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Evolved
Thursday, December 16th, 2004, 03:08 PM
White Muslim
From L.A. to New York to . . . jihad?
by Brendan Bernhard

DECEMBER 3 - 9, 2004

HOW TO BECOME A MUSLIM

Five days before 9/11, Charles Vincent bought his first Koran. Six weeks later, while smoke was still pouring from the remains of the World Trade Center, he formally converted to Islam in the mosque attached to the Islamic Cultural Center on 96th Street and Third Avenue in New York City. A blond, blue-eyed 29-year-old from Torrance, California, he readily admits that he chose an unlikely moment to fall in love with the world’s most newsworthy religion. But in the three years since, his devotion to Islam has only deepened. Like a growing number of white Americans and Europeans, he has discovered that Islam is not just the religion of those "other" people.


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"Every day I’m more surprised than the day before," he told me one evening in October, breaking his Ramadan fast in a harshly lit fast-food restaurant a few blocks from the 96th Street mosque. "The last religion I wanted to belong to was Islam. The last word that came out of my mouth was Allah. Islam pulled me out of the biggest hole I’ve ever been in."

Dressed as he is in an Islamic-style tunic and a white kufi, or cap, with an untrimmed ginger beard sprouting from his handsome, classically Californian face, Vincent may look unusual, but he certainly isn’t alienated, or for that matter, alone. In the United States, there are estimated to be roughly 80,000 white and Hispanic Muslims, along with a far greater number of African-American ones. In France, there are perhaps 50,000, according to a secret government intelligence report leaked to the French newspaper Le Figaro. (A Muslim resident of the racially mixed Belleville district of Paris told me that out of every 100 Muslims one sees there, 30 are former French Catholics.) The report stated that conversion to Islam "has become a phenomenon that needs to be followed closely." A recent study commissioned by Jonathan ("Yahya") Birt, a Muslim convert and the son of a former director-general of the BBC, put the figure in Britain at a more modest 14,000, and there are similar estimates for Spain and Germany. More people are converting on all sides of the globe — from Australia and New Zealand to Sweden and Denmark. At the moment the number of converts can only be called a trickle, but it is steady and gathering in power.

Becoming a Muslim is surprisingly easy. All you need to do is take [I]shahada — say, La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah ("There is no true God but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God") in front of a Muslim witness (or, according to some people, two witnesses) and, bingo, you’re a Muslim. That done, you are required to pray five times a day, donate a certain amount of money to charity, fast between sunrise and sunset during the month of Ramadan, and, health and finances permitting, make at least one haj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca during your lifetime.

Of course, there’s the small matter of why a non-Muslim would first choose to convert to a religion increasingly associated with dictatorial governments, mass terrorism, videotaped beheadings and the oppression of women. One reason might be disillusionment with wall-to-wall entertainment, jaded sexuality, spiritual anomie and all the other ailments of the materialistic West. Another might be protest. A few days after George Bush’s re-election, critic James Wolcott joked on his blog that, in tribute to the president’s (and the Christian right’s) victorious pro-religion agenda, he was going to convert to Islam, not least because "fasting during Ramadan should be wonderfully slimming, enabling me to get into the Carnaby Street paisley shirt that was a bit binding the last time I tried it on." A few days later he announced he was putting his conversion on hold following a long discussion with his editor, Graydon Carter, who had pointed out that another Vanity Fair writer was thinking along the same lines and two Islamic converts on the same perfumed masthead might be a bit much.

In fact, had one of the Vanity Fair scribes been serious about going down to the mosque to offer his services to Allah, no one at the mosque would have blinked an eye. Recently I was present as Heriberto Silva, a Catholic teacher of Spanish literature at the City University of New York, took shahada and became Abdullah Silva, Muslim, during Friday prayers at the 96th Street mosque. A frail 60-year-old bundled into an old parka, a thick volume titled A History of the Arabs tucked under his arm, he told me afterward that his conversion was due to three factors: a long-standing fascination with the Islamic world; the encouragement of his Muslim friends; and a desire to register a personal objection to the Iraq War.

"We see a president who is preaching about freedom and democracy, and it is not true! It is all lies!" he told me. "And then I am looking for something that is real truth, and I found in Islam that truth."

Vincent’s conversion appears to have been a more muddled, emotional affair, but also a more dramatic one, since it took place in New York against the backdrop of 9/11. Like a lot of people who convert to Islam or any other religion, he did so after a particularly difficult period in his life in which he not only lost his "way" but also his job and his apartment, and, after a fight outside a nightclub, came close to losing an eye as well. He also had a good Moroccan friend — "the Mysterious Moroccan," as I’ve come to think of him, since he wouldn’t speak to me — who strongly encouraged him to convert, and may even have insisted that he do so as a price of friendship.

Muslims are just as intrigued by Vincent’s transformation as anyone else. "I was making prayer in this mosque during Ramadan in November 2001," he told me, "and I could feel the brother next to me stare. After the prayers, the first thing out of his mouth was, ‘How did you become a Muslim?’ That was very strange to me. I didn’t know how to answer him. I said, ‘What do you mean, how did I become a Muslim?’ And he said, ‘How did you become a Muslim? You have to have a story of how you became a Muslim.’ And I realized he was right. There was a process I went through. Muslims know that it’s not by chance that you come into this religion. I know that now too."

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Charles Vincent, shortly after
he converted, in a photo
from a flier for his college talk,
“How Islam Changed Me.”

FROM SIOUXSIE TO ALLAH

Vincent was born into a middle-class Catholic family in Inglewood and grew up in Torrance. He was the youngest of eight children — all boys. After "dabbling" in college, he took a job as a bellman at the Torrance Marriott, and worked his way up to the position of night-shift auditor, which he kept for five years. He enjoyed the responsibility, and the feeling of being awake in a hotel in which everyone else was asleep. But he often asked himself what he was doing with his life, and the answer came: "Didn’t do anything today, didn’t do anything today, didn’t do anything today . . ."

A sociable loner, he would end his shift at 7 in the morning, eat in a Taco Bell on Hawthorne Boulevard in Lawndale, and sleep until 3 in the afternoon. In his free time he worked out, went swimming or surfing, and hiked in the Palos Verdes. He had amibitions to be a stage actor and took part in a local production of Red River, but his passion was for music. His girlfriend was obsessed with the band Danzig (a band member pulled a gun on them when they broke into the grounds of his Hollywood house), and he, in turn, was obsessed with the spiky, aging lead singer of Siouxsie and the Banshees. He waited for Siouxsie outside her hotel when she played in L.A., asked her to autograph T-shirts and pose for photographs, and would stand in the front at her concerts so he could grab her leg onstage (she let him). One night, hanging around in the lobby of her hotel, he asked if she would pose for yet another photograph, and Siouxsie decided she’d had enough. "You have one minute," she answered in an icy voice. That was the last time he saw her.

When he thought about moving to New York, his brother Mike encouraged him. "Dude," he said, "you know what? You’ve already worked for Marriott for five years in this nowhere city, and now they’re trying to make you work even longer hours. Just go." In 1999, Vincent went. Through Marriott, he arranged to take a job at the front desk of the Marriott in Times Square, while he himself lived in a hotel on James Street in the West Village. It was an old, musty, creaky place down by the waterfront whose main claim to fame was that the survivors from the Titanic had been put up there in 1912. In the room next to Vincent’s was a transvestite. As New York beginnings go, it was classic.

But within a couple of years, Vincent was in trouble. He quit the Marriott and became involved in an ill-fated pet-care business venture, which was when he met the Moroccan, whom he hired off the street. It was a chaotic time, and they soon became best friends. They spent a lot of time partying, blew all their money, and by the summer of 2001 they were both out of work and had lost the apartment they’d moved into in New Jersey. For a few weeks, they were virtually homeless.

Things got even worse after Vincent and the Moroccan got into a fight with some guys outside a nightclub in Greenwich Village. Over the phone, Vincent’s brother Mike told me he thought the brawl may have broken out because the Moroccan was harassing some girls coming out of the club. Vincent says the Moroccan had nothing to do with it; in fact, by this time the Moroccan was already rediscovering his Islamic faith and had begun to distance himself from Vincent, who would see him praying and feel bewildered.

Vincent’s version of the story is that he and a friend from Las Vegas, Joey, saw a girl vomiting on the sidewalk outside the club. She was tiny, and she kept vomiting and vomiting, and they couldn’t believe how much was coming out of her. Joey had a camera, and they decided to take a picture. When the flash went off, the girl’s boyfriend looked up and said, "You think that’s funny?" "Yeah, it’s funny," Vincent replied. They got into a shouting match, and suddenly the boyfriend was standing in front of him, ready to fight.

It was late on a Saturday night in the Village, and hundreds of people were milling about in the street. Soon they were baying for blood. Several of the girl’s other male friends joined in, and Vincent remembers being dragged across the street and pushed down by three men, when someone hit him in the eye. Joey had disappeared, but the Moroccan, who was down the block, heard the shouts and came running over. When he saw what was happening, he tried to defend his friend, taking on several men by himself. Eventually the police arrived, took one look at Vincent’s face and called an ambulance: A blood sac had formed in his eye and was starting to protrude from it.

It was after being discharged from the hospital, wearing a big bandage on his eye, that Vincent saw a Muslim selling copies of the Koran on the street in Queens. Recalling some of the things the Moroccan had been telling him about it, he bought one, though he didn’t read it straight away. A couple of days later he began to lose vision in his eye. It had become infected, and in order to prevent the infection from endangering the vision in his other eye, the doctors told him they might have to take it out.

Shortly before 9/11, Vincent ended up spending two nights at St. Vincent’s Hospital on the west side of Manhattan, with both of his eyes bandaged, wondering if he was about to go blind. "All I could hear was the beeping of the machinery around me and the people and the nurses talking, and I guess in the darkness I had time to think about myself and my situation," he told me, recalling his frame of mind at the time.

"Where did I go wrong? I came from a good family in California — what led me to this? You know, bringing me all the way to New York to be sitting in a hospital. Here I am, I’m going to lose my eyeball. How did this happen? Why would this happen to me? And while I was covered, while I had the bandages on, that’s when I prayed for the first time in my life. I asked God to not let this happen to me. And so I did a heartfelt prayer to God."

Vincent’s prayers appear to have been answered. The following morning the doctors took the bandages off his eyes, and the vision in his bad eye had returned. He was then rushed into the operating room for some laser surgery. By 9/11 he was out of the hospital, though still wearing a patch on his eye, and staying in a house in Queens belonging to his Moroccan friend’s cousin. The Moroccan’s mother had come to visit from Casablanca, and so when the planes struck the towers, Vincent — unlike most Americans — experienced the day from the perspective of someone living in the bosom of an Arab family.

"All we had to do was look out our door to see the World Trade Center, all the smoke," Vincent said. "I remember being at a grocery store a block from our house, calming [the Moroccan] down. And he gave me the scenarios of how Islam was going to be the victim of this all. And again, not knowing anything about it, I said, ‘Okay, calm down, calm down, I know what you’re saying . . .’

"Because he’s Arab he knew a lot of Arabs, and the Arabs he knew I knew. They all knew exactly what had happened and the way it was going. They were more shocked than anybody, and they didn’t know how to take me now. So the focus was on me. ‘What do you think happened? What do you think about this? What do you think is going to happen?’ I said, ‘Listen, I don’t know any more than you about this, so don’t . . .’ I couldn’t answer any kind of question like that."

In the days after the attack, while New York’s traumatized citizens stared at their television sets, watching endless replays of the planes slicing through the World Trade Center, Vincent read the Koran, becoming more and more enraptured by it as he went on.

