons such as you did today attacking Islam. Pastor Hagee, such acts as yours and the Armenians is one good reason why the Muslim world hates Americans just like the Muslim world hates Europeans who attempted to establish colonies throughout their lands after World War I.

Preachers rarely condemn the evil acts of fellow "Christian" Armenia and you lump all Muslims into one class — terrorists! Pastor Hagee, you can thank your God each and every night that Turkey was an American friend during the Cold War while "Christian" Armenia was an enemy communist state fighting us. Had it not been for the Turks the Cold War just might not have been over today. Had it been left up to the "Christian" Armenians all of Turkey would have become Russian in 1920 — so would Greece. It's all in my book. Please read it and all I ask is that you be fair to the part of the Muslim world that clearly is not terrorist.

Pastor Hagee, when you examine truth you will discover this absolute fact: Armenia, the first self-called Christian state on earth's number one import is foreign aid paid by individuals like you and members of your Cornerstone Church. On the other hand the evidence is clear that the Armenians number one export is terrorism and not one fellow "Christian" church will utter one world in protest. Would Christ remain silent to "Christian" terrorism — CERTAINLY NOT — why do you?

I would suggest that when you complete you series on Islam that you consider preaching a series on the evil "Christian states of the today's world. I note that you are selling your anti Islam series of sermons and perhaps you will not take a stand and preach about the evil self-called Christian states like Armenia. Perhaps you will think such anti false Christian messages will not sell as well as hate the Muslim messages now after September 11th. Just think Pastor Hagee, the Armenian church, among its false Christian doctrines continues to offer up blood sacrifices during church services. The Armenian false Christians, by such an act of blood sacrifice, do not recognize the blood and sacrifice of what Christ did for each of us as Christians of all faiths observe today within United States. How can any church, such as yours, remain silent when the proof is so clear these people are false Christians and commit acts of terrorism all in the name of Christ.

I hope you will read my book and please feel free to contact me at any time I can share my proof with you. I would like to invite you and your wife to be my guests to go Turkey to see for yourself the truth of what I have just written.

Kindest regards,

Sam a. Weems
Calvary Baptist Church
Hazen, Arkansas

"Sword of Islam"

In the heat of the Bosnian War, the television news featured Serbian-Americans demonstrating outside the United Nations. They cursed out the Bosnians by calling them "Turks."

The effect they were cleverly going for was based on their knowledge that people hearing the word "Turk" are not prone to be sympathetic. ("Turk"="Bad" in the West.) However, it was more than that. These people seemed to honestly believe the Bosnians were "Turks."

I thought, "whoa, Nelly." The Bosnians are ethnically no different than you... they are your brother and sister Slavs. The only practical difference between the two of you is that they're Muslims, and you are Orthodox Christians... like the Armenians and the Greeks.

This is why the term "ethnic cleansing," as applied to the tragic events related with Yugoslavia's break-up, was misleading, in the case of the Bosnians. If anything, there was "religious cleansing" going on.

As much as the Armenians have their own psychological problem, living in the past of the Armenian "Genocide," at least they don't go as far back as the 14th Century. Which is where the Serbs' rabid hatred of Turks stems from. (The Serbian Kingdom lost a decisive war in Kosovo, and were incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.)

Imagine... living as if that day of conquest were only yesterday. That day... from over six centuries ago. Harboring such intense hatred from a decisive event that occurred in ancient history. It's mind-boggling. (Wouldn't it be unfathomable if, say, Turkish-Americans were to hate Great Britain, for winning World War I [among other allies] and proclaiming a death sentence upon the Turkish nation, in the form of the Sevres Treaty? And that only happened less than a century ago.)

Some of the native Slavs committed the sin of converting to Islam, and this is why the Bosnians had to be looked upon as the enemy. It's a common psychological problem among Orthodox folks. Identify the enemy and try to snuff him off the face of the earth when you have half the chance, and that will be a great way to create identity, and to bring the Orthodox people together.

Fast forward over six centuries. The World Trade Center attack. Open season on all Moslem people.

Enter one Serge Trifkovic... "an author, former university professor,
historian." A Serb. He thinks, a-HA! Golden opportunity to write a blistering attack on Islam.  Surely, a great way to inject a good amount of Turcophobia into the proceedings. Result: a book called, "Sword of Islam."

Many of the antiquated, horrible-sounding, medieval thoughts of the  Koran, which sound terrible in this day and age... no less than the antiquated, horrible-sounding, medieval thoughts in passages of the Bible... are certainly integrated. Sure to attract attention, feeding into Americans' (and westerners') newly emphasized fear and paranoia, and renewed hunger to justify Moslems as barbarians.

