Fox Journalists Released
Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig have been released, following a bizarre “conversion to Islam:” Kidnapped Fox journalists released.
Hours before their release, a video from Ramattan showed the two reading statements proclaiming that they had embraced Islam with the Prophet Mohammed as their leader.
“Islam is not just meant for some people — it is the true religion for all people at all times,” Centanni said in the video while garbed in a beige robe his captors may have given him. Wiig was dressed in the same attire. “Islam helps people to love mercy, brotherhood, equality and justice.”
But speaking to Fox News after their release, Centanni indicated the conversion was not real.
“We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint, and don’t get me wrong here, I have the highest respect for Islam, and learned a lot of very good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do, because they had the guns, and we didn’t know what the hell was going on,” he told Fox.
Allahpundit points out this mujahideen video showing their gunpoint “conversion,” accompanied by the Koranic verse that there is “no compulsion in Islam.”
UPDATE at 8/27/06 7:51:54 am:
DEBKAfile (not always the most reliable source) says a six-figure ransom was paid to the Palestinian kidnappers: A Hostage Affair in Gaza is Ended by a Three-Part Ransom.
Various Palestinian middlemen were used by British agents at the request of the US to bring the Fox journalists home. They worked out a convoluted deal which entailed their public conversion to Islam, an anti-American harangue on air and a six-figure cash ransom paid under the table to Dughmush to fund his terrorist militia’s operations in Gaza. While the first two parts of the ransom were publicly aired, the third part will no doubt be vehemently denied. But the face remains that a terrorist chief who freelances for at least three fundamentalist terrorist organizations walks free with a strong incentive to develop his profitable hostage-taking business.