"In the second chapter it says, ‘In this book you’ll find no doubt,’" he told me. "Meaning no contradictions. There’s nothing that’s going to say one thing here and another thing there. But as you read, you understand this was not written by a man. There’s a clear, clear distinction between this book and others. What was also shocking was that it clarified the other book — the Bible. It’s spoken of in the Koran, and spoken of highly in the Koran. So I was absolutely baffled that this book I had no idea existed was explaining my book for me.

"It was a very strange time to decide to come into a religion like this," he concluded, "but for me it was meant to be. It was meant for me to see this, and it was my time to see it."

GOING IMMIGRANT

I first met Vincent outside a small Bangladeshi mosque on First Avenue and 11th Street in New York’s East Village. It was a Saturday night in October, and he was standing in front of the entrance talking to another Muslim, Raul ("Omar") Pacheco, a 43-year-old Spaniard who converted in his 20s and later spent five years on a scholarship in Saudi Arabia. Vincent wore the Islamic dress of many of the Bangladeshis who go to the same mosque, and the light above the doorway illuminated his pale skin and blond beard. The lines around his eyes seemed unusually pronounced for a man not yet 30. His face looked drawn, but he smiled broadly, displaying a glistening row of white, orthodontically perfect Southern California teeth. He said he drove a cab — like so many other Muslims. Laughing, he told me that he had converted just before 9/11 — "Great timing, right?" — though the next time I saw him he had subtly amended his story. I asked for his phone number, but he seemed reluctant to give it to me. His line was being tapped by the FBI, he said, like those of most Muslims. Instead, he gave me his e-mail address.

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Syrian sheik Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi,
who bears an uncanny resemblance
to Vincent, sermonizes at the 96th
St. Mosque: “What justifies us living
in America, other than to convey
the Message?"

My impression that night was that Vincent took Islam very, very seriously, almost to the point of parody. That he drove a cab seemed a bit much — it was as if he were trying to replicate a certain kind of Muslim lifestyle in America down to the last detail, to become just another Yemeni or Pakistani driving busy Westerners around. It was the reverse of the old expat, colonial phenomenon of "going native." Vincent had "gone immigrant"; he’d expatriated himself inside his own country. There was something moving about his sincerity. Was he learning Arabic? Did he plan to go to Mecca? Was he still in touch with his old friends from L.A. and elsewhere? What did his parents think? Had the FBI talked to him? There wasn’t time to ask. Explaining that he was working the night shift in his cab, he excused himself and disappeared into the darkness.

Pacheco, it turned out, teaches Arabic at the mosque on 96th Street, and he told me that for a while Vincent had been one of his pupils. (I later sat in on a class, which was made up of a white professor from Hofstra University who had converted to Islam and an African-American couple, also converts, and their three boys, all of whom were laboriously copying down sentences from the blackboard in Arabic script.) Unlike Vincent, Pacheco was dressed in ordinary street clothes. Looking at him, no one would guess he was a Muslim. He looked like an ordinary Spaniard of the Almodóvar generation, and had a Texan wife — also a Muslim. ("My wife is a cowboy!" he joked.) His own preference, he told me, was for the Sufi branch of Islam, which he believes is less doctrinaire, more poetic in its essence than the dominant brand.

And what did he think of Vincent? "I was like that once," he responded, adding that he also had worn the white kufi and Arab dress. But now he no longer felt the need to advertise his Muslim status. "Ninety percent of the Europeans who have embraced Islam went through a certain kind of crisis, of not being completely satisfied," he told me. "I was very indecisive and unfocused when I was young, and Islam brought me steadfastness, energy. It makes sense, Islam. There are many crazy people, of course."

Ten days after that first encounter, I arranged to meet Vincent outside the same mosque at around 1:30 on a Thursday afternoon. Even allowing for the fact that it was Ramadan, the number of people filing in and out would have astonished a priest, who would have been overjoyed to have that many congregants in a week. There were plenty of churches, even cathedrals, in the neighborhood, but most of them were locked. Whereas there were about 100 people in the mosque, as many as it could fit, rows and rows of barefoot men listening to a pre-recorded voice intone prayers in Arabic.

At 1:45, Vincent pulled up in his cab and apologized for being late — he’d had to take someone to the airport. He was wearing dark, almost-wraparound glasses that made him look like a postmodern American ayatollah, a hip blind sheik. He was sniffling because of a cold and limping because of a back problem. On his wrist he wore a chunky Swatch wristwatch — a gift from the Moroccan. I asked if I could take his photograph, but he said he would prefer it if I didn’t. (He later allowed photographs to be taken.) It’s against the true Muslim’s belief, he told me, as is shaking hands with a woman other than one’s wife. Movies are now forbidden as well, along with music, because Muhammad said it was "of the devil." In his cab, Vincent either listens to the news or Arabic-language tapes. The last time he was in Torrance, he gathered up his entire music collection — CDs, records, rare LPs he’d hunted down on Melrose Avenue, videos of concerts, rock star posters, jars of ticket stubs from Lollapalooza and concerts by Siouxsie, Danzig, Ministry, Sisters of Mercy, Christian Death — and dumped the whole lot into an industrial-size garbage can in his mother’s back garden. And felt really good about it too. It was as if he’d purged himself of a lifetime of Western culture.

"Why shouldn’t you listen to music?" I asked.

"Because it takes up valuable space in my mind, space I need for the entire Koran rather than Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ or something nonsensical like that. These things are not going to benefit me in the hereafter, they will only be held against me."

Mateen Siddiqui, vice president of the Michigan-based Islamic Supreme Council of America (ISCA), a Sufi Muslim organization that has many white adherents and keeps tabs on fundamentalist Islam in America, calls that "a very hardcore, Taliban-style belief. I wouldn’t say it’s militant, but it’s very extreme. The problem is it can often lead to a militant attitude in the future." According to the ISCA, the majority of mosques in the United States have been taken over by radicals who preach the dour, restrictive version of Wahhabi Islam financed and championed by Saudi Arabia.

"If you go to an ordinary Islamic country," Siddiqui told me, "they don’t act like that. Most Muslims watch TV, take pictures, listen to music . . . The same is true of a lot of the people who go to the mosques in America. The people who go to them are normal Muslims, but the people who run them are very strict. If a new Muslim comes, they will grab him and indoctrinate him."

Could something like this have happened to Vincent? In his study of Wahhabism, The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa’ud From Tradition to Terror, Stephen Schwartz discusses another Californian convert, the notorious "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh, who was captured in Afghanistan waging jihad against his country. "The speed with which [Lindh] succumbed to Wahhabi conditioning is seen in his peremptory rejection of music almost as soon as he began praying and studying — not just hip-hop music, with its negative and arguably destructive character, but all music," writes Schwartz, who thought that Lindh’s conversion was partly a product of his own superficial culture and existence. "Wahhabism filled the emptiness in Lindh exactly as ‘militia’ paranoia filled the void in homegrown American terrorist Timothy McVeigh," he argues.

Vincent denies that he has been manipulated by anyone in the mosques he goes to, or by his Arab acquaintances. On the contrary, he says that he and his Moroccan friend discovered — rediscovered in the latter’s case — Islam and the Koran together. Nor does he think much of Sufism. "Be careful of that stuff," he told me in his kindly way when the topic came up during one of our first conversations, a frown furrowing his brow. "I’ll just give you a little example of what I mean by that. The Prophet Muhammad, salla ‘alayhi wa sallam [peace and blessings be upon him], anything that came out of his mouth was recorded, just like you’re recording now. And he said this religion will break up into 73 sects, and all of them are going into the hellfire except for the one on the true path of true religion. So when it comes to Sufism, it’s not anything I would consider to be . . . For me, I can’t consider that being any part of an article about Islam."

"So you consider yourself a Sunni Muslim?"

"I would say I was a Muslim following the one true path."

ISLAM IS A WAY OF LIFE

While Vincent worshiped inside the mosque, facing a wall decorated with a map of the Muslim world and five clocks displaying the different prayer times, a small, bearded man in traditional Islamic costume approached me on the sidewalk. His brown eyes were wide open, unblinking, consciously mesmeric, and a big smile lit up his face. Did I have any questions? Was there anything I wanted to know about Islam? He said his name was Hesham el-Ashry, that he was an Egyptian from Cairo, and he invited me to sit down with him on the mosque’s carpeted floor to talk.

Nearby people were praying, sitting around, chatting quietly, even — in the case of one African-American — stretched out asleep. There was a small curtained area for women to pray in, but I didn’t see any women. Someone later explained that this was because women are not required to go to the mosque as often as men, and since the majority of Muslim immigrants are male, there are fewer women anyway. Nonetheless, the overall impression one receives in the mosques is that women are treated, if not as second-class citizens exactly, then almost as an afterthought. In fact, watching the men go in and out of this one little mosque — a thousand or so per day — you could easily mistake it for a kind of social club for men.

"Thanks be to Allah, that he made me Muslim," el-Ashry began, warming up with a brief homily on the "five pillars" of Islam. His English was good, if eccentric, and he had a honey-smooth voice. "We are not Muslims because we are wise, we are not Muslims because we are clever, we are not Muslims because we are so smart. Even when we worship, when we come to pray, when we fast, it is a blessing from Allah. He pleases us by making us Muslims, and by making us worship him."

"Why did you come to the United States?" I asked.

El-Ashry smiled. "The reason is coming to work, to stay here, to have a better life — like everybody. But then afterward I learned that my traveling from my home country to any other place should be, first of all, to make do’wa — to tell people about what is Islam, the truth of Islam, the reality of Islam. So I changed my intentions, and I made my main purpose America to talk about Islam, and my second purpose, to work and make a living."

El-Ashry estimates that he has converted about 20 white Americans to Islam, though he believes that you don’t "convert" to Islam, you "revert" to it, since we are all Muslim at birth — to become Muslim is simply to return to one’s natural state. (As Vincent said to me, even dogs and cats are Muslim, since they behave exactly as Allah decrees.) The Americans he converted, said el-Ashry, had lots of questions about Islam, from why Muslims "kiss the ground" five times a day to why they encircle a black box in the desert. "So when I explained the truth and the reality about everything, then they found out things that completely changed their idea about Islam. They found out the truth about Islam, and about 20 of them asked, ‘Can we be Muslims?’ And I said, ‘Well, you have to be Muslims.’"

I asked how many Americans he thought would convert to Islam in the future.

"Only Allah knows that. I wish all would be Muslims."

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v315/jinniya/lgsm02lede1d_th.jpg (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v315/jinniya/lgsm02lede1d.jpg)
Vincent in his cab and in
his mosque: replicating a certain
kind of Muslim lifestyle in America

"How did you meet these Americans?"

"You see the way I met you?" el-Ashry replied. "People be looking at [me] with a critical eye, sometimes. Sometimes they stop me in the street, talking. Sometimes my neighbors. Sometimes the people I’m working with. Wherever I have a connection with people. And sometimes people come to the mosque asking questions, and I talk to them."

I asked el-Ashry about the way Muslims pray, the different positions they adopt — sitting, standing up, bending down with hands on knees, head down on the floor.

"We pray, or we are supposed to pray, in the same way the Prophet Muhammad prayed," he explained. "He said, 'Pray in the same way you see me pray.’ So that’s why we have to do every single movement according to what he used to do. He taught us where to look, how to stand, where to put your hands, how to open your legs or close your legs. Every single thing he taught us how to do. And this is not only in the prayers, because what people doesn’t know about Islam is [that] it’s not a religion."

"What is it then?"

"Islam is a way of life. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, taught us everything up to how to go to the bathroom. Even when you go to the bathroom, how to go in, how to go out, how to sit, how to wash, how to take a shower. [He taught us] how to eat, how to start your food, how to treat your wife, how to treat your children, how to wake up in the morning, how to put your slippers on, how to put clothes on, how to take clothes off, what to eat, what not to eat . . . And everything had a purpose."