Dirty pool... but nothing new, there.

Evidently, a Stephen Schwartz (apparently in an article entitled, "CAIR's Axis of Evil"?) accused Mr. Trifkovic of being an "Islamophobe," among other things (such as being "the main advocate in the West for the regime of Slobodan Milosevic"). Mr. Trifkovic probably raised enough of a lawsuit ruckus to where this article appeared, FrontPageMagazine.com, and they decided to play it safe by issuing a quick apology.

I dunno... an "Islamophobe" is someone who has anything but love for Islam, isn't it? Now, I haven't read "Sword of Islam," just some blistering excerpts... but there doesn't seem to be very much in the area of even-handedness. Everything I've read is attack, attack, attack. Sounds like "Islamophobe" would be a highly accurate description.

Mr. Trifkovic defends himself (in "Apology and Correction") by citing excerpts he has written criticizing Slobodan Milosevic, among other things. To counter the "Islamophobe" charge, he writes, "To be called 'the noted Islamophobe' is not only an invitation to a fatwa, it is doubly sinister coming as it does from a convert to Mohammedanism." ("Doubly sinister"? Does that mean Moslems cannot charge others with being anti-Moslem, like Jews can charge others with being anti-Semites, because that will invite a parade of fanatical Moslems to hunt the perpetrator down and cut his throat? This is the kind of conclusion that someone with a warped, ignorant and hateful image of Islam is sure to come up with, in short... an Islamophobe. In the following paragraph, Mr. Trifkovic is educated by his adversary on a simple fact that one would have hoped an "expert" on Islam... someone who has written a whole book on the subject... should have known about.)

Mr. Schwartz replies, "Fatawa -- the correct plural in Arabic — are merely religious opinions. Fatawa of individual condemnation are seldom leveled against non-Muslims. Salman Rushdie and Khalid Duran, against whom fatawa urging violence were issued, are both born Muslims. The so-called fatawa of Osama bin Laden do not count, because bin Laden has no standing to issue fatawa. The fatawa of other extremists urging violence are opinions directed against nations or communities, not against individuals as such. I am much more likely to be the object of a condemnatory fatwa than Trifkovic. However, it is a little strange to imagine that a comment by me would elicit a violent reaction to him, when the attacks on him by CAIR, and his service to Radovan Karadzic, have not done so.

I mention Karadzic because Srdja Trifkovic has conveniently left out of his self-defense the fact that according to his own biography, he was a political consultant for two members of the Milosevic regime who served its aggression in the Balkans. These are Radovan Karadzic and Biljana Plavsic.

Trifkovic may cite all the comments he wants about Milosevic, but I would remind him that many witnesses were present when I debated him at Stanford a decade ago. In that debate, he defended the Milosevic regime, while I criticized it."

Mr. Trifkovic got in the final word by defending himself, partially by saying he was defending "the Serbs' right to self-determination, and not ... Milosevic." However, the man was clearly outraged by the attack upon his good character, and wrote a January 17, 2003 article (in chroniclesmagazine.org, where he has a regular soapbox, which makes it easy for him to get the final word) entitled (the Caps are apparently his): "LIES, DAMN LIES, AND STEPHEN SCHWARTZ: SELF-LOATHING 'JEW-FOR-ALLAH' FINALLY DISCREDITED."

(Brrr. That's quite a hysterical title.)

That was the end of the affair as far as Frontpagemag.com is concerned. It is not the end of the story, however. The piquant twist is that Stephen Schwartz is a convert to Islam. He is a self-avowed "Jew-for-Allah" who has taken to calling himself Suleyman Ahmad, but he keeps this significant fact concealed from his readers. Why? He provides the answer, too:

Since accepting Islam, I have proceeded carefully in informing my friends, neighbours, co-workers, and others . . . I want to proceed in a way that will do the most for the welfare of the Ummah and for better relations between all believers in la ilaha illallah.

Since "the welfare of the Ummah" is his main motive, everything is allowed, including lies and slanders.

So in other words, if you want to uphold something you believe in, everything is allowed, including lies and slanders. Yep, that has unfortunately been the historic Orthodox philosophy .... so everyone must be guilty of the same. Nobody can advocate their beliefs based on a foundation of principle, and truth.

Good job of twisting words around. To my ear, what Mr. Schwartz is saying is, he would like to defend himself against idiots who have knee-jerk reactions when they hear "Islam," since Islam has become such a dirty word, and he would then lose the advantage of being judged for who he is rather than for his message. He would like to do better service to countering anti-Islamic bigotry by not wearing his Moslem-ness on his sleeve. Perhaps that may not be 100% honest (keeping in mind selectively revealing information is a person's choice, and does not connote dishonesty; if he were asked point-blank whether he was a Moslem, it doesn't sound like he would lie about it), but it's understandable in this atmosphere of intense hostility.

