Chasing a comment from a reader that led to a blog down under, it certainly seems that there's another bizarre angle in the already hot story of the forced conversions of those Fox News journalists, American Steve Centanni and New Zealander Olaf Wiig, to Islam. It appears that the leaders of the so-called Holy Jihad Brigades did not come up with this gunpoint conversion idea. No, this concept came from the Rev. Canon Andrew White (pictured), an Anglican leader at the Foundation for Reconciliation in the Middle East. Here's a slice of the story:
President of the foundation, Canon Andrew White, says his organisation negotiated with the kidnappers and eventually located them with the help of Palestinian groups. He says the kidnappers appear to be a break-away faction of a larger terrorist organisation, and probably staged the kidnapping to give themselves credibility.
Before the pair were released, a video was shown in which they converted to Islam. White says this was his suggestion.
This, for me, raises two questions.
First, was it White's suggestion that the men convert to Islam or that the video of the men be released to the media (or both)? This isn't very clear and that's a crucial question.
Second, I wonder why this fascinating detail -- an Anglican priest suggests that two men convert to Islam, placing them under a possible death sentence if they recant? -- has not been reported by journalists in the United States and England. That is, if it's true. I cannot find any mainstream media references to this fact in these two lands.
This tactic may have broken a dangerous logjam. Still, it is an interesting theological move by a Christian cleric, to say the least. Who says that First World Anglicans can't do evangelism? (Cue: rim shot.)