TAXI DRIVER

Presumably the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, did not leave written instructions on how a Muslim should drive a cab in New York City. Even Vincent, with his long experience in the ultimate car culture of Southern California, says he has had to learn to be more aggressive in order to survive in the streets of Manhattan. As Vincent sees it, Islam has not only granted him a new name — Shu’aib ("Think of ‘shoe’ and ‘Abe’ Lincoln," he suggests helpfully) — it has also made him into a completely different person from the happy-go-lucky one known to his friends and family back in Torrance. Even to himself.

"In L.A., I had no direction. I was absolutely clueless as to what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I really cared mostly about the irrelevant things — my music, my hanging out, my friends, my parties. Anything that had no weight or relevance to it, that was what I was most concerned about. I was working just like anybody, living for the weekend, to buy clothes, impress myself, impress others.

"What I can tell you is this," he went on, his voice hoarse and nasal because of his cold, his thoat dry from fasting. (It was already seven hours since his last meal.) "There was Vincent, and there’s Shu’aib. And literally it’s two different people. Why? Because I could never, God willing, be that person again. Meaning my character, my mentality, my closed eyes, my narrowmindedness — everything was just wrong. I use the analogy that I had to have my vision taken away from me to have my eyes opened. All I can say is thanks God for Islam, because it teaches you everything about this life, about this world. It makes you ponder everything, not in a spiritual kind of way, but in a reality kind of way. So when I see things —"

"What do you see [I]here, for example?" I asked as we sped uptown on a beautiful fall day past stores selling expensive jewelry and the finest clothing, past a stunning Japanese woman waiting at the light in a long white coat, her white poodle, straining on the leash, in a coat as well . . .

"Only God knows what’s in people’s hearts, and how they really are and how they really feel, but what I see is a lot of people who are misguided," Vincent said, frowning behind the wheel. "Where are they going? What are they doing? What are their objectives today? Did they stop today to say thanks God for these new clothes I’m wearing? Did they stop today to say thanks God for the food they ate? Did they stop to call their parents? That’s what I see people lacking."

The life Shu’aib lives now is far more demanding than the one Charles lived in the past, and he drives himself far harder than the average Muslim. Every day he must rise before dawn, wash (and during Ramadan, eat), and then hurry down to the 96th Street mosque for the morning prayer, usually in the company of 40 or 50 sleepy worshipers. By 5 a.m., he is in his cab, which he picks up at a depot on 86th Street and Lexington Avenue. The streets are dark, the air frigid. For the next 12 hours he is both in control and controlled by others — a driver at the mercy of his passengers. The city is dotted with mosques, and he must find one of them to pray in at lunch time (though he won’t eat) and again in the middle of the afternoon before finally turning in his cab at 5 p.m. On an average day his take is $85, and he doesn’t seem to mind how hard he has to work for it. "In Islam, money is nothing," he says with a trace of contempt. "We don’t wake up in the morning with dollar signs in our eyes. The first thing we do in the morning is pray."

Four nights a week, he goes to night school at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, where he takes classes in anthropology, the Bible as literature, and Western civilization. He has also served as the vice president and president of the college’s Muslim Students Association, which he helped organize with Avais, a good-humored Pakistani student with a thick mop of black hair. Last year, Vincent gave a talk titled "How Islam Changed Me" for the student association. "We wanted to show that he’s a Muslim and that he’s part of our family — to make a statement that Muslims are not always South Asian or Arab," Avais told me one evening, while he, Vincent and a handful of other Muslim men, including a Jewish New Yorker who is also a convert, were breaking fast in a room above a mosque on 55th Street. The atmosphere was convivial and collegiate. "It’s time to pig out," one of the party joked, digging into his food. Then, humorously, he corrected himself: "Maybe I should say, ‘Cow out.’"

Vincent’s talk was a success. Afterward, a white student named Eric, now Farouk, came into Islam. Within a year Eric had converted his mother, sister and grandmother, Vincent told me, sounding a mite envious. (He longs to convert his parents, even daydreams about it while he’s in his cab, with an intensity that might startle his mother, who, much as she respects her son’s choice, told me she has no intention of joining an organized faith.) The college has a sizable Muslim population, and the non-Muslim students are intrigued by Islam. Vincent gets a lot of inquiries, often from girls, who, to show off their interfaith sophistication, will start a conversation with him by saying, "Oh, I know somebody who is an Islamer" or "I know someone who believes in Muslims."

From the outside, Vincent’s life looks a little grim. He drives a cab — a job white Americans outsourced long ago to Third World immigrants. He has no health insurance and, despite a serious back problem, has been going to a doctor popular with cabdrivers who sounds like someone out of a William Burroughs novel. A reputable physician won’t give you a back injection without having an MRI taken first, but Vincent got four back injections and a bottle of painkillers within two visits. ("Where does it hurt?" the doctor asked, prodding his spine before plunging in the needle.) The painkillers help, but they make him dopey too — which, on top of the punishing sleep schedule (near the end of Ramadan, he spent a night praying in the mosque and then went straight to work), isn’t exactly what a passenger hopes for in a cabdriver.

As for women, not only does he not have a girlfriend, he isn’t even permitted to touch a female hand. He hopes to get married, but his wife will either have to be Muslim or willing to convert immediately. "Women are just part of this life," he told me. "They’re just part of this world. So they’re not going to be beneficial to you in any way. I’m not speaking of Muslim women. I’m speaking of regular women on the street. In my opinion, they’re the ones who are oppressed, not the Muslim women. Ask any Muslim woman if she’s oppressed, and they’re going to say no. They wouldn’t be fighting like they are with this head-scarf issue in France — you know why? Because they don’t want to take it off. Why would they upset the Creator, rather than the Creation? They’re not going to let the Creation ordain for them what the Creator has already ordained.

"For sisters, now, they get utmost respect. Not just from Shu’aib but from any Muslim brother. Ask any Muslim brother, and he’ll tell you that just by seeing a scarf on a woman’s face, on her hair, they have nothing but respect for her. They cannot disrespect this person. Why? Because she’s doing what was ordained for her to do — which is cover herself, have modesty. She’s following what was God’s orders."

A woman not following God’s orders flagged us down from the curb. Wrapped in a fashionably cut red coat, she was in her 40s, brisk and business-like, with lips that were two thin red lines. "Sixty-second and Madison," she ordained, getting into the cab for a five-block ride.

"Where is she going, what is she doing?" Vincent asked after she got out a few minutes later. "To me, the way I see it now, people are living and dying for this world. So much so that nothing else matters, nothing else is relevant. What is relevant is the bag in her hand. She needs to make sure she looks good, that she’s up to par. She needs to spend her money on . . . nonsense! To me, and from being Muslim, I don’t need any of this. I don’t need to waste my time with these people, because they’re not here for the same purpose I’m here for, they don’t see things the way I see them. They’re running very fast, and what’s going to happen at the end? They’re going to die!"

As we headed down FDR Drive, with the East River streaming past us on our left, the conversation turned to politics. It was a week or so before the presidential election, but Vincent said he had no intention of voting. Democracy is based on compromise, he told me, and Islam does not compromise. If he could vote for an Islamic state, he would, with Saudi Arabia as the model. Asked about Taliban-era Afghanistan, he replied cautiously that he didn’t know enough about it to comment. It is his fervent hope that early next year, in the company of a million or so other Muslims, he will be able to go on the haj and circle the black stone at Mecca. "Besides wanting my parents to become Muslim, there’s nothing I want more."

THE SYRIAN ISLAM-SPREADER

The floor of the men’s room in the 96th Street mosque was awash in water. To the left of the entrance stood a huge basket of mismatched flip-flops and sandals, to be put on before going inside. Along one wall men sat on marble blocks in front of taps for people to perform their ablutions — washing feet, arms up to the elbow, rinsing nose and eyes — in preparation for prayer. There were no urinals, just a row of cubicles complete with a tap on one side (for more ablutions) and a plastic bucket on the other. Talking in the men’s room is strongly discouraged. Achieving cleanliness before God is a serious business.

It was Friday prayers, the Islamic Sabbath. One Muslim among many, Vincent found a place on the vast carpeted floor of the main prayer room, and was soon swallowed up by the crowd. Topped by a dome, the mosque feels light and airy and comfortable, like the world’s biggest yoga studio. There is an upstairs balcony for the "sisters," a mihrab — a kind of understated altar — and a minbar, or pulpit, an upright latticed box at the top of five carpeted steps from which the imam delivers the khutba, or sermon. There are no pews, no chairs, no furniture of any kind at all — just an immense plush carpet, a calming green with geometric splashes of color, large enough to accommodate several tennis courts. With its informality and stretches of empty space, the mosque can make a church or a cathedral look pointlessly elaborate and ornate, and it feels curiously modern and user-friendly. Except during specific prayer times, you don’t have to be silent in a mosque, and if a cell phone goes off, nobody makes a fuss. On the contrary, two people can sit and talk while, nearby, someone else prays.

By 1:30 or so, the mosque, both upstairs and down, was packed to overflowing, which meant there were at least 1,300 people there with more lining up outside. (Carpets had been laid out on the grounds to accommodate those who couldn’t get in, and a mountain of castoff shoes was piled up outside the front door.) A slender young woman, veiled in unusually filmy black, rushed in through a side entrance, slipping off a pair of silver-mesh slippers before continuing barefoot on her way up to the balcony. The shoes were inlaid with a beaded flower pattern, and the label on the insole said "SWEET." Lying on the marble floor, inches from the carpet, they looked deliciously sinful.

Sheik Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, a Syrian preacher with green eyes, milk-white skin and a clever face framed by a bushy ginger beard (people at the mosque joked that he and Vincent were brothers) ascended the stairs to the pulpit to deliver the sermon. Vincent had heard al-Yaqoubi before and approved. "He’s pretty blunt," he told me, suggesting that the Syrian, unlike some preachers, wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. Al-Yaqoubi wore a white hat that looked like a tassel-less fez, and a long, pale, hooded Moroccan robe. Holding a pair of black worry beads in one hand, clutching the stair railing with the other, he made a strikingly archaic and authoritative figure. For a while he spoke in Arabic, then switched to English.

Al-Yaqoubi, who spends every Ramadan at the New York mosque but is also a regular visitor to California (he is staying in Orange County this week and will be at the Zaytuna Institute in the Bay Area later in the month) is what might be termed an itinerant Islam-spreader. Based in Damascus, he is the son of a celebrated scholar and delivered his first khutba at the age of 14. He was the imam in a mosque in Gothenburg, Sweden, for several years (in 1999, he was made mufti of Sweden), and has worked and preached in England, Canada and Scotland. He has been to the United States 25 times, and, given the cost of the average flight between New York and Damascus, not to mention Stockholm and Edinburgh and Strasbourg and L.A., someone must be funding him handsomely.

Multilingual and media savvy (he quoted Lancet’s estimate of 100,000 war-related deaths in Iraq to me hours after it first surfaced on the Internet), al-Yaqoubi is optimistic about Islam’s prospects in the West. He estimates that he gives shahada to approximately 100 Americans (of whom 20 will be white, the rest African-American, Hispanic and Asian) every Ramadan in New York, and has had quite a lot of success with whites in the San Francisco Bay area. The diversity of American society makes it easier for Islam to take hold, he believes, because there is no dominant culture to repel it. In England he has had less success, but in Scandinavia "we have lots of the native people coming, but slowly."

The theme of his sermon, which was titled "The Ongoing Battle — But Who Is the Enemy?" was jihad. Jihad as self-defense, as peaceful dissemination of Islam and as self-struggle. Although the 96th Street mosque is the largest and best-known in the United States, and therefore presumably a showcase for moderate Islam in America, the sermon was both moderate and inflammatory in tone, switching from one to the other almost sentence by sentence.

"Anyone who extends peace to us, we extend peace to them," al-Yaqoubi barked over the heads of the seated congregation. "We fight for the sake of Allah . . . We fight those who oppress us, who take our property and our freedom of speech . . . The media depict us as monsters, that we love to fight — No!"