He's doing what Albert Amateau did, when Armenians in his Ottoman school openly admitted their treachery, thinking Amateau was a fellow Christian... there was no reason for Amateau to reveal he was Jewish, since he wasn't asked. In a way, Mr. Schwartz is also doing what Turkish Turncoats do, passing themselves off as Turks.... which is what they might be ethnically, so they're not technically lying; but in reality, many of them are no different than Armenians, something they would not readily admit.

His attack on me was part-and-parcel of Schwartz's second motive: to demonize any opposition to jihad along Europe's eastern rim (Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Cyprus).

Let's take each of those examples. The Bosnians and Kosovars were trying to protect themselves against the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Serbs, well documented by media accounts of the period. The Chechens are hoping to wrest themselves from Russian oppression. And Turkey intervened legally in Cyprus, as even Greece determined (and later quickly forgot about... Orthodox M.O., you know), after a years-long pattern of Greek-Cypriot ethnic cleansing turned deadly serious. What do any of these examples have to do with religion, or "jihad"? If Mr. Trifkovic keeps up this practice of using unfair and inflammatory language, impartial observers might start thinking he's some sort of... Islamophobe?

Especially if Mr. Trifkonic's opposition to these regions stems strictly from his not liking the fact that the people living in these areas happen to be Muslim... rather than any of these peoples picking up their swords and threatening their Christian neighbors, in the form of "jihad." (Ironically, Mr. Trifkonic has nothing to say about the Christian neighbors in each of these cases that were performing their own "jihads.")

Mr. Trifkovic has the unthinking, prejudiced and sympathetic ear of the West, so he's exploiting his power to say everything and anything, regardless of whether his statements are based on fact. Quite the familiar tale.

"I speak Albanian and was involved with the KLA struggle almost from the beginning," he even boasts, forgetting that in view of the KLA's distinguished record such admission may make Schwartz interesting to the office of the prosecutor at The Hague war crimes tribunal.

(Steven Schwartz is probably guilty of war crimes. Got it.)

Schwartz's attempts to promote the "tolerant," Turkish variety of Islam, as opposed to the "bad" Wahhabist variety was comprehensively demolished by Andrew Bostom in National Review Online:

As Bostom reminds us, it was not Arab Wahhabism but "enlightened" Turkish variety of Islam that gave us the blood levy (devshirme), the Armenian genocide, the eradication of the Christians of Anatolia, and the SS divisions Handzhar and Skanderbeg. But such petty details do not concern Schwartz. His morbidly obsessive demonization of the Serbs is inseparable from his willingness to adopt in to the justifications of an Islamist regime in Sarajevo with ties to the Iranians and a drug-running, white-slaving mafia in Kosovo.

The only reason why the Bosnians accepted help from nations such as Iran is because the Western Christian world turned its back on the awful happenings, until the outrages could no longer be ignored . Otherwise, the Bosnians were ironically famous for not wearing their religions on their sleeves. Since their religion was the only reason why they were getting slaughtered, they desperately turned to whatever help they could get; they were not comfortable with allowing religious zealots from Iran and Saudi Arabia to come and lend a hand, but they really had no other choice... trying to survive, abandoned and alone, against terrible odds. I wasn't aware Bosnia could be called an "Islamist regime" today.

I see Mr. Trifkovic is not wasting an opportunity to remind his reader about Turkish crimes so readily accepted in the West, and which have no shortage of voices to speak for... such as this Andrew Bostom... making their customary charges that have yet to be proven (aside from the "devshirme," in this case; nobody is claiming the Ottoman Empire was heaven on earth, but in fairness... ("fairness"? With a guy like this?)... don't forget how tolerant Ottoman society was compared to her Christian counterparts. I wonder how a Moslem fared as a citizen, in the old Christian world. I think the answer is, a Moslem would not have even been considered a human being, or allowed to exist. In one of the few Christian European nations that had Moslems, Spain... what happened to those Moslems?)

The "SS divisions Handzhar and Skanderbeg"? Oh, yeahhh... those Ottoman Turks were no different than the Nazis, that's for sure.

Incidentally, here is a "petty detail": when Mr. Schwartz promotes the "tolerant" Turkish variety of Islam, he is referring to the modern, secular Turkish republic... not the Ottoman Empire.

