Daveed Gartenstein-Ross was born a Jew, converted to Islam and is, today, a Christian. He has written a book called, “My Year in Radical Islam” which will be published in February by Tarcher. From today’s International Herald Tribune,
“I thought it was significant to tell people how a reasonably intelligent Westerner would work for a radical Islamic charity,” Gartenstein-Ross said in an interview, “and end up not being disgusted by it but actually feeling, ‘Wow! There is something to these guys’ ideas.'”
He said he had initially embraced a moderate version of Islam before being drawn to his job with radical Islamists in Ashland, Oregon, his hometown, seduced by the appeal of belonging to a close-knit community and the “ready answers” provided by his superiors.
Adopting Wahhabism, the Saudi rigorist interpretation of Islam, he stopped shaking hands with women, listening to music, wearing shorts, and playing computer games. He grew a full beard, endorsed the gay-bashing and conspiracy theories of his mentors, and found himself praying for the victory of mujahedeen, or Muslim holy warriors, around the world.
Debra Saunders in Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle writes,
He believes Americans need a more fact-based understanding of Islam, which requires the media to do a better job of reporting what Muslims think and say — instead of papering over radical rhetoric. Once when a local reporter visited Al Haramain to write a piece on Ramadan, a co-worker refused to shake her hand, launched a defense of sorts of Algerian terrorists and lambasted a French policy that prohibited schoolgirls from wearing the hijab in class. The comments never made the story. Gartenstein-Ross writes, “And so, as I often did, the reporter chose not to acknowledge that a real clash of values existed here.”
Islam’s approach to homosexuality is another area that the left ignores in deference to multiculturalism. (Think of Bay Area liberals who voice outrage at the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but are silent about the Shariah policy on homosexuals — 100 lashes or death.) Ditto the status of women.
Gartenstein-Ross also takes issue with those rose-colored-glass wearers who deny that there is any theological basis for Islamic extremism. “It’s important to note that they do have an argument,” he told me, if only to be able to engage them in argument and understand where they get their ideas.
Gartenstein-Ross is a strong storyteller, who enables the reader to feel the ineluctable draw to fanaticism, as well as the anguish and disillusionment that led him to support violent jihad, but ultimately reject it. He has no use for those who, a la Chomsky, pat themselves on the back for having the intellectual fortitude “to enter the minds of the likely perpetrators.”
We live in a time where the patron saint of the media elites is Neville Chamberlain. Appeasement is the recommended response to radical Islamists. A plethora of books and other media have been produced that logically and coherently question the Main Stream Media mantra that the fundamental orthopraxy of Islam is peace – and it is no shock that these books and media are ignored by that same MSM.
Those of us who live in Dar al Harb need to more rigorously consider the actual world we live in – rather than the-world-of-upset-good-people-fighting-for-their-rights the MSM chooses to paint in words and pictures.