Parts of the sermon were openly political. Al-Yaqoubi, who is considered a moderate, spoke approvingly of jihad in the battlefield, of "fighting in order to liberate your country, as the Iraqis are doing." (Asked about this afterward, he told me that it is natural to fight against an invading army. As to why Arabs so rarely rise up against their own Arab oppressors, he said it was un-Islamic to use violence against a local government.)

From the pulpit, al-Yaqoubi claimed that the early Muslims who came to countries like Egypt and Syria and Iraq and North Africa did so "not to occupy land, but to liberate people who were oppressed by their governments." As for spreading Islam by force, he said, Americans should understand the concept better than anyone, since "America feels she has the right to impose democracy all over the world" and "to throw away governments that don’t agree with her policy." But whereas the desire to disseminate Islam "is based on the divine," the American approach to spreading democracy "is based on greed."

Having said that, al-Yaqoubi once again took a more conciliatory approach. "This doesn’t mean that we are going to practice jihad in America. We have to show our neighbors respect. We love people around the world and want them to become Muslims."

Most intriguing of all, perhaps, were al-Yaqoubi’s remarks about the role of the Muslim immigrant in the West. While many Muslims have come here to earn money and live a better life, he said, they can justify their decision to live in a materialistic, non-Islamic country by acting as messengers for Allah. "What justifies us living in America, other than trying to convey the Message?" he asked rhetorically.

The sermon built to an impassioned, rapid-fire crescendo, in which, almost shouting, al-Yaqoubi seemed to divide jihad into foreign and domestic spheres, with appropriate action for each. "Wherever the American troops are — wherever they are, they are going to be defeated," he yelped. But "here in this country," he instructed Muslims to "leave jihad to those who are fighting jihad," and "work peacefully" to represent Islam.

The end of the sermon signaled the time for prayer, and the atmosphere in the mosque became electric. An usher, massive and rotund as a bouncer, rushed around pushing the congregants into precise rows like Japanese commuters being squeezed into a Tokyo subway car, forcing them to stand shoulder to shoulder in line after line after line, from the back of the mosque all the way to the front. There must be no gaps that wily Satan could slip through, sowing division. As the prayers commenced, thousands of faces touched the floor with choreographed precision.

"It’s a beautifully simple and elegant religion. It’s extremely sensible," I was told by Bruce ("al-Baraa") Randall, a personal trainer and student of South Asian history from Northern California who recently converted to Islam and attends Friday prayers at the mosque. Looking at the hundreds of bent bodies, you could see what he meant. From an observer’s viewpoint, it was rather like a bizarre sartorial demonstration — look, here are the backs of a thousand jackets and the seats of a thousand trousers! Swatches of fabric in every color joined to form an immense patchwork tapestry stretching from one end of the room to the other. To a Christian, it could look strangely alluring. No hymns — no pretending to be singing. Even the prayers, though in Arabic, were brief and required only minimal call-and-response. Curiously, while demanding what to a Christian might appear to be excessive uniformity and obedience, Islam seemed to permit the individual a considerable amount of personal breathing space too. And if you were a non-Arabic speaker, listening to prayers in a foreign language would, I suppose, be similar to a Catholic attending services held in Latin.

With the prayers under way, there was almost no room for the unbeliever. Two mild-mannered cameramen from India’s STAR channel, who were standing next to me filming the proceedings, hurriedly folded up their tripods and disappeared. I decided to go with them. I squeezed my way to the back where the mountain of shoes was surrounded by more mountains, hundreds of Merrills and Nikes and Adidas and lace-ups and sandals flung down on top of each other. Outside more men were praying on the carpets provided, all in equally precise rows, and two men in wheelchairs had made a mournful duet of their own.

Afterward, as the mosque emptied, I ran into Vincent, who was shaking hands and saying "Salaam alaikum, alaikum salaam" to people left and right, many of whom he knew by name. He looked happy, a big smile of belonging on his face. Though it has put him at odds with ordinary American society, becoming a Muslim has also given him a sense of community unavailable to him when he was just another white dude into loud music, parties and girls. It has brought him distinction. The mosque was full of young Arab and South Asian men, sharply dressed businessmen with neat beards, cabdrivers in baseball caps, diminutive Bangladeshis in white robes and trousers — and religion came as naturally to them as breathing. They were entirely unselfconscious about it, and it was obvious that they considered it a source of unity and solace and power. Not for the first time I found myself wondering how it is that so many urban whites have managed to turn their own religion into an object of scorn, even a source of shame, while everyone around them continues to reap the benefits of organized faith. And, since the religious impulse shows no sign of dying out, should we be surprised if spiritually inclined urban whites decide to join a religion which, unlike Christianity, seems to be alive?

"I consider that absolutely the best day of my life," Vincent said, his face bright with happiness when I asked him about the day he took shahada three years ago in this very mosque. "The way I describe it is, it seemed like physically and symbolically the people were emptying into me. This entire room was still full. The imam said, ‘Is there anyone here who wants to take shahada?’ and my friend stood up and said, ‘C’mon, c’mon.’ I said, ‘Now? Here? In front of everybody?’ And he brought me up, and I took shahada with another guy. All I remember of that day is that no one seemed to have moved in the room. The amount of people you saw today? They still remained when I finished saying, ‘I testify there is no god to be worshiped except for Allah, and Muhammed is his messenger.’"

"That’s all you had to do?" I asked, just making sure.

Vincent laughed. "Why, are you ready?"

EVERYBODY LOVED HIM AT THE MARRIOTT

For Vincent, Islam has brought meaning, ethics, discipline, purpose and hope to a life that obviously contained too little of those things before, even if nobody else seemed to notice. Over the phone, his 38-year-old brother, Mike, who works in the computer industry, kept using the word nice to describe his kid brother.

"Chuck, for some odd reason, was extremely nice compared to the rest of us," he said musingly, as if he were still scratching his head over it after all these years. "When we were younger, me and my friends used to say, ‘How did he become so nice when all the rest of us are so aggressive?’ One thing I can see when he’s with his Muslim friends is he goes out of his way with the kids’ fathers to help them with English. He’s just always been nice."

Joshua Rhodes, a buddy from Vincent’s Torrance days, described the L.A. Vincent as "a real fun guy. In high school there were cliques, and he had freedom to roam within all the cliques. A little rebellious, not in a political sense, but he had a wild haircut sometimes, jewelry, more of a punk or Goth. He liked hard punk, Sisters of Mercy. Everybody loved him over at the Marriott."

And now everybody loves him at the mosque. Vincent is nice. He is thoughtful, kind, polite, well-meaning and intelligent, and he has a good sense of humor. Still, I have to confess I’m a little worried about him. Though he is quite articulate, when he talks about the Moroccan — usually referred to vaguely as "my friend" or "my roommate at the time" rather than by his name — he becomes evasive and speaks stumblingly, as if he were trying to protect not only the Moroccan from scrutiny but also himself. Several times I asked to meet his friend but was told that he had no interest in meeting me. The same went for Vincent’s roommate, who is Egyptian and, like the Moroccan, also a strict Muslim. (Both attend Hunter College — the Moroccan studies physics, the Egyptian biochemistry. According to Vincent, they intend to return home as soon as they have their degrees.) Nor was I permitted to come to the apartment, which is in a Pakistani-owned building where, he claims, the FBI not only taps the phones but occasionally sends an agent over to say hello in person. His roommate’s mother was visiting from Egypt, Vincent explained, and it would therefore be awkward to have me there. Vincent himself won’t stay in the apartment if his roommate isn’t present, since being alone with the mother wouldn’t be "respectful."

Lately, Vincent and the Moroccan have been going to a mosque in Queens housed in what was until recently a liquor store. It is, I gather, a particularly austere-looking mosque in which a particularly austere form of Islam is preached. Because the people at the mosque follow shari’a — the code of law based on the Koran — they’re considered "extremist," he told me. The sermons there are in Arabic, but someone is usually on hand to translate. The 96th Street mosque, though it is one he will always go to because it happens to be near his apartment, is too mainstream for him. A fortnight after he’d spoken approvingly about al-Yaqoubi, Vincent had changed his mind. The Syrian was too open to innovation, to allowing stylistic changes to the religion, and in Islam that is haram, forbidden, he said.

The fanaticism, though its expression is muted (it’s not really possible to be an openly fanatical Muslim in America), is undeniable. He told me how last year he and the Moroccan complained to the sheik at 96th Street because there were some photos on display in the mosque showing Jordan’s Queen Rania on a visit, and there are not supposed to be any pictures in mosques. As Vincent remembered it, she may even have been unveiled — another outrage. When they told the imam about it, the imam gently waved aside their objections on the grounds that every religion needs about 5 percent room for deviation, and occasionally you have to bend the rules. According to Vincent, the Moroccan’s jaw nearly hit the floor when he heard this. Even as he related the story, sitting over a plate of post-Ramadan sushi in a restaurant, Vincent’s eyes widened in appalled amazement. "Bend the rules!" he said. "I couldn’t believe he would say something like that! I was so stunned I didn’t even want to shake his hand afterward!"

Islam is not always political — two weeks after the Friday prayer service, I heard al-Yaqoubi deliver a far milder, actually quite charming sermon on the subject of entertainment, complete with puzzled references to Eminem ("He had a hit song about killing his mother with a shovel. Can you believe it!") — but it’s an open question whether it’s possible to become a Muslim in America without being influenced by inherently adversarial, anti-democratic Islamic politics. (Sufi Muslims would appear to be the exception, though al-Yaqoubi is strongly influenced by Sufism himself.) "Mosques in Western countries are permeated with Wahhabi ‘jihad’ rhetoric, encountered the minute one walks in the door," Stephen Schwartz writes in The Two Faces of Islam. "Some imams preach jihad; some tolerate it sympathetically; some oppose it privately but are intimidated into permitting it. But it is everywhere. If the imam does not advocate jihad, activists hang out on the premises or on the sidewalks and in the parking lots nearby, spreading the word."

Following his sermon on entertainment, al-Yaqoubi led the assembly in a prayer for the just deceased Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat. It did make me wonder whether the same would happen if Osama bin Laden passed away — or Saddam Hussein, or al-Zarqawi, the head-chopping leader of the totalitarian, imam-approved Iraqi "resistance." I asked Bruce Randall, the convert who attends Friday prayers at the 96th Street mosque, if he was at all bothered by being asked to say a prayer for the late PLO leader. "Arafat’s a prominent Muslim," he replied. "Why wouldn’t we pray for the death of a prominent Muslim? A couple of weeks ago we did a prayer for the death of a prominent scholar in Medina. We pray for scholars, we pray for leaders."

Randall also disagreed with the idea that al-Yaqoubi’s statement about American troops had a political motivation. "I can understand how an outsider would interpret those words in a different way," he allowed, though he himself had only been an "insider" for a month at the time of the sermon. "When I hear the sheik say that, I’m hearing a leader of my religion saying that God will protect the people who are following his righteous path. To my ears, it’s not a political statement, it’s a religious one. God will not let Islam be struck down. If there are Muslims being attacked somewhere in the world, He will protect them."

When I pressed him further on how he felt about listening to a Syrian imam implicitly call for the defeat of American troops in the middle of Manhattan, Randall answered, slightly frostily, that "In America we have this thing called the First Amendment."

And no doubt the sheik is well aware of it. Listening to him I had the sense that certain Muslims have studied liberal Western society the way a military general assesses an enemy position — probing for strengths and weaknesses, deciding where and how and at what cost penetration can be achieved.