While Schwartz's "scholarship" on Islam is worthless, his failure to acknowledge in his many diatribes that he is a convert to the religion of Muhammad is obviously mendacious. He is either secretly ashamed of his new identity, or he wants to mislead his readers and editors; perhaps both. In view of what Islam teaches about the Jews, however, self-loathing is probably the most applicable diagnosis of Schwartz. This "Jew-for-Allah" now belongs to the religion whose founder, Muhammad, declared urbi et orbi: "verily, Allah teaches us, and we believe it, that for a Muslim to kill a Jew, or for him to be killed by a Jew, ensures him an immediate entry into paradise and into the august presence of Allah."

Is that what Muhammad said, "urbi et orbi"? Damn! So that is the reason why the Ottoman Turks, the upholders of the Moslem faith in the world, opened their doors to the Jews fleeing from the Spanish and Portugese Inquisitions, when practically no Christian European nation would have anything to do with them. Is that why the Sephardic Jews of the Ottoman Empire remained loyal to their nation until the last hour of the nation's existence, because they enjoyed being used as target practice?

(The next passage is a rampage on Islam's evil ways, from Muhammad's wholesale slaughter of the Jewish tribes in Medina, to Baghdad's Caliph al-Mutawakkil, "the first to designate a yellow badge for Jews in the 9th century, setting a precedent that would be followed centuries later in Nazi Germany.")

Talking of yellow badges, let us not forget that Schwartz's admiration for Islam was shared by the architect of the holocaust, Heinrich Himmler. Himmler's hatred of "soft" Christianity was matched by his liking for Islam, which he saw as a masculine, martial religion based on the SS qualities of blind obedience and readiness for self-sacrifice, untainted by compassion for one's enemies. By creating an SS division composed of Bosnian Muslims Himmler was only taking the first step in the planned grand alliance between Nazi Germany and the Islamic world. One of his closest aides, Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger, boasted that "a link is created between Islam and National-Socialism on an open, honest basis. It will be directed in terms of blood and race from the North, and in the ideological-spiritual sphere from the East."

Heinrich Himmler equals Islam. Good going there, Mr. Trifkovic.

In what must have been all the vassal states of Nazi-occupied Europe, there were people being "drafted" into Nazi service, either as forced labor, or because people had to earn a living. Were there no Serbs who colluded with the Nazis? Your brother Armenians rushed into the Nazis' loving arms, and there was no force involved in their decision... the Armenians did so willingly.

It certainly served the Nazis' purpose of world domination to create that link between Islam and National Socialism, but other than the Bosnians... who were enslaved by the Nazis... are there any examples of Moslems hooking up with the Nazis on their own accord, saying, "Yes! Islam is totally like Nazi philosophy, and we can't wait to join"?

So is Schwartz just another self-hater in the tradition of Otto Weininger, or is he a genuine convert to the "religion of peace and tolerance"? Either way, people who employ or publish him owe us an explanation for his and their failure to acknowledge this significant fact: that he is a Muslim. The attempt to turn Schwartz, a.k.a. Suleyman Ahmad, a.k.a. Comrade Sandalio into an author will come to haunt all those helping him in his latest self-invention, especially when this deeply troubled and unstable man decides to turn a new page in his Odyssey.

When Sammy Davis Jr. converted to Judaism, did that necessarily mean he had self-loathing as a Christian?

The Orthodox M.O. is so horrifyingly transparent. When they don't like the message, they try to find a flaw in the messenger. Why should the fact that Mr. Schwartz converted to Islam have any bearing on the truth or falsehood of his statements..? (The author says, people who pay Mr. Schwartz attention must "acknowledge this significant fact: that he is a Muslim"... meaning, what? That it's a crime to be a Muslim?) Why would a person's religion make any difference to the person's credibility... and why should it matter so violently to Mr. Trifkovic, who comes across as nothing but "deeply troubled and unstable"...

...Unless he's an Islamophobe?


The Turk is honest; the Christian is a liar and a cheat

 Lord Robert Curzon, Armenia: a Year at Erzeroom, and on the Frontiers of Russia, Turkey and Persia, London (John Murray), 1854


If there is any truth whatever in the saying that “Virtue is the absence of temptation,” the Turks are vastly superior morally to the Europeans... Turks are vastly more moral respecting women than Europeans.

