Diana West

So, what if Centanni and Wiig "revert" to their non-Muslim identities? Would such "apostasy" sentence them to death? (Leaving Islam is a capital crime under Islamic law.) Shocking thought. Of course, there's something even more shocking to the story than the religious charade itself. No, it isn't the bizarre disclaimer Centanni felt compelled to append to his account of the shotgun-conversion -- "Don't get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it." While it's more than strange to hear a person who has been forced to choose between death and Islam flack for Islam as he resumes his life, there's something else. And it isn't praise for the "beautiful and kind-hearted" Palestinian people Centanni slathered around the microphone at his Gaza City press conference before, as Bostom noted, high-tailing it to safety in infidel-Israel.

The most shocking thing about the Centanni-Wiig "conversion" is the silence that has followed. First, there is silence from Islam. Shouldn't Muslim religious leaders, and particularly "beautiful and kind-hearted" Palestinian Muslim religious leaders, vehemently condemn the forced conversions? As Bostom put it, "Will such Muslim authorities at least recognize the acute predicament of Centanni and Wiig by issuing a fatwa stating that their 'conversion,' being under duress, was not bona fide, condemning in advance any Muslim who might now attack these journalists for 'apostasy' from Islam?"

Yes, of course, they should -- at least according to any Western understanding of compulsion and morality -- but don't hold your breath. Meanwhile, holding their breath is exactly what Western media are doing when it comes to covering (not covering) the story. Even Fox's Greta van Susteren, a tabloidesque host who never met a bodily fluid she couldn't elaborate on, went delicate on us the other night, failing, in a one-hour "exclusive" interview with the two men, to ask a single question about their religious ordeal -- presumably at their request.

Why? Who or what is served by shutting up? Only forces of coercion -- a word which, after all, implies the nullification of individual will. Which means this is one case where silence isn't golden and ignorance isn't bliss. They are dangerous and dumb.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).