On the subject of Islam and politics, Vincent seems to be in serious denial. The phrase "Islamic terrorism" is an oxymoron, he once told me, and from my conversation with his Torrance buddy Joshua, I gather Vincent’s Muslim friends had already given him their own version of Fahrenheit 9/11 — with Jews, rather than Saudis, as the principal actors — long before Michael Moore came up with his own. But should one expect anything else, given the world he moves in? Two weeks after 9/11, Sheik Muhammad Gemeaha, then the imam of the mosque on 96th Street, abruptly moved back to Cairo, where he promptly told the Arab media that Muslim children were being poisoned by Jewish doctors in American hospitals, and that Zionists had masterminded the attacks on the World Trade Center and on the Pentagon.

In Vincent’s eyes, Islam can do no wrong because Islam is wonderful and his own discovery of it a "miracle." I sometimes think about his passion for this religion, to which he is far more dedicated than the average Muslim, and wonder how it’s all going to end up. "A lot of Muslims don’t know a damn thing about the political side of Islam," says Peter Leitner, a counterterrorism expert in Washington, D.C., meaning that they are unaware of the extent to which the religion has been infiltrated for political purposes. "Politicization is almost always part of the package," says the Islamic Supreme Council of America’s Mateen Siddiqui, referring to hardcore Islamic converts. But if al-Yaqoubi feels comfortable saying in front of 1,300 people in the heart of mainstream American Islam that American troops will be defeated wherever they go, then what might be said in Arabic in small, obscure mosques in Brooklyn, Queens and elsewhere with a translation murmured into a pale, friendly, naive American ear?

But perhaps there is no need to say anything. When I asked Vincent what he thought about al-Yaqoubi’s statement, he answered, with a touch of defiance, that he felt just fine about it. "I do wish the American troops would be defeated," he told me, adding, "I’m a Muslim first, and I just live in this country." (If he could find a bumper sticker that read "AGAINST THE TROOPS," he said, he’d put it on his cab.) And were he ever to find himself in the Middle East, let’s say Iraq, would he fight against American soldiers? "If there was a jihad," he replied evenly, "I don’t see how I could not join in."

[Source: LA Weekly (http://www.laweekly.com/ink/05/02/features-bernhard.php)]

Odin Biggles
Thursday, December 16th, 2004, 04:29 PM
Prat.

Not only has he converted to a religion far and away from who he is, hes encouraging others to do so to.

Of course its up to the individual, but i wouldnt call converting to Islam a peaceful and truthful thing to do, when its religion that creates division.

JoeDas
Thursday, December 16th, 2004, 04:32 PM
Islam is actually a lot like Communism, in that both Islam and Communism are expansionist, violent, and inherently bitterly opposed to Western values and ideals. Communism and Islam both spread by planting their ideals first (which look pretty good and are generally appealing to fools and the naive), they both have no respect for borders or governments, and in both ideologies, the ends justify the means--be it total invasion of enemies or the eradication of anyone who disagrees.

Like Communism before it, Islam is engaging in a tremendous propaganda campaign in the West, and, like Communism before it, Islam is succeeding to some extent in winning converts among the foolish and the naive (like the guy in this article), and among those lacking identity (also like the guy in this article, and like the "American taliban" John Walker Lindh and that jewish guy from California, can't remember his name).

But the situation today is more precarious than the Cold War situation for two reasons:

1) There are not only Muslim-converts in the West today, but there are also many people originally from Islamic nations. In the Cold War, there were relatively few people in the West from Communist nations, and the overwhelming majority of those who were from Communist nations were anti-Communist refugees, so were not in any way a threat.
2) In the Cold War, Communism as an ideology was about the most hated ideology around, and Communists were about the most hated people around and were essentially pariahs. This made it very hard for Communism to subjugate and defeat the West. Today, Muslims and Islam are not nearly as hated as Communists and Communism were in the Cold War; we even have the president of the USA saying how "Islam is a religion of peace" and other obvious lies--No Cold War president would ever have defended Communism as "a political ideology of peace"

These two problems (lots of people from Muslim countries & lack of a strong and determined opposition to Islam) will make it difficult for the West to defeat the Islamist threat. The only consellation is that militarily, the West is much more powerful than the Islamic world, unlike the Cold War, when no one really knew who was stronger-- the Communist nations or the free nations.

One thing is certain though. The man in this article--and others like him--are a serious threat to the West, just as Communists were decades ago.

----

The above is my long response to this article. My short response to it is this: That guy is a complete idiot.:)

Odin Biggles
Thursday, December 16th, 2004, 04:46 PM
One problem i find with Islam is in the Koran it says in war to kill or convert non-muslims in war, their is no one single leader of Islam so if one radical group like Al Queda commits an atrocity, some clerics will denounce it and some will praise it, so they think their doing what they think the Koran says.

Then their is no clear definition of war, would invading a Muslim country be considered it ?.

Evolved
Thursday, December 16th, 2004, 05:25 PM
He comes off as average to above average intelligence and as the article says "nice." Converts are ordinary white Americans. They are the seeker types who question everything. They aren't fanatical anti-racialist multiculturalists hell-bent (or Allah-bent, in this case) on destroying the West. They are spiritual people lost in a soulless, oversexualized, degenerate society who usually have looked for a faith for years. They are people who are dissatisfied with the weakened Christian churches which hypocritically allow gays to marry, cover up for pedophiles and allow women to become preachers.

Defending "Western values" today is like defending a grand church that was converted into a lowly whorehouse years ago. Its a lost and pointless cause, as those values no longer exist. We have an empty shell of what once was civilization. To hell with that. Why defend it?

The only viable options are to 1.revive the spirituality and values of the past, 2.reinvent new ways of thinking, or 3.accept other faiths and ways of life. Any spirituality or personal identity is better than being emotionally attached to your SUV, Britney, Coca-Cola and Monday Night Football, even if that spirituality or personal identity comes from outside the European race.

The war going on is modern "Western" values (fanatical Taliban-like secularism, consumerism, capitalism, vanity, spiritual emptiness, and decadence) vs Islam. Islam itself is not the force destroying whites, modern "Western" values I've listed are far more dangerous. Islam does not alienate people from their sense of identity. Modern "Western" values sure do.

Until options 1. and 2. become ready, option 3. is all spiritually seeking people have. The fact that preservationists are still debating irrelevant bullshit from 70+ years ago tells me those first two options are a long way off, so these few thousand white Muslim "traitors" you'll just have to put up with in the meantime.

Glenlivet
Thursday, December 16th, 2004, 05:29 PM
I think that is exaggerated (although it has happened in Indonesia in modern times with Christians who had to convert, and they would be killed if they did not) as Christians have done such things too. It's true that the religion was spread by the sword in the early days.

What is worse though is that according to the Sharia (Islamic law) any Muslim who convert (the act of apostasy) to another religion can be killed by other Muslims.

http://news.crossmap.com/read/1514



One problem i find with Islam is in the Koran it says in war to kill or convert non-muslims in war

JoeDas
Thursday, December 16th, 2004, 05:37 PM
@ lg: are you really a Muslim, or is your profile some kind of joke?

.

Odin Biggles
Thursday, December 16th, 2004, 05:51 PM
Shes taking the piss, like before when she had her country as Israel.

Odin Biggles
Thursday, December 16th, 2004, 05:56 PM
Why bother with a sword or gun, when you can come here, get a house and benefits, and in time you will become British, no sword or gun is needed in that.

Called Assimilation.

Evolved
Thursday, December 16th, 2004, 07:07 PM
@ lg: are you really a Muslim, or is your profile some kind of joke?

In the loosest possible definition of the word. If a Christian is someone who believes in the Bible I guess I would be a "Muslim" if I believe in the Qur'an. I don't practice any religion, though I did for a time. Perhaps someday in the future I will. Who knows?

Anyhow, don't you think these White American converts to Islam (and Buddhism, Falun Gong, Eastern Thought, etc) are the sort of lost, searching-for-something-meaningful, moderately to highly intelligent, pop-culture spurning people racial realists/preservationists (aka 'the Movement') should be reaching out to, rather than the antisocial pubescents with hormonally driven and poorly thought out hatred toward blacks because 1 negro was mean to them on the schoolbus?

Try reading the individual stories of how white people came to Islam vs individual stories of how white people came to "White Nationalism." There are similarities: both report feeling a void in their lives, both report wanting to belong to some greater cause, both report being unsatisfied with the status quo, many have found their ideology through a friend or lover. However the Muslim converts are much more thoughtful on average, and spent much more time in research, meditation on the facts and ideas.

My point is, Islam and other "non-white" ways of life will always be more attractive to intelligent white Americans than pathetic subcultures like 'White Nationalism', as long as WN continues to promote such shitty, low-brow alternatives.

I never became a White Nationalist because nothing of it ever appealed to me. I never intended even for a second of my life to join a so-called pro-white organization like Aryan Nations, NSM, the Klan, National Alliance, Creativity, Christian Identity. Those groups are comprised of mental midgets who use their skin color association with great culture bearers to claim their own superiority, usually in an attempt to mask their personal failures as individuals and the deep inferiority complex 50+ years of anti-white propaganda has given them.

If you want a "white racist = automatically great person" type statement from me, forget it. I'm on the side of reason, logic, respect, moderation, maturity. Until I can find those things within "the Movement" I'll be hanging my hat elsewhere.

JoeDas
Thursday, December 16th, 2004, 08:21 PM
Try reading the individual stories of how white people came to Islam vs individual stories of how white people came to "White Nationalism." There are similarities: both report feeling a void in their lives, both report wanting to belong to some greater cause, both report being unsatisfied with the status quo, many have found their ideology through a friend or lover. However the Muslim converts are much more thoughtful on average, and spent much more time in research, meditation on the facts and ideas.It's interesting you should mention that actually. Are you familiar with Adam Gadahn's story? (he is the jewish guy from Cali. that converted to Islam...that tape that surfaced a few weeks ago that featured a masked man, supposedly an American, saying all the standard stuff; e.g. "Death to America", "America's streets will run red with blood", etc. etc., that was him). This Gadahn did not spend time contemplating the Muslim religion, he was just desperate to belong and fell in with some Southern California Mosque crowd some time in the 90s, one thing led to another, and now he's is Pakistan or somewhere as a member of Al-Qaeda.

The thing about Gadahn is, people who knew him as a teenager say that he was a normal guy, a little shy, liked music, nothing out of the ordinary, you know...then he became a Muslim, and look where he is now! broadcasting propaganda for Osama bin laden.

And Gadahn isn't alone by any means, Muslim-converts are very prone to being extremists and criminals of various sorts, moreso than converts to Christianity, that's for sure. Moreso than converts to any other faith or ideology

The difference between "white nationalism" and Islam is that white nationalism attracts extremists, criminals, and other lowlives, whereas Islam turns people into extremists and criminals, people who were 'normal' before they converted...of course, Islam doesn't always turn people into fanatics, criminals, or jihadis to be sure.. but it does do it often enough that we can justifiably condemn the Islamic religion, at least in its current form.

Islam is a menace and a threat to the entire non-Muslim world (not just the West), and the Islamic system wants to make slaves of everyone, bring them under Sharia, destroy any and all things non-Muslim, and so on... So, Muslim-converts might be more thoughtful, but ultimately they are throwing that thoughtfullness away by joining the Islamic faith.


I never became a White Nationalist because nothing of it ever appealed to me. I never intended even for a second of my life to join a so-called pro-white organization like Aryan Nations, NSM, the Klan, National Alliance, Creativity, Christian Identity. Those groups are comprised of mental midgets who use their skin color association with great culture bearers to claim their own superiority, usually in an attempt to mask their personal failures as individuals and the deep inferiority complex 50+ years of anti-white propaganda has given them.Those organizations hurt their own cause more than all the 'anti-white propaganda' in the world. People should strive for a "Norman-Rockwellesque" America (that is, the America that is depicted in his paintings), not some pseudo-fascist rabidly-racist cartoon version of America


If you want a "white racist = automatically great person" type statement from me, forget it. I'm on the side of reason, logic, respect, moderation, maturity. Until I can find those things within "the Movement" I'll be hanging my hat elsewhere.You seem like an intelligent and thoughtful individual, and everything you said makes sense, the only think I can't figure out is why you would want to associate yourself with Islam...