Missionary Tanner, “Who Can be So Polite and Courteous As a Turk,” from History of the Turkish Mission, 1886


"The First Christian Church on Earth"

In spite of the fact that on the 28th of September 2001 Pope John Paul II will be visiting Edjmiadsin in order to participate at the celebrations of the so called 1700th anniversary of the foundation of the Armenian Gregorian Church, the history of this church has to be examined closely. The celebrators present this anniversary as the ‘foundation of the first Christian Church on earth’. Everybody who deals with the history of Armenia and with the history of Christianity, knows that this is not true. Even pro Armenian historians are not sure about the year of foundation and tend between 286 and 314. One should not forget that it is not easy to change a population’s religion within a short time. Even Emperor Konstantin and Lenin and Stalin failed with this.

The Armenian history is build up of mythological elements. According to the nationalist mythology they belong to prophet Noah and are called hayks and lords. That is the reason why they use the Ararat mountain as symbol, whereas this mountain is actually within the borders of Turkey.


Two Sides of the Religious "Terrorist" Coin


To the editor,

Your editorial, "Preserve Western Civilization from the extremes of Islam" dated Nov. 28 (2001), unfairly accuses the religion of Islam to be the cause of the ordeal we are currently going through, and it gives some examples of history to prove your point. To be blanched on this issue, perhaps we should examine the history of Christianity to prove that it is not the religion, but evil people, who can distort the teachings of their religion and bring misery to other human beings.

We can start with the Crusades. These were a series of wars that
Christians of Europe, with the encouragement of the Pope, raged against the people of the Middle East, ravaging, burning and sacking towns along their route, raping and killing tens of millions of people over a period of two hundred years. The fact that, while they wore a cross on their uniform, they also sacked the center of the then-known world, Constantinople (now Istanbul) proves they were not fighting only for their beliefs.

A couple of centuries later, there were the Inquisitions in Spain.
Millions of Moslems left in Spain from Arab rule were forcibly converted to Christianity under the threat of death. The same fate awaited about half a million Jews. No Christian country in Europe would open its doors to them. It was only the Moslem ruler of Ottoman Turkey who invited them over and settled the Sephardic Jews throughout his empire.

Then came the age of Enlightenment. With the increased knowledge of geography and science, the English. Spanish, French, and the Dutch started colonizing the undeveloped countries of the world. For many years, they monopolized the natural wealth of those countries; and when those countries wanted to be independent bloody wars in South and
Central American, Algeria, Congo, India and Vietnam took place, taking many lives.

World War II saw the Holocaust, with six million Jews, Gypsies and others deemed undesirable slaughtered by the Germans.

Two decades ago, close to a thousand Palestinian refugees were massacred by the Christians Lebanese Army in the Shatilla refugee camps while they were asleep.

Only a decade ago, the Christian Serbs started the ethnic cleansing of thousands of Bosnian Moslems in the former Yugoslavia. We have about 50,000 Bosnian immigrants living amongst us in metro St. Louis who escaped from their homeland.

To be sure, none of the above brutal acts coincides with the teachings of Jesus Christ who told us "Love thy neighbor". Yet human beings can distort the teachings of their faith when and where it suits them.

The fact that a terrible tragedy happened to our nation by some Moslem terrorists on Sept.. 11 is no justification for blaming 99.99% of the world's one billion Moslems. Why should a Moslem in Bulgaria, Turkey or Azerbaijan be blamed for awful acts they had no knowledge of, or a hand in? Has not our President told us our war is with the terrorist, and not with the Moslems?

The Koran does not "assume enmity between Moslems and non Moslems". The Koran encompasses the Old Testament in its entirety. Noah, Abraham and Moses are their prophets. However, we can accuse most of the Moslem world for not keeping up with the times, for not educating their people, for subjugating their women, and for not having followed science and reason instead of the Sharia (the religious Laws written in the seventh
century). We should encourage them to follow the example of Turkey, a NATO country that, despite being Moslem, is secular, democratic and Western Oriented.

It is unfair, in our anger and haste, to criticize a religion because of what some brainwashed fanatics have done. Perhaps, more importantly, we should realize that there are about seven million Americans of Islamic faith, of different races and ethnic groups, who live amongst us. Most of them, like most Christians, Jewish or Buddhist neighbors, try to make a living, raise their children, pay their taxes, and try to be productive citizens. It will be a shame, when, hopefully soon, we overcome the present day ordeal and look back and realize we have hurt the feelings of, and alienated, those citizens of our who happen to be Moslems.

Mrs. Erkin Baker

The publication this letter was directed toward is unknown.


Is Jerry Falwell part Armenian...?

That is, is Jerry Falwell and company, from the religious right, running a con job on Americans... a la the Armenian "Genocide"?

Here is a quote that is very thought-provoking:

“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”

Thomas Paine.

American Founding Father John Adams said of Thomas Paine: “Without the pen of Paine the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.”