Yes, I am anti-Muslim. It is not out of some kind of childish bigotry that I am anti-muslim, but rather because of many things, the biggest influence being conversations I've had with Muslim friends of mine. But I won't bore you with the details :)

Oskorei
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 12:20 AM
The only viable options are to 1.revive the spirituality and values of the past, 2.reinvent new ways of thinking, or 3.accept other faiths and ways of life. Any spirituality or personal identity is better than being emotionally attached to your SUV, Britney, Coca-Cola and Monday Night Football, even if that spirituality or personal identity comes from outside the European race.

Until options 1. and 2. become ready, option 3. is all spiritually seeking people have. The fact that preservationists are still debating irrelevant bullshit from 70+ years ago tells me those first two options are a long way off, so these few thousand white Muslim "traitors" you'll just have to put up with in the meantime.The only point where I agree with you is the point that materialism is out of control in todays society.

In what way are options 1. and 2. impossible? In what way is it impossible to be Pagan or Pre-Vatican II Catholic today? Are you trying to make us believe that all Pagans "debate irrelevant bullshit from 70+ years ago"?

I am a Pagan, and I prefer the religion that was designed for, and developed by, my ancestors over your religion any day. Your religion was developed by people who had so much self-control that they married children and needs the hijab in order not to rape women. Your religion, like all Semite religions, is originally a slave-religion, designed for people who needed commandments, punishments and rewards in order to behave like decent men. My ancestors did not need this, and you will not find much of that in their religions either.

You try to tell us that Muslim converts are intelligent and searching, and better than WN:s in all ways. I answer you that they are ethnomasochists, and that they lack the will to life and the will to power. They latch on to another religion, becoming hangers-on for another race (the Arab race). Is that really something to admire? The WN:s that you dislike so much at least have good instincts; loyalty, pride, love for their own, and will to fight. They are healthy, natural and sons of the soil. Your converts are nothing of that.

And how come you are so unfair in your comparison of WN:s and White Muslims. It's not like you compare the elite of Skadi with the best Muslim converts, or the more childish posters of other racialist foras with drug-addict Hiphop-Muslims or criminal degenerates. No, you compare the "best" converts to Islam with the "worst" racists. I find that a little dishonest.

Besides, I see nothing of value, or related, to Germanic preservation in conversion to Islam. There are acute geopolitical reasons not to adopt Islam as well (at a point in time when we are being invaded by Muslims), but I have described them repeatedly before.

Triglav
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 12:33 AM
Good post, Oskorei. On top of that, European heathenism is dynamic as opposed to the dogmatic nature of Semitic religions. It evolved and still evolves with the people.

Glenlivet
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 12:45 AM
Are you thinking of Asatro?

Catholicism has actually also a cultural aspect that is quite foreign for many of the northern European countries. Ireland is an exception. It might have brought a strong sense of pride and closeness, but also a lot of suffering, especially for the younger generation. That can definitely hinder progress.

The degrading view of women in the Catholic world is not so different from the Near Eastern monotheistic religions, which are an expression of the temperament and culture of the folk.

Children are raised in their religion the same way they are raised into their culture. Religion to me is part of culture, and I feel that I can learn as much from a philosophy book as I can from a book that is called divine. Religion would not have such a strong effect if it was not part of our culture. Wisdom that is passed on can lose its relevance depending on the time and place. Culture is part of man, and man is part of nature.

Mohammed's teaching that God forbids more than 4 wifes was good for the Arab heathens who maybe took 30 wifes. It was a common practise to steal wifes among the pre-Islamic Bedouin tribes.

It has nothing to do with the western civilisation. Islam was suitable for the people that Mohammed addressed.






I am a Pagan, and I prefer the religion that was designed for, and developed by, my ancestors over your religion any day.

SouthernBoy
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 03:36 AM
[QUOTE=lg]He comes off as average to above average intelligence and as the article says "nice." Converts are ordinary white Americans. They are the seeker types who question everything. They aren't fanatical anti-racialist multiculturalists hell-bent (or Allah-bent, in this case) on destroying the West. They are spiritual people lost in a soulless, oversexualized, degenerate society who usually have looked for a faith for years. They are people who are dissatisfied with the weakened Christian churches which hypocritically allow gays to marry, cover up for pedophiles and allow women to become preachers.
QUOTE]

Where on earth do you live, and how tight are the immigration laws? :D

Krampus
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 03:59 AM
lg-

He comes off as average to above average intelligence and as the article says "nice." Converts are ordinary white Americans. They are the seeker types who question everything. They aren't fanatical anti-racialist multiculturalists hell-bent (or Allah-bent, in this case) on destroying the West. They are spiritual people lost in a soulless, oversexualized, degenerate society who usually have looked for a faith for years.

This doesn't sound like a "nice" guy to me, but a stalker-loser.


His girlfriend was obsessed with the band Danzig (a band member pulled a gun on them when they broke into the grounds of his Hollywood house), and he, in turn, was obsessed with the spiky, aging lead singer of Siouxsie and the Banshees. He waited for Siouxsie outside her hotel when she played in L.A., asked her to autograph T-shirts and pose for photographs, and would stand in the front at her concerts so he could grab her leg onstage (she let him). One night, hanging around in the lobby of her hotel, he asked if she would pose for yet another photograph, and Siouxsie decided she’d had enough. "You have one minute," she answered in an icy voice. That was the last time he saw her.

This is not normal behaviour.


Vincent’s version of the story is that he and a friend from Las Vegas, Joey, saw a girl vomiting on the sidewalk outside the club. She was tiny, and she kept vomiting and vomiting, and they couldn’t believe how much was coming out of her. Joey had a camera, and they decided to take a picture. When the flash went off, the girl’s boyfriend looked up and said, "You think that’s funny?" "Yeah, it’s funny," Vincent replied. They got into a shouting match, and suddenly the boyfriend was standing in front of him, ready to fight.

Again, this man is not nice, nor is he normal.


They are people who are dissatisfied with the weakened Christian churches which hypocritically allow gays to marry, cover up for pedophiles and allow women to become preachers.

Yes, and Islam is an even worse alternative. This guy was shallow and empty prior to his conversion, he's the same guy as before.

Northern Paladin
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 06:36 AM
Obviously there is something wrong with the guy. There is something wrong with any white American who would convert to Islam. Another John Walker Linn in the making. :|

Razmig
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 07:35 AM
Prat.

Not only has he converted to a religion far and away from who he is, hes encouraging others to do so to.

Of course its up to the individual, but i wouldnt call converting to Islam a peaceful and truthful thing to do, when its religion that creates division.
So how can you label someone by his skin color and ascert that a religion does not pertain to that individual? Hypocracy, really. If that's the case, Christianity is far from who Europeans are, aside from the fact that it is who they are simply because they've adopted it amongst other foreign influences.

Aistulf
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 10:29 AM
So how can you label someone by his skin color and ascert that a religion does not pertain to that individual? Hypocracy, really. If that's the case, Christianity is far from who Europeans are, aside from the fact that it is who they are simply because they've adopted it amongst other foreign influences.
Hardly anyone in (Western) Europe cares for religion anymore nowadays. Chrisitianity had evolved into something European; the style of architecture, of all the churches, monasteries etc. surely weren't in "oriental" style. Jesus Christ was also depicted as a European man.

Awar
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 11:21 AM
Americans, searching for identity... any identity...

Ridiculous... why should a muslim wear 'generic middle-eastern' clothes.
Europe has a large population of muslims, who manage to be both religious, and to wear normal clothes, act like normal people. But, not an American searching for identity...
he simply HAS to wear a certain type of clothes, have a certain beard, walk in a certain way... let's face it, the essence of the religion, any religion, any identity is secondary. What's promary to these people are the accessories.

"Wow! Look at them neat baggy pants and fur coats and warm hats those Sherpas wear! I wanna be just like them! Damn! I forgot, I live in California, it's too hot here to be a Sherpas, I know! I'll be a moosleem, they too wear baggy pants!"

Aistulf
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 11:26 AM
Americans, searching for identity... any identity...
I doubt it, surely in this case. He's just as deranged as all those negroes in prison that convert to Islam.



Ridiculous... why should a muslim wear 'generic middle-eastern' clothes.
Europe has a large population of muslims, who manage to be both religious, and to wear normal clothes, act like normal people. But, not an American searching for identity...
Like those guys who hijacked a Greek bus and threatened to kill the hostages this week? Or those who use Serbian churches, monasteries etc. as public toilets and constantly put them on fire under EU/UN/NATO 'supervision'? Or those who poor into Western Europe and trade women?

Awar
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 11:30 AM
Nah, I'm speaking about muslims who manage to be normal people, not slaves to their religion.

As with everything, I have a good explanation, but I gotta run now. :D

Aistulf
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 11:31 AM
Nah, I'm speaking about muslims who manage to be normal people
Do they actually exist or just in your head?

Odin Biggles
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 02:58 PM
Awar will explain when he gets back, hes good at that, explaining things :).

Ahnenerbe
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 03:13 PM
Your religion, like all Semite religions, is originally a slave-religion, designed for people who needed commandments, punishments and rewards in order to behave like decent men. My ancestors did not need this, and you will not find much of that in their religions either.
Well put. This is the core of the why of the judeo-christian/muslim mentality. Religion designed for slaves and weaks. The same goes for the so-called muslim "heroism" and their daily rageous behaviour; it's just that they realize that they aren't able for anything valuable in this world so they kill themselves out of despair or at least spend their time to waiste Whites' one.

Envy and jealousy are the only things that are driving their minds. Remember Mohamed Atta: 30 y. old and never had a f... that's why he did what he did. Sad loosers. They may certainly feel so sad and rageous just because tough, they are the muds who look the closer to Europeans lol.

Awar
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 05:18 PM
I doubt it, surely in this case. He's just as deranged as all those negroes in prison that convert to Islam.

Who are also Americans. By that, I mean, the citizens of the consumer society known as the USA. Just like the white American women who are told that it's cool to have sex with negroes, just like the horde of people who are told that piercings make them more 'individual'...


Like those guys who hijacked a Greek bus and threatened to kill the hostages this week?

Those are Albanians. It's equally as likely that they are Catholics, or less likely to be Orthodox. I don't know their names, when I find out, I'll tell you which religion they are.


Or those who use Serbian churches, monasteries etc. as public toilets and constantly put them on fire under EU/UN/NATO 'supervision'?

Again, there is a large minority of Catholic Albanians who also do that.
The main problem with Albanians isn't in their religion. It's a part of the problem. Most of them are Muslim, so they have been a suitable agent for the
Islamists who finance them. However, the Orthodox and Catholic Albanians don't seem to mind the destruction of these Christian temples.

The Albanians, thanks to their specific lifestyle and culture are always suitable for use by foreign powers.


Or those who poor into Western Europe and trade women?

I'm not speaking about middle-easterners either.

A few years ago, I was travelling by train from Montenegro to Serbia.
On one stop, two Gypsies entered the compartment, and sat there.
A bit later, two girls also came in. One of them was a stunning natural blonde with blue eyes and an angelic face. Her name was Edita.

After a while, during the conversation with all of them, I realized that I'm the only non-Muslim there. Nobody was wearing any funny clothes, we even talked about religion, and they were quite fascinated with my view on things ( the creation of universe especially ). I even exchanged my phone number with the girls, and helped them get settled in my home city ( they were students, first time in Serbia ).

Aistulf
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 05:34 PM
Those are Albanians. It's equally as likely that they are Catholics, or less likely to be Orthodox. I don't know their names, when I find out, I'll tell you which religion they are.
One was called "Hassan", the name was mentioned in the news when the Greeks were talking to him when he was in the bus.