Of course, just like Turkey is being excluded from the European Union for religious reasons (among others, but that's the biggie), so is "Islam" (which is what "Turkish" was substituted for, since Turks were synonymous with Islam at the time, recognized as the “Sword of Allah,” the defender of the religion) referred to as the "other" religion in the West... the true gutter religion. However, all three religions are based on the same foundation; in fact, TIME magazine had an excellent cover story not long ago suggesting that if all three major religions emphasized their common ground, such as their recognition of Abraham, the world would be a better place.

In actuality, as much as it would give Jerry Falwell a heart attack, American society, along with those of other western nations, are not based upon Judeo-Christian theology, but instead, Judeo-Christian-Islamic theology.

Now, am I bringing this point up to argue how unfair the West is to Islam? Nope. We already know full well Islam is regarded as "the enemy," so I don't have to argue something you already know.

What I'm going to argue is that America is not based on Judeo-Christian (and, as ridiculous as it may sound, let me add, in principle) -Islamic theology.

Powerful organized religion has made it appear America was founded as a Christian country. In point of fact, America's wonderful and wise founding fathers were DISGUSTED with the evils of religion in the old world; this is why when the baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, wrote to President Thomas Jefferson what the First Amendment to the Constitution was meant to be. He replied it was meant to erect “a wall of separation between church and state.” (January 1st, 1802.)

Unfortunately, that separation of church and state has now become practically a farce. (If you live in America and disagree, dig into your pocket and read any coin.) The United States Supreme Court, supposedly a body that serves as one of the checks and balances in America's governmental system, too often serves instead as a tool of those in power...and have inferred disturbingly too many times that the nation was founded on Christian principles and that our founding fathers were Christians.

By the time of the American Revolution, the founding fathers recognized the failure of organized religion to highlight the concept of human brotherhood, instead stressing intolerance, repression and factional strife (just the way Jerry Falwell and company do today; and precisely why the missionaries, the most zealous followers of such belief, behaved in a most "ungodly," racist, immoral and despicable manner during the years of the Armenian "Genocide.") Do you think the founding fathers were unenlightened men? If they were, they would not have come up with the BEAUTIFUL Bill of Rights and Constitution they came up with, allowing all eyes of the world to look upon America as having the potential to be the true democratic nation on earth. Practically every single one of the more educated among the founding fathers left Christianity for Deism.

Ironically, Deism is not all that different than what the people America's lands were wrested from believed in.

 The founding fathers believed in nature and nature’s god. Deism is the system of thought that advocates a natural religion, divorced from Judeo-Christianity-Islam, and is based on reason rather than revelation. Deism emphasizes nature’s harmony and intelligibility, and rejects the idea that any creator could interfere with mankind on earth and with the laws of nature.

Colonel Ethan Allen, the revolutionary hero of the Green Mountain Boys and of the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, hated Christianity, as demonstrated in his book, Reason, The Only Oracle of Man.

Similarly, Thomas Paine wrote The Age of  Reason, a bitter attack on the Judeo-Christian-(Islamic) religion and its theology.

Benjamin Franklin explained how he “became a thorough Deist” in his autobiography, and wrote of Christianity: “I wish it were more productive of good works. I mean really good works, not holy day keeping, sermon hearing or making long prayers filled with flatteries and compliments desired by wise men.”

George Washington did NOT pray in the snow at Valley Forge; his so-called prayer is a fabrication, one that the Armenians would appreciate. Here is what the Father of our Country said:

 “The government of the United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian religion.”

“This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.” — John Adams

“Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost 15 centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
— James Madison.

“I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature, They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies. The Christian god is a being of terrific character — cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust."
— Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was so turned off by organized religion, he started to write his own Bible... a "wee little book," as he called it, and it was entitled, The Philosophy of Jesus Christ. Jefferson got rid of all the mythological nonsense, drawing upon the texts of the French, Latin, and Greek versions of the Book: "In extracting the pure principles which he taught, we should have to strip off the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have travestied them into various forms as instruments of riches and power for themselves,” he wrote. (Bravo, Thomas Jefferson. Hmmm... "riches and power." Sounds like Jefferson was describing "priests" like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.)

Atatürk, the founding father of the
Turkish republic, well understood
the necessity of secularism, as well.

 The founding fathers wanted no part of the absurd religious notions creeping into state constitutions. (As with Virginia's laws calling for “the death penalty for speaking against any known article of the Christian faith.” Maryland's "Toleration Act" imposed: “...death and confiscation or forfeiture of all his or her lands and goods” of any person who blasphemed God.") This is why every single reference to Judeo-Christian-Islamic theology was completely omitted from all of our great national founding documents, such as The Declaration of Independence, on July 4th, 1776 (where the deistic terms of “Nature and Nature’s God” and “Divine Providence” can be found.) Another reference to the deistic concept was found in 1777's  Articles of Confederation (in the phrase “great god of the universe”), and there was absolutely no reference to any god, even the deistic god of nature, in what all concerned American states ratified in 1791, The Constitution of the United States.

There are times I venture by "arch"-conservative web sites, and they sound (especially in their forums) just like Armenian web sites... marked by intolerance, racism, a preference to attack in mad dog style, and make baseless charges instead of contesting the issues in a civilized manner (in case you don't know what I'm talking about, simply scroll up a notch)... sometimes underlined with a "belief in God." The Armenians proclaim themselves the first Christian state on earth, and are very proud of their "Christianity" ... a peculiar brand known to exclude all other beliefs (in today's Armenia), even within Christianity, as a true Christian like Sam Weems was outraged to discover.

Jerry Falwell and company, if you want to practice your religion, please do so behind your closed doors, and don't shove your beliefs down everyone else's throats. Do not corrupt the concept of America with your powerful organized religion, and stop spreading your ideas of repression, ignorance, intolerance, and hatred.

There, I told him. As a man of reason, he will no doubt listen.


On the Other Side of the Coin...


Having mentioned how America's Founding Fathers have falsely been used as supporters of Christianity by the religious right, let's give a little "equal time" here. There have been many Turks who don't feel Islam has served them particularly well. Ataturk was well aware of how religion served as a major factor preventing the forces of modernization, leading to the Ottoman Empire's disintegration.

Here is a revealing insight, from M. Sukru Hanioglu's The Young Turks in Opposition (Oxford Univ. Press, 1995), Chapter 9.

Whereas in their open writings the CUP leaders extolled and promoted Islam, their private letters reveal the disregard in which they held Islam, especially in its institutionalized form. Here is a letter from Ahmed Riza to his sister:

"Though many famous scholars emerged among the Arabs in the fields of geometry, algebra, astronomy, geography, and medical sciences during the times of Prophet Muhammad and of his successors, a thousand years later the ummah of Muhammad have descended so low as to request a shopping tally of three and a half gurush from the clerk of grocer Georgos. This is due to the fact that the Prophet's words have been so misconstrued by our God damn ignorant imams and softas as to claim that when the Prophet used the term science he referred only to readings from the Quran.... It is for such reasons that nobody read the works of the Western scholars.... These cowardly scoundrels effected the annihilation and wretchedness of a great ummah! . . . Today the Muslims have declined to the level of Jews. If you ask my own opinion: From the viewpoints of education and knowledge they are certainly at a level lower than the Jews. The ummah is dissolved, weakened, and from this point it will never recover and regain vitality. The believers in the heaven which has houris, cold sherbets, and rivers are decreasing. Were I a woman, I would embrace atheism and never become a Muslim. Imagine a religion that imposes laws always beneficial to men but hazardous to women such as permitting my husband to have three additional wives and as many concubines as he wishes, houris awaiting him in heaven, while I cover my head and face as a miller's horse. Beside these I would not be allowed to divorce a husband who prevented me from having any kind of fun, but would be required to submit to his beatings. Keep this religion far away from me."

This is an AMAZING cartoon by Ms. Selma Emiroglu... bravo!



Woman in headscarf

A cover-up

There are passages in the Koran advising women to "guard their modesty," although they're vague. Extremists have interpreted the idea of women not drawing attention to their sexual allure as covering everything up, even to the point of exposing only the face and hands. Some Muslim women (particularly in Europe) feel the "hijab" represents "liberty" and "emancipation."

If only they were aware that headscarves originally were a symbol from Sumerian-Babylonian times given to "whores" of the temple, who were sacred because they performed sex in the name and benefit of God. The same symbol continued in Egyptian temples, later adopted by Judaism and Christianity (nuns 'married to Christ,' in the latter case) and finally adopted by Muslims. (This is the true historical origin of "covering heads" in the priesthood.)

"Why European women are turning to Islam"

 From the December 27, 2005 edition  By Peter Ford | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

PARIS – Mary Fallot looks as unlike a terrorist suspect as one could possibly imagine: a petite and demure white Frenchwoman chatting with friends on a cell-phone, indistinguishable from any other young woman in the café where she sits sipping coffee.

And that is exactly why European antiterrorist authorities have their eyes on thousands like her across the continent.

Ms. Fallot is a recent convert to Islam. In the eyes of the police, that makes her potentially dangerous.