Again, there is a large minority of Catholic Albanians who also do that.
The main problem with Albanians isn't in their religion. It's a part of the problem. Most of them are Muslim, so they have been a suitable agent for the
Islamists who finance them. However, the Orthodox and Catholic Albanians don't seem to mind the destruction of these Christian temples.
Eh, whatever you say, you're the Serbian here...

But I can tell you, of all modern Albanians (not speaking of the ancient Albanians, that fled since Skanderbeg's death) in Italy are predominantly Muslim and causing 'loads of trouble.'



A few years ago, I was travelling by train from Montenegro to Serbia.
On one stop, two Gypsies entered the compartment, and sat there.
A bit later, two girls also came in. One of them was a stunning natural blonde with blue eyes and an angelic face. Her name was Edita.

After a while, during the conversation with all of them, I realized that I'm the only non-Muslim there. Nobody was wearing any funny clothes, we even talked about religion, and they were quite fascinated with my view on things ( the creation of universe especially ). I even exchanged my phone number with the girls, and helped them get settled in my home city ( they were students, first time in Serbia ).
Okay?... Well, good for you I guess.

Allenson
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 06:15 PM
I am a Pagan, and I prefer the religion that was designed for, and developed by, my ancestors over your religion any day. Your religion was developed by people who had so much self-control that they married children and needs the hijab in order not to rape women. Your religion, like all Semite religions, is originally a slave-religion, designed for people who needed commandments, punishments and rewards in order to behave like decent men. My ancestors did not need this, and you will not find much of that in their religions either.


The best post that I've read in several days. ;)

Awar
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 06:50 PM
One was called "Hassan", the name was mentioned in the news when the Greeks were talking to him when he was in the bus.

Yeah, but in any case, it's surely not an incident instrued from Muslim conspiracy overlords of Saudi Arabia ;)


Eh, whatever you say, you're the Serbian here...

Yep. And I know exactly what I'm talking about.
There are some muslim friends we have who are OK people,
and there are also many muslims I've known, or still know, who
fantasize about slaying infidels in a bloody jihad.

But, that all is besides the point I was trying to make. :)



But I can tell you, of all modern Albanians (not speaking of the ancient Albanians, that fled since Skanderbeg's death) in Italy are predominantly Muslim and causing 'loads of trouble.'

From the most arid parts of Albania.
The Albanians who live on Kosovo are predominantly Muslim, but they never immigrated anywhere, thanks to having a higher standard than Albanians in Albania etc. Actually, Albanians fled Albania to settle in Kosovo.

How they live now is their fault only.

Again, the immigrations are predominantly an economic problem.
The fact that the western governments are ridiculous enough to accept that,
and the fact that the majority of trouble-making immigrants are muslim aren't really caused by 'a grand Islamic threat'... however, they are becoming a grand Islamic threat.

Nobody is fleeing the rich Islamic countries, only the poor. The same can be said about Christians, Jews, Buddhists etc.


Okay?... Well, good for you I guess.

Well... imagine being in a train full of Americans who converted into Islam?
How would they most probably be dressed? What would you talk to them about? Just imagine the situation.

Awar
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 06:52 PM
Anyway, don't look at me when it comes to religions.
I'd be happiest if they all ceased to exist.

Awar
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 07:14 PM
@Volksdeutscher: what would you do :D
Nice nordid muslim girl like that, in need of assistance :)

Aistulf
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 07:44 PM
The last time a Muslim girl was in need of assistance I spat on her moustache because it was on fire.

Awar
Friday, December 17th, 2004, 11:27 PM
Seems to me that you think Islam is a racial trait, not a religion.

Try it out. If you go to a mosque and convert to Islam ( just for experiment ),
try to take photos of yourself. If your grow a unibrow, or suddenly start wearing middle-eastern clothes, then I must be wrong.

Glenlivet
Saturday, December 18th, 2004, 01:03 AM
I would help her from Islam, especially if she's a poor Bosnian. :)




@Volksdeutscher: what would you do :D
Nice nordid muslim girl like that, in need of assistance :)

Aistulf
Saturday, December 18th, 2004, 01:11 AM
Seems to me that you think Islam is a racial trait, not a religion.
A religion with followers predominantly resembling those racial traits, that is; well, at least here in the Netherlands, where we can make ethnic distinction between Muslims and 'non-Muslims.' It might be 'easier said than done' down in the Balkans, 'just saying' though.



Try it out. If you go to a mosque and convert to Islam ( just for experiment ),
try to take photos of yourself. If your grow a unibrow, or suddenly start wearing middle-eastern clothes, then I must be wrong.
Does the experiment include that I have to dress myself like a 'Middle Easterner' and chop a part of my dick off? And, unibrow (!) ? I'm from a part of Europe where unibrows are, at least among the ethnic 'natives', less common. Unless I glue some hair there.

Thanks for suggesting such a great idea, but I'll pass.

Razmig
Saturday, December 18th, 2004, 02:07 AM
Hardly anyone in (Western) Europe cares for religion anymore nowadays. Chrisitianity had evolved into something European; the style of architecture, of all the churches, monasteries etc. surely weren't in "oriental" style. Jesus Christ was also depicted as a European man.
Which brings me to my original point. Religion is Culture, culture is religion. Western Europe (although you use it very wrongfully and broadly) such as Germany, has influences from all over the world, an idea which is very openly liberal and so fourth. Much like Turkey (which has seperated its ties with religion) still bears a culture that manifests itself amongst the citizens of that nation.

Christianity was foreign to Europe, it was absorbed and molded to Europes ideals (by Europe I mean all people who are Christian today in the region). Religion is made by man, as is language, dance etc. How can it not exist in Europe when it always will?

Awar
Saturday, December 18th, 2004, 02:07 AM
at least here in the Netherlands, where we can make ethnic distinction between Muslims and 'non-Muslims.' It might be 'easier said than done' down in the Balkans, 'just saying' though.

Certainly because in the netherlands the Muslims were imported from the middle east, while our Muslims are converted locals. Sorta like that American guy from the first post, sorta like the future generations of identity-less NW Europeans and Americans will become muslims.


A religion with followers predominantly resembling those racial traits, that is; well

So, if you're Catholic, then you must be a Mestizo? :P



Does the experiment include that I have to dress myself like a 'Middle Easterner' and chop a part of my dick off? And, unibrow (!) ? I'm from a part of Europe where unibrows are, at least among the ethnic 'natives', less common. Unless I glue some hair there.

Then you agree that religion has nothing to do with racial traits.


Thanks for suggesting such a great idea, but I'll pass.

It's for science sake! :D

Aistulf
Saturday, December 18th, 2004, 02:49 PM
Certainly because in the netherlands the Muslims were imported from the middle east, while our Muslims are converted locals. Sorta like that American guy from the first post, sorta like the future generations of identity-less NW Europeans and Americans will become muslims.
Bingo.



So, if you're Catholic, then you must be a Mestizo? :P
In the pre-20th century USA it might not have been such strange association, since Central-South America was almost completely Catholic and there were less catholics in the USA itself. That's the way people perceive Muslims aswell here in Europe, as it's practised by mostly non-Dutch/non-European (Europid) people.

So "Muslim" has become more of an ethnic designation than a religious one, in Dutch society at least. Probably because of this phenomenon, they also regard criticism on Islam "racist"; I hear it enough around me, how silly it may sound.



Then you agree that religion has nothing to do with racial traits.
Of course I do, but certain religions originated from, or either evolved into, something culturally alien to Europe(ans). Basically what I've explained above.

Awar
Saturday, December 18th, 2004, 03:47 PM
Bingo.

Yep, but the point of this entire thread isn't about middle-eastern Muslims,
but about fresh converts to Islam.


In the pre-20th century USA it might not have been such strange association, since Central-South America was almost completely Catholic and there were less catholics in the USA itself. That's the way people perceive Muslims aswell here in Europe, as it's practised by mostly non-Dutch/non-European (Europid) people.

The Dutch people were once Catholic. Were they also once Mestizos?



So "Muslim" has become more of an ethnic designation than a religious one, in Dutch society at least.

Bingo! But, such things are dynamic. They change.
I certainly hope there won't be more Muslims in Europe, at least not those
who pledge allegiance to middle-east rather than their home country.



Probably because of this phenomenon, they also regard criticism on Islam "racist"; I hear it enough around me, how silly it may sound.

One more point for regarding Islam as an a-racial belief/political system and not a racial issue. Not a direct one at least.
( it's not merely a religion, but it's not tied to any race either ).



Of course I do, but certain religions originated from, or either evolved into, something culturally alien to Europe(ans). Basically what I've explained above.

Again, soon, most Christians will be Asians and Africans who are converting in huge numbers, and bearng huge numbers of children who will be christians.

The first Christians were Middle-Easterners.

Aistulf
Saturday, December 18th, 2004, 04:40 PM
The Dutch people were once Catholic. Were they also once Mestizos?
Read what I wrote more carefully, because that's not what I said.

By the way, for your information, there are still a lot of Dutch Catholics. Of all Christians in the Netherlands there are as many Catholics as Reformed/Protestants.



Bingo! But, such things are dynamic. They change.
I certainly hope there won't be more Muslims in Europe, at least not those
who pledge allegiance to middle-east rather than their home country.
I'm getting tired of this. Well, I know one thing: we in Western Europe don't need Islam. Islam fits better in the Middle East, Balkans and other tribalized areas, not Western Europe.



One more point for regarding Islam as an a-racial belief/political system and not a racial issue. Not a direct one at least.
( it's not merely a religion, but it's not tied to any race either ).
Whatever you say, but I beg to differ.



Again, soon, most Christians will be Asians and Africans who are converting in huge numbers, and bearng huge numbers of children who will be christians.
Like I said before in this thread, religion isn't such a big issue anymore in Western Europe. At least, people do it more for themselves.



The first Christians were Middle-Easterners.
But it weren't Middle Easterners who spread it. It were the Anatolians (such as the Armenians) who spread it and the Greco-Macedonians and Romans who eventually 'implemented' it into Europe; from where it evolved into something completely European and even more so after the Renaissance.

Glenlivet
Saturday, December 18th, 2004, 10:55 PM
Essex boys sign up for 'holy war'

"Once known as John, 29-year-old Akhtar is one of a new generation of white converts being recruited into British Islamic organisations with links to al-Qaeda. His home, the suburban town of Ilford on the London-Essex border, has become a flashpoint for extremist activity."

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/islam/story/0,1442,656221,00.html

Awar
Saturday, December 18th, 2004, 10:59 PM
Yep... very very sad. As I said... they're not into Islam for religion sake, but for identity sake. The American guy joined Islam and started wearing ridiculous clothes, the Brit came straight into Islamist terrorism... Dumb!

ulphila
Friday, July 8th, 2005, 02:20 PM
it seems to be a growing phenomena. any one ever heard of the DMK in Germany? (German speaking Muslims community):
The've got branches arround the country, and here's the sites for the ones in Berlin and in Karlsruhe:

http://www.dmk-berlin.de/
http://www.dmk-karlsruhe.de/

QuietWind
Friday, July 8th, 2005, 06:43 PM
it seems to be a growing phenomena. any one ever heard of the DMK in Germany? (German speaking Muslims community):
The've got branches arround the country, and here's the sites for the ones in Berlin and in Karlsruhe:

http://www.dmk-berlin.de/
http://www.dmk-karlsruhe.de/
I can't read German, but I believe what you say. They say that Islam is the fastest growing religion and it has the second most followers of any religion (second to Christianity). It was said (but I do not know how true it is) that after 9/11 in America, there were tons of white American converts, who initially began studying Islam to try and understand why the Islamists did what they did. The majority of white American muslims that I have met were actually women.

ulphila
Friday, July 8th, 2005, 08:40 PM
Here are some statistics Iv'e gathered about the Muslims in Germany:
Total population: 3.4 million, one third live in NordRhein Westfalen.
About 70% are Turkish.
The Turks alone have 9 organizations, the biggest - Ditib and the Islamrat.
There are about 2,300-2,400 Islamic centres and mosques, but only about 80 in the entire country are "regular" mosques with the big towers (Minaret). The most are in residentail buildings and backyards.
There is no data as to the number of Germans that have converted, but its estimated between 10,000 and 50,000.
The DMK has many ethnic Germans, but from my impression, most of the congregation is comprised of Ausländer (foreigners) - especialy non-Turks like Arabs and Africans who were either born or raised in Germany.

Every year there is an open mosque day in Germany on October third (which is the day of the Wiedervereinigung, the unification). Some Germans see the mosques for the first time, fall in love - and start the process of conversion. Others have Muslim friends, and are attracted to the religion for different reasons.
I think there are many reasons for people to convert. I'm an atheist, I don't believe in anything and I'm not spiritual, but most people are to a certain extent. some have crappy lives, and think they can change their fates by cinversion, some are just feeble, and others have a need to identify with the supposable week element in their society.
Go figure...


I can't read German, but I believe what you say. They say that Islam is the fastest growing religion and it has the second most followers of any religion (second to Christianity). It was said (but I do not know how true it is) that after 9/11 in America, there were tons of white American converts, who initially began studying Islam to try and understand why the Islamists did what they did. The majority of white American muslims that I have met were actually women. About the women, it's ironic, because although according to Islam women have some form of respect, in reality they are treated like a commodity. Were those women independent converts, or did they make the change because they married Muslims?

QuietWind
Friday, July 8th, 2005, 09:15 PM
About the women, it's ironic, because although according to Islam women have some form of respect, in reality they are treated like a commodity. Were those women independent converts, or did they make the change because they married Muslims?
I have seen it both ways-- independent converts and those who converted because of marriage. Usually the former had illigitamate children from other men. I always wondered if the conversion and marriage was more of a catharsis in order for them to purge their guilt conscience over past faults-- a sort of atonement. These women often were extremely observant in their beliefs, which is on the far end from where they had come (having children out of wedlock, partying, etc.) The women I have known who were independet converts, and not married, often came from liberal Christian backgrounds and were unsatisfied with the flawed doctrine taught in their churches. Realize that these are only generalizations based upon my experiences with less than 20 converted white Americans. On the whole, the stories might be much different.

I am not an atheist, like you, but I am of no religion. I just enjoy studying them.

Fenris
Sunday, July 10th, 2005, 03:04 AM
My mother knew a white muslim some years ago, the area of Manchester we live in has a high number of Iraqis, Iranians, Palestinians, Bengalis and other races from that region of the world, but I was still surprised to see that a white woman had converted, especially to a misogynistic faith like Islam.

Northern Paladin
Sunday, July 10th, 2005, 04:22 PM
The inevitable result of a mud washed White person who sees his culture as inferior.

Wjatscheslaw
Wednesday, August 24th, 2005, 12:21 AM
The situation discribed above is greatly common for people who changed religion, who joined to sect’s and any quasi religious organisation’s. This kind of people (though anyone could appeare on their place) must certainly be in extremly exited condition or extremly depressive condition (at that moment of their life), be dropped out of society, out of their usiale life-style, i.e. change their habitation’s. And the main condition is the lack of adhere views upon the life.

It’s the worse thing that he became a Muslim. ...Why he chosed alien (near to hostile) religion, alien culture, he was surrounded with hostile world, I mean there was no fear to be killed or something like this, but he felt out of his own (already former) world and so he chosed what was adequate outside of that world.

Deling
Tuesday, November 8th, 2005, 10:55 AM
I don't believe the world conflicts revolves around religions, so White Muslims isn't so strange: just look at Bosnians. Neither is Islam an ethnical culture. I can become Muslim in five second, just proclaiming a phrase.

But it certainly is strange that people in Europe (white) cling to Islam, Jehova's, Raelianism, Hare Krishna and all that bogus. Lack of spirituality perhaps, to be found in dogmatic thesis'?

euroamerican
Saturday, February 4th, 2006, 02:58 AM
Re LG;

According to your line of thought it's easier for a white Indo-European seeker to convert to an existing alternative religion, i.e. Islam, rather than to awaken one's ancestral core.

You are very wrong. In fact, you are suicidally wrong. Islam is not a temporary diversion.
Islam is a dead end.
Islam is the beginning of Eurabia.
Islam is the end of Europe.

Islam is a fundamentalist monetheistic religion married to a totalitarian political ideology.

Islam is the antithesis of our native ancestral spirit, our Faustian quest for 'arete'.

Your hate of America and Zionism blinds you.
You would cut off your nose to spite your face.

[ad hominem removed]

euroamerican
Saturday, February 4th, 2006, 03:07 AM
People need to believe in something larger than their personal self.

We are far removed from our ancestral roots.

There are so many different religions and spiritual paths to select from.

In a world of 7-11 convenience stores Islam might look like the real deal.

But your choice has definite consequences.

Hopefully most white muslims will quickly see through the initial attraction of Islam and then seek deeper for their own true ancestral connection.

But then again, maybe not.
White folks can be really stupid.

Imperator X
Friday, April 14th, 2006, 03:21 AM
As much as I can't stand Islam, for what it has done to pagans and different cultures around the world, and it is continuing to antagonize Hindus after it has already seized a large portion of Bharat's land. I can certainly understand it's appeal, and one must have a certain respect for it,however guarded and hostile, in as much as a leader of Crusaders can have a respect for Salahuddin and the Moors.

For one thing, Islam proclaims a belief in One God, one final Prophet, one Book, one capital and direction, (East toward Mecca) and laws governing conduct to be consulted on just about every issue. All Muslims, despite their ethnicities, are united by common practices, and a universal language (Arabic) which is very eloquent. Some Islamic practices and dictates are very traditional and practical.

I always used to think, how come the originally Buddhist Mongols (of the Khan), the Hindu Ghandaran/Afghans, and Pakistanis turn their back on a rich and virtuous religion like Hinduism, which contained everything (IMO) one could possibly need, convert to a travesty like Islam!? Well, I found that it promoted a stable, egalitarian, ethical system which eliminated needless divisive factors, especially castes. (I am very much anti-caste, anti-division, person when it comes to Hinduism because I see the caste-system as divisive and as holding Hinduism back, for one thing, against the onslaught of Islam.)

Muslims from around the world, drop whatever they are doing, to kneel and to proclaim that there is a Higher Power greater than themselves, and they have 1.4 billion brothers in the eyes of God, proclaiming this with them side by side.

For example, Africans who were taken as slaves by Arabs were discriminated against, and considered inferior, but Muhammad instructed the Arabs on their error in this matter, and allowed a black African to voice the call to prayer, and lead them into battle. This is why Islam has such an attraction for Blacks today because of the belief that all are equal in the eyes of Al'lah.

As a Shakta Hindu, I can only envy the level of organization which Islam has achieved. If Hinduism could rally all Hindus regardless of caste, or color under the common banner of the Dharma, and the language of Sanskrit, the primacy of the Veda, the importance of Vegetarianism/non-beef eating as an expression of faith, then Hinduism would adequately be able to combat Christianity and Islam now. Notice how much little success Christians have achieved in gaining converts in the Middle East. These are the kind of proactive measures, which certain Orthodox Hindu organizations are starting to encourage now, that will allow Hinduism to be preserved, and create gains in the future instead of having to go backwards and clean-up the messes created long ago.

A perfect example was the fact that white Hindus are sometimes denied entry to Hindu temples in India. An even more astounding case came up when the princess of Thailand was denied entry into a temple in Orissa.
This is utterly ridiculous considering that being Buddhist should be enough to gain entry anyway, as a kindred faith to Hinduism AND Despite nominal Buddhism, Hindu culture is still very prevalent in a country like Thailand, consider, the regent is named King Rama XI.

India is bleeding, the Dharma is bleeding. It is up to all Hindus to take aggressive and proactive steps to restoring her beauty and majesty as our spiritual homeland.

Gorm the Old
Friday, April 14th, 2006, 03:47 AM
I must say that I find the Black Muslim movement ironical. The Europeans never penetrated into the interior of Africa to conduct slave raids. It was the Muslim Arabs who did that and then sold their slaves to the Europeans. So, how was the religion of the slave traders superior to that of the buyers ? If Islam were really as egalitarian as its supporters claim, it would be inexplicable to find beggars and millionaires in the same Muslim country. Yet, where in the Muslim world is that not true ? As stated repeatedly in the glorious Qur'an, charity to the poor is enjoined upon every Muslim. If this were practised consistently, the enormous economic and social disparities among the Muslim people would be erased. In practise, egalitarianism is given only lip service.

CountBloodSpawn
Friday, April 14th, 2006, 05:53 PM
that bit is true about egalitarianism and Islam, faiths and philosophies based on redempation and egalitarianism only leads to pointlessly pious
point of view and preaching

LordofValhalla
Tuesday, April 25th, 2006, 12:51 PM
I think that is not a good thing to do. Muslim, jewish or christian religion or split parts are not religions who fit to the people of the north. I mean that these religions are for desert people and that for example the christians in Europe just celebrate the christian holidays on ancient pagan holidays, because otherwise the people would never have seen any sense in it. It was easier for the christian occupators to convert the heathens if they put their christian holidays on old heathen holidays.
Also religions are creating a culture and you can never understand a nordic culture if you are a muslim or jew or christ or if you follow any other not original European religion. You can maybe know a lot about it, but you can't live it with your whole heart and soul and you can't feel the spirit which unites culture and religion. Culture and religion are two things that go together. I can't say that I believe in Germanic Gods and then live in a tent in the desert, eat untypical food and ride a camel. That wouldn't fit into the culture of a desert folk. And it's the same the other way round. I can't say that I am European and that I belong to a European tribe if I pray to a God who has nothing to do with Europe and in whose book all places are described as situated in the desert or outside of Europe. That makes no sense.

Ok it has as much sense as multiculture. You can live in a society and create a civilisation, but you will never be able to create a real culture, because politheistik religions and monotheistik religions will never really work together.

And to all people who say "Oh I support the muslims 'cause they don't like jews and I don't like jews too" I just can tell you that those religions are not very different. They are all from the desert, not from Europe and are all linked to eachother.

angler
Tuesday, November 28th, 2006, 11:48 PM
http://forums.skadi.net/native_european_muslims_organisation-t82951.html


Native European Muslims Organisation
http://europeans.ws/

Peter
Sunday, December 3rd, 2006, 10:40 PM
White Muslim is a disgrace for Europe, for the white race and for everything, we don´t need islam for anything, islam has killed thousand of europeans in many centuries. It´s a deep stockholm syndrome being muslim as an european.

Torquil
Monday, December 18th, 2006, 07:50 AM
Defending "Western values" today is like defending a grand church that was converted into a lowly whorehouse years ago. Its a lost and pointless cause, as those values no longer exist. We have an empty shell of what once was civilization. To hell with that. Why defend it?

I agree that Christianity is dead, but that religion isn't all there is to the West. Neither is secularism, consumerism, capitalism, vanity, spiritual emptiness, or decadence. When I think of defending the West, I think of European culture which lies beneath the layer of crud. Our beautiful folkways and natural religions: Asatru, Romuva, Hellenismos, etc.


According to your line of thought it's easier for a white Indo-European seeker to convert to an existing alternative religion, i.e. Islam, rather than to awaken one's ancestral core.

Indeed. Trading one Semitic religion for another slightly different one will do nothing to improve our situation. Fortunately more seekers among us are beginning to discover our true faiths, alternatives to the barbaric desert creeds.