The death of Muriel Degauque, a Belgian convert who blew herself up in a suicide attack on US troops in Iraq last month, has drawn fresh attention to the rising number of Islamic converts in Europe, most of them women.

"The phenomenon is booming, and it worries us," the head of the French domestic intelligence agency, Pascal Mailhos, told the Paris-based newspaper Le Monde in a recent interview. "But we must absolutely avoid lumping everyone together."

The difficulty, security experts explain, is that while the police may be alert to possible threats from young men of Middle Eastern origin, they are more relaxed about white European women. Terrorists can use converts who "have added operational benefits in very tight security situations" where they might not attract attention, says Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defense College in Stockholm.

Ms. Fallot, who converted to Islam three years ago after asking herself spiritual questions to which she found no answers in her childhood Catholicism, says she finds the suspicion her new religion attracts "wounding." "For me," she adds, "Islam is a message of love, of tolerance and peace."

It is a message that appeals to more and more Europeans as curiosity about Islam has grown since 9/11, say both Muslim and non-Muslim researchers. Although there are no precise figures, observers who monitor Europe's Muslim population estimate that several thousand men and women convert each year.

Only a fraction of converts are attracted to radical strands of Islam, they point out, and even fewer are drawn into violence. A handful have been convicted of terrorist offenses, such as Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber" and American John Walker Lindh, who was captured in Afghanistan.

Admittedly patchy research suggests that more women than men convert, experts say, but that - contrary to popular perception - only a minority do so in order to marry Muslim men.

Mary Fallot

"When Mary Fallot
converted, her
surprised co-workers
asked if she had a
Muslim boyfriend.
Actually, she
explained, she was
drawn to Islam by
the answers it

"That used to be the most common way, but recently more [women] are coming out of conviction," says Haifa Jawad, who teaches at Birmingham University in Britain. Though non-Muslim men must convert in order to marry a Muslim woman, she points out, the opposite is not true.

Fallot laughs when she is asked whether her love life had anything to do with her decision. "When I told my colleagues at work that I had converted, their first reaction was to ask whether I had a Muslim boyfriend," she recalls. "They couldn't believe I had done it of my own free will."

In fact, she explains, she liked the way "Islam demands a closeness to God. Islam is simpler, more rigorous, and it's easier because it is explicit. I was looking for a framework; man needs rules and behavior to follow. Christianity did not give me the same reference points."

Those reasons reflect many female converts' thinking, say experts who have studied the phenomenon. "A lot of women are reacting to the moral uncertainties of Western society," says Dr. Jawad. "They like the sense of belonging and caring and sharing that Islam offers."

Others are attracted by "a certain idea of womanhood and manhood that Islam offers," suggests Karin van Nieuwkerk, who has studied Dutch women converts. "There is more space for family and motherhood in Islam, and women are not sex objects."

At the same time, argues Sarah Joseph, an English convert who founded "Emel," a Muslim lifestyle magazine, "the idea that all women converts are looking for a nice cocooned lifestyle away from the excesses of Western feminism is not exactly accurate."

Some converts give their decision a political meaning, says Stefano Allievi, a professor at Padua University in Italy. "Islam offers a spiritualization of politics, the idea of a sacred order," he says. "But that is a very masculine way to understand the world" and rarely appeals to women, he adds.

After making their decision, some converts take things slowly, adopting Muslim customs bit by bit: Fallot, for example, does not yet feel ready to wear a head scarf, though she is wearing longer and looser clothes than she used to.

Others jump right in, eager for the exoticism of a new religion, and become much more pious than fellow mosque-goers who were born into Islam. Such converts, taking an absolutist approach, appear to be the ones most easily led into extremism.

The early stages of a convert's discovery of Islam "can be quite a sensitive time," says Batool al-Toma, who runs the "New Muslims" program at the Islamic Foundation in Leicester, England.

"You are not confident of your knowledge, you are a newcomer, and you could be prey to a lot of different people either acting individually or as members of an organization," Ms. Al-Toma explains. A few converts feel "such a huge desire to fit in and be accepted that they are ready to do just about anything," she says.

"New converts feel they have to prove themselves," adds Dr. Ranstorp. "Those who seek more extreme ways of proving themselves can become extraordinarily easy prey to manipulation."

At the same time, says al-Toma, converts seeking respite in Islam from a troubled past - such as Degauque, who had reportedly drifted in and out of drugs and jobs before converting to Islam - might be persuaded that such an "ultimate action" as a suicide bomb attack offered an opportunity for salvation and forgiveness.

"The saddest conclusion" al-Toma draws from Degauque's death in Iraq is that "a woman who set out on the road to inner peace became a victim of people who set out to use and abuse her."

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